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