A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to test some of the team bikes during the presentation of the WorldTour team Lampre-Merida in Mallorca. There was also the chance to take a closer look at Filippo Pozzato's classic bike. Admittedly, the offer sounded tempting. But in the end I decided against it – for good reason. The frame geometry would have suited me well, but it would not have given much information about the riding characteristics of the commercially available frame set, which the other classic riders in the team use.
The frameset of my test bike is based on the Ride Carbon Pro-E-Frame and the corresponding superlite-Fork. In addition to a complete Shimano Dura Ace 9070 Di2 a crankset from the team outfitter Rotor is also installed. In my case the one 3DPlus including the corresponding Q-Rings of the Spaniards. The gear ratio of the blades is 52 to 34 teeth. The cassette has a spread of 11 to 28 teeth.
The Handcrafted Fulcrum Racing Zero-Wheels have not only the usual carbon hub but also distinctive milling at the level of the spoke holder. This should make the wheels lighter on the one hand and more reactive on the other. The Racing Zero are equipped with the robust Continental Grand Prix 4000S, which leave a good all-round impression thanks to their width of 25 millimeters.
At the front comes a 42 centimeter wider K Force Compact OShandlebars and a 120 millimeter long one OS-99-Stem used with a six degree incline. Both FSA products seem well chosen for the 54 frame size. FSA also supplies the seat post. With a diameter of 27,2 millimeters, the K Force Lite SB25 has a pleasant flex and fits so comfortably into the frame concept. The saddle is from Prologo. Here's with that Scratch Pro Tirox a relatively comfortable model assembled.
The Meridian Ride CF Team should shine above all when the surface is worse and performance is affected as a result. However, this is only half the truth. Because even on difficult, hilly routes, comfortable bikes can usually score more points in the amateur sector than their often very hard aero counterparts.
The north of Mallorca offers a good test area for both aspects. With the climbs of the Serra Tramuntana in mind, my test route from Alcudia describes an arc to the south. The path leads via Sa Pobla and Campanet to Caimari, where the serpentines of Sa Bataia welcome me. From there I continue towards Sa Calobra before, on the way back to the hotel, I not only catch a glimpse of the Lluc Monastery, but also face the winds of the bays of Pollenca and Alcudia. The lap may not necessarily be the longest at around 120 kilometers, but with more than 2.000 meters in altitude it is still a tough one. But since I also want to give the bike a chance on rougher ground, I take it to the Cap de Formentor at the end of the test. The road surface from Formentor was last renewed twenty years ago and proves to be a benchmark for the bike in terms of vibration absorption.
The frameset of Ride CF Team has a variety of technological refinements that increase driving comfort, but are still intended to keep the bike agile and sporty. The internally routed cables also ensure a tidy look.
A tapered head tube is installed at the front. In combination with the in the so-called Double chambertechnology, the bike is responsive without being particularly harsh. On the contrary, the fork absorbs bumps with stoic calm. Precise steering maneuvers are also possible in curves with poor road surfaces.
The flax fibers built into the fork and the support struts also contribute to the comfort of the bike. These give good cushioning to both the front and the rear. At the rear, this is supported by the low mounting of the struts on the seat tube.
This is evident from the relatively long wheelbase Ride CF Team very smooth. With a strut length of 413 millimeters compared to the 405 millimeters of the Reacto Evo, Lampre-Merida's aero racer, the bike is anything but a sprinter. It can still be accelerated quite adequately. This is mainly due to the distinctively shaped bottom bracket. The Q rings turn out to be relatively inconspicuous when pedaling, which is certainly a plus point for all those drivers who want to change from normal blades but are afraid of abrupt pedaling rhythms.
Neither on the flat nor in the mountains can the bike be impressed by changes in rhythm. Rather, it shows itself to be a loyal companion. Changing positions answers that Ride CF Team gentle. It masters descents with confidence. That's nice, because even less trained riders can treat themselves to longer rides on this bike without complaining about any pain other than possible sore muscles in the evening.
The seating position on the bike is central but sporty. This corresponds entirely to the comfort character of the bike. In order to be able to maintain an active position even under pressure, there are small knobs on the saddle that effectively prevent slipping. Because although the bike is above all comfortable, there is still a racer in it.
Sure, the Ride CF team is no criteria specialist. But that's not what it wants to be. The bike lives up to its role as a good-natured endurance stallion without any ifs or buts. Smooth-running, but still responsive, it is interesting for all those drivers for whom the sporty aspect is important in addition to driving comfort. And that tightrope walk is Merida with that Ride CF Team pretty well done.
- pleasant smoothness
- very good damping properties
- high quality equipment
price and web
- 6.199,00 euros (with a different crankset)