About Merit Bikes
“We are a small garage brand located in the Czech Republic founded by one enthusiast and one ex-pro rider. We have no ambition to compete with top brands who produce all categories of bikes. We produce only what we use ourselves. We can respond quickly to new market requirements and offer an individual approach and effort.”
Merit entrust all of their frame production to a well-proven manufacturer based in Taiwan. Each frame is manufactured by hand and utilizes carbon fiber sourced from Japanese supplier, Toray.
Stating the obvious, the Merit Plus is similar in appearance to certain carbon gravel bike whose best-known feature is its aerodynamic frame. Like that other bike, the Merit Plus features a distinctive dropped chainstay which provides clearance for a road crankset and 650b x 2.0″ tyres. The Merit Plus also accepts tyres sized up to 700c x 40mm. But there is one big difference between that other bike and the Merit Plus… the price…
This example of the Merit Plus is owned by Andrew Vince, a UK-based rider who enjoys riding all manner of road surfaces aboard this versatile rig. Pedal Power Cycles Limited of Ipswich, Suffolk, UK is Andrew’s go-to bike shop, and the party responsible for sourcing and building Andrew’s Merit Plus.
If you checked out our recent video concerning 1x versus 2x drivetrains, you’ll know the 1x type is gaining momentum. Andrew’s SRAM Force crankset is fitted with a single 42 tooth chainring.
Merit choose the BB86 press-fit standard for the Merit Plus and C-Bear supply the ceramic bearing bottom bracket. For more detail on C-Bear’s range of bottom brackets, check out our C-Bear review.
It’s hard to go wrong with Shimano’s top-tier XTR model pedal. Light in weight and reliable, this pedal has a track record of solid performance in the most trying of conditions.
Above, a SRAM Force 11-speed mechanical / hydraulic brake lever / shifter paired to a Ritchey Logic EVO Adventure handlebar.
Pictured during the Merit’s build process, the SRAM Force 1 derailleur awaits a chain and fine-tuning. Andrew may have chosen mechanical shifting, but the Merit Plus also supports Di2 with the option for a front derailleur. Regardless of the shifting choice, all cables are internalized.
SRAM’s 10-42 cassette provides a massive spread of gears, including 1 to 1 on the 42 tooth rear cog, perfect for scaling the steepest of climbs. Thru-axles feature at both ends of the Merit Plus.
The Merit Plus features the flat-mount brake standard at front and rear of the bike. SRAM’s excellent Force hydraulic brake calipers provide plenty of stopping power.
This photo angle shows the Merit Plus’ internalized hydraulic brake housings.
The front end of the Merit Plus is clean and tidy. Continuing the internalized theme, the front hydraulic brake housing is routed internally through the fork.
There’s plenty of clearance between those chainstays. In the photo above, Panaracer’s 700c x 38mm Gravelking SK tyres are installed.
Merit Plus Carbon Gravel Bike:
- Frame: Merit Plus (Medium) with rack mounts and thru-axle (12mm x 142mm).
- Fork: Merit tapered 1 1/8″ to 1 1/2″ thru-axle (15mm) carbon fork with rack mounts.
- Headset: FSA.
- Stem: BBB aluminium (90mm).
- Handlebar: Ritchey EVO adventure.
- Bar Tape: Lizard Skin.
- Brakes: SRAM Force hydraulic, flat-mount.
- Brake Rotors: SRAM CenterLine X 160mm.
- Brake / Shift Levers: SRAM Force hydraulic / mechanical 11-speed.
- Front Derailleur: N/A.
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM Force 1 11-speed.
- Cassette: SRAM XG-1150 11-speed 10-42.
- Chain: SRAM X1 with 118 links.
- Crankset: SRAM Force GXP with 42 tooth chainring.
- Bottom Bracket: C-Bear BB 92/86.
- Pedals: Shimano XTR.
- Wheelset: 650b / 27.5″ – Crank Brothers Cobalt 3 with XD driver. 700c – Halo Vapour 700c with Megadrive 20 pawl XD driver.
- Tires: 650b / 27.5″ – Vredstein Spotted Cat 27.5″ / 650b x 2.00″ TLR configured tubeless. 700c – Panracer GravelKing SK 700 x 38 tyres and Schwalbe inner tubes.
- Saddle: Prologo Scratch 2 Tirox 143mm.
- Seatpost: Merit carbon setback.
- Bottle Cages: BBB.
If you own a unique gravel bike you’d like to see featured on Gravel Cyclist, please contact us.