Merida has taken the lessons learned from its stunning Ninety-Six carbon fiber cross-country full-suspension race bike and improved upon it for 2012, giving it a few millimeters more travel as well as a new name: the Ninety-Nine.
Frame weight and stiffness are essentially unchanged from the previous bike according to Merida – claimed chassis weight is an astounding 1.85kg (4.08lb) with rear shock – but the single-pivot suspension design has undergone some changes to better suit modern 2x10 drivetrains. The main pivot has moved up and forward while the shock itself has been relocated to a vertical orientation just in front of the seat tube to provide more consistent suspension performance across the size range.
Other changes include a newly tapered head tube designed around either a 100mm or 120mm fork, bridgeless seat stays that lend more tire clearance, a shared main suspension pivot and lower shock mount to save weight, and post mount rear disc tabs that don't reduce frame weight per se but does eliminate the now-redundant caliper adapter. As before, the new Ninety-Nine continues to use a carbon fiber rocker link and carbon dropouts, though the latter stick with a quick-release open design instead of a thru-axle setup.
Merida will offer the new Ninety-Nine in three carbon versions and two alloy ones. All eyes will undoubtedly be drawn to the top-end Ninety-Nine Carbon Team-D with its SRAM XX build kit, DT Swiss XRC 100 suspension fork and DT Swiss carbon-bodied rear shock. Total claimed weight for that package is just 9.2kg (20.28lb) but the total price is a whopping €7,699.
Merida also put its now Big.Nine carbon two-niner on display at this year's Eurobike show.