Merida Reacto Disc 6000 review£3,000.00

Do Merida’s aggressive shapes mean an aggro ride?

BikeRadar score3.5/5

The Reacto is designed as a responsive and aggressive aero race bike and its geometric profiling certainly looks the part.

Merida Reacto Disc 6000 frame and kit

The thru-axle fork deepens all the way up to a chunky crown that blends with a cutout on the deep, rounded base, rectangular down-tube. The tall head-tube uses a teardrop section, which is chopped off square at the trailing edge like most of the Merida’s other tubes. 

It’s tall for an aero bike though, getting the less aggressive CF2 geometry compared to the flagship CF4 race bikes, so you’ll definitely need to lose the teardrop spacers under the stem if you want to get low.

Both the seatstays and seat-tube run close to the tyres
Both the seatstays and seat-tube run close to the tyres

The shield section top-tube narrows towards an aero seatpost secured with a flush-fit wedge clamp. The rectangular, unbraced seatstays shelve back from a narrow junction, staying close to the tyre before splaying out to the rear thru-axle. The wheel-hugging seat-tube is barely broader than the tyre but the bottom bracket and chainstays are deep for stiffness.

A soft segment in the back of the aero seatpost is designed to absorb shock before it gets to the saddle. Both the saddle clamp pieces and the top of the seatpost can also be unbolted and reversed to subtly or significantly steepen the effective seat angle in triathlon/aero style. 

Front and rear flat-mount brake stations have finned heat-exchanger extensions to keep brakes cooler on long descents. The internal routing exit on the top side of the down-tube sends the cables out wide around the head-tube to avoid paint damage. It’s not the tidiest looking arrangement unless you trim the excess cable down slightly.

Cable routing forces things wide to avoid damaging the finish
Cable routing forces things wide to avoid damaging the finish

You’re not getting a full set of Ultegra (the cassette is 105 and the chain is from KMC) but it’s not noticeable in the slick shifting and power delivery. In contrast to the frame mounts the Centerlock brake rotors don’t have any fancy heat-eating features. 

Fulcrum rims are deep enough to add an aero edge without becoming too heavy, and the Continental Grand Sport Race tyres are dependable all-rounders. The Merida-branded cockpit is proportionally fine and the chunky saddle adds to the seatpost’s shock-absorbing effects.

It’s clear that the Merida is as edgy and angular in the way it rides as the way it looks. The head angle is relatively relaxed at 72.5 degrees and the wheelbase long at 990mm, but the handling feels sharp and instant rather than lazy. 

It reacts the same way through the pedals and that bar, jumping hard whenever asked. While it can start getting sketchy in violent wind conditions the cut-and-shut aerodynamics of the frame don’t have any directional agenda in average conditions.

This urgency is great if you’re feeling similarly aggressive, and on short crit-style rides the Reacto was a blast. Despite the CF2 being the shape for civilians it’s still a relatively long bike, which makes it stretched and race-ready in feel. Add the ability to shunt the saddle forwards for a steeper seat angle and it’s a natural home for clip-on tri bars for multi-sport or time-trial work in terms of ride position. 

The stiffness of the frame comes at the expense of a firm ride over rougher surfaces so you’ll want to relax your grip and ‘hide’ in the saddle when things gets properly pockmarked.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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