Size 49 cms
Ride & handling: Quick to respond to rider input
The Merida has pretty racy geometry. It’s got a short 16cm head tube, 73-degree head angle, 73.5-degree seat angle and short 405mm chainstays (15mm less than the Giant’s), but it’s also got that massively tapered steerer tube with its 1.5in lower bearing race. This really does make it the machine for the aspiring racer.
Throw it into corners with vim and vigour? No problem. Out-of-the-saddle, pull-up-on-the-bar sprints? Not a murmur of complaint from the totally convincing front end. Take the spacers out and you can get into a nice low position on the drops or tri-bars too.
The shorter rear-end makes the whole bike pretty snappy and quick to respond to your input. Its racy 12-25 cassette could mean you’re out of the saddle on steeper slopes, but even high torque efforts were tackled without any rear brake rub – the chunky chainstays and seatstays keeping unwanted flex down to a minimum.
But while the frame is stiff and aggressive, it does balance this with reasonable comfort too. The semi-compact frame doesn’t expose as much seatpost as a more compact frame like the Giant, but the seatpost is a standard 27.2mm which combines with a good, own-brand saddle to insulate you from the worst effects of a stiff aluminium frame and potholed roads.
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