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by Dave Rome
July 21, 2020
Photography by Merida
It’s becoming a clear trend: the modern endurance road bike is effectively what others call an ‘all-road’ bike. With more relaxed geometry and wider tyre clearance than a performance road bike, this revamped category offers bikes for riders who predominately want to stay comfy on the tarmac, but with the option to occasionally go off it.
The latest example of this comes from the mega Taiwanese manufacturer Merida and its all-new Scultura Endurance.
It has been a couple of years since Merida offered a bike aimed squarely at the endurance road market. Now, Merida is back in the space and the new Scultura Endurance – said to be ideal for riders wanting to do 90% tarmac and 10% light gravel – looks set to battle the likes of the Giant Defy, Specialized Roubaix, and Trek Domane. And just like those three other bikes, this too is disc-brake-only.
The Scultura Endurance borrows features from Merida’s race bikes (Scultura and Reacto) and merges them with generous tyre clearance for up to 35 mm rubber and more relaxed geometry. The price point is also a little more relaxed with the frame featuring a mid-grade “CF3” carbon fibre construction which sits below the “CF4” construction used in the company’s top-tier race bikes.
In turn, the new Scultura Endurance isn’t class-leading on the scales, with the company claiming a medium frame (with hardware) weighs 1,124 g, with the matching fork (uncut) at 411 g.
The geometry is fairly relaxed, while the longer wheelbase is intended to provide toe clearance with the increased tyre size. The fork offset used (in order to confirm trail figures) is TBC.
Compared to the Trek Domane or Specialized Roubaix, which both feature unique shock-absorbing technologies, the Scultura Endurance is rather traditional in its approach. The seat stays have been designed to flex vertically and there’s a regular round 27.2 mm seatpost to assist with some give, too.
The Scultura Endurance is still a road bike, and each model comes equipped with 32 mm slick tyres.
As mentioned, a number of Merida’ unique design elements from its road race bikes have made it over to the Scultura Endurance. Most obvious is the internal cable routing through Merida’s “Wire Port”, which sees cables enter the frame through holes in the headset top cap – something that keeps them rather tidy and in line with the stem.
Merida’ Wire Port cabling lets the cables enter at the front of the bike.
Merida’s novel disc-cooler fins also carry over and are found on the left-side fork blade and chain stay in an effort to funnel air onto the brake calipers. Upfront, the fork is set up for a 160 mm brake rotor, while an adapter can be added to increase the rotor to a 180 mm size. Previously flat-mount road brakes were designed with a 160 mm rotor as the largest, but we’re seeing a number of brands move to offer these larger rotors which provide more braking power and better heat management.
Merida’s disc-cooler technology is provided at both wheels.
That round 27.2 mm seatpost is clamped with an integrated binder wedge. Other details include front and rear mudguard mounts, with the rear offering a removable seat stay bridge (another feature we’re starting to see plenty of). The bottom bracket is a BB86, the same Shimano-format press-fit system used by Giant.
For those in Australia, the Scultura Endurance will be offered in a choice of four models ranging from AU$3,199 to AU$5,299. International pricing and availability are TBC. And as with all Merida bikes, they’re simply not available within the United States.
We’ll soon be getting our cleats clipped into the new Scultura Endurance 7000-E (AU$5,299 with Shimano Ultegra Di2). Stay tuned for a full review.
The new Scultura Endurance looks to offer some clean lines. Merida claims the graphic design is intentionally minimalist.
The frame offers a removable seat stay bridge for use with fenders.
The regular round post is held in with an integrated wedge.
All models (at least those in Australia) are equipped with Shimano drivetrains and make use of the direct-mount derailleur hanger. It’s a setup that aims to make the derailleur connection stiffer, while also easing wheel install/removal.
Another view of Merida’s Wire Port cable system.
Expect a full review soon.