Anriette Schoeman’s Merida Scultura 9000
Outside of her infectious sense of humour and genuine love for life, eight-time SA Champion Anriette Schoeman needs little introduction as an elite cyclist. Jokingly referring to herself as the ‘World Funrider Championships Champion’, Schoeman has won the Cape Town Cycle Tour seven times.
The pocket rocket has represented South Africa internationally as an elite at a number of World Championship events and the Commonwealth Games, and has represented South Africa at the Olympics. She also did a stint in Europe on the Lotto Ladies team.
Her weapon of choice is the 6.8kg carbon-framed Merida Scultura 9000 LTD, fully loaded with an array of Dura-Ace Di2, FSA and Mavic componentry.
Due to Anriette’s short stature, Merida normally imports frames specially for her that accommodate smaller sizing. No doubt this also aids in saving weight. Her Scultura 9000 LTD, at the time of launch, was claimed to be the lightest production frame in the world, at 680 grams.
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It’s made using Merida’s UD carbon process, and the frame aesthetics are subtle, with clean lines thanks to internal cable routing. A raw carbon finish is accented by white, citrus and magenta graphics. According to Schoeman, it’s the stiffest, lightest and most responsive frameset she’s ridden.
Wheels and Tyres
That’s a Mavic R SYS SLR alloy clincher wheelset – Schieman’s personal choice for training, and as a spare race wheelset, it’s stiff, lightweight and robust. “The slick, understated ‘stealth’ look of the wheelset is an added bonus. It’s wheel doping, to complete my bike’s hardware weaponry appearance,” she says.
For improved braking performance, the rims have a machined surface for increased friction and feature Mavic’s Exalith surface, claiming a stopping distance improved by 20% in both wet and dry conditions.
Long-time sponsor Continental provides the rolling rubber, with race-proven 25c Grand Prix 4000 – the rounded profile and the compound keep rolling resistance low. Schoeman feels these are a clincher alternative that are as close as possible to the ride feel of tubbies.
Standard Dura Ace 9000 brakes are already highly regarded – they’re some of the smoothest, most predictable and most well-modulated calipers around. Their profile can also easily accommodate a 28c tyre, and they’re easy to set up. Setting these examples apart are the Mavic Exalith SwissStop rim brake pads, with a special compound designed specifically for use with the R SYS SLR wheelset.
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9000 keeps shifting reliable and refined. After five years of riding and racing on Di2, Schoeman swears by the system – it’s flawless, she says, and requires minimal maintenance. But she is due to upgrade to Di2 9100.
Integral to Di2 is the level of customisable shifting, and features such as the sprint-shifter buttons and a crankset-integrated SRM power meter. Thanks to the spider design, varying gear ratios can be changed by replacing chainrings, without the need to swap between compact and standard cranksets.
Anriette’s blade ratio is generally 52/36, matched to an 11-speed cassette ratio of 11-25. Can you say ‘watt farming’?
There isn’t a great level of visible detail here, but the spec of the Di2 shifters has a subtle customisation that yields significant benefits. Fitted conveniently in the drops, the sprint-shifter buttons make for split-second gains in a sprint, and are perfect for anyone with small hands – think long, fast descents where small, quick shifts are required. These are neatly located within a wrap of Cinelli bar tape that’s been cut out just around the shifter tips.
Another personal spec of choice for Schoeman, due to the user-friendly set-up, informative display, integration, and head-unit battery life. The power-measuring unit is situated in the crankset, and uses a battery that needs to be replaced by SRM in Germany once every two years or so.
Both head and crank units are Ant+, and compatible with other Ant+ devices. The power-control head unit offers GPS and Wifi, for easy upload to Strava and Training Peaks.
Standard with the frame is FSA’s K-force carbon seatpost with 25mm setback, and FSA K-Force shallow-drop carbon bars.
The shallow drop makes for a comfortable ride in the drops, while reach is also short, with good rearward extension of the drop.