It’s been a busy year for Merida, with the mega-manufacturer recently launching it’s new lightweight Scultura road bikes and the Ninety-Six cross-country dual suspension MTBs. In addition to these two releases, 2016 will see Merida produce carbon models of its Cyclo Cross and One-Twenty ranges, which were initially offered in 2015 in alloy only.
Merida’s Australian distributor Advance Traders showcased the new range to dealers Brisbane, Australia. While there, we caught up with Merida’s R&D manager Daniel Schwenk, who works from the brand’s design offices in Germany.
Besides the new bikes, Schwenk dropped hints to Australian dealers around Merida’s heavy investment in parts and accessory development. It’s an expected move given the success from both Specialized and Trek in the area, and Giant’s substantial investment in the category recently.
Cyclo Cross carbon
The Cyclo Cross carbon is a completely new platform for 2016 and is designed to be more race-orientated with aggressive geometry compared to the continuing alloy version. Additionally, the new frame is UCI legal. Coincidentally, we published our review of the impressive alloy Merida Cyclo Cross 500 earlier this morning.
With a wide flaring bottom bracket, we expect the frame to be plenty stiff under power
All the modern frame features are visible, including a tapered head tube, internal cable routing, 12mm rear thru-axle (135mm width) and a flared down tube that makes use of the wider press-fit bottom bracket shell. Schwenk claims the new frame weighs approximately 1000g (size not mentioned).
The front fork is identical to that of the Merida Cyclo Cross 500 we tested, which is a good thing. Weighing approximately 420g, it’s a full-carbon model that features a tapered steerer, 15mm thru-axle and brake cable routing through the left fork leg.
A feature first seen from Merida with the new Ninety-Six is the removable front derailleur mount, something that allows cleaner look for 1x11 drivetrain users.
While we only have images of the AU$3,999 Cyclo Cross 6000 (the only model making it to Australia), we’re told other countries will see a ‘4000’ with Shimano 105 components, and a more premium model with 1x11 gearing. All three models will feature disc brakes. Additionally, a cantilever compatible frameset will be available (not in Australia) for the racers still demanding the lighter rim brakes.
Rear thru-axle and neat internal cable routing are just two new features. Note the stealthy fender mounts
Despite its race focus, Schwenk pointed out that it’s a capable wet-weather bike, and so features subtle threads inside the fork and frame, with special fenders available from Merida.
One-Twenty carbon teaser
The One-Twenty carbon is a lighter version of the 120mm trail platform we tested previously. Unfortunately we don’t have photos (yet) of this new model, as it’s not being imported into Australia.
It’s a model that Schwenk appears proud of, claiming the new carbon front triangle drops close to 500g from the cheaper alloy frame. While new features include internal cable routing and a removable front derailleur tab, it has the same rear-end, as the current alloy model and so suspension kinematics are unchanged.
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available following Eurobike.