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New road bikes coming from Giant and Merida

There’s a new Giant Defy Advanced SL Disc and a new Merida Scultura Lite Disc

The UCI’s List of Approved Models of Frames and Forks has been updated to include new models, including new disc brake bikes from Giant and Merida.

Since the start of 2011, all new bikes used in road, time trial, track and cyclocross events sanctioned by the UCI have had to gain approval prior to racing to check that they meet regulations. Approved models are listed online. 

According to the list, the Giant Defy Advanced SL Disc MY17 frame and fork have recently gained approval.

These pics are of the last Giant Defy Advanced SL road bike that we reviewed.

The only Defy that Giant has previously had approved was the Defy Advanced SL ISP (integrated seatpost) back in mid 2011. 

It could be that Giant has simply had the existing Defy Advanced SL approved. This is a disc model, which would fit with the model name on the UCI list. However, the ‘MY’ in a bike name usually stands for ‘model year’ so we can guess that this is an updated model that’ll be included in Giant’s 2017 range.

The Defy is Giant’s endurance/sportive road bike lineup, designed to be comfortable over long distances while still providing plenty of speed. The Defy bikes are shorter in the top tube than equivalent Giant TCRs, for example, and have taller head tubes to put you into a ride position that’s a bit more relaxed and back-friendly.

Giant revamped the Defy range for 2015 so a 2017 redesign is conceivable. If this is happening, we wonder whether the new Defy will have thru-axles now. 

Giant has told us in the past that the only reasons it didn’t include thru-axles on the existing Defy disc bikes were that it didn’t feel there was a clear industry standard and that consumers weren’t ready for it. Now that 12mm axles are being talked about as the standard, perhaps Giant could be going down that route. 

We’re speculating, of course. It could be that Giant has an entirely new tech approach for the new Defy; we’ll just have to wait and see.

Check out Your Complete Guide to Giant’s 2016 road bikes here. 

Merida has had four – count ’em! – new bikes added to the UCI list. The first of these is the Reacto Track, Reacto, being Merida’s aero road bike. 

Check out our review of the Reacto 5000 here. 

Then there’s a Reacto Lite, which logic says is a lighter version of the existing Reacto with or without other updates. Merida Reacto 5000.jpg

These pics are of the existing Merida Reacto 5000 with rim brakes.

Merida has always been keen to tell us that in the vast majority of circumstances an aero bike will beat a light bike, so much so that at one point we felt sure that the brand was going to put its full weight behind the Reacto and bin off the Scultura entirely. However, last year it launched the new superlight Scultura range and it became clear that it felt there was still plenty of mileage left in that area. 

Of course, if you can have a bike that’s both aerodynamically efficient AND lightweight, so much the better. The £1,999 Merida Reacto 5000 that we reviewed recently – a bike built up with a mostly Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset and Fulcrum Quattro 35 wheels – weighed 8.37kg. Merida Reacto 5000 - seat tube junction.jpg

We’ll be very interested to find out just how much lighter the Reacto Lite is.

The other two new Merida bikes on the UCI’s list are the Scultura Lite 4 and the Scultura Lite Disc.

As mentioned above, the Scultura is Merida’s lightweight race bike range. The Scultura Lite was first approved at the end of 2012 and this Lite 4 is the latest incarnation.

Although not yet launched, we’ve previously reported that Merida has had a Scultura Disc CF2 and a Scultura Disc CF4 approved by the UCI

The Scultura Lite Disc is probably going to be the top-of-the-range model – as the name tells us, lightweight and with disc brakes. 

Team Lampre-Merida is already on record as having said that it will use disc brake-equipped bikes for the cobbled Classics. As the disc version of  Merida’s Ride endurance bike doesn’t have UCI approval, the team must be intending to use disc-equipped Sculturas.

Check out our story on the introduction of Merida’s 2016 range. 

One other bike that has just got onto the UCI’s List of Approved Models of Frames and Forks is the Scott Solace. The Solace is designed for ‘rough roads, marathon races, long days in the saddle’ and it’s available in both disc brake and rim brake models. 

This is the Scott Solace 15 Disc that we reviewed last year.

Although it isn’t described as such, it could be that the approved Solace is the disc brake version in order to give Orica GreenEdge that option in the cobbled Classics, but that’s speculation. We’ll see if we can get that confirmed one way or the other.

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 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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Tumba | 8 years ago
davecochrane | 8 years ago

Good news. I've been watching the Defy range for ages; if some sensible pricing for the SL came along on the back of a new range I'd be all over it (although the Cervelo C3 is definitely getting my attention too).

maldin | 8 years ago

It could just be that Giant needed to get their current Defy disc bike UCI approved so that it can be raced in upcoming classic races. It would prevent the "embarrassment" of someone wining a race on the previous model bike:) Paris Roubaix was won on an old model Defy when the new disc was already available to consumers. From a marketing point of view I'm sure they'd like to avoid that happening this year now that discs are allowed. 

Mat Brett replied to maldin | 8 years ago
1 like

maldin wrote:

It could just be that Giant needed to get their current Defy disc bike UCI approved so that it can be raced in upcoming classic races. 

Isn't that what I said in the sentences, "It could be that Giant has simply had the existing Defy Advanced SL approved. This is a disc model..."?



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