EThere is a lot that makes cycling attractive. Among other things, that you can feel a bit like a pro, even if you can’t constantly pedal with 300 watts. This is derived from the regulations of the cycling association UCI, according to which the heroes of the country road may only use bicycles that are available to everyone. So we invited a piece of the Tour de France to us with the Merida Scultura team. After all, the racer that Team Bahrain Victorious ride is a mountain goat, suitable for fast descents and one of the more affordable bikes in the peloton.
At least that was the case when it was with us. There were still four nines in front of the euro sign, for example on the Canyon Aeroad CFR (team bike from Movistar, Arkea-Samsic and Alpecin-Fenix). In the meantime, the Merida’s thousand counter has jumped up by one. But that’s still a training bike cheaper than the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 (Team Bora-Hansgrohe), which is asking a whopping 14,500 euros.
However, the scale display has remained unchanged. At 6.9 kilograms in frame size S, the Scultura is one of the lightweights in the field. Unfortunately, the test driver did not. Nevertheless, he feels the whiff of nothing under the saddle and feels encouraged to pedal hard. The bike responds to each of these kicks with spontaneous propulsion. This is not only due to the stiff carbon frame and the even stiffer bottom bracket, but also to the low-resistance Vision Metron 45 SL wheelset and the Continental GP 5000 S TR racing tires.
Almost 11,000 euros are to be invested
In our opinion, all of this helps not only on the flat, but also uphill. The Shimano Dura Ace Di2 electronic gearshift ensures fast, precise gear changes, 52 and 36 teeth on the front chain ring and a 12-speed cassette with 11/30 teeth ensure that even the moderately trained driver can master a ten percent incline and on a slightly sloping road to 50 km/h, admittedly in the slipstream.
It gets even better going down. The directional stability is excellent, but concentration is called for in cross winds. And always two hands on the handlebars. We hardly need the excellently controllable Shimano brakes, and we don’t really need the CNC-milled aluminum cooling fins on the brake calipers. That may be different on large Alpine passes, but in Swabia and in the Tannheimer Tal you don’t slow down so much. Rather, you swing through the curves with this super handy racing bike like a slalom runner through a round course. That puts a big grin on your face.
The narrow racing saddle doesn’t change that. At first eye contact, the Prologo Scratch M5 seemed to call out to the rider: “Wait, I’m tormenting you.” But that was a misinterpretation. In fact, the seating and riding position allowed us to ride 100km without significant discomfort. Not to mention the 30-kilometre home circuit. By the way, with the Scultura we improved our personal best time several times. Which proves that excellent material also makes mediocre drivers faster. Ultimately, everyone has to decide for themselves whether to invest almost 11,000 euros to achieve this goal or simply train more. A combination of both is probably the ideal solution.