NAHBS 2013: Merlin Titanium Bicycles Revived by Competitive Cyclist

2013 Merlin Extralite titanium road bike made in USA

After buying Merlin Bikes in 2011, online retailer Competitive Cyclist shelved the brand while they were busy moving their headquarters out west and getting settled in.

Now, they’ve resuscitated the respected brand and introduced the Merlin Extralite road bike. Like before, they’re titanium, and they’re still being 100% made in the USA. And, they’re made of US-sourced titanium, too!

The frame has large diameter round 3/2.5 double butted ti tubes, a 44mm headtube for use with tapered forks and a PFBB30 bottom bracket. It’s available in seven sizes and retails for $3,500 with ENVE 2.0 fork, Chris King Inset 7 headset and Thomson seatpost collar. They’re available exclusively through Competitive Cyclist as a frameset or complete bikes with various builds, and word is they’ll have a mountain bike in April. Click through for another pic from NAHBS and the full press release…

2013 Merlin Extralite titanium road bike made in USA

PRESS RELEASE: Competitive Cyclist, online specialty retailer of road and mountain bikes, is proud to announce the official rebirth of Merlin handcrafted titanium road and mountain bikes. Competitive Cyclist put the legendary brand on a two year sabbatical after purchasing it in 2011. Since that time, Merlin has been rebuilt on its fundamental values, but the bikes have caught up with technological advances. Merlin got its second wind.

Competitive Cyclist bought Merlin with intent to revive the spirit of one of the greatest names in American bicycles. They never lost sight of the lusted-after bikes that Merlin produced in its founding years.

Thanks to the acquisition, Merlin bikes have been able to regain their legendary authenticity and craftsmanship, but they have been supercharged by innovation.

“Over the past two years, we have collaborated with countless industry insiders, former Merlin employees, and trusted experts, because we hoped to distill the essence of Merlin,” said Zach Spinhirne-Martin, a long-time member of the merchandising team at Competitive Cyclist. “I am proud to say that we have done what we set out to do. Today, as it was in its glory days, Merlin is a perfect blend of craftsmanship and cutting edge technology, which leads to incredible performance.”

Merlin Metalworks, as it was once called, first appeared in the bike scene in 1986 with a revolutionary titanium mountain bike frame. Within a year, Merlin was already receiving gushing reviews. In 1988, they debuted a titanium road frame. By 1989, it was the American-built frame that tech geeks salivated over. Icons such as Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong raced Merlin bikes during this era.

Merlin also stood out in the 90s because the bikes were designed, sourced, and built in the United States. Competitive Cyclist is proud to announce that Merlin bikes have upheld the tradition and are still 100% made in the USA.

Merlin bikes are timeless and cutting edge, and they are about to be turning heads and winning races once again. Enter the Merlin Extralight:

Comments

travis - 03/04/13 - 1:10pm

“Made in the USA” Where? By whom? .. More info please – THx

muddimike - 03/04/13 - 1:12pm

I had a Merlin XLM, and it was the best bike I ever owned. To this day, I regret selling it.

notmikeb - 03/04/13 - 1:30pm

Good! I always thought ABG really let that brand die out when it shouldn’t have.

1Pro - 03/04/13 - 1:37pm

for the love of god please stop saying PFBB30!!!! BB30 or PF30 please.

Topmounter - 03/04/13 - 1:39pm

I’m glad I got my Extralite with a traditional bb and headset when I did, but I’m glad to see the brand back in action.

limba - 03/04/13 - 2:05pm

Some bikes just look right and Merlin always did. They should build an Extralight 650B today if they haven’t already.

me thats who - 03/04/13 - 2:33pm

welded by Form Cycles in Arizona

Nakre Nakresson - 03/04/13 - 2:50pm

If it is made by Form Cycles then it is not a Merlin, it is a Form Cycles bicycle with Merlin stickers on it?

Whats the deal waking up a luxury brand just to sell off some other frame makes frames as Merlin from some kind of internet dealer?

vectorbug - 03/04/13 - 2:58pm

Nakre: Just because Ferdinand Porsche (or Henry Ford, or Enzo, or Kellogg) isn’t still designing making each vehicle by hand, doesn’t mean the company doesn’t live up to his vision and levels of quality.

vectorbug - 03/04/13 - 3:00pm

(and some of us may remember, Seven fabricated Merlin Ti frames too)

Dan - 03/04/13 - 3:13pm

Too bad competitive cyclist is such a pain in the ass to work with. I really dislike their customer service. The original Merlin’s are the only way to go, otherwise you are just buying an overpriced re-branded ti frame.

Mallory - 03/04/13 - 4:51pm

@Nakre Nakresson… I checked with the powers that be @ CC…
They chose to subcontract with Form Cycles ‘cuz after careful research they found it would piss you off…thus guaranteeing you wouldn’t buy one, preventing brand image damage caused by people seeing you ride one.

Jmg - 03/04/13 - 5:53pm

I’ve purchased bikes from CC before and found their customer service both before and after the transaction to be nothing short of exemplary. If I’d received treatment half as helpful and courteous from my LBS I would have spent the $ locally.

JH - 03/04/13 - 6:04pm

I agree with Jmg. I’ve purchased two bikes from CCyclist, one before and one after their move to SLC. The service and communication has been excellent. When it’s time, I’ll be talking to them again.

mudrock - 03/04/13 - 6:15pm

Diletantes who claim nothing will compare with the original Merlin really annoy me. The truth is they have no idea. @Dan: you bought an overpriced frame to begin with.

Dave - 03/04/13 - 7:18pm

I sold my 2004 extralight because it was too small. I still own my 2004 xlm mountain bike and I plan on buying another Merlin pretty soon now…good times…good to see Merlin back.

travis - 03/04/13 - 7:21pm

kudo’s to Form Cycles then – and to Merlin. Great looking bike – thx

Luke - 03/05/13 - 4:18am

@Mallory Thats a company philosophy i could believe in

WannaBeSTi - 03/05/13 - 8:49am

I agree with notmikeb, ABG pooped in their own bed by letting Merlin die on the vine. Mike, did you live in Chattanooga?

I have one question, when are frame companies going to turn away from BB30? I’d rather have a ti frame with an external bearing BB than to deal with the shortened bearing life. All my customers with a BB30 road or CX bike have had to have their BBs replaced within a year. Standard external…none.

BB386 is better because it pushes the bearings out farther.

King County - 03/05/13 - 11:02am

I wonder if they will make an updated ‘Newsboy’

Noob - 03/05/13 - 12:15pm

I’m still on a steep learning curve.. so.. help me out here guys.

When analyzing the geometry for these frames, there seems to be a gap where the typical 56.5 top tube rider would fit. Frame choices are 55.7 or 57.5.

What am I missing?

kurti_sc - 03/05/13 - 12:44pm

ah, the Newsboy! wow, that one really filled my dreams for some time. nice, innovative stuff. will it still be that way? I hope so. good luck CC and Form.

Champs - 03/05/13 - 2:21pm

Say what you want, but that’s a fine looking, well built bike made right here in the U.S. of A.

Flesh that bike out with more Thomson/King/Enve, slam a few PBRs, shoot yer guns in the air, and yeeeeeeehaw, this thing is more patriotic than a bald eagle eating apple pie.

Andre Perillier schneider - 04/22/13 - 8:45am

I have one Merlin extralight and I would like to know where I can find fabric because I need the plastic decalcs to put ( Merlin, extralight… Again) thank you I’m living in Brazil!

Andre Perillier schneider - 04/22/13 - 8:47am

The correct name for decalcs is tracing sorry

Doug Kirk - 07/16/13 - 10:31am

First Merlin “standard” roadie in 1991 (stolen), riding an extra light since 1999, Merlin hard tail mountain converted to a cruiser with slicks and custom “Rock Lobster” fork.
Santa Cruz Superlight for the woods.

Darryl Scalla - 07/27/13 - 11:40am

Bought my first Merlin Standard in July 1992, Bought an Extra Light in Oct, 1992 and got it
in Feb, 93, Raced the Merlins for years then road for LA Sheriff for 5 yrs. on Canondales.
I still have and ride the Merlins, I love them both and have 9 spd. Dura Ace.
Great bikes.
They will last forever!!!!!
Darryl
PS thanks for coming back.

Donald Burger - 08/17/13 - 2:57pm

Had a Merlin Mtnbike in 1993, rode it till 2003? Picked up a 1996 Extralight Road 4 years ago I’ve logged 5k a year on. Now I’m comtemplating buying a 2005 Extralight road w/ Campagnolo Super Record from a friend. I had a carbon wonder bike but honestly don’t like the feel of carbon. My other ride is a steel Independant Fabrication Crown Jewel.

Yo Eddy - 09/02/13 - 1:15am

@vectorbug – Seven never fab’ed anything for Merlin Metalworks, even in the early days at Topsfield or when they relo’ed to Watertown. Rob, Matt, Jen et al departing wasn’t exactly amicable and the then-owner of Merlin would have preferred that Seven died a quick death. Subbing out work didn’t really suit that goal.

Even if the geometry is the same, the tubing spec’s the same and the approximate tube forms/shape are the same, the quality of the machining, tack and weld order and quality, and the amount and accuracy of the subsequent alignment had a lot to do with the Merlin ride. Not many folks have been able to match what Merlin did (granted a select few have, and even surpassed IMO). It may say Merlin, but until one of us old TI geeks spends a couple hours in the Form shop, I’ll remain skeptical. Never-the-less, wish them all the best…

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