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TECH NEWS

Merida introduces speed-focused Scultura Endurance GR gravel bike

New model – available in both carbon and aluminium – is based on the existing Scultura Endurance road bike and sits alongside the adventure-minded Silex in Merida’s range

Merida has unveiled a new Scultura Endurance GR gravel race bike that comes into its range alongside the existing Silex bikes. Whereas the Silex models are designed for adventure, the Scultura Endurance GR has a definite focus on competition.

As the name suggests, the Scultura Endurance GR is based on Merida’s Scultura Endurance road bike – but with fatter tyres and lower gearing.

2023 Merida Scultura Endurance GR 8000 - 1

“Some of the main character traits of the Scultura Endurance laid the groundwork for the gravel race-ready Scultura Endurance GR, with the good tyre clearance and sporty yet long-distance orientated geometry with stable handling providing an excellent foundation on which to build,” says Merida.

> Read our review of the Merida Scultura Endurance 7000-E

2023 Merida Scultura Endurance GR 8000 - 7.jpeg

“With the growing scene of fast-paced, one-day gravel races developing all over the world, it was time to add this new and exciting variation to the Merida line-up.”

The road-going version of the Scultura Endurance takes features from Merida’s Scultura road bike, including aerodynamically optimised tube profiles and integrated cables, and these carry over to the Scultura Endurance GR. The seatstays and chainstays are designed to provide “a leaf spring-like compliance, further assisting comfort and aiding traction over rough ground”.

2023 Merida Scultura Endurance GR 8000 - 20.jpeg

With the Silex taking care of the bike-packing crowd, the Scultura Endurance GR comes with no fixing points beyond those for water bottle cages and mudguards.

> Best gravel bikes 2023 — adventure-ready rides for leaving the tarmac behind 

2023 Merida Scultura Endurance GR 8000 - 17.jpeg

It has clearance for tyres up to 35mm wide – which is narrow by most gravel standards, reflecting the focus on competition.

The Merida Scultura Endurance GR has a steeper head angle than the Silex while “the reach and wheelbase are shorter for more responsive and race-ready handling” (Merida goes for a comparatively long reach and a short stem on the Silex to get the ride characteristics it is after.)

> Check out our Merida Silex 200 review

2023 Merida Scultura Endurance GR 8000 - 22.jpeg

“Despite its gravel racing set-up, the Scultura Endurance GR can also be used as an endurance road bike, by simply changing some key parts (ie tyres) to a more tarmac-biased set-up, providing the GR with versatility that goes beyond the gravel race start line,” says Merida.

2023 Merida Scultura Endurance GR 8000 - 3.jpeg

The Merida Scultura Endurance GR is available with either a CF3 carbon or an aluminium frame. All models are equipped with gravel-specific groupsets, wide and flared handlebars, and Continental Terra Speed tyres.

> Read our Continental Terra Speed tyre review 

2023 Merida Scultura Endurance GR 8000 - 10.jpeg

Merida claims a frame weight of 1,124g for the carbon frame (size medium) and 411g for the fork with an uncut steerer. There are two carbon-framed models: the 8000 and the 5000.

2023 Merida Scultura Endurance GR 8000 - 23.jpeg

Merida hasn’t given us many details but we can see that the Scultura Endurance GR 8000 (£4,750) is equipped with a 2x SRAM Force AXS groupset, complete with a power meter.

> New SRAM Force AXS first ride review — is it any good? 

We don’t have any details on the Scultura Endurance GR 5000 (£2,600) yet.

There’s just one aluminium model: the Scultura Endurance GR 500 (£1,600). It is equipped with a Shimano GRX groupset with mechanical shifting. Again, it’s a 2x setup.

2023 Merida Scultura Endurance GR 500 - 1.jpeg

Merida says that both the carbon and the aluminium Scultura Endurance GR can be run 1x with a maximum 46T chainring. You can fit a dropper seat post with internal cabling, although it wasn’t designed with a suspension fork in mind.

www.merida-bikes.com

2023 Merida Scultura Endurance GR 8000 - 1

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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3 comments

Avatar
joules1975 | 11 months ago
2 likes

Can't help but feel that Merida are once again a year or two behind with trends and certain spec details. Or maybe they get focussed so much on certain key details that they let the rest slip.

Or perhaps the brief was to take the current model and tweak it just enough so as to quickly and cheaply get into another sector of the market, rather than properly cater for the segment.

I suspect the bike rides really well, but clearance for 35c is simply not enough, even for a race/fast riding focused gravel bike. In fact, clearance for 35c is not far off what many road bikes now offer.

The Silex was (and arguable still is) a real forward thinking and progressive bike geometry wise, but way behind others in terms of tyre size compatibility even when it launched.

And then there is the Ride Carbon from a decade ago, that was immediately out of date due to it having post brake mounts and 15mm front thru axle (launched when it was clear that flat mount and 12 mm were becoming the standard), and yet has tyre clearance not far off what this Scultura GR offers.

 

Avatar
MTB Refugee replied to joules1975 | 11 months ago
1 like

Yeah, 35mm max is pretty much useless for gravel unless you live in a bone-dry hard-packed gravel environment. It would be hopeless for any loose surfaces (sand) or anything wet. Also 2x only just doesn't work for me.

Avatar
stub replied to joules1975 | 11 months ago
0 likes

This is just a new set of tyres on an existing bike trying to appeal to a different audience with minimal effort on the manufacturers part.

Though in fairness, they did always say the Scultura Endurance was designed to be able to handle light gravel but it is a bit of stretch to claim it is racy.

I have a Silex and whilst it is great, Merida have always been a bit behind the curve on tyre clearance even if the bikes ride really nicely. I had a non disc Ride and it was a fantastic bike for relatively little cash.

The irritants with the Silex are: can't take a 650b x 2.1 tyre, horrible front brake judder through the fork in rare circumstances, only two bolts on the fork, no top tube mount and no way of bracing the cable entries unlike the 'Smart Entry' mountain bike ports.

Fix all that (though I'd like an integrated bar/stem with internal routing to make bag mounting much less fiddly) and I'll buy a new one!

 

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