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Merida adds cooling fins and RAT axles to new Scultura Disc

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The new Merida Scultura Disc weighs 900g in size 54cm

The new Merida Scultura Disc weighs 900g in size 54cm (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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This cover can be changed for mechanical systems

This cover can be changed for mechanical systems (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Interal routing that is rattle-free, Merida says

Interal routing that is rattle-free, Merida says (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The connectors add a little bulk but convenience in the initial build

The connectors add a little bulk but convenience in the initial build (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Flat-mount calipers are more secure, Merida says

Flat-mount calipers are more secure, Merida says (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Merida is sold on 160mm. Riders who opt for 140mm will be on their own, the company says

Merida is sold on 160mm. Riders who opt for 140mm will be on their own, the company says (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Merida added this forged alloy 'Disc-Cooler', which Merida says substantially reduces brake heat

Merida added this forged alloy 'Disc-Cooler', which Merida says substantially reduces brake heat (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Merida will have two carbon frames and one alloy model. The CF4 has pro geometry; the CF2 has a more relaxed fit

Merida will have two carbon frames and one alloy model. The CF4 has pro geometry; the CF2 has a more relaxed fit (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Braking benefits aside, one plus to disc brakes is the ability to run fat tires like these 28mm Contis

Braking benefits aside, one plus to disc brakes is the ability to run fat tires like these 28mm Contis (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Merida added flax to the carbon in 2012, and the absence of a brake bridge aids in compliance, too

Merida added flax to the carbon in 2012, and the absence of a brake bridge aids in compliance, too (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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A quarter turn locks the axle in place

A quarter turn locks the axle in place (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The RAT (Rapid Axle Technology) combines the speed of a quick release with the security of a thru axle

The RAT (Rapid Axle Technology) combines the speed of a quick release with the security of a thru axle (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Merida licensed the RAT thru-axle design from Focus

Merida licensed the RAT thru-axle design from Focus (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Merida will have a variety of bike options available

Merida will have a variety of bike options available (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Merida is pushing the envelope on disc brakes in pro racing

Merida is pushing the envelope on disc brakes in pro racing (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Merida made history this April by putting its new Scultura Disc frames under Lampre-Merida at the Tour of Flanders, making the squad the first WorldTour team to ride all on disc brakes in a major professional road event. Now Merida is launching that bike to the general public, with two of the most notable points being a rotor-cooling system on the chainstay and the quarter-turn RAT axles Merida has licensed from Focus.

Pricing and specific models have not yet been announced. Most models will be available in the UK, some models will be sold in Australia, but none will be available in the United States because of an agreement with Specialized. (Merida owns a substantial share in the Californian company and produces its bikes.)

The Scultura Disc is quite similar to the existing Scultura, which traces its roots back to 2006, when it was Merida's first monocoque carbon frame. The company got frame weigh down to 840g in 2008, and reduced it further to 740g by 2015.

Aside from a redesigned fork and a reinforced rear end to handle the forces of disc brakes, plus RAT axles, the frameset is largely the same. The chainstays are 8mm longer, moving to a still-quite-agile 408mm. A size 54cm Scultura Disc frame weighs 900g. But for this bike, ultimate light weight was not the primary goal, though, said Merida product director Jürgen Falke.

"The targets for this bike were weight, comfort, cable routing, heat management, and ease of use for the axle and wheel changes," Falke said.

Falke and his team designed some compliance into the chain- and seatstays — adding flax into model the carbon lay-up in 2012 — and on the Disc model the absence of a brake bridge on the seatstays allows for a bit of vertical flex. But the biggest accommodation for comfort is simply the ability to handle 28mm tires, and all the cushioning that wide tires and lower pressures allow.

"It's hard to quantify comfort. Measuring the deflection from a static load is one way, but not necessarily reflective of reality," said Falke, adding that Merida built a jig that replicates riding on a bumpy surface and measures deflection at the saddle and rear dropouts. This set-up was used to fine-tune the Scultura's lay-up.

There are three versions of the frame, two carbon versions and one alloy.

The top-end CF4 is the one that weighs 900g in size 54cm. It has pro-style geometry and is the frame Lampre-Merida is racing.

The CF2 is 'just below 1,000g' and the LITE alloy frame is 'below 1,500g', Merida says. Both of these have more relaxed, more upright geometry than the CF4.

Specifications for the Scultura Disc bikes

  • 12mm thru-axles (100mm front, 142mm rear)
  • 160mm discs per UCI's recommendation
  • RAT axles (Rapid Axle Technology) that feature quarter-turn engagement instead of a threaded design
  • Flat-mount clipers
  • BB86 bottom bracket on carbon frames, BB386 on alloy
  • clearance for 28mm tires

One noteworthy point on the frame design is the sculpted piece of metal sitting on the non-drive chainstay that Merida calls this the Disc-Cooler. Similar to the cooling fins on Shimano calipers, this forged-alloy finned section of the frame is designed to direct air over and thus cool the brakes. Merida claims that during a four-minute session of braking on a descent, the Disc-Cooler reduced temperature by 35 degrees Celsius. A standard disc set-up would hit 95 degrees Celsius after four minutes of braking, Merida claims. Further, once stopped, the rotor cools in half the time as a disc brake without it, Merida claims.