For 2021 Merida have gone and updated their XC range, with the NINETY-SIX model now available in both the hardcore RC variation aimed at XC racers and Marathon riders alike, as well as the slightly beefed up version featuring more travel, more slackness and dare we say, more fun?! Read on for the full press release from Merida:
Originally launched in 2008, our World Cup and World Championships proven full suspension race bike has gone through a number of changes and alterations over the last decade, with probably the most significant departure from ‘the old’ coming together in the new NINETY-SIX (MY2021). We are very excited to present our take on modern XC, marathon and stage racing as well as lightweight short travel trail riding – welcome to the new NINETY-SIX – TRAIL AND TRACK AT FULL GAS.
After leaving its mark on the top tier of international mountain bike racing, underneath riders like Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, José Antonio Hermida, Ralph Näf or Ondřej Cink from the former Multivan-MERIDA Biking Team, the trend of more demanding racecourses and the growing number of riders who are looking for a super capable lightweight short travel full suspension bike made our MERIDA R&D team go back to the drawing board and develop the new NINETY-SIX from the ground up.
To bring the NINETY-SIX into the new decade, our team has created an entirely new frame that combines a long list of exciting features with a completely new modern geometry as well as an updated suspension platform. The new NINETY-SIX is available in two different level full carbon frames, with the top CF5 frame tipping the scale at only 1,695 g or 1,845 g for an CF4 medium size frame. Depending on the configuration it is either the classic 100 front/100 rear mm (NINETY-SIX RC), or the more trail orientated 120 front/100 rear mm (NINETY-SIX) version. Both bikes feature the same frame and suspension configuration but differ in specification and therefore show their strength in different riding situations and are aimed at other user groups.
In the ‘olden days’, the main focus for an XC/marathon race machine was outstanding climbing performance. Today the downhill performance becomes more and more important as courses are extremely demanding not just on the way up, but even more so, on the way down. To improve the downhill performance and the handling over rough terrain, we have tweaked the geometry by making the head angle 1.5° slacker (in the trail version even 3°), by increasing the reach (from 449 mm to 473 mm on a size L frame) and by lowering the bottom bracket and stand over height. All these changes make the bike more stable and give the rider more space to manoeuvre on the bike. Also, the rider feels more integrated into the NINETY-SIX, helping to control the bike when the trail/course gets rougher. But not only the downhill related parameters have become more modern. The seat angle got at least 1.5° (and on some sizes even 2°) steeper, making it easier to put more pressure on the pedals, thus making the new NINETY-SIX an even more efficient and responsive climber.
But a good geometry is nothing without a perfectly working suspension platform. Compared to the last generation, the new NINETY-SIX leverage ratio is more progressive. The progression is more than 7% which perfectly matches the small air chambers of today’s cross-country shocks. The higher ratio at the beginning of the travel makes the suspension sensitive to small impacts, and the progression gives it great support in the mid-travel. On top of that, we are introducing the new P-FLEX system. The new system has no seat-/chainstay pivot point, which has a positive effect on weight as well as stiffness. The material properties of the frame and the leaf-spring-like frame design allow sufficient flex without having an impact on durability. The new suspension configuration gives the NINETY-SIX impressive impact compliance for the descends and rougher tracks as well as outstanding pedalling efficiency for munching up the miles and attacking even the most demanding climbs.
Both elements, geometry and suspension, combined with low weight work in perfect harmony and create the most capable, supportive and most likely fastest NINETY-SIX in our history so that you can enjoy TRAIL AND TRACK AT FULL GAS.
For more info, visit merida-bikes.com