Merlin Malt G2 Claris Gravel Bike 2022
2022 Merlin Malt G2 Claris Gravel Bike
- 2021 Merlin Malt G2 6061 Alloy Gravel Frame with Carbon Fork
- 700c GDA-1 Wheels with Kenda 35c tyres
- 16 Speed Shimano Claris Groupset (2 x 8) with Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes
- Uno Alloy Stem, Bars & Seatpost, with DDK Saddle
- Weighs 11.3kg (53cm model)
- Available in 47cm, 50cm, 53cm, 56cm & 59cm in Black & Grey.
The Merlin Malt G2 is an alloy framed entry level gravel bike, featuring Shimano's functional yet affordable Claris drivetrain and a carbon fork. Despite it's relatively low price tag, disc brakes (albeit mechanical) are provided as standard, together with a mixture of own brand wheels and branded budget componentry.
Malt G2 6061 Frame & Carbon Forks
Constructed from 6061 aluminium, the Malt G2 gravel frame has a number of thoughtful design features built in. Being the third generation of their in house gravel bikes, Merlin state that the geometry has been perfected to increase both comfort and stability for the majority of riders, regardless of frame size. It's in Merlin's interests to maximise sales, so the chances are they've listened to feedback on their previous two versions and smoothed out any issues for this third incarnation. Unlike many budget bikes, 12mm thru axles are utilised front & rear for a secure connection between wheel and frame & fork. The disc mounts are flat mount for a minimalist look with cleaner lines. Both mudguard and rack mounts are included for versatility, enabling this low cost gravel bike to excel at anything from a functional commuter, a spot of light touring, bike packing or even cyclocross racing at a push.
As is standard with lower priced bikes, the cable routing is entirely external, taking a path along the downtube and beneath the bottom bracket in order to keep the top tube clutter free. Granted this doesn't look as clean as internal routing, but maintenance will be substantially easier. Tyre clearance is generous, with a maximum recommended tyre width of 40mm (approximately 1.5"). And for those of you who wish to use anything larger, then it should be possible to run slightly smaller 650c (27.5") wheels to gain extra clearance for higher volume tyres.
The rigid fork is manufactured from carbon which saves weight, helps to eliminate vibrations and smooths out minor bumps from road and trail alike. The alloy steerer is tapered (1.5" at the base, tapering into the standard 1 1/8" at the top) for added stiffness and strength. As per the frame, the disc mounts are flat and mudguard mounts are included for those who wish to stay clean and dry.
The understated black and grey colour scheme of this bike almost gives the impression that the photos are monochrome; it certainly doesn't command attention but also doesn't look like a cheap bike. Subtle, stealthy and smart - only the small logo on the Kenda Kwick Gravel tyres offers a contrasting hint of colour.
Merlin Malt G2 Size Guide and Geometry
The geometry of the G2 frame obviously depends on the size of frameset selected, with a few exceptions.
Regardless of frame size, the seat tube angle remains fixed at 73 degrees, headtube angle is 71.5 degrees, chainstay length is 43.5cm and bottom bracket is situated 7cm below the rear axle.
Please consult the size chart below for the remainder of the G2 frame's geometry measurements:
Sturdy yet economical GDA-1 wheelset
The wheels themselves are the popular Merlin GDA-1 Gravel wheelset, which comprise of an alloy own brand 700c rim (32mm depth and 25mm width), paired with reliable Shimano RS470 centrelock disc hubs. Both front and rear feature 32 rounded spokes, cup & cone bearings, with the rear hub width measuring 142mm. The front weighs in at 970g, with the rear at 1170g, complete with 12mm thru axles for both performance and ease of removal. These have a retail price of £169, but typically sell with a slight reduction at £139. The whole package is again black - spokes, hubs, rims and tyres, with subtle grey GDA logos on the rim wall.
Grip is provided by Kwick gravel tyres by Kenda; 35c in width. These can be replaced by something a touch wider if additional grip and comfort is required; as mentioned above the frame and fork offer clearance up to 40c.
All in all, a pretty functional set of hoops that don't cost the earth but aren't too heavy either.. now onto the rest.
Tektro Disc Brakes
Braking is via Tektro's 520 Disc Brakes, which are mechanical (use brake cables) and not hydraulic. These can be replaced with more expensive hydraulic systems, but this will also involve purchasing new shifters/brake levers. Mechanical disc brakes work well, but will need a little more maintenance due to issues such as stretched cables and keeping the cable inners lubricated (carefully, without contaminating the pads or rotor!) for smooth braking and lever return.
Claris 16 Speed Groupset
Shifting duties are carried out by Shimano's entry level Claris r2000 groupset. The 1.1kg double chainset, complete with plastic protective guard, provides 34 & 50 teeth chainrings, with the HG50 cassette offering 8 speed shifting with an 11-28 ratio, totalling 260g. Front and rear mechs are both 8 Speed Claris R2000, weighing 96g and 268g respectively, as are the combined shifter and brake lever (2x8). The 8 speed chain is provided by KMC which tips the scales at 324g. Essentially this is a functional and reliable drivetrain that despite obviously weighing more than higher end kit, is perfectly usable and should work well under real world conditions. Given that drivetrain components tend to need replacing more often than other bike parts, the G2 will be cheap to maintain - ideal for those on a budget or for use as a winter bike.
Uno & DDK Finishing kit
As with most bikes, pedals aren't included as these are a personal choice for most riders; from flats to the various clipless systems, most riders like to choose their own. Uno provide the alloy seatpost, handlebars and stem, with the saddle from DDK - all cheap, slightly heavy yet perfectly functional kit. These components are all finished in the same uniform black colour scheme to match the frame and chainset. The bar tape is unbranded cork and again is finished in black.
Overall weight is 11.3kg (24.9lbs) for the 53cm (Medium) model - so definitely not ultra lightweight, but not bad when considering the low price. The specification of the G2 has been downgraded a little when compared to previous versions (Claris groupset instead of Tiagra), but this is true of all bikes due to rising costs of manufacturing and componentry; either the price rises, or the specification is affected. Merlin seem adament that they need a low priced gravel bike, and in order to remain competitively priced they have changed the groupset.
Compared to other retailers, it offers a competitive specification, and largely garners positive reviews from buyers.
If you have any questions regarding the G2 Gravel Bike, then it's worth getting in touch with Merlin Cycles; it's been their entry level inhouse adventure bike for several years now, so they'll know this model inside out.
Merlin Malt G2 Photo Gallery
I've included Merlin's info below for those who wish to read their blurb on this budget gravel bike:
The Merlin Malt G2 Claris is our new entry level gravel bike.
The third generation of our versatile gravel bike range features tweaked geometry, offering more comfort and stability as well as a more inclusive sizing range. The Merlin Malt G2 Claris can handle a wide variety of terrain including muddy trails, gravel tracks and green lanes. This flexibility allows you to combine roads with a wide variety of other more challenging forms of terrain.
Your adventures are no longer limited by your style of bike, open up flexibility in your rides and enjoy the pleasure and challenges which mixed terrain rides can offer. The Merlin Malt G2 Claris features a 6061 Aluminium frame with 12mm thru-axles front and rear. Thru-axles ensure the connection between wheels and frameset is secure and solid, disc brakes are always perfectly aligned and steering precision is enhanced due to the wheel hubs and frameset essentially becoming one unit.
The Malt G2 features flat-mounts for the disc brakes, giving a cleaner, less cluttered look. The revised geometry across the Merlin gravel bike range enhances comfort and confidence to inspire all-day-rides, commute to the office or filthy gravel track action, depending on your plans for the day. The G2 Claris's carbon fork reduces vibrations and smooths out the feel of whatever surfaces you are riding.
Tektro cable activated disc brakes offer consistant, reliable braking performance in all conditions. Shimano Claris 8 speed components offer solid performance and dependable precise shifting, the low ratio gearing will inspire you to tackle the toughest terrain with relative ease or take on big hills with style. This frame can fit up to a 40mm tyre.
Frame: 6061 Aluminium, 142x12mm Thru Axle - Flat Mount.
Fork: Carbon Blades / Alloy Steerer, 12mm Thru Axle - Flat Mount.
Wheels: Wheels: Merlin RDA-1 Disc - 700c.
Tyres: Kenda Kwick Gravel - 700x35mm.
Drivetrain: Gear/Brake Levers: Shimano Claris R2000 - 8 Speed.
Front Derailleur: Shimano Claris R2000.
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Claris R2000.
Chainset: Shimano Claris R2000 - 34/50.
Cassette: Shimano HG50 - 11/28T.
Chain: KMC - 8 Speed.
Pedals: Not Included.
Components: Saddle: DDK.
Seatpost: Uno Alloy.
Handlebars: Uno Alloy.
Grips: Black Cork Tape.
Stem: Uno Alloy.
Brake Calipers: Tektro 520 Mechanical Disc Brake.
Weight: 11.3kg (53cm).
.. more details.
Malt G2 Claris Gravel Bike Specification
|Bike Type||Gravel Bikes|
|Fork Type||Rigid Fork|
|Brakes Type||Disc Brakes|
|Number of Gears||16 Speed|
|Size||47cm, 50cm, 53cm, 56cm, 59cm|
UK Postage would be £19.99 for Bikes.
Please note this P&P is an estimate, and is based on the following Merlin Cycles UK delivery charges:
Standard Delivery FREE for items over £20 and £2.99 for items under £20. Bulk Orders (Bikes, Frames & Wheels etc) £19.99. Full details on Merlin Cycles' P&P charges can be found here.
Please note - I regularly update these charges, but shipping policies do change - Please ensure they are correct before completing a purchase.
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Gravel bikes are one of most versatile forms of bicycles, being equally adept at long road rides and offroad excursions! Featuring fast rolling 700c wheels with enough clearance to run large tyres and (usually!) disc brakes too, a decent gravel bike is the perfect solution for the cyclist looking for that single do-it-all bike; such as the popular entry level Merlin Malt G2.