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While Merida isn't a widely popular brand in India. The build quality of their bicycles in the Hybrid and MTB categories are nothing short of stunning. This was validated when we checked out the. Merida Speeder T1 2014; a beautifully designed frame with a spectacular colour combination.
What I noticed right away, apart from the gorgeous paint job and colour selection, was that the bicycle had internal cabling for both cables leading to the crankset. This kind of feature on a hybrid bicycle always puts a smile on my face. The Merida Pro SI-E saddle isn't the most comfortable and this is probably because it's a 'performance bicycle' feature. That said, I wouldn't suggest riding it without padded cycling shorts or a gel saddle cover.
Since the Merida Speeder T1 is a 'road focused' hybrid, the fact that it comes equipped with Road bicycle componentry - the Shimano Claris wasn't a surprise. Even though they might be entry level components, I found the shifting really smooth and responsive when coupled with the EF51 shifters. These shifters are very easy to get used to and are excellent for beginners to start with.
Front and Rear disc brakes are definitely a bonus and something you'll be very thankful for when riding in the rain. There was a bit of a drizzle when I did the test ride and the Tektro Novela Mechanical Disc Brakes proved really useful. The EF51 brake levers were great as always. The Flat handlebar made steering really light. I've always preferred these to riser handlebars.
The ride took a little getting used to. I'd like to blame it all on the rain, but I wasn't feeling very comfortable while riding. The Merida Speeder T1 puts the rider in a very aggressive performance biking posture and while this might be something that interests serious cyclists, I wouldn't recommend it as a first bicycle for a newbie. My test ride was rough on some beaten roads and smooth on paved highways.
It has all the features needed be an intermediate rider. And that's exactly what it is. It is definitely not a beginners' bicycle. If you've been cycling for a while now and are looking to upgrade from your entry level hybrid, it's probably something you could consider. If this is going to be your first bicycle since you were a kid, I'd say give it a miss.