Merida Cross­way Ur­ban 20D

A city-slicker bi­cy­cle with some se­ri­ous street cre­den­tials


FOUNDED AND head­quar­tered in Tai­wan, Merida has been mak­ing qual­ity bi­cy­cles for the last 44 years. The com­pany has been build­ing over two mil­lion bi­cy­cles a year at five plants; one in Tai­wan, three in China and one in Germany. The Cross­way Ur­ban 20D is their best-sell­ing model un­der the leisure/ com­mut­ing seg­ment, and the ex­am­ple we re­viewed came with a 48-cen­time­tre alu­minium frame in an at­trac­tive yel­low and black colour scheme.

The qual­ity of fit and fin­ish stood out the mo­ment I laid my eyes on the bi­cy­cle, helped along by world-class fit­tings like the Shi­mano gears, Tek­tro disc brakes and Alexrims wheels. The frame is made of Merida’s ‘Racelite’ 6061 alu­minium, moulded by a pro­pri­etary techno form­ing process to lend strength and rigid­ity with­out adding weight. The bike has a wide range of gear ra­tios with three chain plates up front and eight sprock­ets at the rear, giv­ing it 24 ra­tios that start as low as 28/32 and go up to 48/11, al­low­ing rid­ers to choose the ideal combo to suit most con­di­tions and gra­di­ents. The 622-mil­lime­tre (24.48inch) wheels are shod with 40-mm

(1.57-inch) wide street bi­ased Kenda tyres with an ex­ter­nal di­am­e­ter of 700 mm (27.55 inches). The tyres and wheels seemed to do well on our roads, and didn’t seem too heavy, as the bi­cy­cle re­quired min­i­mal ef­fort to get rolling.

The Shi­mano EZ fire shifters do a great job of snap­ping the de­railleurs into po­si­tion, and the chain hops over to the de­sired ra­tio with­out wast­ing time and with min­i­mal fuss. A nice touch is the hy­drauli­cally-ac­tu­ated Tek­tro brak­ing sys­tem, with 160-mm discs at both ends. Brak­ing is con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing, re­quir­ing min­i­mal pres­sure on the short levers to shed speed. A plus-point is the dual mount­ing points on the frame; the man­u­fac­turer has pro­vided space to mount two brack­ets for wa­ter bot­tles, or for one bot­tle and one air pump. We did no­tice the lack of quick­re­lease han­dles for the seat and wheels. What this means is that you will re­quire a span­ner handy to take off a wheel or even to do a sim­ple seat-height ad­just­ment.

Set­ting off, the nar­row seat feels com­fort­able, and has for­ward and back ad­justa­bil­ity in ad­di­tion to height ad­just­ment. The 660-mil­lime­tre wide handlebar ter­mi­nates in tough rub­ber grips, which widen out to­wards the end to al­low you to rest your palms upon them, and the plas­tic ped­als of­fer loads of grip to most ca­sual sports shoes. Con­trols fall eas­ily to hand, while the shifters come with easy-to-read in­di­ca­tors that tell you what ra­tio you are in. The left-hand shifter works the front de­railleur, while the right-hand shifter works the rear. Get­ting through Pune’s traf­fic was a breeze aboard the Merida, and we had no

com­plaints about dis­com­fort or ride qual­ity, even when we headed off the main road and up a dirt track.

If you are look­ing for an eco-friendly trans­port op­tion through the city, the Merida Cross­way Ur­ban 20D seems to tick all the right boxes as a light, easy to use bi­cy­cle that brings world-class fit­tings to­gether in an af­ford­able pack­age. The bike feels light on the move, is eas­ily ma­noeu­vrable, and pro­vides you with your daily car­dio on the way to work. The fact that it costs noth­ing to run and creates no emis­sions is an added bonus.

The Shi­mano de­railleurs work well and seem sturdy

The gear in­di­ca­tors on both bars are easy to read, gears en­gage with a pos­i­tive click

The Tek­tro brakes bite down on 160-mm steel discs for pos­i­tive stop­ping power

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