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The comfiest bike in the Tour de France - Check out Bahrain-Victorious' Merida Scultura Team

Compliant, aero and lightweight. This bike has it all

Team Bahrain-Victorious has two of Merida’s best bikes available for the Tour de France, but when the race enters the crucial mountain stages, the Scultura will be the machine that the climbers reach for. Here’s a close look at their race setup.

Merida Scultura

Before the Tour kicked off in Denmark, we were able to take a good look at the Merida Scultura of Damiano Caruso. The Italian was brought to the race as a key domestique for Australian Jack Haig, but with the latter’s crash in Wednesday’s stage over the cobbles, the Italian will likely switch focus to lead the team.

> Merida unveils lighter, more aero Scultura road bike

Bahrain-Victorious Merida Scultura Caruso -7

All of this means that this bike will likely spend a lot of time in the front group on the toughest mountain days. Caruso’s Scultura is a standard team setup and Shimano provides the 12-speed Dura-Ace Di2 groupset.

Bahrain-Victorious Merida Scultura Caruso -3

As with all bikes in this year’s Tour de France, Caruso uses disc brakes and opts for a 160mm front rotor to provide additional stopping power. The rotors are the MT-9000 model which has become Shimano’s one top-end model.

Sticking with the brakes, the bike also sports the latest Dura-Ace brake callipers which have increased the pad clearance by 10%. While that doesn’t sound like much, it has improved things when a rider comes off the brakes.

Bahrain-Victorious Merida Scultura Caruso -5

The Shimano theme continues with the rest of the groupset with the rear derailleur looking like it hasn’t yet been crashed which, on a pro bike, is quite rare. The Bahrain mechanics have fitted a direct mount hanger and have used a small rubber band to keep the Di2 cable tucked away neatly.

Bahrain-Victorious Merida Scultura Caruso -4

The chain and cassette have been used if you can believe it. It’s certainly a very clean drivetrain.

Bahrain-Victorious Merida Scultura Caruso -8

The chainset features the new Shimano ‘standard’ gearing of 54/40T that was developed at the request of the pros who were going too fast for the old 53T big ring.

Bahrain-Victorious Merida Scultura Caruso -2

For those of you that like the details, Caruso is running 172.5mm cranks and pairs the big chainrings with an 11-30T cassette.

Bahrain-Victorious Merida Scultura Caruso -6

At the front of the bike you’ll find an integrated carbon cockpit from Vision. There’s no way to tell for sure, but the drop on this bar looks to be a little deeper than the standard cockpit that you and I can buy, so it could be that Caruso gets a custom shape from Vision.

Bahrain-Victorious Merida Scultura Caruso -1

Whatever the case, the Italian isn’t a rider that has gone super long and narrow. The length of the stem part is 120mm and the width of the bar is 420mm.

Bahrain-Victorious Merida Scultura Caruso -9

Finishing off the bike is a set of Vision’s Metron wheels. This set is the tubeless model and the team is using Continental’s GP5000S TR tyres in what looked to be a 28mm size.

Stu has ridden and reviewed this bike and it surprised us with how comfortable it is. Given Merida’s pricing, this is also one of the more affordable pro race bikes.

What do you think of this bike? Let us know in the comments below.

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.

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