Our Merlin Malt gravel bikes have been a strong seller over the last few years. We specced our first gravel bikes back in 2017 and the latest Malts are the result of tweaks and updates over the past few years. The bikes from 2020 onwards featured updated geometry and more inclusive sizing.
While comfort is subjective, we pitched the geometry of the Malts between gravel and road. We found a ‘sweetspot’ which results in frames which perform brilliantly, sure-footed on both road and off-road. They also look more like a road bike. This is important because some of the extremely high front end ‘uglier’ end of the gravel bike market are not great.
5 Star Value
There are two solid reason for the Malt range getting 5 star reviews – Value for money and Quality.
- G2 Claris is the low cost entry point into Merlin Malts. It features a tough yet light aluminium frameset with flat-mount brake and 12mm thru axle compatibility. Reliable Shimano Claris 8 speed components and Merlin’s own brand wheels all add up to a relatively low 11Kg weight. 38mm tyres and flared gravel handlebars enhance the bikes off-road credentials.
- G2P Tiagra benefits from a triple butted aluminium frameset. This features flat mount, thru-axle compatibility, full mounts, together with a tapered steerer from 1.125 to 1.5 inches. This provides improved front-end stiffness and a more solid ride feel. Shimano’s reliable Tiagra 10 speed groupset gives a good mix of performance and good looks.
- G2X GRX features a light weight, triple butted frameset. This features flat mount, thru-axle compatibility, full mounts, together with a tapered steerer from 1.125 to 1.5 inches. The Shimano GRX groupset is a true gravel specific groupset. Designed from the ground up, to be a class leading choice for gravel riders. It’s also an extremely reliable day-to-day or winter ride option. Schwalbe G One tyres provide a great mix of grip and fast rolling, both on and off-road.
The G2P and G2X bikes are relatively light weight thanks to the triple butted aluminium frame tubing. They are also reliable, featuring Shimano Tiagra and GRX groupsets and our own Merlin brand wheelsets. Building a G2X frameset gives you free reign to spec’ your gravel bike how you want it. Depending on build specification, bikes typically weigh between 8 and 10Kg.
Merlin Malt mountain bikes from the 1990s had a reputation for being well specced, great value and 100% as tough as old boots. The Malt gravel bikes follow the same track. Modern aluminium tubing is ideal for making gravel bikes. Our Malt G2X bikes and frameset builds offer similar levels of performance and light weight as entry level carbon bikes (8-10Kg). However, aluminium is more robust and resilient to regular knocks, scrapes and prangs – not to mention those pesky rocks which often get flicked up to impact the downtube during off-road rides. For off-road riding, decent quality aluminium just makes more sense than more expensive, entry-level carbon.
The ‘swiss army bike’ tag on gravel bikes raised a few eyebrows 5 or 6 years ago – when the first bikes got squeezed through the bike industry machine. This tag turned out to fit pretty well, gravel bikes are probably the most adaptable single bike you can own. My G2X build is only a kilo heavier than my top end road bike, yet it has the ability to ride MTB trails, filthy paths, pump tracks and gravel paths and yet is only marginally slower on tarmac. Owning a spare set of road wheels & tyres to slot in, just for road-use reduces this difference to an extremely negligible one. The full set of mounts mean that Malts are easy to accessorise. Panniers for trips away or mudguards for full winter filth protection (below) – all easy with in-built mounts.
Our Malt framesets matched with fat gravel tyres are a marriage set to last into the long term (There are lots of Malt MTBs from the 90s still in action today), however when they do come to the end of their life, aluminium frames can be recycled, as opposed to carbon fibre which usually ends up patched up & ‘living on a prayer’ or in landfill. Recycling aluminium retains a reported 95% of the aluminium processing cost in terms of energy used in production, compared to manufacturing fresh aluminium from Aluminium Ore / Bauxite. So in a world of finite resources, decent quality aluminium frames can still make more sense than entry level carbon, particularly in the rough-and-tumble of off-road riding.
See the Full Range of Merlin Malts here