Merida’s all-new carbon Scultura Endurance fills a void in their deep drop bar line-up that we hadn’t even really noticed – the all-road. Promising quick handling that is almost on pace with their road bikes raced by the pros, the Scultura Endurance stretches out a bit, with more stable geometry for long days on rough roads, with enough room to fit 35mm tires that could take the new bike on a taste of off-road road adventures, as well.

In a bizarre year where we haven’t seen much road racing yet, this is a reminder to me that all-road is the kind of road bike that vast majority of us enthusiast cyclists will actually most enjoy on whatever roads we ride…

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance performance carbon all-road bike

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

While the Reacto & classic Scultura handle the full road race vibe, the Silex & Mission manage off-road gravel and cross (the Mission Road had been Merida’s official ‘road endurance’ bike until now). But in that narrow space in between, Merida didn’t really have an endurance gran fondo style road bike. But instead of just making a more upright position, maybe softening up the stiff carbon layup, and adding room for 28 or even 30mm road tires, Merida has created something much more versatile with the new Scultura Endurance by taking it a step further.

Scultura Endurance – Road Sport Geometry

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

Yes, the Scultura Endurance gets a more upright position than the road race geo of the original Scultura & Reacto. A longer headtube does sit riders up a bit higher (up to 3cm higher) and 1cm shorter reach also lends a more comfortable & relaxed position on the bike. But handling geometry remains road aggressive, with a 73° headtube & 73.5° seattube in the middle of the broad six-size range (just 1/2° off the Scultura). One cm longer 418mm chainstays add room for bigger tires without slowing the ride down too much, but the same 66mm BB drop as the race bikes ensures a consistent fast road feel.

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

The idea is meant to still feel ‘road bike fast’, while improving long-distance stability & all day comfort, no matter the road surface. All of this amounts to much quicker road-like handling than what the Mission Road offered, yet maintaining stability on & off-road.

Endurance ride, tuned for comfort

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

Then, more than a softer carbon layup, the Scultura Endurance gets reshaped for more comfort. The front end of this bike may look stiff & more angular, but the back tells a different story. Wide, flattened seatstays and boxy chainstays that are wider than they are tall through their mid-section were all designed together as a leaf spring to let the CF3-level carbon flex vertically – eating bumps & vibration while maintaining handling stiffness.

Big 35mm all-road, light gravel tire clearance

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

Sure, in a day where gravel riders are rolling 27.5×2.1″ mountain bike tires or even 700Cx45mm gravel tires for off-road adventures, 35mm of tire clearance seems light for gravel. And to be fair it is. But a lot of smooth dirt & gravel roads can be enjoyed on a lightweight 35mm tire like the Schwalbe G-One, while still rolling fast on the road. Merida rates the Scultura Endurance for “10% Off-road / 90% Tarmac” and that seems the perfect blend for a fast rolling tire this size (although personally, I might happily push it a bit further into the dirt.)

Plus bigger (tubeless) tires mean more comfort, more grip, improved control, and the tease of lower rolling resistance. I think we all can get behind that.

Scultura Endurance – Tech details

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

The carbon Scultura Endurance frameset is built from a mix of hi-mod fibers to balance weight & comfort that Merida labels as CF3 (just one stiffness step down from the top Scultura & Reacto). That results in a respectable, but not super light weight claim of 1124g for the frame (M, including hardware, but not axles) and another 411g for the fork (uncut.)

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

The endurance all-road bike takes many of its finishing details from its road race brethren, like fully internal cable routing, including the slick ‘Wire Port’ headset cable entry point that keeps routing nice & tidy, while allowing internal or external routing at the bar & stem.

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

The bike then gets flat mount disc brakes with Merida’s signature additional external ‘Disc Cooler’ alloy heat sink, plus 12mm thru-axles with a single detachable QR lever/5mm tool to remove them.

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

A hidden wedge-style seatpost clamp drops into the top of the toptube for the standard 27.2mm round seatpost, with a little rubber gasket that slides down over it for a sleek look.

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

In an actual not towards usability, a small integrated tool carrier is tucked under the saddle rails with a useful compact multi-tool inside, while still allow the use of a conventional saddle bag, as well to carry other roadside repair supplies.

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

Rounding out the rest of the details, the bike features a full carbon 1.5″ tapered steerer fork & integrated headset, a PressFit BB86 bottom bracket, and a direct mount Shimano rear derailleur hanger.

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

The Scultura Endurance has room for 35mm tires, but all bikes come spec’d with 32mm road slicks – the Maxxis Detonator on all but the top-spec that gets Conti GP 4-Seasons. It is still a slick tire road bike, though. So, while there is plenty of room to fit an aggressive cyclocross tire, you’ll get the most out of the all-road feel with a ‘cut-in’ tread vs. a true knobby.

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

Designed for versatility, the new Scultura Endurance is meant to be ridden and trained on year-round so it includes mounts for full fenders, using a bolt-on seatstay bridge that you can remove for a cleaner-looking setup.

Merida Scultura Endurance – Pricing, spec & availability

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel
2021 Merida Scultura Endurance 4000

Merida is offering the new Scultura Endurance in a four standard complete bike builds, all sharing the same CP3 frame & fork, but which tend to vary a bit from one market to the next. Each bike is typically available in a single more vibrant color, plus a dark gray/black option.

The most affordable is the Scultura Endurance 4000 at £2000 / 2350€ with a Shimano 105 road compact groupset & Merida house-brand Expert SL alloy wheels.

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel
2021 Merida Scultura Endurance 5000

Next up, the £2200 Scultura Endurance 5000 upgrades the drivetrain to a mechanical Ultegra groupset with a non-series Shimano crank to save a bit of cash.

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel
2021 Merida Scultura Endurance 6000

Then, with a fully complete Shimano Ultegra mechanical road compact group, the Scultura Endurance 6000 sells for £2500 / 2900€, also adding in a Fulcrum Racing 700 DB wheelset.

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel
2021 Merida Scultura Endurance 7000-E

The top-end Scultura Endurance 7000-E that I am riding here, retails for £3500 / 4200€, with the E as Merida’s notation for an electronic drivetrain (not an e-bike). The 7000-E gets a complete Shimano Ultegra Di2 group, also upgrading to DT Swiss E1850 DB 23mm deep alloy wheels.

The Scultura Endurance is available globally pretty much anywhere except the USA, with pre-orders likely starting today from your local Merida dealer. Bike deliveries in your local shop will start in mid-August 2020, with full availability expected by the end of the month.

First Rides – All-roads on the new Merida Scultura Endurance

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

We have gotten an exclusive preview of the new all-road endurance bike, with our test bike arriving just late last week. I’ve had the chance to get a few mixed-surface rides in already, and the Scultura Endurance does seem to deliver on its attempt to be the type of road bike I actually want to ride. Especially on the prevalent cobblestones surrounding our EU office in Prague, and the rough Czech paved roads (they like to dig everything up in the summer), the new bike has surprised in its comfort, even at higher than normal tire pressures before we get it set up tubeless. The rear end seems to eat bumps while still feeling quick, in part thanks to big 32mm road tires. And it hasn’t been afraid to leave the tarmac so far.

2021 Merida Scultura Endurance all-road bike, performance carbon endurance road bike all-road gran fondo gravel

Keep an eye out for a more detailed review later this summer, as we’ve had more time to get it dirty, I mean ride our local roads!

Merida-bikes.com

15 COMMENTS

  1. Looks like the perfect bike for the times! (Not available in the USA? – Mr. Benson teases us with his socks!)

  2. Seems like Trek’s old “H2” geo, where they just made the race geo more comfortable with a longer HT dimension. It even looks very similar. Were it not for the seat cluster, it’d be harder to tell the difference between these and some of the recent Trek stuff.

    I agree with the article, this is probably the best type kind of road bike for most road riding. I like that it has room for tire but didn’t go all slack and long with the geo, ruining the lively ride of a good road bike.

  3. Perfect for the crappy Colorado high country roads where the gravel sections are often smoother than the “pavement”.

  4. Dont get me wrong, I love the extra tyre clearance, but find me a (proper) brand that doesn’t already have a road bike with 35mm clearance on an endurance road bike?

    Also longer chainstays don’t make your bike slower, and keeping the same 66mm bottom drop makes your bottom bracket higher when riding bigger tyres, so to make it feel the same as before, it should be compensated for with a lower bottom bracket.

    For me what makes this bike unique is that it’s a proper road bike that has fender mounts. I know the average conservative roadie (those who still claim rim brakes are better) hates the idea of fenders, but the real hardcore cyclists actually do want them. We want to keep riding no matter what the weather is. Sure you can get away with some shitty clip on fenders on 30-60 minute rides, but if you want to do long distance during rainy days, not having proper fenders really sucks.

    • Specialized Roubaix max clearance 33c, I believe Scott Addict SE Disc (their endurance road bike) is 32c. Possibly 35c will fit, I don’t know.

    • A couple of years ago I rode a mixed-surface event on a rainy day. I came into the last feed stop with a two other riders and the volunteers all started laughing. One of the other guys had no fenders and was soaked, complete with back stripe. I had clip-on fenders and was spattered but not striped. The other rider had full fenders and was…clean. The three of us together were pretty funny to look at.

      Commuting taught me about the safety advantage of fenders — it’s a lot easier to hold your line through puddles if you know you won’t get soaked.

  5. Rim brakes are better, there is no argument… the best (and the best funded, by far) team in world STILL USES RIM BRAKES. If disc brakes were better, I am very sure that Ineos would use them. Disc brakes are a product of marketing, the pros never wanted them. As for fenders, after 33 years and over 175k miles, I have never needed them.

    • I live in New England, and I find disc brakes very helpful in my conditions. No more icy braking surfaces and half second delays in slowing down. Less effort for similar braking. No mud scraping away my tire holder. Maybe you don’t need them, but I’m only going to get discier moving forward.

      Fenders keep me and most of my bike clean and dry in bad weather.

    • Pros don’t know what’s better, they only know what’s worked for them in the past. They’re usually the last to change, not the the professional racing environment is meaningful to the average rider’s experiences, anyway.

      Disc brakes are the rider’s choice, not the manufacturer’s. For the first couple of years, most new disc brake bikes were sold alongside the same bikes with rim brakes. Rim brakes almost extinct a few years later. If rim brakes were better or even as good, people would pay for the bikes and manufacturers would gladly take that profit.

    • Bryin, When do pro’s actually have to stop? Slow down yes, but actually stop – only at the end of a race. Where as normal riders have to stop at give way signs, traffic lights etc etc. Not a apples to apples comparison at all.

  6. Bryin, what makes Ineos the best? Usually winning makes a team the best. And by that metric Deceuninck–Quick-Step is the best. Speaking of, I wonder if Julian Alaphilippe would have preferred rim brakes when he defended the yellow jersey on the final descent of stage 18 last year?

  7. Rim brakes are fine! Disc brakes are the new “in” brakes that helped push the bike market forward. If you want the latest disc brakes you need a new complete bike! Disc brakes are only “better” in icy conditions,.. And who rides in icy conditions?! Mostly a handful of commuters

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