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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto Disc Team - Gallery

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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto - resplendent in his new Bahrain McLaren team's colours (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

Complete with Vision tubular wheels, Shimano groupset, FSA components and disc brakes (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

Aerodynamic tube profiling and an aggressive position is nothing new to the prolific sprinter (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

Disc brakes are becoming widely adopted in the peloton, and Bahrain McLaren have committed to them for 2020 (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

The latest tech is usually a prerequisite of pro riders, but Cavendish has opted for older Dura-Ace 9000 pedals (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

The rest of the groupset, however, is the latest R9170 Di2 edition of Dura-Ace (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

A direct-mount hanger holds the rear mech, providing a clean aesthetic and crisp shifting (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

Unlike his personal CVNDSH brand, it seems he's finally remembered there are vowels in his name (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

A wedge clamp keeps the saddle in place, and a simple piece of tape marks the desired height for mechanics (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

With a bright orange head tube, Cavendish is easily spotted in finish line sprint footage (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

Not quite slammed, a 5mm spacer is all Cavendish needs in his long-and-low position (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

Long being the operative word. We're estimating this measures at 140mm (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

Cavendish puts his sprint shifters upside upside down, so a quick flick up of the thumb is all that's needed to change gear mid-sprint (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

FSA stickers show off the component sponsor's logo where it would otherwise be hidden (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

Matchy matchy orange Prologo tape wraps the bars (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

Like the rest of his team, Cavendish is using Shimano's range-topping Dura-Ace R9170 shifters (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

Cavendish's saddle of choice is the Prologo Nago Evo with the brand's Nack carbon rails (Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto

And finally, keeping the bottles in place are Elite's Vico Carbon bottle cages (Image credit: Daniel Benson)

Having grown up through the British Cycling development programme, Mark Cavendish's relationship with Rod Ellingworth has been a longstanding constant in the Manxman's career, despite not always being professionally connected. First connecting in 2003 at the Olympic Academy for junior riders, it was Ellingworth who lobbied for Cavendish's inclusion after poor fitness tests put his progress at risk. 

Working with Ellingworth at British Cycling and Team Sky, the so-called Manx Missile has taken victories on the world's biggest stages, including world-championship gold on the track in the Madison with Bradley Wiggins in 2008, winning the world road race championships in 2011, and winning the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysées for the fourth time in a row in 2012.

Cavendish hasn't taken more than a solitary season win since 2016, when he took four stages at the Tour, leapfrogging Bernard Hinault into second place on the all-time list of stage winners with 30 victories, just four wins behind Eddy Merckx. The next-closest rider still racing today is Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) with 12. 

Since then, the sprinter has struggled with injury, the Epstein Barr virus, and his fair share of crashes over the last couple of seasons. His last opportunity to raise his hands aloft across a finish line was at the Dubai Tour in February 2018.

After years apart, 2020 sees Cavendish and Ellingworth reunite at Bahrain McLaren, and for this latest attempt at rekindling his old form, Cavendish is currently tackling a 'Tour de France-quality sprint field' at the UAE Tour. On stage 1, he was in the mix, but could only finish 15th, behind main rivals Sam Bennett, Caleb Ewan, Dylan Groenewegen and stage winner Pascal Ackermann, while he finished towards the back of the field on stage 2 to Hatta Dam on Monday, where Ewan took the win from Bennett.

Cavendish is currently racing aboard the Merida Reacto – an aero road bike fitted with disc brakes, Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrain, Vision carbon wheels and FSA components. 

The Reacto is an out-and-out aero bike, designed purely to cheat the wind – a notion adopted by Cavendish earlier than most in the pro peloton. 

Despite the rise of tubeless technology in the WorldTour being spearheaded by Vision, Cavendish's Vision wheels are very much of the tubular variety, shod with Continental's Pro Ltd tubular tyres. They do see a modicum of modernity, however, by virtue of the Dura-Ace Ice Tech Freeza disc-brake rotors. Like Lotto Soudal and Movistar, Bahrain McLaren have committed solely to disc brakes for the 2020 season. 

In the WorldTour, there are certain riders who like to tinker with their set-up more than others, and we're always excited to see their bikes to see what they've been up to. Adam Hansen, Richie Porte and Mark Cavendish are all riders who tend to run oddities on their race bikes, and, for 2020, Cavendish seems to have flipped his Shimano sprint shifters upside down for quicker access to the next gear. He's also using old pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000, to be specific. We're unsure why.

Click through the gallery above for a closer look at Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto.

Mark Cavendish's Merida Reacto full bike specifications

Frameset: Merida Reacto Disc Team

Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc caliper

Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc caliper

Brake/shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 Hydraulic Disc Brake Dual Control Lever

Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150

Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150

Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9100 11-30T

Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace

Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P w/ Dual-sided power

Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace

Wheelset: Vision Metron 55 tubular

Tyres: Continental Pro Ltd tubular, 25mm

Handlebars: Zero Integrated carbon bar and stem, 40cm

Handlebar tape: Prologo Onetouch tape

Stem: FSA OS99 CSI, ~140mm

Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000

Saddle: Prologo Nago Evo

Seat post: Merida Reacto proprietary 

Bottle cages: Elite Vico Carbon

Rider height: 1.75m

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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.