Merida pushes boundaries of gravel bike geometry with new Silex

Forward Geometry for gravel bikes is now sort of a thing

With a reach of 415mm in a size large, the new Merida Silex pushes gravel bike geometry in a new direction by taking cues from the latest generation mountain bikes, where reach figures are being pushed to their limits to eek out every ounce of high-speed, steep and loose terrain stability.

Year on year, mountain bikes continue to get longer, but the geometry of gravel bikes has remained pretty stagnant, so this bike, with its — as Merida is calling it — “adventure-endurance geometry” has certainly piqued our interest.

Designed to be run with a short — short for the road anyway — 80/90mm stem, the 415mm reach on a size large Silex (56-ish-cm equivalent) is pretty darn roomy compared to the 379mm for a Specialized Diverge, 398mm for a Cannondale Slate and 383mm for a Mason Bokeh of the same size.

The tall stack should help to get bars into a comfortable, high position
The tall stack should help to get bars into a comfortable, high position

The stack number of 644mm (again, on a size large bike) is also considerably higher than most gravel bikes, so you should have no issues getting the bars into a high, comfortable position that will also improve control in especially steep terrain.

The 71-degree head angle is also relatively slack for a gravel bike and should stabilise high-speed handling at the cost of a slightly less nimble feeling ride at low speeds.

The 1082mm wheelbase in a size large is also particularly lengthy, further stabilising the ride. 

Available in either carbon or aluminium guises, and eight different builds, Merida has designed the Silex to be a true do-it-all, any surface adventure wagon, with clearance for 700x42mm tyres or 650x2.2 tyres.

On the subject of tyres, Merida has collaborated with Maxxis to develop a 35mm wide, semi-slick tread that all of the new bikes will ship with.

The bike will be available in a total of eight different builds
The bike will be available in a total of eight different builds

The Silex also includes mudguard mounts, rack mounts and a whopping five bottle bosses — one on the seat tube, two on the down tube and one on each leg of the fork.

The bike is bolt through at both ends and uses the flat mount brake standard. In a bid to improve all-weather reliability, Merida has also specced the bike to use full-length, internally routed housing.

We love the look of that nifty little integrated seat binder
We love the look of that nifty little integrated seat binder

The alloy frame is reported to come in at 1,500g, with the carbon frame claimed to weigh 1,050g. Both bikes share the same 500g (claimed) fork.

We’ve been invited to an official launch for the bike later this year and we’ll be sure to update this article once we have more details and ride impressions. 

Are you eager to try out a ‘Forward Geometry gravel bike’? Or does “adventure-endurance” geometry just sound like another name for a touring bike to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

Related Articles

Back to top