Merida claim their 0.Nine race bike is the lightest, stiffest and most comfortable carbon hardtail in the world, and it's now available to buy in the UK.
The top-of-the-range Team-D, which is identical to the bike used by the Multivan Merida Biking Team on the World Cup circuit, is said to weigh in at just over 18lb, including CrankBrothers Eggbeater Ti pedals.
That's 200g less than their previous flagship hardtail, the already astonishingly light Carbon FLX, and has been achieved through the use of some pretty impressive technology.
The 0.Nine was developed using data logging and with the help of consultants from the automotive industry – Merida's product and training manager David Webster told BikeRadar that they have "an R&D programme that would be the envy of the industry, if they knew about it".
Merida say weight has been shaved from the frame without any loss of strength or stiffness thanks to the use of reinforcing ribs (what they call Double Chamber Technology) and the addition of 'nano-particles' to the carbon, as well as features like a full-carbon rear disc brake mount and dropouts.
An egg-shaped head tube improves tracking accuracy, while an oversized BB30 bottom bracket ensures efficient power transfer to the rear wheel (30 percent more than the FLX, according to Merida). The 'feathered' stays have been shaped so they are rigid horizontally but have 9.6mm of vertical flex for added comfort.
Despite the featherlight weight, there is no rider weight limit and the frame comes with a five-year warranty.
The complete bike costs £4,086.95, including a Manitou R7 MRD fork, Avid Elixir CR carbon brakes, SRAM X-0 shifting kit, DT Swiss 240 hubs on Alex XCR Pro 3000 rims, and FSA finishing kit.
The frameset, which is claimed to weigh just 930g (2.05lb) for a 16in model, costs £1,788.03 (including headset, seatclamp and BB adaptor).
New for 2010 is the One-Twenty trail bike with, you guessed it, 120mm of travel. It's been designed to be "light enough to race, and with enough travel to bail you out during a rock littered descent".
Merida have plumped for a simple single pivot suspension design with a linkage activated shock. The low ratio (1:2) design means it should offer excellent small bump sensitivity.
The top-end HFS 3000-D model has a frame made of triple-butted, hydroformed 6066 Prolite alloy and costs £2,247.82 with a Fox FRL fork and RP2 shock, Shimano XT kit and SLX brakes, DT Swiss X430 rims on XT hubs, and FSA finishing kit.
Further down the range, the TFS 400-D has a cheaper 6061 alloy frame with SR Epicon LOD fork and X-Fusion 02RC shock, Shimano M486 brakes and Deore shifting kit, own-brand rims on Deore hubs, and FSA finishing kit. RRP is £1,123.90.