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Merida Scultura Endurance - first look gallery

The Merida Scultura Endurance is an all-terrain mile-munching speed machine that blurs the lines between road and gravel

What is a hands on review?
Merida Scultura Endurance
(Image: © Graham Cottingham)

Merida has launched a brand new endurance road bike, the Scultura Endurance which features new geometry and some tailored details suited to riders who are looking to cover long miles in comfort. The new Scultura Endurance fills the gap between the aggressive geometry of the Scultura and Reacto and the comfort geometry of Merida’s Silex gravel bike.

Previously, Merida filled the endurance road category gap with the Mission Road. Using the Mission CX frameset and rejigging the components to accommodate double chainsets and slick tyres, it managed to do a decent job transferring its CX capabilities to munch up road miles.

However, Merida has clearly seen an opportunity here to improve this format by ditching the Mission’s cyclo-cross bike traits and instead choosing to redesign and apply the lessons learned from the gravel world into a new reworked endurance platform.

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Merida Scultura Endurance

Merida has designed the Scultura Endurance around completely new geometry (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

Merida says that the 'Road Sport Geometry' is designed for use on the tarmac but is able to handle light gravel roads (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

Reach has been reduced to put the rider in a less aggressive position (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

Increased stack height puts the rider in a controlled endurance riding position (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

The headtube features the same prominent bulge as seen on Merida's other road bikes (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

Frame styling has been kept to a minimum (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

The flattened seatstays add compliance to reduce vibrations (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

An integrated seat clamp gives the frame a very clean finish (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

Merida has used its CF3-graded carbon for the Scultura Endurance (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

The Scultura Endurance uses Shimano's press-fit bottom bracket (BB86) standard (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

 Design and aesthetics 

The new range is based around an all-new frame. Merida grades its carbon and uses CF3 for the Scultura Endurance range - this sits in between its super-light CF4 carbon used on its aggressive high-end bikes and the lower-grade CF2 which generally has a more passive geometry suited to those that are not racing and are maybe not as flexible. 

The frame shapes themselves appear to be a blend of the Scultura’s downtube and chainstays which likely maintains stiffness and the Silex’s headtube, flattened top tube, seat tube junction and slim stays. Merida claims a medium frame weighs 1,124g (including frame hardware) and 411g for the uncut fork.

The geometry is a blend of many of Merida’s current bikes, labelled as ‘road sports geometry’, which most in common with Merida’s current CF2 Scultura and Reacto bikes. Merida has chosen the numbers to find a middle ground between the on- and off-road bikes with more of a leaning towards on-road performance. The Scultura Endurance is not a tarmac only bike and Merida has embraced the all-road approach to allow riders to tackle unexpected surfaces that can be a part of taking on long rides in unfamiliar territory. 

The 72-degree head angle is a degree steeper than the Silex but a degree slacker than CF2 Scultura and Reacto. The 418mm chainstay length also sits in between the two bikes and extends the wheelbase to 1,001mm (medium) for steadier handling characteristics. The headtube length has been kept the same as the CF2 road crop but stack height sees an increase by 9mm. Reach has been made is shorter at 380mm to accommodate a more upright and relaxed position putting less pressure on the body.

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Merida Scultura Endurance

The cables feed in through the Wire Port keeping the cockpit tidy (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

The cable ports rotate with the handlebars eliminating cable rub (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

In the wake of gravel bike progression, the all-road concept has emerged making endurance bikes even more capable. The more upright-yet-longer geometry goes hand-in-hand with the increase in tyre clearance. 

The full range is stocked with 32mm tyres as standard and the frame and fork have room for up to a 35mm slick tyre. Combined with the road gravel hybrid geometry, the Scultura Endurance becomes a bike that will more than excel on rough and cobbled surfaces and, if needed, venture beyond the tarmac onto light gravel roads. 

Not just relying on the cushioning from the 32mm tyres, Merida has engineered the shape of the rear end to improve compliance by creating a leaf-spring effect. The flat seat stays, chainstays and a subtle scoop out of the seat tube all contribute to the reduction of road vibrations being transmitted through to the rider.

Frame detailing has seen a number of notable developments when compared to Merida’s other bikes. The front sees Merida’s new Wire Port, which routes cables and hoses through the headset cover rather than into the downtube, making for a much neater cockpit and avoiding any risk of frame rub from the cables. The seat clamp is similar to the internal wedge used on the Reacto, yet further refined for an ultra-clean look. 

All-weather riders can fit the bike with mudguards using a removable seat stay bridge and hidden mounts on the inside of the fork legs and seat stays. The bikes come with 160mm rotors but if this isn’t enough for you, Merida says that you can run 180mm if needed. 

The remaining details are distinctly Merida - from its disc cooling fins on the fork and chainstay to a multitool that stashes under the saddle. The frame has a press-fit bottom bracket (BB86) and Merida Expert SL 12mm through-axles with removable levers.

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Merida Scultura Endurance

Cooling fins are used to manage any build up of heat on long descents (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

While it comes stock fitted with 160mm rotors, it can accommodate discs of up to 180mm (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

The derailleur hanger is styled to match the cooling fins (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

All Scultura Endurance models come fitted with 32mm tyres as standard (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

Merida says that there is enough clearance to fit a slick 35mm tyre (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

Fender mounts are neatly hidden inside the stays and fork (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

The seatstay bridge can be removed for a cleaner look when mudguards aren't fitted (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

Merida includes a slim multitool which is handily stashed under the saddle (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

 Specifications 

The range of four new Scultura Endurance bikes all use the same frameset and only differ in componentry. The lowest Scultura Endurance 4000 is equipped with Shimano 105 which is upgraded to mechanical Ultegra for the 5000 model. The move up to the 6000 bike replaces the Merida OEM wheels with a Fulcrum Racing 700 DB wheelset.

We have got our hands on the top-of-the-range Scultura Endurance 7000-E which sees some major upgrades. The kit is reflective of a bike that has been designed to be ridden not only long distances but in all-weather conditions. 

Core components comprise Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and brakes, and a DT Swiss wheelset. The only negative is the thin rubbery Merida Road Expert bar tape. With little in the way of vibration dampening, it gives a direct bar feel and will be best ridden with gloves on long distances. 

Although the 32mm Conti Grand Prix 4 Season tyre is an excellent choice and the additional width welcoming, frustratingly they aren’t tubeless compatible. The wheelset is tubeless-ready so if you want to gain the extra grip and puncture protection of a tubeless tyre setup you will need to shell out on some new tyres and valves.

Merida doesn't offer any women’s specific builds. However smaller riders will be pleased to see Shimano’s R8025 lever specced on the XXS, XS, S sizes for better lever ergonomics for riders with smaller hands. Although this is only available on mechanical-drivetrain-equipped bikes.

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Merida Scultura Endurance

Shimano's Ultegra is a consistent and smooth performer (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

The handlebar and stem come from Merida's own Expert stock (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Merida Scultura Endurance

Reliable DT Swiss P1850 wheelset is matched with Continental Grand Prix 4 Season tyres (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

First impressions 

We've managed to take the bike out for a few rides and the first impressions are very positive. 

Having ridden both Merida’s CF4 geometry and Silex gravel bike, the influences from these bikes are evident in the Scultura Endurance. Stability traits from the Silex have made the bike feel very planted and controlled at all speeds and the neutral handling of the slackened CF4 geometry results in a predictable characteristic when faced with corners. 

While the Scultura Endurance isn’t built for out-and-out speed, the bike feels eager when covering flat ground or taking on climbs. Efficiency is key here and each pedal stroke returns excellent value in forwarding momentum. If you do need to lay down some extra wattage to crest a climb, the bike smoothly surges forward on demand.

The chosen route comprised of a range of roads around the Scottish borders taking in a variety of road surfaces from narrow country lanes to open roads. We are yet to venture onto gravel surfaces to substantiate Merida’s off-road capabilities, however, the bike’s handling of weathered and roughed up road surfaces so far has been impressive.

This is only a first ride review and we will update this with our full thoughts once we have spent some more time on the bike. 

Logbook: Merida Scultura Endurance 7000-E

  • Month: 1 week
  • Rides: 2
  • Mileage: 120km
  • Punctures: 0
  • Ride types: Road

 Specifications: Merida Scultura Endurance 7000-E

  • Price: £3.500.00 / €4,199.00 
  • Frame: SCULTURA ENDURANCE CF3 frame
  • Size: Medium
  • Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2
  • Crankset: Shimano Ultegra; 50-34, Shimano CS-HG700; 11-34
  • Wheels: DT Swiss E1850 Spline DB23 wheelset
  • Brakes: Shimano Ultegra hydraulic (160mm rotors)
  • Bar/stem: Merida Expert SL handlebar, Merida Expert CW stem
  • Seatpost: Merida Expert
  • Saddle: Merida Expert CC

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.