Merida Launches New Ninety-Six Trail and XC Bikes

Nov 12, 2020
by Ed Spratt  
Merida Ninety-Six 2021


Merida has overhauled its Ninety-Six full suspension XC bike range to include both race and trail models.

While previous models of the Ninety-Six were fully aimed at flat-out XC racing, the new 2021 range has been refocused to be more fun and faster when the trails are steeper and rougher. Despite using a new frame, the overall suspension layout has stayed mostly the same apart from a shorter rocker link driving the shock. The updated frame design has led to a changed leverage ratio that's more progressive and features a higher initial leverage ratio. The 2021 models have also had the kinematics of the single pivot optimised for 1x gearing.

Merida Ninety-Six 2021
Merida Ninety-Six 2021
Merida has updated the internal cable routing to create a clean and tidy looking frame.

Alongside the updated frame Merida has split the Ninety-Six range into two different bikes. There are the RC models, which stick closer to the bike's previous life of a more XC race-oriented machine with their lightest CF5 1695g carbon frameset and 100mm of travel front and rear.

If you want something with slightly more travel and slacker geometry, Merida has created a bike designed for long days in the saddle or more demanding riding. The trail bike uses a slightly heavier frameset at 1845g and adds an extra 20mm of travel up front bringing it to 120mm. The rear travel stays the same as its XC sibling at 100mm.

Merida Ninety-Six 2021
Merida Ninety-Six 2021



Geometry:

Merida Ninety-Six 2021

Merida Ninety-Six 2021

Merida Ninety-Six 2021
Merida Ninety-Six 2021



Specifications:

While Merida has created two different bikes with the Ninety-Six they are currently only offering one version of the trail orientated 8000 and three models of the XC RC bikes. The 8000 comes in at $ and features a 120mm RockShox SID fork, SRAM GX drivetrain with carbon cranks and a four-piston Shimano XT front brake.

The RC range starts with the RC 5000, which is fitted with a RockShox Reba fork, Shimano Deore/XT drivetrain and SLX brakes. The next model up sees an upgrade to a Fox Performance 32 Float SC fork and Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes. The top of the range offering the RC 9000 uses the lightest CF5 frame, a Fox Factory 32 SC fork and Shimano XTR drive train and brakes.

Ninety-Six RC 9000

Merida Ninety-Six 2021
Merida Ninety-Six 2021

Frame: Merida Ninety-Six CF5 (100mm travel)
Fork: Fox Factory 32 SC (100mm travel)
Shock: Fox Factory Float
Lockout: SRAM Twistlock
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12spd with Race Face carbon cranks
Brakes: Shimano XTR
Dropper seatpost: Fox Factory
Wheels: DT Swiss XRC 1501 carbon
Tires: Maxxis Recon Race TR EXO (29 x 2.25in)
Price: €8900 // £7,300

Ninety-Six RC XT

Merida Ninety-Six 2021
Merida Ninety-Six 2021

Frame: Merida Ninety-Six (100mm travel)
Fork: Fox Performance 32 Float SC (100mm travel)
Shock: Fox Performance Elite Float
Lockout: SRAM Twistlock
Drivetrain: Shimano XT 12spd
Brakes: Shimano XT
Dropper seatpost: Merida Expert TR Light
Tires: Maxxis Recon Race TR EXO (29 x 2.25in)
Price: €4900 // £4,200

Ninety-Six RC 5000

Merida Ninety-Six 2021
Merida Ninety-Six 2021

Frame: Merida Ninety-Six (100mm travel)
Fork: RockShox Reba (100mm travel)
Shock: RockShox SIDLuxe
Lockout: SRAM Twistlock
Drivetrain: Shimano Deore/XT 12spd
Brakes: Shimano SLX
Dropper seatpost: Merida Expert TR Light
Tires: Maxxis Recon Race TR EXO (29 x 2.25in)
Price: €4200 // £4,000

Ninety-Six 8000

Merida Ninety-Six 2021
Merida Ninety-Six 2021

Frame: Merida Ninety-Six (100mm travel)
Fork: RockShox SID (120mm travel)
Shock: RockShox SIDLuxe
Lockout: SRAM Twistlock
Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle 12spd with carbon cranks
Brakes: Shimano XT (front brake: four-piston)
Dropper Seatpost: Merida Expert TR
Wheels: Reynolds TR 309 carbon
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHR TR EXO 3C MaxxTerra (29 x 2.3in)
Price: €7000 // £6,200






46 Comments

  • 87 0
 How did this non-motorized bike get in my feed?!
  • 15 0
 Cuz it has 3 bottle cages!
  • 3 0
 Fair enough, a motor is a motor
  • 46 1
 Misread the title as "Merida launches ninety-six new trail and xc bikes". Was mildly disappointed.
  • 2 0
 I thought it was a Throwback Thurday Merida ad....from 1996
  • 39 1
 Sram GX on 7k bike? is there an error in the article?
  • 5 0
 Looking at the picture is confusing, too. Definitely GX derailleur and Cranks but my understanding that the copper cassette and chain are xx1 only.
  • 7 0
 Quick check on Merida's site confirms it's a GX groupset with XX1 chain and cassette
  • 3 0
 @neologisticzand: Not a bad choice! Good durability on those high end parts I hear.
  • 3 0
 @MaplePanda: From my experience the durability is definitely better on x01 and up. I run an x01 cassette and chain with an X01 shifter and Gx rear mech on my bike and it's treated me very well over the years.
  • 4 0
 @MaplePanda: not a bad choice????? When GX was launched, they would put it on 3-4k builds, not on a freaking 7k bike! I expect nothing less than X01 on a 7k bike - and that's exactly what even better, more expensive bike brands offer. Merida is out of touch.

Or those 7k builds will actually cost 4500 in retail.
  • 1 0
 @f00bar: Yea, I agree the overall value is very low. However, it is indeed smart to spend the extra money on the wear parts.
  • 1 0
 If you think this is outrageous I advice you to stay away from Specialized price- and spec-list.
Epic EVO Expert has got a Select-fork, aluminium crank, GX-cassette, narrow rims, and it’s even more expensive!
  • 20 0
 >bike is slightly different then XC race bike

>put da Minions on!
  • 6 1
 ugh, it's so frustrating.
  • 6 0
 Front AND rear, wow. I would think Rekon/Dissector would be a nice setup on the 100/120 model. My short travel bike has Rekon/DHR2 which still feels fast to me.
  • 1 0
 @yupstate: I also think of for Rekon/Dissector combo for next summer for my trail hardtail.
  • 15 2
 Opened expecting to see a mullet bike...
  • 8 0
 I'm dying for a manufacturer to come out with a short travel (like 100-120mm) mullet bike.
  • 5 1
 29/26 mullet bike...
  • 2 0
 I’ll admit, that was where my head was at.
  • 11 1
 How is a bike named "Ninety-Six" not using a 29" front and a 26" rear in the dawn of the era of mullet bikes?
  • 9 1
 $8200USD for GX variant...no wonder they're sold under the name "Specialized" in the U.S.
  • 3 0
 Imo Merida is a very underrated brand. Their carbon One-Twenty is by far the best allrounder trail bike I've ever ridden.
  • 1 0
 @BenTheSwabian: $8200 GX good?

PS: it was a joke to her on Speshy...not hate on Merida.
  • 8 2
 Looks like they are crying out for a short stem and some 800mm riser bars!!
  • 4 0
 That frame is a pure work of art, quite lightweight and the geometry looks dialed. So overall this should make for a superb race bike. Unfortunately all of the version are a bit on the expensive side of things.
  • 6 0
 Looks like a Hei Hei
  • 2 3
 looks like a session. the hei hei is much slacker
  • 2 0
 Was thinking the same thing
  • 4 0
 I wonder if that new Jeep mountain bike edition thing comes with a GX drivetrain?
  • 3 1
 Why buy a heavier frame when you could just put the 120mm fork on the lighter one?
  • 2 0
 Possibly better durability on the heavier version.
  • 1 0
 I reckon this would be the way to go.
  • 1 0
 Looks like the frames are different. A 20mm longer fork slackens the HA by only 0.5 degrees.
But here trail frames have a -1.5° slacker HA, longer CS & Reach etc.
  • 1 0
 For some of us the price makes a difference Wink
  • 2 0
 Talk about design convergence.
  • 1 0
 Not 29F/26R..... disappointment!
  • 1 0
 Was really hoping for a reverse mullet 69er. Very disappointed.
  • 1 0
 Spesh-ida without a brain?
  • 1 0
 GX is good and all... But damn thats expensive!!!
  • 3 6
 Seems a little bit excessive. I think one or two different bikes is generally sufficient. This many will make it more difficult for their pro team XC racers to decide which bikes to use.
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