Merida Scultura Comp 905 Review
When Merida makes a bike, they mass produce it for the riders who don't want to lose an arm and a leg before they get on their bike. The Scultura Comp 905 is no exception, and has become rather popular in the last twelve months, at least amongst the cyclists I ride with. This didn't happen by mistake, though, since it is a nice bike for its price.
On the road
I've been riding the Scultura Comp 905 since July last year, after crashing my previous alloy Merida. I was already familiar with the brand, and even though I didn't have a lot to spend, I knew I wanted an upgrade from a heavier bike. For $2,599AUD, the Scultura Comp 905 offers an upgrade to an entry level carbon frame, as well as Shimano Ultegra gearing. Whilst Merida claims the RRP is $2,599, I have only ever seen this bike in stores with a price tag of $2,000 new, so I know that a bargain is available out there.
The wheels are the same entry level Fulcrum wheels as are on the Merida Ride 93, just that they have matching decals as the bikes colour scheme. They are aluminium, shallow rims, and will quickly leave you wanting a new set of wheels, especially if you want deep dish rims. But hey, for an entry level carbon bike with Ultegra gearing, you'd be looking at a near entry level pro bike with new wheels. At that price, you can't get everything, but that is a lot you already get.
The white handlebar tape that comes with the bike, is fancy, with the holes in the pattern. I admit, this was one of the reasons I originally liked the bike. Looks are everything for me. The handlebar tape is comfortable at first use, however, this handlebar tape does wear quickly, partly due to the design, and partly due to the colour. I recommend replacing it with a black handlebar tape of your choosing, since it doesn't wear anywhere near as fast as white.
Moving on, the seat fits with the design of the bike, but from other users, I have heard that it isn't as comfortable as other seats on the market. Personally, I just suck it up because I can't afford much else, and any seat is comfortable than none, however seats with a hint of black in them do make the mostly white standard design appear to be a sleek, speed machine.
The tyres are also matching to the colour scheme, with two red stripes running down the middle of the tyre. You will find that the standard tyres sold on the bike also wear quickly. I recommend replacing these with Schwalbe's. Schwalbe tyres last FOREVER, and whats more, they have a design very similar to the original tyres on the bike, just with slightly narrower red stripes, and different branding on the side. More on these Schwalbe tyres in another review.
In summary, the Scultura Comp 905 is a great entry level carbon bike, that also offers better gears than most other carbon bikes at the same price. It is very popular, having already seen at least a dozen of them on the road, not including my own. If you don't like fitting in with the bunch, you're looking at the wrong bike for you. But it's very popular, so maybe we're all onto something good by choosing this bike. It may be the Toyota compared to a Ferrari, but who is to say Toyota doesn't know how to make nice cars too? Merida has certainly made a nice bike that is available to us with shallower pockets.
My rating: 8/10
Written by Kieren Barnett