This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Three years on from the Reacto II, Merida has launched the Reacto III. The 2018 model is said to have improved upon the previous model's comfort, weight and aerodynamics. We'd expect no less.
The claimed aerodynamic improvement is five percent, or 8 watts, at 45km/h. The major drag-reducing factors are slimmer tubes all round, a lowered seat stay/seat tube junction and an integrated cockpit.
Merida describes the aero benefit as follows: "If you do a 100km solo ride on the new Reacto, you'll save as much energy as riding the same route on a round-tubed road bike, but drafting for 30km of the distance."
Ride comfort has been increased thanks to new slimmer seatstays, and the narrower width plus larger silicone rubber-filled window of the S-Flex seatpost is said to bring around a 10 percent improvement over the old model.
The S-Flex carbon seatpost is narrower than before and has a larger silicone rubber-filled window for vibration reduction
Taking the complete frame module's weight in to account sees a saving of 350.5g compared with the outgoing Reacto, or 17.13 percent, which is achieved through slimmer tube profiles and new carbon fibre layups — but frame stiffness remains the same.
This model's aerodynamics are designed to work with FSA's Vision Metron 5D integrated carbon bar
The top-level machine uses FSA's Metron 5D integrated carbon bar, with proprietary aero shaped headset top cap and spacers beneath to smooth the transition between it and the frame.
Merida says the new bike is designed with aerodynamics in mind, but has been kept simple too for ease of servicing, with straightforward cable routing and brakes.
Cable routing has been simplified by using one down tube port that can be adapted to the drivetrain fitted
The narrower head tube means the lower headset bearing is 1 ¼" instead of 1 ½" as before, and all tubes except the top tube and chainstays have NACA Fastback profiles.
In the CF4 carbon spec, the new Reacto's geometry is almost identical to that of the CF4 Scultura, with a short head tube and longer reach. The CF2 geometry is less aggressive with a taller head tube — on a M/L size I measured it as 20mm longer – and shorter reach.
The rear direct mount brake is still sited beneath the chainstays
Of course, alongside the direct mount caliper braked model is a flat mount disc version. The CF4 carbon disc bike's frame is just 30g heavier than its rim counterpart and the fork adds another 30g.
In the CF2 carbon spec that difference increases to 57g and 40g respectively. While the rim brake bike has conventional quick release skewers, the CF4 disc model runs Focus RAT thru-axles, while the CF2 disc bike has threaded 12mm thru-axles.
160mm disc rotors front and rear, plus the Ficus RAT thru-axle system
It's designed for 160mm rotors front and rear, and incorporates Merida's unique disc cooler — a finned forged aluminium structure that slots between the hydraulic caliper and the frame to dissipate excess braking induced heat.
Merida says it reduces temperatures by around 35 percent and much faster than the caliper alone could.
Merida's forged aluminium disc coolers are said to cool the calipers by 35 percent
Merida also says the Reacto has clearance for 25mm tyres, although my first impressions are that there's easily room for more in there, rim calipers permitting.
The seat tube is shaped to shield the rear wheel, but there's ample tyre clearance
25mm tyres are standard spec on the Reacto and these are the new Fulcrum Speed 55C wheels. Note the scored braking track
This is the disc version of the Reacto 9000-E with SRAM eTap hydraulic
There are seven new Reacto models, five of which offer both rim and disc brakes.
The top four are in CF4 carbon, the remainder in CF2, and groupset choices range from Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (Reacto Team-E) to SRAM eTap (Reacto 9000-E) and Ultegra Di2 (Reacto 8000-E and 7000-E), through mechanical Ultegra (Reacto 6000), with Shimano 105 on the cheapest Reacto 4000 machine.
I've already weighed my ride for tomorrow, the M/L Reacto Team-E with Dura-Ace Di2, new Fulcrum Speed 55C wheelset, 25mm clinchers, bottle cage, integrated Garmin mount and Time Xpresso 10 pedals, and it weighs 7.21kg.
By comparison, the same size (M/L) Reacto 9000-E with SRAM eTap and Vision Metron 55 SL wheels with clinchers and hydraulic discs, bottle cage and Shimano SPD-SL pedals comes in at 7.88kg.
Vision Metron 55SL Disc wheels with 25mm Continental clinchers are standard spec on this bike
A CF2 level Reacto 6000 in M/L with mechanical Ultegra and Fulcrum Racing Aero alloy wheels fitted, but no pedals or cage, weighs 7.99kg.