Lampre Merida is another UCI World Tour team with a long background in cycling. Consisting primarily of Italian riders, the team has been in the professional ranks for many years, rebirthing itself in 2005 as Lampre-Caffita. Since 2013 the Italian title sponsor, a manufacturer of pre-finished steel sheet materials, has partnered with the prominent Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer Merida.
Today’s Merida Scultura is Lampre’s go-to machine for the 2016 season. With a claimed weight of 740 grams for the frame only, it is among the lightest in the pro peloton today. This particular Scultura is piloted by Italian rider Manuele Mori, a 35 year old pro who began his career in 2002 with the Perutnina Ptuj-KRKA-Telekom Slovenijie team. Because of a certain licensing arrangement with a certain large USA-based bicycle company, Merida bikes are not available for sale in the United States, but can be found pretty much everywhere else. Nonetheless, read more about Manuele Mori’s Merida Scultura…
Merida’s Scultura pushes the limit of mass-produced framesets, with wall thicknesses as low as 0.7mm millimeters. According to Merida, the Scultura is not just light, but is aero as well.
Controversial to some, the rear brake was relocated to the bottom bracket area, improving the frame’s aerodynamic properties, and allowing the seatstays to be lighter for a more comfortable ride without sacrificing drivetrain and handling stiffness. On the flip side, if you’ve worked on your own bicycle, you’ll know aero brakes can be tricky to setup, and is certainly a dirtier affair. Looking under the bottom bracket also gives a good look at the Rotor crank with INpower power metering.
With the brake bridge removed, the frame offers a comfort boost that also combines with a 27.2mm seatpost, 25mm wide tires, and the properties of Merida’s carbon construction.
Manuele prefers a Prologo Scratch2 CPC saddle, CPC referring to the company’s vibration damping material.
A standard single-bolt configuration is retained for the front brake.
Lampre Merida is another team who rely on Shimano’s proven Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting system, but Rotor provides the team’s cranksets and power meters.
The Rotor 3D cranksets of Lampre Merida utilize a compact 110BCD. Manuele Mori’s bike is fitted with 53/38 chainrings – a 38 tooth chainring is seldom seen in the pro ranks, but provides a little more spin for those so inclined. Mori is also sporting a stealth power meter via the Rotor INpower setup that puts all of the electronics into the spindle for left-side measurement and just 60g more weight. With already such a light frame and build, this power meter might not even be enough to get Lampre up to the 6.8kg mark.
No aero tricks are used to hide the Di2 Junction A box. Just like on the LottoNL bike, it is hung beneath the stem as recommended by Shimano, where the pro mechanics can easily get to it.
The silver gadget in the photo above, shown below and left of the Di2 Junction A box is Shimano’s SM-CB90 inline quick release, an essential element for bottom bracket mounted aero brakes. It eliminates the need to fiddle around beneath the bottom bracket and next to a greasy chain for quick wheel changes.
Lampre’s wheelsets are the new Fulcrum Speed 40T tubular, which as the name suggests, measure 40mm in depth.
Keeping the Lampre Merida team rolling are Continental’s Competition Pro LTD tubular tires in the 25mm width option, currently only available to professional cyclists or those with excellent connections. This tire is a big favorite among the many teams sponsored by Continental, and we’d love to see it more readily available in this size (or even bigger!)
The 2016 Tour Down Under officially begins on January 19 in the Adelaide suburb of Prospect. Lampre’s bikes are more muted than in year’s past, but their distinctive kit is easy to spot, so if you’re standing by the roadside or watching on TV, be sure to cheer Manuele and the lads along!
Photos and article by Gravel Cyclist.
Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience.