Last year we were really impressed with the £300 Merlin Cycles PR7 road bike from retailer Merlin Cycles. The bike has been updated for 2016 and the price has increased to £350, but more exciting than that is the news today that Merlin has unveiled the brand new PR7-R, intended to be a beginner's race bike and finished in an all-black stealth paint job and costing £425.
The new PR7-R has been designed for racing, it’s pitched as a beginner’s racing bike. Road racing is hugely popular in the UK with many dedicated cycle circuits hosting races for all ages year-round, and you don’t need a £10k Pinarello like what that Wiggo fella rides to take part.
What the PR7-R offers is a 6061 aluminium frame and carbon fibre bladed fork with classic racing geometry, with short chainstays and a long tube, to allow you to get stretched and down low for optimum aerodynamics, and snappy handling for taking the corners flat out.
It’s offered in three sizes; 50, 53 and 56cm. The largest size has a 560mm horizontal top tube, 150mm head tube - so you can see it’s quite low at the front and long in the top tube, similar dimensions to many top-end race bikes, and 410mm chainstays.
Sensibly, all cables are routed externally on the frame so servicing and maintenance is easy. There’s an external threaded bottom bracket, just like you’d find on that jolly expensive Pinarello, and a Shimano Sora drivetrain is bolted to the frame. Brakes are Promax calipers and the handlebars, stem and seatpost are Kalloy Uno aluminium parts.
Most pro racers have moved to wider tyres, and it’s good to see the PR7-R specced with 25mm Kenda K-12 tyres. They’re fitted to Mavic CXP rims, in matching black, with KT hubs with double lipped rubber seals.
Check it out at www.merlincycles.com
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.