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Raleigh Merit 1 Review

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - November 16, 2023   /  Raleigh, Reviews

16-Speed Shimano Claris / 700x28c / Tektro V-Brakes Pivot Calipers / Aluminum frame

Raleigh Merit 1 is proof that you can get a decent, aluminum road bike, with quality Shimano components at a very affordable price. Of course, more money will always get you better quality components, lower weight, and a better design – but Raleigh is definitely something to double that at a reasonably good value. 

A beginner road cyclist won’t be needing much more than the Merit 1. This bike looks good, has a reasonably low weight of 23 lbs, and offers plenty of comfort for entry-level riders who are not used to the unforgiving geometry of road bikes.

Full Specs

  • Frame: AL-6061 Heat Treated Aluminum 700c Endurance Road Geometry
  • Fork: Custom Alloy Road 1-1/8″
  • Headset: Integrated Threaded 1-1/8″
  • Cranks: Compact 34/50t
  • Bottom Bracket: Sealed Cartridge Bearing
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Claris R2000
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Claris R2000
  • Shifter: Shimano Claris 8spd STI, Shimano SP41 Shift Housing
  • Cogset: Shimano 8spd (11-32t)
  • Chain: KMC Z82
  • Front Hub: JoyTech A171DSE Alloy Road 28-Hole
  • Rear Hub: JoyTech F362TSE Alloy Road 28-Hole
  • Spokes: 14g Stainless Steel
  • Rims: Alex AT505 Double Wall Alloy 28 Hole, Tubeless Compatible
  • Tires: Kenda K-193 Road 700x28c Wire Bead
  • Brakes: Tektro Dual Pivot
  • Brake Levers: Shimano R2000 Claris STI
  • Pedals: FPD NW-366
  • Handlebar: Kalloy HB-CR21 Road Bend, 31.8mm
  • Stem: Kalloy SA-DB2 Alloy 7 Deg. 31.8mm Bore
  • Seat: Raleigh Road with Steel Rails, 148mm wide
  • Seatpost: Kalloy SP-375 Micro-Adjust Alloy, 27.2x350mm
  • Extras: Rack and Fender Mounts
  • Tape: Raleigh AllCondition Tape
  • Bike Weight: 22.62 lbs

Full Review

Raleigh Merit 1 is proof that you can get a decent, aluminum road bike with quality Shimano components at a very affordable price.

Even though Raleigh Merit 1 costs just $750, it still has some great features to offer to its future owners. This bike is cheap, but it’s not cheaply made. The Raleigh Merit 3 is the perfect road bike for entry-level riders who want to go on long group rides, do structured training, and improve their overall cycling fitness. A cheap road bike can be a great alternative to having more bikes in the shed, as road biking helps to get a solid cardiovascular endurance.

Aluminum Frame

Merit 1 is an entry-level road bike with an aluminum frame that’s built using the famous 6061 double-butted custom formed tubing, which is most often seen on bikes in this price range. The frame has an excellent geometry, oriented towards comfort and longer rides. The difference between the saddle and the handlebar is not extreme, so you will have a more upright position on it.

The total weight of the bike of 23 lbs is great for a $600 bike. Moreover, it’s effortless to find the correct size for your height since Merit 1 is available in six different sizes. Most bike manufacturers offer 4-5 sizes, so this is a big advantage for Raleigh.

Shimano Components

Shimano ComponentsWhen it comes to cheap bikes, people are usually worried that the low price also means low quality. This is an entry-level groupset, so you should not expect to win any races with it, but you can use it for years on regular recreational and fitness rides.

It offers you 16 speeds on a 2×8 drivetrain, which is more than enough to get you anywhere.

Tires & Wheels

700x28c is quite an average size that will allow you to go fast on the flats, but also provide you with added stability and grip when cornering, or when riding in the rain. Moreover, they increase comfort as well, as to absorb road vibrations better.

When it comes to braking, you will have Tektro dual-pivot calipers and Shimano Claris STI brake levers at your disposal. We are seeing disc brakes becoming more and more popular in road biking, but they would increase the price on this set up too much. Moreover, brake calipers are enough for entry-level riders who do not do a lot of high-speed descending. Plus, they keep the weight down.

Raleigh – Merit 2

MSRP $980

Raleigh Merit 2

Raleigh Merit 2 is very similar to Merit 1. However, it comes with several crucial differences that are worth the extra price. Namely, the biggest difference between these two models is that Merit 2 comes with Shimano Sora components. It has a better set of Alex AT505 rims and a better pair of Kenda K-193 Wire Bead tires. Other than that, everything else is the same. But, these improvements can make a big difference on the road.

Raleigh Merit 2 is an excellent choice for riders who have added $250 to spend and need a few better specs because they plan to ride in wet conditions or do a lot of climbing and descending.

Raleigh – Merit 3

MSRP $1,260

Raleigh Merit 3

Raleigh Merit 3 has some significant differences compared to Merit 1, but it’s also a lot more expensive. If you decide to spend $1,600 on this model, you will get a lightweight carbon fork, Shimano 105 components (which are a lot better than Claris), a 2×11 drivetrain, mechanical disc brakes, and upgraded rims. All in all, the price is significantly higher, but you get a considerably better bike as well.

Raleigh Merit 4

MSRP $1,840

Raleigh Merit 4

Aluminum frame & Carbon fork / 700x28c / 20-Speed Shimano Tiagra / Hydraulic Disc Barkes


What We Like About Merit 1

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Shimano Claris 2×8 components
  • Decent Tektro brake calipers
  • Comfortable 28c tires

Points of Improvement

  • Merit 1, 2, and 3 offer much more value
  • V-brakes are not the best choice anymore as in long term you’ll be changing out the rims

Sizes & Buying

Bike Size Guide for Raleigh Merit 1, Raleigh Merit 2, Raleigh Merit 3

52cm – 5’4″-5’7″
54cm – 5’7″ – 5’9″
56cm – 5’9″ – 5’11”
58cm – 5’11” – 6’0″
60cm – 6’0″ – 6’3″
62cm – 6’3″ – 6’5″​

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About the Author

Sam Millers

Sam Millers is the guy behind Bikexchange.com. From the early days of three wheels to conquering challenging mountain trails, Sam's love for cycling knows no bounds. With a background in web development, Sam seamlessly combined two of his greatest passions – cycling and technology. As the creative force behind Bikexchange.com, he shares insightful stories, expert tips, and engaging content for fellow cycling enthusiasts. When he's not exploring new biking routes or tweaking website codes, Alex enjoys sipping on a post-ride espresso and planning his next cycling adventure. 

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