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The Merida Silex has already proven its worth when Matej Mohorič won the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships...

The gravel bike world is growing rapidly and continues to evolve on a yearly basis with brands such as Colnago, Bianchi, Cervelo, Sarto and of course Merida all introducing gravel bikes into their portfolio. Bikes are getting more capable and can traverse terrain once reserved exclusively for mountain bikes. Merida’s Silex is a case in point. Developed to combine the best attributes of both the mountain bike and road bike, the name of the game has always been versatility – something the new Silex delivers on many levels.
Merida’s first Silex polarised opinion and was criticised for its ‘different’ appearance – particularly the elongated headtube, however the new model has successfully addressed the visual shortcomings of its forebear and the result is an attractive gravel bike that fits in well with Merida’s current bike portfolio. The new Silex design is very clean with less cable exposure evident throughout the bike and on the front end, the latter opening the ability to fit a bar bag for touring if preferred. Much of the hose-free look comes from the Wire Port integrated cable routing as seen on the Scultura and Scultura Endurance Road bikes. The frame is compatible with internally routed dropper seatpost and utilises a top-tube-integrated seatpost clamp and Fidlock base mount (the latter on CF models only) for a cleaner aesthetic.

Merida was clear to point out it merely altered the Silex rather than completely overhauling the design blueprint and the initial raw fundamentals of the bike. As a result, the new Merida Silex retains much of its forebear's frame architecture with the most notable changes coming in the form of the aggressively dropped chainstay (introduced to play nicely with 1x and 2x chainset configurations), the shortened headtube and longer fork, and the increased tyre clearance that is now rated at a maximum of 45mm (42mm with fenders). This also means the riding position is almost identical to the Silex generation one but I’ll touch on the geometry numbers a little later.

Unlike Merida’s road bike range, there’s only one carbon-fibre layup available across all four models. A medium frameset tips the scales at 1,220g, 680g lighter than the alloy version (both the CF and alloy bike utilise a 540g carbon fork). A full bike in medium weighs just over 9kg without pedals, which is impressive given the bike’s rowdy nature and bigger tyres. While the Silex is adept at gravel racing and all-road excursions, the company has not marginalised those who enjoy adventure riding and bike packing and, as a result, has liberally appointed with bike with a compendium of mounting point options. Carbon-fibre frames can fit mudguards, extra storage and panniers thanks to bosses located on the frame and fork. Aluminium frames get all that plus the ability to install a rear carrier rack.

Merida has done a great job with the new Silex. Not only is it more attractive than before but it also possesses an abundance of endearing qualities that cater for the entire gravel demographic – an impressive feat in itself. Where its rivals either have a racy or rowdy bias, the Merida has managed to meld both these qualities and the result is one of the best all-round gravel bikes on the market. In terms of what the new Merida Silex offers; not only does it have the attributes to compete against the segment’s incumbents – winning the UCI Gravel World Championships 2023 is a case in point – it’s also geared to take a more recreational/adventurous approach thanks to its number of mounting points, huge brake rotors and slackened head tube angle.

View the Merida Silex range here: Merida Silex | 2024 | Premium Merida Stockist (northernride.com)

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