Vincenzo Nibali's move from Astana to Bahrain-Merida for this season came with a new bike set up, with the Taiwanese brand Merida now supplying the Giro d'Italia champion's bikes, rather than Specialized. Cyclingnews caught up with Nibali at his first race of the season, the Vuelta a San Juan, to take a look at his new steed.
The Merida sponsorship gives riders a choice between the Scultura and Reacto frames. Nibali rides the Scultura, the ultra-light model that pushes the UCI's weight limit of 6.8kg.
The blue, red and gold colours of the team form the main design for the frame, with Nibali's name the only personalisation after a series of flamboyant, shark-themed designs during his time at Astana.
SRM supplies the team's powermeters, and issued each rider with a special gold coloured SRM PC-8 head unit. As well as the head unit, SRM supplies the eye-catching cranks, developed from existing THM Clavicula cranks and newly branded as SRM.
Shimano supplies the chainrings, brakes and shifting, with all riders running the Dura-Ace Di2 groupset with electronic shifting. The rear break is not in the traditional position but tucked away behind the bottom bracket.
Other components come from FSA and Prologo, with one point of interest being Nibali's adjustable FSA seatpost. The relatively new technology allows the rider to twist the seatpost while riding, which will raise or lower the saddle by a milimetre at a time. Nibali's mechanic noted that he'd set the seatpost at '0' but when he got the bike back to wash it was on '2', proving that the pros often like to tinker with their set-ups.
FSA also supplies the handlebars, with Nibali on Compact 42, while Prologo accounts for contact-point comfort with a Nago C3 saddle and OneTouch handlebar tape.
Nibali and the other Bahrain-Merida riders use Fulcrum Speed 40 tubular wheels - usually switching to 50 on flat stages - paired with Continental Competition 25mm tubular tyres.
The Fulcrum wheels are equipped with CULT bearings. Developed by Campagnolo, CULT bearings' tests claim that when spun to 500rpm, the wheels will continue to spin for nine times longer than wheels with standard bearings.
Frame: Merida Scultura, M/L (56)
Fork: Merida Road Carbon Race
Stem: FSA OS, 120
Handlebar: FSA Compact 42
Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace
Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace 11-28T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace 11-speed
Crankset: SRM, 172.5mm, 53/39T
Pedals: Shimano Dura Ace
Wheelset: Fulcrum Speed 40 tubular
Tyres: Continental Competition tubular, 25mm
Saddle: Prologo Nago C3
Seatpost: FSA Non-series Adjustable
Bottle cages: Elite Custom Race Plus
Rider’s height: 181cm
Rider’s weight: 65kg
Saddle height from Bottom bracket: 756mm
Total weight: 6.8kg
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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.
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