Pro bike: Pello Bilbao's Merida Reacto

We take a closer look at the Bahrain Victorious rider's team-edition bike at the UAE Tour

Clock07:00, Friday 23rd February 2024
A fresh colour scheme for 2024 has the team riding aboard white and blue bikes


A fresh colour scheme for 2024 has the team riding aboard white and blue bikes

Bahrain Victorious have seen a complete change in team colours for 2024, making their team bikes some of the freshest in the professional peloton. No longer are the Merida team bikes a black-and-red affair, instead they are almost the perfect reverse with an iridescent white and blue colour scheme the new palette for the team.

The team sponsored by Merida have the choice of either the lightweight Scultura or the aerodynamically optimised Reacto. When we got our hands on Pello Bilbao’s bike he was getting ready for stage 1 of the UAE Tour, characterised by its flat and fast parcours. The opening days of the UAE Tour lend themselves perfectly to the use of an aero bike with no real downside, so it's no surprise that the Spaniard had opted for the Reacto. Let's take a closer look at his set-up.

Vision Metron SL60 wheels are proving a peloton favourite

Having only been released at the end of 2023, we are already seeing plenty of teams rolling around on Vision’s latest wheelset, the SL60. As a Vision-sponsored team, Bahrain Victorious are part of this collective with the aerodynamic credentials of the wheelset perfect for the desert racing.

The rims are designed specifically around the use of wider tyres with a 21mm internal rim width which has been paired with a staggeringly wide 32mm external rim width at its widest point. This allows for a smoother flow of air from the rim to the tyre, however the tyre needs to be wide enough to maximise this effect. Bilbao looks to have a set of 28mm Continental Grand Prix 5000 TTR tyres fitted to the rims.

The wheels also use a new hub design that uses two oversized ratchet rings that provide a 5-degree angle of engagement. The advantage of a ratchet hub design over a classic pawl hub is that all the teeth of the ring engage at the same time meaning that there is a significant increase in surface area to deal with the power transfer.

The new ‘pro’ gearing

As a Shimano-sponsored outfit, Bilbao has Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 fitted to his Reacto. The groupset is firmly the most popular in the WorldTour with only four teams not using the Japanese brand.

Since the arrival of 12-speed Shimano groupsets in 2021, riders have been experimenting with different gearing combinations with the general consensus, Bilbao included, settling on 54/40t chainrings with riders swapping between either an 11-30t or 11-34t cassette. With the opening stages lacking any climbing Bilbao had made the choice to fit the closer-ratio 11-30t cassette, giving him smaller steps between each gear.

Finishing kit

At the front of the bike, Bilbao is using another bit of kit from Vision in the 5D EVO one-piece bar and stem. Interestingly, the profile of the stem raises the bars ever so slightly prioritising comfort over an aggressively limiting aero position. Bilbao has opted for the deeper profile drop to the bars, giving him a wider range of riding positions. The bars are finished off with Prologo OneTouch Neutro bar tape.

Following the Prologo theme is the Nago Evo CPC saddle. This is a more traditionally shaped saddle with no cut-out design or short nose profile. The small darker patches scattered across the saddle are the CPC (Connected Power Control) material that acts to improve grip, comfort and position stability.

Bike Specification
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