Merida's full range is far too extensive to fit into the room they had at the UK's Core Bike show, but there was space for the highlights. Naturally the World Championship-winning O.Nine hardtail and Multivan-Merida's full-suspension choice, the Ninety-Six, were on display, but they're little changed for 2011. The One-Twenty Carbon trail bike and Reacto road racer, on the other hand, are new for this year.
The key new model in the mountain bike range is the One-Twenty Carbon, Merida's latest entry in the 120mm full-suspension category, which bulges with strong contenders. The One-Twenty Carbon uses the same carbon fibre construction as the O.Nine and Ninety-Six, and at a claimed 1,830g (4lb, plus shock) for the frame it's only 160g heavier than the latter.
The rocker link is carbon too, and the gear cables are routed internally through the front triangle. Three models are available, with the 5000-D (DT Swiss fork, Shimano XTR) being the scary-money option at £5,699.99. The 3000 is a couple of grand cheaper with an FSA SL-K chainset, Shimano XT transmission and Avid Elixir R brakes.
The entry-level 800-D is something of a value highlight. £2,699 is still a fair bit of money, but for a full-carbon frame, Fox F32 FRL fork and most of an XT transmission (the chainset is a cheaper Shimano model) it's pretty decent – especially considering that the One-Twenty Carbon frame alone is £2,249.
The aluminium One-Twenty HFS bikes have been updated with a new, cleaner-looking front triangle that includes a tapered head tube. As well as the stiffness benefits of a tapered steerer, the new frame is said to be significantly lighter than the 2010 model. The range starts with the Shimano Deore-equipped One-Twenty 300 at £1,349.99.
On the road side, Merida have done a similar technology cross-breeding job with the new Reacto. The Reacto takes features and design ideas from the Time Warp time trial bike and construction tech from the ultralight Scultura Evo to deliver an aero road frame at under 1kg. It's a striking-looking bike, especially in the Dura-Ace equipped 909 version.
While the seat looks like it's mounted on an integral mast, it's actually a fully-adjustable aero seatpost – the graphics tie it all in visually. Despite the deep-section tubes, Merida claim that the carbon layup used delivers “Evo levels of vibration damping”. The top-line Reacto 909 comes in at £5,599.99, but the 907 – using the same frame, a slightly heavier fork and Shimano Ultegra parts – is a more accessible £2,999.99. Or get the £1,849.99 frameset and roll your own.