This week Merlin Cycles launched its new road bike with what they claim to be “The best road bike for under £300”. That’s a mighty big claim but with carbon forks, Mavic wheels, full Shimano Claris gears AND a cracking paint job, you can see why they’re getting all excited – and you even get pedals!
You normally can’t expect much for £300 but Merlin have delivered their PR7 to look and function like a bike that costs twice the price. The sophisticated aluminium frame paired with a carbon fork and built up with Shimano gears; this bike is a real testament to how technology that was previously found on much more expensive machines ends up ‘trickling down’ to bikes at the more affordable end of things.
The frame is the heart of any bike and it’s here where the PR7 really impresses. A light and stiff aluminium frameset with shaping that’s rarely seen on entry level bikes. The individually designed tubes combine to give the frame impressive stiffness and efficiency under power.
The carbon fibre fork up front is a real bonus, something you rarely if ever see on a bike at this price. Often the first thing that gets replaced on entry level bikes is the harsh metal fork. Having a carbon fibre fork up front helps to reduce the small vibrations – or buzz – that can otherwise be transmitted through to the rider’s hands. So it should be a comfy bike as well as a nippy one.
It’s not just a great riding bike, it’s a good looking bike too. Merlin have done a great job with the paintjob and the decals too. Merlin’s designers claim: “We wanted to make a bike that looks the part and doesn’t look cheap sub £300 shouldn’t mean sub-standard looks”.
Merlin Cycles say: “We have a history in designing excellent road bikes and although this is one of the lower priced ones, it’s also definitely one of our favourites.”
Above all the PR7 is a simple and reliable machine. The Shimano Claris gear system offers crisp and quick indexed gear shifting – all that it takes to switch gears is a quick sideways flick on the paddles that lie flush with the brake levers.
The bike has with a broad range of gearing that’s capable of steep climbs as well as flat-out sprints. So you can just as easily use the PR7 for short speedy journeys, such as commutes and you can just as easily spin away on long recreational rides at the weekend.
The Merlin Performance PR7 Road bike is available right now for the amazing price of £299.99. Order online directly from www.merlincycles.com or call in to Merlin Cycles’ newly expanded retail store in Chorley, Lancashire.