The air at the top is thin. Whenever elite professionals compete in their sport, they rightfully request perfectly thought-out sports equipment – for with each disadvantage, even minor ones, they are punished with defeat, both in terms of sport and material. It is therefore not surprising that four years after it made way for its successor NINETY-NINE, the “original” NINETY-SIX, one of the most successful full-suspension racers of all time, is still surrounded by an aura of victory today. And it is therefore likewise no surprise that we ourselves could barely wait to relight this fire and celebrate the rebirth of a legend for model year 2016. Welcome home, NINETY-SIX!
With the brand new NINETY-SIX, a new bike is available for 2016 that at first glance may appear quite similar to its predecessor that gave it its name. But when one takes a closer look, particularly at how the bike performs from the first meters, a cross country racer reveals itself that went through a thorough maturation process as well as on the drawing boards of its developers as on the trail. The most notable feature of this new weapon is its classic full-suspension racer layout: designed as a single pivot with linkage and the shock under the top tube, it is not just a coincidence that the new NINETY-SIX is reminiscent of the old one. The advantages of this design are obvious: no other layout can be realized in a more weight-optimized fashion, nowhere else is the shock actuated more directly, and only this position optimizes the function of the lockout. Not that the kinematics of the NINETY-SIX would work drivetrain-neutrally only with a lockout, they were designed for maximum efficiency. Nevertheless, experienced riders rightly appreciate this feature.
Speaking of “kinematics”, the transition from NINETY-SIX to NINETY-NINE in 2012 originally was necessary because professionals had turned their backs on the common 3x10 drivetrains, for which the old NINETY-SIX was optimized, and switched to 2x10. But times have changed in this respect again.
1x11 is now preferred by XC racers and is also widespread among marathon riders. We have optimized the newly developed NINETY-SIX precisely toward this development. Thanks to MERIDA’s own “M.O.R.E.” technology, this is the case in all frame sizes and both optional 29er and 27.5” wheel sizes. The latter even features 119-millimeters instead of 96 millimeters of travel at the rear, while both rear ends shine with equal power transfer and efficiency.
But there is more to the new NINETY-SIX than its classic full-suspension racer layout and the two available wheel sizes. It surprises with further only supposedly inconspicuous details. For instance, shifting cables and brake hoses are routed inside the frame, and rattling is effectively prevented by securely clamped entrances and exits, which are of course Di2-ready! Of particular interest to riders who use the NINETY-SIX not as a racing weapon but a high-speed full-suspension bike outside closed off routes is that the cable of a “stealth type” dropper post can also be routed elegantly inside the frame. Meanwhile, thanks to our own “Down Tube Exit” technology, all cables remain easily accessible for maintenance.
However, a look at its geometry shows that the newcomer is nothing less than the worthy successor to the “original” NINETY-SIX, which was hugely successful in professional circles. With a short wheel base and also a short top tube, our engineers have achieved a similar reach and thus comparable characteristics – at an even higher level and thus with the best foundations for winning the podiums of this world!
AN OVERVIEW OF THE HIGHLIGHTS
The reinterpretation of one of the most successful full-suspension racers of all time.
With modern kinematics, two available wheel sizes and excellent specs,
it is driven by the successes of its famous predecessor.
+ Top level frame under 2 kg weight
+ New internal cable routing (Di2-ready)
+ Available as a 29er and 27.5”
+ Carbon, hybrid and aluminum models
+ Kinematics optimized for 1x11 drivetrains
+ Optimal remote lockout control
“In close coordination with the professionals of our
MULTIVAN MERIDA BIKING TEAM, we elevated the new NINETY-SIX
to a tremendous level. It is certainly something very special to resurrect this legend!”
Jürgen Falke, Director of Products