2016 Merida Scultura worlds lightest road bike contender

First teased at the Amstel Gold Race earlier this year, the all-new 2016 Merida Scultura becomes their premium road race offering for Team Lampre Merida. It also puts up a good fight as the world’s lightest production road frame, with a claimed frameset weight of under 1,000g and frame weight of just 740g for a small/medium. By the numbers, that puts it within spittin’ distance of the top level Trek Emonda SLR with a frameset weight of 970g total.

Compared to the existing Scultura, this frame saw plenty of changes, but not all were done to save weight. They also wanted to make it more comfortable and more aerodynamic while retaining all of the stiffness and performance that makes this their team rider’s choice for the big races…

2016 Merida Scultura worlds lightest road bike contender

2016 Merida Scultura worlds lightest road bike contender

To improve aerodynamics, the headtube was slimmed down at the bottom, switching from 1.5″ to 1.25″ lower, but the layup kept it stiff enough for sharp, surefooted handling. The down- and seat tubes were given a truncated airfoil shape with flattened backsides, a combo that cheats the wind while maintaining torsional stiffness. Lastly, they moved the rear brake under the chainstays, out of the wind and allowing for one less cross tube to create drag.

That lack of a seatstay bridge also means even better compliance from their flattened “Flex-Stay” shaping, and natural flax fibers inside the layup damp vibrations.

2016 Merida Scultura worlds lightest road bike contender

A thin 27.2 seatpost also helps smooth the ride by offering a bit more flex (compliance) than its wider counterparts.

Merida used the update as an opportunity to widen tire clearance, now letting it fit 700×25 rubber, which also improves overall ride comfort.

2016 Merida Scultura worlds lightest road bike contender

The downtube, seat tube and chainstays are all set wide at the BB386 bottom bracket. The performance side of things comes into play with a frame that’s comprised of 400 distinct pieces of carbon sheet around a rigid mold that keeps the inside of the frame smooth and clean during construction. The detailed layup puts the carbon where it’s needed to keep the drivetrain and headtube area stiff without adding any extra weight. Wall thickness is as little as 0.7mm in parts!

2016 Merida Scultura worlds lightest road bike contender

Internal routing finishes things off and works with both mechanical and electronic groups.

The version shown here is the Scultura Team, which is what Lampre Merida will be using alongside the Reacto and Warp TT bikes, depending on the stage. In keeping with their current naming scheme, the absolute top model will be the Scultura 9000, which Road.cc is reporting will get an even lighter frame, dropping 70-90 grams depending on size, putting it in the true realm of the world’s lightest bikes. From what they heard, it won’t be quite as stiff as the Team model and was really just made to show what Merida is capable of.

Pricing and availability hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s a 2016 model so we’re guessing they’re start shipping later this summer.

Merida-Bikes.com

24 comments

  1. parkcyc on

    Not sure how it’s the lightest. The Guru Photon HL, in stock or custom sizing is as low as 650 grams for a frame with frame hardware for a 54cm frame size.

    From the Guru site:

    Summary
    Tht Ore Sdcd Sds Iar Qcc
    Photon Hl
    CARBON ROAD FRAME
    the lightest custom frameset in the world, weighing sub-650 grams (including hardware) for a 54cm frame.
    The Photon HL is the lightest custom frameset in the world, weighing sub-650 grams (including hardware) for a 54cm frame.

    Using our proprietary QCC technology, Guru engineers have pushed the envelope again, and achieved an even lighter and stiffer frame. The stiffness to weight ratio increases by 5%, which is the result of reducing the weight of the frame while maintaining stiffness. Manufacturing a frame in the sub-700 gram category is a true feat of engineering excellence. Decreasing frame weight at this level by even 5 grams is a tall order and a challenging task. This year’s Photon HL boasts a reduction of 20 grams.

    Among the list of engineering and design improvements, the Photon HL features a tapered headtube. The benefits of a tapered fork can be felt in every aspect of the ride. Combining the Photon HL with a tapered fork increases power transfer, facilitating cornering and control upon descents.

    Building our frames in-house to the customers’ exact dimensions gives us the ability to mold tubes using an innovative hollow mandrel molding technique. This allows us to remove a significant amount of structural glue and create parts with increased synergy. Riding this frame will change the expectations that every cyclist demands from a bike.
    learn more:

    HOW WE BUILD | IMAGE GALLERY

    Reply
  2. Dave on

    It will never come to the USA. Merida pretty much makes all of the Specialized frames so I am sure that they would not want to cannibalize the sales of their largest client.

    Reply
  3. parkcyc on

    Hpbiker

    The guru is available in stock sizes AND custom sizes. I checked out the website and they have 15 plus stock sizes in their Photon HL geometry list.

    Reply
  4. Durianrider on

    Looks nice and Merida make some quality for sure and nearly all the S-Works for the last 10 years have come out of Merida’s asian factories.

    Id be worried about how easy it would be to crack a frame like this from simply just falling over after being parked. Then again, if you want super light, can’t expect everyday strong.

    Reply
  5. Remy on

    Lightest production bicycle frameset really means next to nothing- there is almost zero difference between the manufacturing processes and regulations of race bikes vs “production” bikes other than the number of frames made from the mold. Besides, even if it weren’t “production”, you can still ride it anywhere sans fees or legalities, so there is nothing special about the moniker. Actually, “production” implies the bike is not unique while “lightest” insures it is hemerroidally expensive and is really not true.

    Reply
  6. boom on

    The big difference between this bike and the Emonda SLR (for me at least) is that this new 680g frame from Merida is actually too flexy and flimsy for their race team to use – they use the heavier and stiffer 750g frame. Trek’s team uses the same Emonda SLR as what is production. That alone speaks volumes.

    Reply
  7. fast foreward freddy on

    ^^^this^^^ who cares what a frame weighs is if it is flimsy. Also, reducing the lower headset bearing size only pleases the gram counters.

    Reply
  8. JR on

    This bike is in the running for “lightest production road frame” it is not (as the title implied) in the running for lightest production road bike. That title is unlikely to go to a bike built with DA 9000.

    Reply
  9. josh on

    too bad this title is false, not even close, Trek, Cannondale and Specialized all have lighter production road framesets. This whole article is Bogus.

    Reply
  10. ave on

    You cannot know what is actual frame Trek Factory Racing is using. They look like a stock Emonda, that’s all you know. I’ve seen ex-pro frames which were significantly heavier than stock.

    Reply
  11. Psi Squared on

    Yes, it’s an exact copy of a Scott Addict in every way imaginable upon viewing a handful of photographs that may or may not resemble a Scott Addict in one way or another. It must be an exact copy. If an analysis of internet photos isn’t definitive, I don’t know what is.

    Reply
  12. Clyde on

    the Scultura has its back brake positioned under the chainstays and loses cross bar on the seat stay while the Scott Addict has its rear brake on the seat stays – you cant call the Scultura an exact copy of the Scott Addict as it is a totally different bike from the design down to the layup process in building the frame…

    Reply
  13. Colin on

    Wow, hit a nerve with someone! Here’s I’ll fix my statement, “So this appears to be a very similar bike to the addict on all fronts other than the rear brake.”
    All I’m saying is that I don’t see what this brings to the table, but I suppose maybe once it’s released we’ll all learn how it’s the magic wonder bike that’s better than everything else on the market in every conceivable way. Or, you know, it’ll ride like every other 700-ish gram frame with semi-aero tubes, 27.2 seatpost, and fatter than standard tires (re. Addict, R5, Evo, etc.).

    Reply
  14. Sam on

    Merida is saying that they are producing a full bike (not pictured) that is the lightest at 10.05 lbs. So they made a lightweight frame that is neither the lightest nor up to the rigors of racing and then created a few uber weight-weeny builds to get a superlative.

    Reply
  15. racerjim on

    Ordered my lampre team edition today, score! As for the confusion about production frames, it all comes down to quantity made and offered for public sale over a certain timescale. Anyone can make a frame lighter than this but will they offer it with the lifetime warranty my merida will have. Also the team used the heavier frame as they have to add less ballast to make the weight not because the lighter one is too flexy as someone has stated!

    Reply
  16. Ben on

    There are at least 4-5 production frames and another 5-6 boutique frames that are below 740g. In fact, any one of the top 3 factories, which make approximately 80% of all the top brands (ProTour equipment and equivalent) are able to make something below 700 quite easily.

    Reply

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