Eurobike 2011: Merida's new Ninety-Nine full-sus racer

Improving on the Ninety-Six with more travel and tweaked suspension

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.: merida also put its now big.nine carbon two-niner on display at this year's eurobike show.

Merida also put its now Big.Nine carbon two-niner on display at this year's Eurobike show.

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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