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review

Merida Reacto 7000

8
£4,350.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Real-world aero benefits, a great ride quality and a respectable price
Effective 'aeroness' in the real world
Efficient gear ratios
Impressive tyres fitted as standard
Not the lightest build for the money
Weight: 
8,850g
road.cc Recommends

This product has been selected to feature in road.cc recommends. That means it's not just scored well, but we think it stands out as special. Go to road.cc recommends

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The Merida Reacto 7000 feels exceptionally fast – which is exactly how an aero bike should feel. It comes with a SRAM Rival wireless electronic groupset, deep-section carbon wheels and high-quality finishing kit, which also makes it a very good value super bike.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - riding 2.jpg

Our best road bikes buyer's guide rounds up our top choices from a modest £300 to a most immodest 13 grand-plus.

Ride

When it comes to aero bikes, the big-name bike manufacturers pretty much without exception bandy about claims with wind tunnel this, yaw angle that – and Merida isn't exempt from this when talking about its Reacto.

Using the 'moving leg dummy' test the Reacto needs 209 watts effort for 45 km/h speed, which is a whole 1 watt better than its predecessor. This apparently puts it in the leading group of aero road bikes according to the German magazine Tour, which tested different bikes using the same setup.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - riding 3.jpg

Okay, so it's aero, which is all well and good – but how does it feel in the real world?

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - riding 4.jpg

Fast, very fast indeed is the answer. It's one of those bikes that once you get it up and rolling it just wants to keep accelerating and once you are up around 20mph it seems to require less input to keep it there than a road bike with more traditional frame tube profiles.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000.jpg

Okay, so the deep-section wheels will be contributing significantly to the bike's overall performance, but you can definitely feel some input from the frame and fork too.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - UCI badge.jpg

On long, flat sections of road the Reacto flies along and you can cover a lot of miles very quickly and very efficiently, helped by the SRAM Rival gear ratios, but more about that in a bit.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - drivetrain.jpg

I've no criticisms when it comes to the Reacto's stiffness. Its chunky tube profiles mean that flex really isn't an issue, so it's easy to keep your speed from the flat when you hit short, sharp climbs or dig in for a little sprint.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - downtube.jpg

At 8.85kg for a bike of this price it's not exactly light, so it's not exactly a whippet when you hit the climbs – though the groupset's low-ratio gears do bail you out when the going gets really steep.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - fork.jpg

The Reacto's geometry shows that it's very much aimed at the performance end of the road market. Its 73.5° head angle delivers quick handling, it feels very precise at speed and is absolutely bang on when you push it through the apex of a bend, the slightest shift in your body weight changing your line in an instant.

This medium model has a 560mm top tube and a wheelbase of just 990mm, so that it feels nimble and handles direction changes very quickly. Technical descents aren't a challenge either, as the Merida tracks extremely impressively.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - seat tube.jpg

As with most aero road bikes comfort is something of a secondary consideration. It's not that the Reacto's harsh or uncomfortable, but it has a firm, or rather, purposeful, ride quality. The Reacto comes with 25mm tyres but it will take rubber up to 30mm wide, so you can pump up the plushness if you desire.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - fork clearance.jpg

> Lightweight v aero: Which is best?

From a riding point of view, the Reacto delivers the speed and has the handling to go with it, which means it's ideal for fast solo rides, chain gangs or even competitive outings. As I've said, it's not that light, but we know that aero trumps weight, and you're not going to be buying this Merida for its prowess in the mountains.

Frame and fork

Merida grades its frames in terms of the carbon fibre used in their construction, with the top-end Reactos getting CF5 carbon and our Reacto 7000 getting CF3, which is slightly heavier but the frames have the same geometry and design.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - frame detail.jpg

This is the fourth-generation model, and following recent design trends this comes with greater tyre clearance than its predecessor and the cable routing is now funnelled in through the headset and head tube for a neater, more aero solution.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - top tube.jpg

It's a smart-looking bike, in my eyes at least, with every tube flowing into the next, and even the fork tucks neatly into the head and down tube junction.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - head tube.jpg

The seatstays sit low for an aero benefit.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - seat stays.jpg

The seat clamp is completely hidden in the frame. 

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - seat post bolt.jpg

The frame also focuses on stiffness and power transfer too, thanks to its large diameter down tube, the bottom bracket junction designed to accept the BB86 press fit design and massive chainstays to keep the rear wheel planted when you are hammering the pedals.

As a bike with racing ambitions, the only mounts you get are two pairs of water bottle bosses.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - seat tube shape.jpg

When it comes to sizing the Merida is available in six sizes from XXS to XL, with top tube lengths from 520mm to 590mm.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - rear.jpg

The medium we have has stack and reach figures of 395mm and 557mm, a wheelbase of 990mm and relatively short chainstays of just 408mm.

The head tube is 140mm, the seat tube 540mm and both the head and seat tube angles are an aggressive 73.5° degrees.

Finishing Kit

This 7000 build comes with a Rival eTap groupset, which is SRAM's entry-level electronic wireless groupset.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - rear hub.jpg

But don't be fooled by its entry-level status. Mat found that Rival worked very well indeed, and there are actually only minor changes compared with SRAM's higher-end groupsets, for example it features aluminium cranks rather than carbon fibre.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - bottom bracket.jpg

The big difference between SRAM's eTap groupsets and most of Shimano and Campagnolo's offering is that SRAM's chainrings are much smaller.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - crank.jpg

The Reacto gets a 48/35T pairing rather than the 50/34 or 52/36 you'd see on the equivalent 105 Di2 chainset.

To offset this SRAM's cassette runs from 10 to 36 teeth, which gives a good spread as well as a low bottom gear and a high top gear. I spend a lot more time riding in the big ring than I do when using other manufacturers' setups, which I find to be more efficient as well as suiting my cadence and pedalling style.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - rear drop out.jpg

The only potential downside is that a wider-ranging cassette will have bigger jumps between sprockets, though as this is really only on the gears you'd use for climbing, I don't feel it's a major issue as it's only really on the gears used for climbing.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - front hub.jpg

The battery life is very good, so you won't need to change them very often, and when you do the batteries don't take long to top up. The shifters use coin cell batteries that are easy to change.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - SRAM lever.jpg

The braking from SRAM's hydraulic setup and 160mm rotors is powerful and well-modulated, offering all the stopping power you need with little chance of locking up.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - front disc brake.jpg

The cockpit uses FSA's ACR stem, which allows the hydraulic brake hoses to pass from the bar into the frame.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - stem.jpg

The own-brand alloy bar has a shallow drop that should make all parts of the bar accessible for most of us.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - bars 3.jpg

The Merida Team CW carbon seatpost comes with an integrated rear light – a cool touch.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - seat post detail.jpg

It's Merida for the saddle too, in the form of its Expert SL that has a slender racy shape to it, and I found it very comfortable.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - saddle 2.jpg

The wheels are Merida-branded SL45s with 45mm deep-section carbon rims and 24 spokes front and rear.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - tyre.jpg

It's a quality aero wheelset that remained true throughout testing.

The Continental GP5000 tyres are some of the best current road tyres on the market in terms of performance and grip.

2023 Merida Reacto 7000 - tyre and rim.jpg

Bike companies often sacrifice quality tyres when speccing road bikes, so it's impressive to see top-end rubber straight out of the factory.

Value

The Reacto 7000's £4,350 price makes it a lot cheaper than the £5,499 aero Giant Propel Advanced Pro 1 that Mat tested recently. The Giant's a few hundred grams lighter and comes with the same finishing kit level as the Merida.

I rated the Orro Venturi STC Force eTap Tailor Made, which is a similar bike to the Reacto. The Venturi is also available for £4,599.99 with SRAM Rival eTap and deep-section wheels, but it's the Tailor Made Orro Venturi STC SRAM Force eTap model that includes an upgrade to a BLK TEC carbon fibre handlebar and stem for a little bit of extra bling.

Canyon's Aeroad CF SLX 7 also comes with an eTap Rival groupset and costs £4,799, but in addition to that it gets a swanky set of DT Swiss carbon wheels and a carbon cockpit.

Conclusion

The Reacto 7000 is a high-performance bike that certainly highlights its aero design cues when you ask it to get a shift on, and the high level of stiffness means that it performs when you get out of the saddle too. It's a very capable race bike that also does well on price.

Verdict

Real-world aero benefits, a great ride quality and a respectable price

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Merida Reacto 7000

Size tested: Medium, 56cm

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

WHEELSET: MERIDA TEAM SL45

FRONT TYRE: Continental Grand Prix 5000

REAR TYRE: Continental Grand Prix 5000

HUBS: MERIDA EXPERT SL

CRANK: SRAM Rival eTap AXS

BOTTOM BRACKET: SRAM Pressfit Dub, Pressfit 86.5

CASSETTE: CS XG 1250 D1

CHAIN: SRAM Rival 12s

SHIFTERS: SRAM Rival eTAP AXS HRD

FRONT DERAILLEUR: SRAM Rival eTap AXS

REAR DERAILLEUR: Sram Rival eTap AXS

BRAKE LEVER: SRAM ED Rival eTap AXS

BRAKES: SRAM ED Rival eTap AXS

ROTORS: SRAM DB Rotor Centerlock Paceline

HEADSET: FSA ACR

STEM: FSA SMR ACR

STEM SIZE: 90 mm-XXS/XS, 100 mm-S, 110 mm-M, 120 mm-L/XL

HANDLEBAR: MERIDA EXPERT CW

GRIP: MERIDA ROAD Expert

SEAT POST: MERIDA TEAM CW

SEAT CLAMP: MERIDA REACTO Aero

SADDLE: MERIDA EXPERT SL

LIGHTS: REACTO light seat post + Battery

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Merida says: "The Merida Reacto has always been a class leading aero bike, combining state of the art aerodynamics with rider comfort.

The 4th generation model is more slippery and beautiful than ever, incorporating wider tyres, much neater cockpit cable integration and a series of incremental improvements to boost performance.

In the world of Pro-Tour racing no area can be ignored. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) calculations were used to model performance in a virtual wind tunnel, guiding the changes which offered the most aerodynamic benefit:

Prototypes were wind tunnel tested following the German TOUR magazine standard, including the 'moving leg dummy' test. The Reacto CF5 needs just 209 watts effort for 45 km/h speed, 1 watt faster than its predecessor so it's in the leading group of aero road bikes ever tested by TOUR magazine.

Small details such as integrating the front disc cooler behind the fork and the rear disc caliper in the rear triangle and creating new bolt through axles with the thread integrated into the fork dropout minimise drag and improve aerodynamic performance.

A myriad of small improvements over-compensate for the aerodynamic compromises made to give the Reacto bigger tyres, resulting in the perfect package of comfort, aerodynamic, lightweight and style.

A long string of test wins, perfect scores and awards confirm the successful evolution of the race-proven DNA of the previous model with the latest trends and technologies. Cycling Weekly described it as 'without doubt one of the most complete bikes available on the market', Cyclingnews 'an utterly brilliant and faultless machine' and Cycling Plus were 'hugely impressed'.

All Reacto come with powerful hydraulic disc brakes. Calipers are mounted on the chainstay for better dissipation of braking forces using the flat mount standard for a neat, flush fit. Calipers sit on top of CNC'd aluminium Disc Cooler fins which reduce operating temperatures by up to 35%."

It certainly has the performance of a top aero bike and the ability to be able to take wider tyres is a bonus for comfort."

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

There are eight bikes in the line-up with the 7000 third from the top. The range starts at £2,400 for the Shimano 105-equipped model and tops out at £8,500 (not that high these days!) with the Reacto Team, which has Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with power meter, Vision Metron carbon wheels and Conti GP5000 tyres.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

The build quality seems to be finished to a high level and the mix of gloss and matt paint gives a high-end finish.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Both the frame and fork are constructed from carbon fibre.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

As you'd expect, the geometry is typically race biased, with steep angles at the front to improve steering speed.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The stack and reach figures are typical, with nothing out of the ordinary here.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Overall comfort is decent for this kind of bike. Aero road bikes tend to have large profile tubing, which gives them a firmer ride than a bike with round-profile tubes.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Stiffness levels are very high indeed.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Efficiency is very good thanks to excellent stiffness where it is required.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?

No

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Lively

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The handling is quick without being overly twitchy, which makes it ideal for riding hard and fast.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

I got on well with the shape of the Merida saddle and the shallow drop handlebar allows you to get into an aero position without the need to be hugely flexible.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

Merida's wheels are impressively stiff, which helps you during hard out-of-the-saddle efforts.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

The chainring sizes makes the bike very efficient as you rarely need to switch from the large to the small chainring.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

A solid groupset that brings the performance and easy shifting of SRAM's higher-end groupsets at a much lower price.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for comfort:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

A set of wheels that performed well throughout testing giving an aero boost while also remaining durable.

Rate the tyres for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the tyres for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for comfort:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

A very good set of tyres to find as standard. One of the grippest and easiest rolling tyres on the market, although they won't be cheap to replace.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

Good quality finishing kit with the majority from Merida itself, which helps to keep the overall price down.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It is well priced against the a lot of the competition, especially the Giant mentioned in the review. Canyon and Orro offer models are a bit closer in price to the Reacto, but both bikes also get upgrades like DT Swiss wheels or carbon fibre cockpits.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
5/10

Use this box to explain your overall score

An aero bike that works very well in the real world and comes with a great spec list for the money.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!

Add new comment

13 comments

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
1 like
Quote:

Using the 'moving leg dummy' test the Reacto needs 209 watts effort for 45 km/h speed

Say what now? A 70 kg rider needs to put out between 400-450 W to achieve 45 km/h, depending on their chosen bar position. Hopefully a typo either in the wattage number or the speed number rather than yet another ludicrous claim from a manufacturer.

Avatar
LookAhead replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
2 likes

I think you're forgetting that the bike in question is 1 watt faster--1 whole watt!--than the previous version. That must explain it.

Avatar
quiff replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
1 like

Don't know where the truth lies, but the claims are consistent with what Merida was claiming for the Scultura in a review I just chanced upon, which suggests not a typo:

"Aerodynamic-wise, at 45kph the previous Scultura required 234.3 watts, but cleaning up the front end, as in hiding all of the cables/hoses, using the integrated cockpit, hiding the seat clamp and dropping the seatstays lower where they meet the seat tube, equates to a wattage saving of 4.2%, 224.5 watts at 45kph"

Avatar
Miller replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
3 likes

You don't need 400-450W to ride at 45kph unless you're sitting bolt upright with flappy clothing. Real world data: a clubmate yesterday in a 10 mile circuit TT on a road bike put out 326W for a 42kph average.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Miller | 4 months ago
2 likes
Miller wrote:

You don't need 400-450W to ride at 45kph unless you're sitting bolt upright with flappy clothing. Real world data: a clubmate yesterday in a 10 mile circuit TT on a road bike put out 326W for a 42kph average.

Yep fair enough a small rider (what does your clubmate weigh? Fairly light I'd guess?) with a good tuck and clothing can cut off masses but I defy the lightest rider in the best skinsuit, aero helmet and positioning available to get 45kmh on the dial for 209 watts.

Avatar
mark1a replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

Yep fair enough a small rider (what does your clubmate weigh? Fairly light I'd guess?) with a good tuck and clothing can cut off masses but I defy the lightest rider in the best skinsuit, aero helmet and positioning available to get 45kmh on the dial for 209 watts.

Agreed, I averaged 33km/h at 202W at the (pan flat) Goodwood circuit on a bike not dissimilar to this Reacto (2020 Venge) and I don't think losing 15kg in weight, 10cm in height and a skinsuit would've got me over 40km/h. 
 

Avatar
LookAhead | 4 months ago
4 likes
road.cc wrote:

you can definitely feel some [contribution to aerodynamic performance] from the frame and fork

No, you can't. What justifiable claim could you even possibly be making there? Please just stop.

Who needs expensive wind tunnel testing? Just put some cycling journalists on the job!

Avatar
bobbinogs | 4 months ago
2 likes

So rounding things up, nearly 4 and a half grand for a 9kg bike.  Wow, really making progress with these modern offerings. I get the impression that the sweet spot for buying a decent bike was about 4-5 years ago when something with 'some' aero benefits and weighing just over 7kg could be had for about 3 grand.  Admittedly, they didn't come with aero sniffers and the like, but I think I can live without that BS.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to bobbinogs | 4 months ago
1 like

The point is you'll go faster with an aero 9kg bike than a non-aero 7kg bike, unless you live in the Alps.  So weight doesnt really come into it, you've fallen for weight as a marketing ploy.

Plus you can instantly drop most of a kg by opting for mechanical and probably some to be gained by buying a model with standard wheels and going aftermarket. 

You arent comparing like for like.

Assuming you want to go fast - if you're buying with your head Aero wins. If you are buying with heart & feel/showing your mates how light it is at the cafe stop weight wins.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
0 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

Plus you can instantly drop most of a kg by opting for mechanical 

Not that much, surely? I don't know the figures for Rival but for Force I believe the e-Tap version is only 400g heavier than the mechanical.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
1 like

Fair enough.  500g for 105 R7000 (11sp) vs 105 di2

Avatar
Surreyrider replied to Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
0 likes

I rode a Reacto hire bike a few years back in Lanzarote. It was proper fast. And up the 1.8 mile climb of about 450 feet out of town (including downhill section) I beat my previous best time several times (I've been quite a lot over the years!). 

Avatar
pkaro replied to Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
2 likes

While that may well true, the feeling of a very light bike is a wonderful feeling for many people, and they would trade a handful of aero watts for a bike that dances underneath them when they get out of the saddle.

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