Still a prototype at the time, the twentyniner full-suspension bike BIG NINETY-NINE was the highlight of 2012’s MERIDA Press Camp. Meanwhile it has made it to series production as a carbon and aluminium hybrid construction, and just a year later the bike is ready for the MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM in an ultra lightweight full-carbon variety. With Ondrej Cink and Thomas Litscher, the team’s new line-up features two young talents that have achieved their biggest successes on full-suspension bikes. These two are predestined to score some strong results aboard the BIG NINETY-NINE during the first season riding MERIDA bikes.
Weighing less than 1900 grams*, the «Nano Matrix Carbon» frame of the BIG NINTEY-NINE is decidedly lightweight, but minimizing the weight was not the sole objective when developing the carbon fibre version. Much rather the goal was to make the best possible use of the fundamental advantages of the larger wheels and to maximize those advantages. For example, MERIDA’s proprietary «Double Chamber Technology» increases the respective frame section’s stiffness significantly using a reinforcing centre brace that separates the carbon tube into two separate chambers.
One of the BIG NINETY-NINE’s most remarkable features is its high bottom bracket rigidity. Thanks to the one-piece construction of the seat stays that pass the seat tube in a u-shape and the featherweight, one-piece full-carbon rocker arm no power is lost when accelerating. Not only does the BIG NINETY-NINE exceed the stiffness measured with its 26-inch predecessor NINETY-NINE, it even beats the hardtails regarding this matter!
Tapering from 1 1/8 to 1.5 inches in diameter («Tapered Steerer»), the head tube is critical for precise handling in technical sections. Add to that a 12mm thru axle in the rear and the possibility to lock the suspension hydraulically from the handlebar, and you know why the BIG NINETY-NINE is the perfect choice for XC courses with long, demanding climbs and descents – but also for stage races such as the Cape Epic. Apart from the SID XX suspension fork, RockShox also supplies an ultra lightweight, custom tuned Monarch XX shock for the BIG NINETY-NINE, and Sram’s XX1 drive train is a perfect match for the position of the frame’s main pivot. Prologo supplies the saddles for the season 2013, and their patented «Slide Control System» offers better grip and support for the riders when climbing.