While I was umm-ing and ahh-ing about what style of bike would be the best choice for the following year, a mate said to choose the bike which will suit most of the riding you want to do.  The Merida 96 is just that:  out of the box it weighed 9.85 kg making it lighter than most hardtail race bikes. The extensively researched dual suspension design keeps it racey when you need it to be fast and efficient, but also takes the edge of during the more fatiguing rides. My hope is that with the light weight and efficient travel it will be a blast during XC races, meanwhile the increased comfort factor will mean a truck load less fatigue and shoulder pain during day long events.

Racing this bike with Merida Flight Centre wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support from the Onya Bike Warehouse (Phillip and Tuggeranong) team in Canberra.  These guys have supported me since I first wandered into the shop at sixteen wanting to buy a second hand road bike.  I owe them more thanks than a person can ever give.  Please consider dropping in there if you’re ever in the area.  The Phillip store is not far from Mt Stromlo and has an espresso machine at the door…

XTR everything, DT Swiss bouncey bits, carbon galore.

In ten years of mountain biking I’ve always ridden a hardtail, and so far the get to know you process with the new steed has been blowing my mind with the new lines it’s opening up on my favourite tech trails.  I don’t feel like I’m riding faster, but the speed at which the terrain ahead is coming toward me indicates I must be.  Favourite rides have just become a completely new experience.  I can’t wait to get back outside and re-explore other places too!

A couple of close up pics are below.  Check out the Merida Australia site to oogle at the new range of bikes available or to follow the success of the team.

The 16" frame fits a full sized bottle of water with room to spare.

Might be adjusting the biddon cage...

Good to know who to call to say thanks.

Good to know what number to call every time I want to say thanks!

The trusted saddle bag migrates to it's third bike.  Impressive.

The trusted saddle bag migrates onto it's third bike. That's quality!

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