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Take a look at how this aero road bike has been lightened for the mountains

This is the Merida Reacto KOM that Bahrain–Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali is riding in this year’s Tour de France. 

Bahrain–Merida riders choose between the Merida Scultura lightweight bike and the Reacto aero bike for road stages (as opposed to time trials). 

There are advantages in choosing an aero bike over a lightweight bike in the majority of circumstances, the exception being on steeper climbs, but in an ideal world you’d have a bike that’s both aerodynamically efficient and lightweight.

Tour de France 2019 Nibali Merida Reacto KOM - 1 (1)

The team’s standard Reacto weighs 7.2kg (15lb 14oz) when built up with sponsors’ components – 400g over the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum weight limit for racing, so Merida has been busy shaving the grams off Nibali’s bike and come up with the 6.8kg Reacto KOM – KOM as in King of the Mountains, of course.

How has it done this? Merida says that it has used a standard lay-up for the frame, but with the lightest possible carbon strains chosen and integrated into the various segments.

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Merida has saved weight on the finish. Most Bahrain–Merida bikes have a rich blue, red and gold paint job, but Nibali's bike is mostly bare. The down tube features a decal in the colours of the leader’s jerseys of the three Grand Tours – France, Italy and Spain – all of which Nibali has won.

The silver ‘fins’ in the design are a reference to Nibali’s nickname: ‘The Shark’.

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Nibali goes for a separate handlebar and stem from FSA rather than a single-piece Vision Metron 5D system that some other team-members are using.

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It’s an OS 99 3D forged 7050 aluminium stem (120mm) with a compact K-Force carbon handlebar (42cm centre to centre).

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The wheels are Fulcrum Speeds with a 40mm-deep rim at the front and a 55mm deep rim at the rear. They're fitted with Continental ProLtd tubular tyres in a 25mm width. 

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The Bahrain–Merida team uses Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets ...

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...although the powermeter isn’t from Shimano, it’s a chainset-based SRM unit. The cranks are 172.5mm, the chainrings are 53/39-tooth and the cassette is 11-30-tooth.

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Nibali uses satellite shifters in the drops – often called sprinter's shifters – to make changing gear easier when riding out of the saddle.

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Speaking of the saddle, Nibali’s isn’t from team sponsor Prologo, hence the lack of logos. This is an Antares 00 from Fizik, a brand he has been using for years, with carbon braided rails. It has a claimed weight of just 140g. We measured the saddle height at 75.5cm.

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The bottle cages are Elite Leggero. You can't see it here but a little grip tape has been added to help keep the bottles in place.

Click here for loads more Tour de France tech. 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.