By James Costley-White
Merida is set to build on the success of its top-end carbon fibre road and mountain bikes with a refined range for 2009. The Taiwanese firm unveiled its new stable of mountain, road, cyclo-cross, track and commuting bikes at the Ashton Court Estate in Bristol, England.
With a total of more than 70 models covering everything from World Cup racers to children's bikes, the company seems determined to make waves in the British market. Many of the 2009 bikes feature improved specs, with technology from the top-end models filtering down throughout the range.
The firm's research and development department in Germany has had a major input and the impact of a new designer is clear, with impressive frame detailing and new graphics which provide a sense of continuity throughout the range.
The most striking thing about Merida's '09 mountain bikes is the tube profiles. The frames feature the latest carbon, hydroforming and technoforming technology, and you would struggle to find a single conventionally shaped tube. Instead, huge square-section top tubes taper towards the seat tube and trail bikes feature downtubes that would have looked large on a downhill bike a couple of years back.
Merida's flagship full-suspension bike, the Ninety-Six Carbon Team-D, has been garnering rave reviews. With a frame weight of just 1860g, the 9kg complete bike can be lifted with just one finger yet still has 100mm of travel to soak up the bumps.
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