For 2013, Merida is introducing both new models and a new suspension design. VPK, Virtual Pivot Kinematics, which uses a unified rear triangle moving on a lower linkage and upper rocker arm to give the bike a virtual pivot point. This new suspension design will be on the the One-Sixty and One-Forty mountain bikes.
The video above shows two of the new bikes (and VPK) in early testing. The VPK bikes range in travel from 140mm to 160mm, with shock placement varying a bit between the two. The One-Twenty models use their more traditional A-Link suspension design. Click on through for pics and more details…
Merida says VPK provides tight pedaling performance like a short travel bike but soaks up the bumps on gravity fed downhill sections with aplomb.
UPDATED: Originally, we thought it was much like the VPP, but comments from Santa Cruz’s Joe Graney clarified, read them below for key differences. Thanks, Joe!
The One-Sixty lineup has, as the name suggests, 160mm of travel. The frames get ISCG mounts and internal cable routing for all cables, including the dropper post, tapered steerer tube and 180mm rear brake mounts. It’s aimed at the enduro/freeride crowd. The top spec 3000-D comes equipped with Fox’s new CTD Float shock and 34 TALAS CTD fork, Shimano XT 2×10 and brakes, FSA Gravity Light and Rockshox Reverb Stealth cockpit, Mavic Crossmax SX wheels and Schwalbe Fat Albert 2.4 EVO tires. Price is £4,000.
Below that is the One-Sixty 1000-D for £2,000 with the same frame, shock and features, but gets an SR Suntour Durolux 160mm fork with 20mm thru-axle, Shimano brakes and SLX group with Truvativ chainguide, FSA Gravity Lite bar and stem, KS DropZone adjustable height post. With the Schwalbe EVO tires, it’s pretty well spec’d for the price.
The One-Forty (140mm travel) is aimed at the trail rider and comes in two trim levels. The top 1500-D model gets a very similar build at the One-Sixty 1000-D, including the KS drop post, but with racier Nobby Nic 2.35 Performance tires and a Merida cockpit. Retail will be £2,000. Below that is the 900-D with a Rockshox Sektor fork, a mix of Shimano M-series and SLX drivetrain and a straight seatpost for £1,500.
The One-Twenty series uses their A-Link suspension platform with a main pivot just above the BB, a pivot above the axle and a rocker arm to transfer the rear wheel movement to the shock. The One-Twenty XT-M puts Fox suspension front and rear with an XT/SLX build kit, carbon Merida seatpost and Mavic Crossride wheels for a decent mid-level XC bike at £2,000. The One-Twenty 900-D gets a lesser but still decent build for £1,250.
It’s clear where Merida is placing its racing chips for 2013. The Ninety-Nine Carbon Team-D is the top model with a full carbon frame with BB30 that places the lower shock mount inline with the main pivot (unchanged from 2012). What’s new is the move from DT Swiss suspension on their top model to a full SRAM/Rockshox XX build kit and team-sponsor PRC cockpit with a Selle Italia Monolink saddle. Retail is £5,500. Travel is 100mm front and rear.
Drop £3,000 from the Team and you get the Pro XT model with a slightly lesser carbon frame and full XT.
The Big 99 gets a slightly different suspension layout, with the shock using a separate lower mounting point than the main pivot. Merida says the performance was optimized for more flickable, playful riding than the race-oriented Ninety-Nine. Rear travel is 106mm and it’s designed to be paired with either a 100mm or 120mm fork.
Geometry is slacker, too, as is quite obvious from the photos. Curiously, the Big 99 looks faster than the more upright Ninety Nine. Shown above is the top-of-the-line Big 99 Pro XT-D, which gets a stiff carbon fiber front triangle. It has a custom valved DT Swiss rear shock with remote and a Fox 32 Float CTD 100mm fork. It has a Shimano XT build with SLX hubs and Maxxis Crossmark 2.1 tires for…wait for it…just £2,500.
Below that is the Big 99 1000-D with an SLX/XT built, the same Fox fork and DT shock for £1,950. Where the Ninety-Nine is aimed at XC racing, the Big 99 crosses into the enduro/marathon category. We don’t have full geometry charts yet, but it looks like it has a slightly taller BB height, and with the option to throw a longer fork on it, could be a very fun bike.
Thanks to Angelo for the heads up on these new bikes!