The unpublished Merida Silex ran to victory at the Gravel World Champs led by Matej Mohoric

Slovenian Matej Mohoric (Team Bahrain Victorious) won the UCI Gravel World Championship over the weekend on a new, yet unreleased version of Merida’s Silex. Let’s take a look at the bike…

Mohoric has some huge wins under his belt, including stages in all three Grand Tours and the Milan-San Remo title in 2022, but his victory at the UCI Gravel World Championships came as a surprise to most.

Photo: Alex © (ta Photography Hub Ltd)

Last year’s inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships drew criticism from many quarters for not being very gravel. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there were plenty of aero road bikes racing at very high speeds. Let’s just say it wasn’t the most technical race ever.

> UCI Gravel World Championships 2023 – how he won the race

This time the 169 km (105 mi) route in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy included 1,890 m of elevation gain and roads with various surfaces, including cobblestones. Mohoric did it on Merida’s new Silex, rather than the Scultura Endurance GR gravel race bike that was released in June (click here for details about the race, not the bike).

At the time of the launch of the Scultura Endurance GR, Merida said: “With the growing high-speed, one-day gravel racing scene developing around the world, it’s time to add this new and exciting variation to Merida’s lineup.”

> Merida introduces the speed-oriented Scultura Endurance GR gravel bike

2023 UCI Gravel World Championships Matej Mohoric Photo: Thomas © (ta Photography Hub Ltd) - 1 (2)

Photo: Thomas © (ta Photography Hub Ltd)

Mohoric could be expected to be one of the best at the Gravel World Championships, if it weren’t for the fact that the Scultura Endurance GR can only handle tires up to 35 mm, hence the use of Silex. Merida confirmed that the new bike will be released on October 19, 2023… but that’s all it said. What can we learn before the official premiere?

Mohoric’s Merida Silex looks to have a broadly similar shape to the existing model, being long and low-slung, with a steeply sloping top tube, although that head tube looks short, resulting in a big old seat-to-bar drop. Plenty of riders choose a frame size that most of us would consider too small to simply get to the short head tube and aggressive riding position, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Merida tinkered with the geometry here.

The head tube is also much more rounded and curved than the previous design. Before, everything was from different angles.

2023 UCI Gravel World Championships Matej Mohoric (ta Photography Hub Ltd) Photo: Thomas © - 1.jpeg

Photo: Thomas © (ta Photography Hub Ltd)

The fork legs do not taper as much as before and now feature three threaded accessory lugs on each side instead of the previous two, for those who like to go on adventures. Merida also added lugs on the top tube. Not surprisingly, Mohoric didn’t use any of them, although he had a bag of essentials attached to the saddle rails.

Instead of an external saddle clamp, Merida uses an internal wedge system. Previously, the carbon fiber Silex had an unusual design where the bolt was tightened from the side of the bike, but it looks like the bolt is now recessed into the top tube. The shape around the junction of the top tube, seat tube and seatstays has been changed accordingly.

2023 UCI Gravel World Championships Matej Mohoric Photo: Thomas © (ta Photography Hub Ltd) - 1 (1).jpeg

Photo: Thomas © (ta Photography Hub Ltd)

Staying at the rear of the bike, the chainstays are dropped on both sides, something we see on many gravel bikes. When you use a wider tire, you may start to have issues with crank play; that’s why many brands abandon chainstays – at least the drive-side ones – to increase the space between the disc and the tire.

Pulling up at the front, the existing Merida Silex has brake lines and cables (if used) that enter the frame either at the top of the downtube or near the fork crown. Look at Mohoric’s bike, however, and you’ll see that the brake lines are connected internally, apparently using FSA’s ACR (Aero Cable Routing) system.

You wouldn’t be able to see the shifter cables anyway because Mohoric uses a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 setup and the shifters communicate wirelessly with the rest of the system. He rode with a compact crankset (50/34 tooth chainrings) and an 11-34 tooth cassette. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill gravel combination, it’s something you’ll find on many everyday road bikes, although anyone racing on tarmac will typically have larger chainrings.

2023 UCI Gravel World Championships Matej Mohoric (ta Photography Hub Ltd) Photo: Simon © - 1.jpeg

Photo: Simon

Mohoric used Vision wheels. They look like Metron 45 SL Discs and are equipped with 40mm wide Continental Terra Speed ​​tires, in a tubeless configuration.

As mentioned, Merida promises the premiere of the new Silex on October 19.

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