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…
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.
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.
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!
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.