What a day for massive wheels and carbon eh? Hot on the heels of Lapierre sending us news of their big wheeled race hardtail, the Pro Race 929 and the official release of the carbon fibre Santa Cruz Highball 29er, Merida have just sent news of their racey big wheeler. Somewhat confusingly, it’s named the BIG.NINE and it’s based on the O.NINE hardtail – which despite the nine in the name has 26″ wheels and has seen plenty of success under Jose Hermida and the other members of the Merida Multivan Team in top level XC racing.
The team are free use the big wheeled bikes whenever they like, but as the team reckon they’re better suited to more technically challenging courses and longer distance rides they’re pencilled in for the Dalby World Cup XC and they’re already being used in the ABSA Cape Epic stage race.
Weight is claimed as 1,100g for a 17″ BIG.NINE. The carbon frame uses the oversize BB30 standard and has full internal cable routing. The engineers say that it’s actually 20% stiffer around the BB than the O.NINE frame and still keeps the all important Q factor down to 156mm, which will make race geeks very happy we assume.
The BIG.NINE uses ‘Flex Stay’ seat stays, extra short headtube to keep the front end low, asymmetrically tapered chain stays and a curved seat tube with a Direct Mount front mech for plenty of tyre clearance. Even better, it uses a 12mm thru axle out the back to keep everything stiff.
‘We didn’t simply ‘enlarge’ the O.NINE but managed to pair the impressive genes of the O.NINE with the different physical laws of a big wheeler to create the BIG.NINE Carbon’ said Juergen Falke, MERIDA’s Head of Design at the Team launch in Majorca.
If the all-singing, all dancing carbon fibre version is a bit too much for you, there’s going to be an alloy version too, but the new BIG.NINE Carbon range should arrive in the UK in the later part of the year.
Here’s a bit of video from the Multivan Merida Team launch weekend…
For further details on the current Merida Bikes range and the latest from Merida please visit www.merida-bikes.com/en_gb/.