2011 Review: Merida Cyclo Cross 4 Disc

Looks out of place in a showroom, that's why we took it out

We started with our Merida reviews yesterday with their road model Reacto 907, and today we go a bit more towards the rougher parts of our planet with the second cheapest Cyclo Cross (CC) model named number 4. Their budget model is the number 3 and both of them come with disc brakes. Their higher tear CC bikes (models 5, 907 and Team) come with cantilever brakes to follow UCI competition rules before summer. UCI did approve the use of disc brakes in competitions in the end of last Summer, but they haven’t fully penetrated throughout the model range.

Even this machine can't run without some air in its tires

We took both disc brake models out for a test ride, first a few hours in mild forests and urban terrain and the next day another few hours in the forest and more cyclocross-like terrain. The first thing we noticed was the difference with the two makes, as the Four seemed to roll better, which might have something to do with slightly better hubs and rims.

The Merida Cyclo Cross 4 Disc comes with a Shimano 105 double 10-gear groupset (12-27 tooth cassette) with an FSA Gossamer 46-36 Exo crankset. It naturally comes with Avid BB5 160mm disc brakes with double brake levers, like the usual CC bikes usually do. The models have aluminium frames and thanks to the disc brakes, both models have an aluminium fork as well.

The bike ran along nicely even when riding singletracks, though the brakes made funny noises

As is with CC bikes, they are built to be carried and usually weigh at around 10 kilograms and these models are no different from that. What we did like was the responsiveness of the bike both on and off track, even when riding singletracks together with 29ers and full-suspension bikes. The geometry is more of a racer than a trekking bike, so the Four might be better for that kind of use instead of daily commuting.

Our verdict: ★★★★☆

We’re still not a 100% sure where the price will set, but I expect the bike to be a bit more expensive (1500-2000 euros – UPDATE: Confirmed at 1490 euros) than the starting from budget models, but I really liked to ride with the bike and for that ultimate test – we like it.

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By Markus Sandelin

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.