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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!