Merida’s new Silex wants to bridge the gaps between commute, adventure, bikepacking, and gravel bikes. In order to achieve this, Merida’s development team had to dig deep into its box of tricks and throw in a fair amount of mountain bike technology. Is the € 3,799 Merida Silex 9000 carbon-rig the new star in the gravel firmament? And what can the many attractively priced options for bikepackers offer?

Here you’ll find our current group test on the best gravel bike.

Merida Silex 9000
Merida Silex 9000 | 8.04 kg | € 3,799

Merida belongs to the vanguard of Asian bike manufacturers, producing frames for many renowned brands. And now, little by little, they’re also focusing more on its own brand development and model range. The Merida Silex is the latest creation of the Germany-based development team – production is still based in the Taiwan HQ – and comes with many clever details. Chief among these is the disc-cooler system. Already seen on the Merida Scultura Disc and Reacto Disc, it dissipates heat from the brake rotors using a specially developed CNC cooling-fin system built into the frame. All the other key data also proves how much brainwork lies behind this bike. The Silex 9000 is seat-dropper ready and includes features like mountain bike rims with 21 mm internal width, a stylishly integrated saddle clamp, and the option of running either road tires up to 44 mm wide or 2.2” 650b rubber.

Merida Silex 9000

Merida also offers a line of affordable frame and saddle bags, which are very easy to fit. These work well but can’t compete against some of the much pricier bags from quality brands like Apidura. Rather more inconspicuous, but all the more important is the geometry. Inspired by modern mountain bikes, the Silex features the combo of a long frame and a short stem. The saddle to handlebar reach remains the same, but through this composure, riding confidence should increase significantly. Enough with technology stuff, let’s have a look at the aesthetics. The long head tube and the curved fork aren’t a design masterpiece, and neither is the paint job. The cheaper versions actually come with a way more attractive design – which is good news as the top of the range model in our test won’t be available in Germany.

Merida Silex 9000
Tuning Tip: Depending on use, grippier tires

With an impressive weight of 8.04 kg the Merida Silex lands a third place in our test field. Even more of a surprise are its handling characteristics. After a short acclimatisation period, the mountain bike inspired geometry (580 mm long top tube in a size M!) combined with the short stem make for a true “feel-good” ride. Not only does the long head tube allow for more room to fit bags in the frame triangle, it also makes for a slightly raised front end; this gives you a great deal of riding confidence on trails and downhill runs. With this easy going, Harley-Davidson style it’s also a truly comfortable ride. Something you sure as hell will appreciate on long tours. However, once back in town you may have to refrain from too much posing on the Silex, as the long head tube and short stem look a little dorky when riding up and down the boulevard.

Merida Silex 9000 Merida Silex 9000
Merida Silex 9000
Brave steps from Merida, that work perfectly well in real life.

The frame strikes a splendid balance between comfort and stiffness, and feels great on day-long tours, whether on the road, gravel or trails. The 35 mm wide Maxxis semi-slick tires are superb all-rounders, but you’ll have to adjust your lines to keep the bike on track when riding corners more aggressively as the shoulder knobs quickly reach their limitations. The same applies to use off-road with a leisurely riding style the tires work fine and offer good amounts of cornering traction on the trail, yet lack the reserves of a bigger, fully-treaded tire when ridden more vigorously. When sprinting it becomes clear that this bike isn’t built for bursts of speed or power, it just feels too sluggish. The SRAM Force 1×11 groupset with a 10-42 cassette works great and covers 98% of the range of a 2×11 compact crank with an 11–32 cassette.

Merida Silex 9000
Helmet Kask Protone | Glasses Oakley RadarLock | Jersey Romance RMNC Casual T | Shorts Huez Utility Shorts | Socks Fingerscrossed #01_03 | Shoes Sidi Wire Carbon

The Merida Silex 9000 in detail

Drivetrain SRAM Force 1
Wheelset Fulcrum Red Passion 3
Brakes SRAM Force 1
Tires Maxxis
Weight 8.04 kg
Price € 3,799

Merida Silex 9000
The frame bags are good and cheap, but you can’t really compare them to the more expensive products from brands like Apidura.
Merida Silex 9000
The Maxxis Gravel 35c semi-slick tire is a great all rounder for long-distance riding. However, if you’re a real shredder you should choose a tire with a more aggressive profile. The alternative: fitting 650btires!
Merida Silex 9000
The CNC’d cooling fins are fitted on the flat mount for the brake caliper and encourage heat dissipation.
Merida Silex 9000
Mountain bike feeling? At least when it comes to riding confidence on the trail. The concept of the short stem combined with a long top tube makes sense.

Geometry of the Merida Silex 9000

Merida Silex 9000 Merida Silex 9000


Surprise! The Merida Silex 9000 actually offers more than you would expect. Not only are the clever details and modern geometry a brave step from Merida, they also work perfectly well in real life. You could dispute the bike’s design, but not its function. The Silex is a great choice for those touring and long-distance riders who are looking for an extra boost of comfort and riding confidence. And this also makes the Merida Silex a great bike for commutes, both through forests and concrete jungles.


– Mountain bike inspired geometry
– Mounting options for panniers
– Brake cooling fins


– Fork design
– Grip threshold
– Sloppy handling for aggressive riders

More info at:

Here you’ll find our current group test on the best gravel bike.

All bikes in test: Festka One Gravel | Legor Cicli LWTUA | Moots Routt RSL | Open U.P. | Rondo Ruut CF2Salsa Cutthroat Force 1 | Specialized Diverge Comp | Specialized Sequoia Elite | Trek Crockett 7 Disc | Trek Procaliber 9.9 SL RSL | Votec VRX Elite

Words: Robin Schmitt, Manuel Buck, Benjamin Topf, Hannah Troop Photos: Valentin Rühl

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