Merida Warp Tri 5000 tri bike review
There are three bikes in Merida’s triathlon range and although they all share DNA with the Warp TT bike – as used by the Lampre-Merida road race team – none of the tri trio is UCI legal.
Sandwiched between the entry-level Warp Tri 3000 and the range-topping Warp Tri 7000-E is the Warp Tri 5000. Its design was figured out in Merida’s German R&D centre, but manufacturing happens in their home factory in Taiwan.
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Although the full-carbon Warp Tri 5000 looks like the Warp TT, it differs in fundamental ways. The main thing that makes it tri-specific is its steep seat tube, which can be 76° or 80°, depending on where you position the flip-flop saddle clamp.
The Selle Italia saddle is among the high-end components that help keep the 5000 southwards of £2.5k
It pushes the saddle too far forward to comply with UCI regs, but opens the angle between your legs and upper body to make it easier to hold a tuck for long periods and run immediately afterwards.
The head tube on the Tri 5000 has a long trailing edge and a high cable entry port for improved aerodynamics
The 5000’s head tube also has a much longer trailing edge for better aerodynamics and a raised cable-entry port just behind the stem. The test bike came with shaped spacers to raise the cockpit, but if you’re flexible enough to run it flush against the frame, the raised port also provides the stem with a bit of back-end cowling.
Truncated Kamm-tail profiles on the frame’s main tubes strike a balance between streamlining the airflow without adding too much extra weight. They give the 5000 a stark, angular look that the low-rise, sharp-cornered seatstays add to.
The frame comes with a lifetime guarantee, but also has a device on the steerer tube to reduce the chances of crash damage. The Merida Internal Blocksystem is a stopper that stops the bars from swinging all the way round and clouting the top tube. However, while there’s enough of a turning circle for taking corners at typical riding speeds, it does make manoeuvring in tight spaces tricky.
Merida plumps for a Vision chainset, with the rest of transmission courtesy of tried-and-trusted Shimano Ultegra
Vision supplies the chainset, but the rest of the groupset comes in the shape of Shimano Ultegra. Seating arrangements are taken care of by a Selle Italia SLT1 saddle, while Profile Design supplies the cockpit. The whole package rolls on a set of colour-coordinated Fulcrum Quattro wheels.
On rolling roads on calm days, the Warp Tri 5000 is lovely. The Fulcrum wheels feel like they could go on spinning smoothly, silently and swiftly forever.
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But on windy days, it’s a different story because the 5000 can’t shrug off crosswinds as well as rivals like the Shiv. Despite its truncated tubes, it somehow manages to be more susceptible to winds blowing from the side, which gives the bike an unruly ride quality.
Slide down onto the extensions and very quickly you become aware of how much effect any sudden gusts have on your trajectory. It’s far from being unmanageable, but you reach for the aerobars with some trepidation if the wind picks up.
Matters aren’t helped by the brakes. The front Ultegra caliper is fine, but Merida’s own direct- mount rear unit is very spongey. Brakes that are buried behind the bottom bracket rarely have much bite, but these feel particularly toothless. On good days you can all but ignore them and rely almost solely on the front, but if the weather’s wet you’ll need to reconsider your stopping distances.
Focus only on the crosswind stability and braking quirks and you’ll tend to view the Warp Tri 5000 in a rather unflattering light, but it’s not the whole picture. In the right conditions – namely calm, dry days – it’s good enough to hold its own among most of its tri-specific rivals. The trouble is calm, dry days are rarely guaranteed in the UK.
Fine for the most part, but can get unruly in crosswinds. Back brakes have no bite.
An almost complete Ultegra groupset and great wheels. Shame about that back brake though.
£100 more expensive than the Specialized Shiv, but you get Profile Design, Vision, Selle Italia and Fulcrum kit to show for it.
Enough adjustability to find a position that suits and plush enough to let you hold it for long periods.