This week’s Merlin DealClincher takeover brings you stunning bargain bike, wheels, and component deals from Orro, Wilier, Shimano and Vision plus a host of spectacular deals on Sportful kit for spring and beyond and a VERY nice jersey from Castelli. Let’s get to the deals!
Let's start with a bike that road.cc rated as a bargain at full price in its Shimano 105 guise, the Orro Terra C Ekar, which as you’ve guessed comes with Campagnolo’s highly rated Ekar 1x 13 speed groupset. For £2599.99 it’s definitely a bargain too.
That money will buy you a great all-round bike on road or gravel with a comfortable all-day riding position that still manages to be pretty aero should you need to hunker down in the drops. The frame is Orro full carbon disc, matched to an Orro carbon disc fork while the groupset is full Campag Ekar. So that’s 13 gears spread over a 9/42 cassette with a 40T chainset. Wheels are Fulcrum Rapid 300s for disc brakes, running WTB 700x38 Venture tyres – not the lightest hoops but strong and dependable. It’s a lovely looking bike too with semi-integrated cabling at the front – the cables entering the front of the frame via a cable box on the headset for a neater look and no cable rub.
Oh, and did we mention this is a 2023 bike? Yep, this is a very much on-trend bargain. Sizes available: 46cm, 48cm 51cm, 54cm and 58cm.
Next up a very classy do-it-all jersey from Castelli which claims to offer a mixture of aerodynamics, comfort and functionality – all for £50 at Merlin. Designed for long (or short) days in the saddle on road, gravel or wherever, the Endurance jersey features all the features you’d expect: full length YKK zip, plenty of pockets, Castelli’s renowned quality with a few you might not. Castelli has slightly repositioned the pockets to make them easier to access, and there’s also a fourth zipped valuables pocket. The Nervato fabric around the armholes is claimed to improve the jersey’s aerodynamics while the honeycomb Velocity fabric on the front and shoulders is fast drying (probably slightly more useful for most of us). The sleeves are Air Mesh to keep your arms cool. All of that and it looks spot on.
As ever the minds behind Merlin’s DealClincher Takeover are alive to the sage advice of the Merton Parkas – you need wheels if you wanna make deals! This week’s wheel deal is the Vision SC40 Carbon Clincher Disc Wheelset which Merlin are selling for a head-spinning £499.
These clincher wheels are tubeless-ready and handbuilt with 24 aero bladed spokes front and rear, centre lock rotor mounts, and 12mm thru axles. Rim depth is 40mm – making them a good all-round option. As you’d expect it’s sealed cartridge bearings for the hubs – 2 front, four rear. Combined weight (minus thru axles) is a claimed £1590g. If your bike is running a Shimano 10 or 11-speed disc brake groupset and you’re in the market for a wheel upgrade these would really hit the mark.
Kask’s Utopia is a helmet that’s built for speed and comfort without sacrificing safety – so the best of all worlds. Merlin are also offering it at the practically perfect price of £115 (down from £219). Let’s focus on its performance credentials first – that’s what you’re all interested in. It’s all aero with the Utopia, as you can imagine the design was honed in the wind tunnel and that process resulted in two dramatically deep vents on either side augmented by four further vents three of them of similar size. Kask’s aim with the Utopia was to smooth the flow of air through the helmet, and in particular as it exits at the rear, so that whatever angle the rider’s head is at the exhaust air is in line with the rear of the helmet. Neat. That’s not the only cool feature – the padding inside the helmet is made from Resistex fabric which wicks moisture from the rider’s head and moves it to the outer shell, which should keep your head dry even when you’re putting out max power on hot days.
All that and it’s got the full set of CEN, CSPC and AS/NZS – EU, US and the even more stringent Australian certifications – not something all performance lids can boast.
Get set for spring, or an early season training camp in warmer climes, with these excellent bib shorts from Sportful, the thinking cyclist’s clothing brand of choice. Rated for temperatures from 15° upwards as their name suggests the Pro Air’s boast a light weight construction (195g, we’re assuming for a medium) and boast all the features you’d expect to find in a top quality pair of shorts built for speed and comfort: flat lock stitching, lie-flat bib straps, the TC Pro pad is low on bulk and the fit is compressive fit courtesy of the AeroFlow Compress fabric used in the legs. The leg band on the grippers is seamless and you also get two radio pockets for that extra pro touch. Merlin has these in either black (all sizes) or a fetching blue on sea blue option available in all sizes except small. For £70 it’s hard to see where you could go wrong.
Running a Shimano 11-speed set up and looking for a bargain chainset upgrade? You won’t go wrong with the R8000 a chainset noted for its smooth shifting and reliability. You can check out road.cc’s review of the full Ultegra R8000 groupset here for some background reading. The R8000 features Shimano’s Hollowtech II technology – the aluminium crank arms are hollowed out to save weight without, says Shimano, sacrificing stiffness, and it’s fair to say it’s a stiff and well regarded chainset. Merlin have particularly good deals on the black, standard 172.5mm crank length in a compact 50/34 and mid-compact 52/36 chainsets, and they also have the black super compact with a 170mm crank. Merlin have stock of longer and shorter cranks lengths, with 170mm and 175mm in most of the other main chainset configurations including the classic 53/39.
Next up another spring/summer winner from Sportful in the shape of the Supergiara Women’s Short Sleeve jersey currently on sale for £29 down from £110. Sportful has a reputation for producing top quality, well thought-out kit at real world prices, so a £110 jersey from them would usually be the equivalent of something a lot pricier from some of their rivals, and to get one for £29 looks like a stonking bargain. That money buys you a lightweight jersey with full length (YKK) zip, six cargo pockets (so leave your panniers at home) and reflective elements on the shoulders, side and back. Sportful describe the pattern as “a hazy dream… that turns our dreams of escape into reality”. Nice.
Anyway it comes in a plethora of colours, our personal fave is Red Rumba, and all sizes from XS through to XXL are available.
Our Sportful cup runneth over this week, better still these Infinium Big Tights are something you can wear now, just in time for next week’s cold snap AND get them for almost half their £185 list price too. These tights should serve you well for most types of winter riding and on colder spring and autumn days too. Made from a combination of Gore Windstopper fabric in the front sections and NoRain fabric to the rear for maximum protection from the elements. The front bib is made from thermal fabric, while a mesh back helps regulate your temperature and guard against overheating when you’re putting in those big efforts/or the sun comes out. If you ride in all weathers these will pay for themselves in no time, especially at this price.
Did someone say Sportful? More bargainicious bib tights here, this time Sportful Neo Women’s bibs which Merlin are currently selling for half their £80 full retail price… gets out abacus, consults fingers and thumbs… so £40 then. All sizes are available in the black and white colour way from XS through to XXL and all sizes except extra small are available in black. The Neos are Sportful’s entry level women’s bib short and feature compression fabric, silicone gripper dots, a mesh back and their Comfort Pro W pad. Rated for temps off 15°C and up - so late spring/summer/autumn in these parts.
Saving the most cutting edge til last… This is a great deal if you want to look pro, (well, Astana pro) on a really cool, cutting edge bike. The Wilier 0 SLR Team Astana Disc Frameset is light, stiff, fully cable integrated and of course, disc braked for a full hand of the latest tech trends in the pro peloton. It’s certainly a very good looking bike too, and the Astana colours complement its lines well. Just to focus on the weight, Wilier says the 0 SLR is 800g for a medium in the Astana version claimed to be 20g lighter… the fork adds another 340g. Fully built a 6.5Kg weight is achievable, and indeed it’s the claimed weight if you’re buying a complete bike. Buying it as a frameset could give you the opportunity to go full off-piste weight weenie in your build, though.
What else? Well, the chainstays are asymmetric which Wilier says adds to pedalling efficiency, and they’ve also designed a whole new seat clamp just for this bike that works via an expander bolt inside the top tube for “ultimate aesthetics and aerodynamics”. That’s a lot of tech in one frameset for £3500. Sizes available: S, L, XL, XXL.
Wait! We've got a bonus bargain for anyone after a sharp pair of racing slippers, back for another week…
Sidi are THE name when it comes to performance cycling shoes and the Shot 2 certainly deliver when it comes to performance. All that power transfer usually comes at a very high price, but Merlin currently has them on offer for £225. These are the limited edition versions too in three eye-catching colours (put me down for deep teal). At the heart of the Shot 2 is Siri’s all new C-Boost SRS carbon sole, which not only offers greater stiffness and lighter weight than Siri’s previous offering, but also has better ventilation and 5mm more cleat adjustability too. The micro fibre uppers feature Sidi’s Double Tecno-3 Push Flex dial closure system plus a host of other innovative features designed to boost your pedalling performance and comfort.