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Merida Ninety Six XC racer gets design throwback to go faster, plus updated One Twenty & Scultura road racer

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2016 Merida Ninety Six 29er full suspension  XC race mountain bike

The new Merida Ninety Six full suspension XC mountain bike is a bit of a throwback to the original, which was designed around the then-popular triple chainrings. Then the Ninety Nine came out to work better with double chainrings and used a rocker arm with vertically mounted shock.

Now, the new 2016 Ninety Six goes back to a horizontally mounted shock with vertical linkage and a design specifically for single chainring drivetrains. 3, 2, 1, GO!

2016 Merida Ninety Six 29er full suspension  XC race mountain bike

One of the reasons they switched back to this shock layout is that the remote lockout cable (or hose in this case) can be short (and thus lighter) and doesn’t move with the suspension.

2016 Merida Ninety Six 29er full suspension  XC race mountain bike

The suspension is designed around 25% sag, at which point they say anti-squat is right at 100%. They’ve developed the bike with size specific wheel sizing, offering small and medium in 27.5″, and 29er in medium on up. The 29er gets 96mm rear wheel travel, and 27.5″ frame with 110mm rear travel. Both wheel sizes use a 100mm fork. Slight tweaks in upper pivot placement on each wheel size keep the aesthetics looking good and improve standover on the bigger wheeled bikes.

2016 Merida Ninety Six 29er full suspension  XC race mountain bike

Four frame levels, from full carbon to full alloy, but all have carbon rocker link. And all frame parts are interchangeable since the geometry is the same, which means even the least expensive models are just as race oriented. MORE suspension design makes sure that the suspension kinematics are exactly the same across all frame sizes.

2016 Merida Ninety Six 29er full suspension  XC race mountain bike

Merida’s Smart Entry System uses ports that clamp the housing so they can be pulled tight inside the frame to prevent rattling. Carbon frames use internal routing for everything, and alloy frames keep the rear brake and shock remote external.

2016 Merida Ninety Six 29er full suspension  XC race mountain bike

The top level CF5 frame comes in at a claimed ~1,900g (final production weight TBD). The CF4 frame uses the same rear triangle with a slightly heavier front triangle. The entry level carbon CFA frame uses that same front end with an alloy rear triangle.

2016 Merida Ninety Six 29er full suspension  XC race mountain bike

The geometry follows trends for 2016, yielding a shorter wheelbase, lower BB and head tube and longer reach, giving it a racier, more aggressive rider position for XC.

2016 Merida Ninety Six 29er full suspension  XC race mountain bike

Tire clearance is decent for a short travel race rig, and it sticks with standard 12×142 rear end spacing…no Boost on this bike.

2016 Merida One Twenty trail mountain bike

The new Merida One-Twenty gets 130mm up front to make it a bit of a trail bike, but keeps 120mm travel in the rear.

2016 Merida One Twenty trail mountain bike

Floating link suspension gives them better control over the leverage ratio throughout the full range of movement and should give the bike a comparatively bottomless feel.

2016 Merida One Twenty trail mountain bike

Like the Ninety Six, it uses SSW (Size Specific Wheels) with both 27.5″ and 29er depending on frame size.

2016 Merida One Twenty trail mountain bike

It even gets the Smart Entry clamping cable ports, installed into an all-new carbon front triangle. Lower priced alloy models get a new, lighter front triangle for 2016, too.

2016 Merida One Twenty trail mountain bike

Trail builds gets a dropper, held in place with this nifty carbon clamp, and a shorter stem. Endurance builds gets standard post, longer stem and slightly narrower bars.

2016 Merida One Twenty trail mountain bike

Double bearings on the brake side rear pivot improve stiffness and durability.

2016 Merida One Twenty trail mountain bike

Dropper cable routing pops out of the downtube and pops back into the backside of the seat tube. The rear brake hose leaves the top of the downtube and connects to the bottom of the chainstay.

Merida says the One Twenty is a good first time full suspension bike, but also perfect for anyone seeking a budget ripper in the all alloy build. The carbon model fully equipped will be more in the mid-range. Pricing won’t be set until Eurobike.

 

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Merida introduced the new Scultura as the “lightest production road bike” in May, and this 9000 model gets the same 730g frame as the 9000 Ltd. Merida’s reps said that means wall thicknesses down to just 0.3mm on a frame that’s made to be a showcase of what they can do technically. Even they say it should be handled with care (as in, don’t sit on the top tube), but it can be ridden just as hard as any other high end road bike.

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The rear brake goes south to give the seat stays more compliance, and it’ll fit up to 28c tires.

2016-Merida-Scultura-9000-race-road-bike05

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NACA fastback profiles to make it aero but still laterally stiff and light weight.

2016-Merida-Scultura-9000-race-road-bike07

2016-Merida-Scultura-9000-race-road-bike06

The 9000 model bike comes in at a claimed 5.4kg (11.9lb) complete, helped out by the new limited edition DT Swiss Mon Chasseral road wheels.

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The Lampre Team version uses the CF4 frame at 820g so it’s a little more durable and lets the team more easily meet the UCI’s minimum weight requirement. The team bikes come in at a claimed 6.6kg (14.55lb) with an SRM power meter.

That’s a lot of development for a frame when things are slowly moving toward disc brakes, and they told us the pro team will be testing disc brake models in 2016.

Merida-Bikes.com

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Antoine
Antoine
9 years ago

I don’t know where this trend of low bb for XC racer rig came, but what i know is:
-For about 15 year manufactrers claim “low bb” every year which mean we should be riding under the ground by now.
– i’ve had several bike with too low BB (specialized fullys) which me and many racers i know did not like because one can’t pedal properly on many rough sections.
-i’ve had bike with BB adjust and most racers i know ends up with the tweak in “high BB” position (scott lapierre) because one can pedal more.

This really make sense only for racing where pedaling is not important: ie downhill.

Wicked
Wicked
9 years ago

You don’t need to always pedal 😀 Low

Antoine
Antoine
9 years ago

If you want to go XC fast pedaling is quite important. I can assure you XC racers don’t brake that much in turns.

STS
STS
9 years ago

@Antoine +1

Roy
Roy
9 years ago

Where do you race Antoine? what class do you race? I see your point, same with CX, if the bb is too low you have to wait another few feet to finish a corner before hitting the cranks.

Jordan P
Jordan P
9 years ago

If its good enough for world cup xc, its good enough for the general public

chuck
chuck
9 years ago

Those zipties holding the chainstay protector in place look classy.

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