There aren't many frames lighter than this, and we haven't come across a lightweight frame that rides this well, either.
The fact that it's a thoroughbred race frame hasn't stopped us from putting a rigid carbon fork on it and giving it a lot of stick on the sort of trails that you'd rarely find in an XC race. The XTC is lively, comfy and confirms that the oft-touted vibration absorbing characteristics of light carbon frames are not a cliché. Like the Merida, the XTC can also be bought as a complete bike.
The frame features all kinds of interesting shapes in both the main frame and the rear triangle, and that's the beauty of carbon. When you want to build in a particular ride characteristic - whether it be comfort, stiffness or impact resistance - you can do it by choosing the carbon weave, thickness and shape to suit. The skill is in achieving the right density of carbon and resin.
The XTC shows what can be done when one of the world's biggest bike companies spends years developing the expertise and the product. The frame's suitable for forks with up to 100mm of travel, includes an integrated headset and two sets of bottle bosses, and can be used with either V-brakes or discs.