Merlin Malt G2X GRX Review
- Price: $1,407.25
- Frame: Aluminum
- Tires: 700c Aluminum
- Gear: 1×11
What we like about it: The acclaimed Shimano GRX groupset can handle all kinds of terrain.
What we don’t like about it: The gray with green paint job might make some people feel monotonous.
Merlin has its unique perspective on gravel bike design and has always received great reviews in the market, so I’ve been keeping an eye on them.
Therefore, when the Merlin Malt G2X GRX was released, I couldn’t wait to place my order.
I wanted to see if this third-generation multi-purpose gravel bike lives up to Merlin’s claims of having comfortable geometry and the ability to handle various terrains.
Now, let’s analyze the riding experience, key features, components, specifications, and other versions of the Merlin Malt G2X GRX.
If you want to delve deeper into this excellent gravel bike, please continue reading patiently.
In the latter part of this article, we will also compare several top bike models. If you’re interested in more bike reviews, you can follow us.
I’ve always loved gravel road bikes. Not only does it work well for my weekday commute, but it also takes me away from the hustle and bustle of the city on the weekends and allows me to experience the beauty of nature on a quiet stretch of gravel trails.
The route I chose was the Indigo Loop near De Soto Kansas. First, I did some initial research on the destination and booked a hotel through Skyscanner. After the preparations, I set off with my Merlin Malt G2X GRX.
The Indigo Loop truly fulfilled my longing for nature, with a brown path weaving through lush green vegetation.
At first, I rode cautiously, afraid of colliding with a tree trunk standing tall on the side of the road. Honestly, the road was narrower than I expected.
Fortunately, the Schwalbe G-One tires provided enough grip and stability to get me through the first few hundred meters of gentle hills.
Just as I was getting familiar with the environment and getting into riding shape, I was ready to take it easy when I was caught off guard by a big angle corner.
Thanks to the excellent braking performance of the Shimano GRX400 hydraulic brakes, I was able to stop and get back on track.
Then before I got very far, there was a rocky road. Since the previous brake had slowed me down, I struggled a bit at first.
However, the Shimano SLX M7000 11-speed drivetrain on the Merlin Malt G2X GRX allowed me to quickly and precisely shift to the appropriate gear, making it easy to ride through.
The Indigo Loop is only 3.6 kilometers long. However, due to the steep and rugged terrain, it took me about 20 minutes to complete a lap.
The wide 700x35c tires minimized the impact of rough road surfaces on the riding pleasure, and the 12mm Thru Axle carbon fiber front fork provided ample support for my hands.
The Merlin Malt G2X GRX performs well on the road too. I often use it as a commuting tool or simply ride around the city without a specific destination.
The FSA Adventure Gravel handlebar provides a comfortable grip, and I don’t feel tired even after long rides. The black cork tape also securely holds my hands in place.
Unless I’m tackling challenging gravel roads, I usually don’t wear anti-slip gloves.
The maneuverability of the Malt G2X GRX has left a deep impression on me. It responds promptly to subtle changes in my body posture, allowing me to navigate crowded roads during peak commuting hours, easily avoiding pedestrians and vehicles.
If you’re looking to buy your first bike, I think the Merlin Malt G2X GRX is a great choice. It can handle both off-road adventures and commuting, and it offers the joy of cycling at an affordable price.
The lightweight and durable Triple Butted Aluminium frame has stood the test of time.
The frame features various mounting points, making it easy to add practical accessories such as fenders, providing commuting convenience.
Although the 12mm Thru Axle carbon fiber front fork’s suspension performance is average, it is sufficient for everyday use. Its good support also provides a more intuitive riding experience.
Furthermore, the Merlin GDA-1 gravel wheelset is an ideal choice for gravel, off-road, and adventure bikes.
The sturdy aluminum rims have a depth of 32mm and a width of 25mm, with 32 spokes each for the front and rear wheels.
When the terrain becomes rugged, the excellent steel rims paired with Schwalbe G-One 700x35c tires give you peace of mind.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Shimano SLX M7000 1×11 drivetrain performs well in both shifting and responsiveness.
As the top-tier gravel bike from Merlin, the Malt G2X GRX undoubtedly offers impressive performance.
However, if you’re looking to purchase an entry-level gravel road bike at a lower budget, we also have recommendations for other models.
Merlin Malt G2 Claris
Compared to the Merlin Malt G2X GRX, the Merlin Malt G2 Claris allows you to save $750 in terms of price. It also offers an additional size option.
However, both belong to the adjusted third-generation multi-purpose gravel bike series. Therefore, the geometry of both bikes is the same in the same size, providing a comfortable and stable riding position.
Although both frames are made of aluminum alloy, the Triple Butted Aluminium frame and Merlin GDA-1 wheel steel rims equipped on the Malt G2X GRX are sturdier and more durable than the 6061 Aluminium frame and Merlin GDA Disc steel rims used on the Malt G2 Claris.
In addition, the Malt G2X GRX features a Shimano GRX 800 and GRX 600 mixed groupset, which offers better shifting and braking performance compared to the Shimano Claris groupset used on the Malt G2 Claris. This is the main difference between the two.
However, considering the price point of the Merlin Malt G2 Claris, it is still a highly cost-effective gravel bike that can meet your daily road and off-road cycling needs.
So, if you have a limited budget, the Malt G2 Claris is a good choice. But if you want to experience the riding feel of a higher-level Merlin gravel road bike, I still recommend the Merlin Malt G2X GRX.
What do we like about it?
- The Merlin Malt G2X GRX has a lightweight and durable aluminum frame.
- The GRX groupset provides excellent performance.
- The carbon fiber fork is lightweight.
- Multiple mounting points for accessories meet daily needs.
- Excellent traction performance.
What don’t we like about it?
- No dropper design to adjust the riding position in time.
- What type and size of tires does the Merlin Malt G2X GRX use?
It uses Schwalbe G-One tires in the size of 700x35c.
- How is the braking performance of the Merlin Malt G2X GRX?
The Shimano GRX400 brakes offer good braking performance even in rough conditions. And the shape of the brake lever helps prevent your hands from slipping off it.
- How do I choose the size of this bike?
The Merlin Malt G2X GRX is friendly for riders of most heights and comes in four sizes. You can refer to the size chart below as a guide, but the best way to find the most suitable size is to try it out.
|5’3″ – 5’5″
|5’7″ – 5’9″
|5’11” – 6’2″
|Lightweight, Triple Butted Aluminium, 12mm Thru Axle – Flat Mount, Mudguard & Rack Mounts
|Carbon, 12mm Thru Axle – Flat Mount
|FSA Adventure Gravel
|Merlin GDA-1 – 700c
|Schwalbe G-One – 700x35c
|Shimano GRX600 – 40T
|Shimano SLX M7000 – 11/42T
|KMC X11 – 11 Speed
|Canyon Grizl CF SL 7 1by
|Maxxis Rambler 45 mm
|1 × 11
|Shimano GRX 800, FSA
|Kona Rove AL 650
|Maxxis Rambler 650x47c
|2 × 8
|Orbea TERRA H40
|Vittoria Terreno Dry Gravel 700x38c
|2 × 10
|Shimano GRX 400, GRX 600
|Bontrager H1 Hard-case Ultimate, 700x38c
|3 × 9
|Shimano Alivio, Sora
Merlin Malt G2X GRX vs Canyon Grizl CF SL 7 1by
First, the Canyon Grizl CF SL 7 eTap features the Canyon Grizl CF SL carbon fiber frame. Not only does it reduce the weight of the bike, but it also provides a sleek appearance. However, for beginners, this may also come with a higher cost of ownership.
Every rider goes through the learning process of falling off their bike. If you’re a novice, why not try the aluminum frame of the Merlin Malt G2X GRX? Its sturdier construction can help build confidence.
The dropper post design of the Canyon Grizl CF SL 7 1by allows for easy and timely adjustments of your riding position. Maintaining a comfortable riding experience is important, especially during long rides or on rough road surfaces.
If you have such requirements, the Grizl CF SL 7 1by would be more suitable. However, with a price of $2499, it is almost $1000 more expensive than the Malt G2X GRX. So, if you’re looking to save some money, the Merlin Malt G2X GRX is a highly cost-effective choice.
Merlin Malt G2X GRX vs Kona Rove AL 650
The Kona Rove AL 650 features a more traditional mechanical disc brake. In terms of braking performance, it falls behind the Hydraulic Disc brakes of the Merlin Malt G2X GRX. The former also requires more regular maintenance.
However, if you’re a casual rider primarily cycling on flat surfaces, the difference between the two may not be significant.
Additionally, the Kona Rove AL 650 is equipped with smaller 650B wheels, allowing for much wider tires than the 700c wheels.
This provides better traction on dusty surfaces or during downhill rides. However, for riders seeking speed, the Merlin Malt G2X GRX with lower rolling resistance would be more suitable.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a gravel bike with greater potential, and capable of tackling more challenging routes, the Merlin Malt G2X GRX would be a good choice.
Learn More: Is Kona Rove Worth Buying? – [Kona Rove Review]
Merlin Malt G2X GRX vs Orbea TERRA H40
Honestly, I quite like the paint job of the Orbea TERRA H40, especially the vibrant mango yellow color that caught my eye. The availability of six different sizes also provides ample choice.
Moreover, the Shimano Tiagra HG-500 2×10 drivetrain offers enough gears to handle complex road conditions. Even in unexpected situations, the Shimano RX400 hydraulic disc brakes provide safety assurance.
However, what puzzled me is that even though the TERRA H40 is about $1000 more expensive than the Merlin Malt G2X GRX, it features a combination groupset of Shimano GRX 400 and GRX 600.
This is slightly inferior to the Shimano GRX 600 and GRX 800 combination groupset used on the Malt G2X GRX. Of course, it is undeniable that the Merlin Malt G2X is still an outstanding gravel bike.
However, for beginner riders, the Merlin Malt G2X GRX can fully meet your needs.
Merlin Malt G2X GRX vs Trek 520
Firstly, what surprised me about the Trek 520 is its steel frame. But unlike the high-strength steel used on cheap low-end bikes, the Trek 520 is more performance-oriented. That’s why they chose chromoly.
While it inevitably adds weight to the bike, it also makes it more robust and durable. If you value the bike’s durability and longevity, then the Trek 520 is worth considering.
However, if you want to conquer various rugged terrains and desire a lightweight frame, I would recommend the Merlin Malt G2X instead.
The aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork of the Merlin Malt G2X guarantee a relatively lighter weight, and the Hydraulic Disc braking system is better able to withstand rough conditions than Mechanical Disc brakes.
Above is our review of the Merlin Malt G2X GRX. It adapts well to gravel riding and daily road use, providing an unforgettable and comfortable riding experience, and making it quite friendly for beginners as well.
In our opinion, the Merlin Malt G2X GRX is a bike worth purchasing, which is why we give it a high rating of 4.8. If you’re interested in trying out higher-end gravel road bikes, feel free to check out our other reviews.
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