Merida is heading to Core following a period of impressive growth and growing dealer sign-up. The firm stresses that it does not have restrictive contracts with minimum commitments though. “The philosophy has always been about a long-term business, and not short-term gains.”
Following that growth, the firm has brought David Webster on board as product and training manager, and he’ll be on hand at Core.
Merida UK general manager Chris Carter says: “Merida can claim some of the most high-tech bikes on the planet, as tested scientifically by the German bike press, so the appointment of David is essential to help dealers and the public understand the facts about our bikes."
In terms of product, Merida UK is set to bring 0.Nine to Core – a bike termed an object of desire. The bike takes the title of stiffest and lightest production hardtail from little brother the Carbon FLX, both of which are used by the Multivan Merida Biking team. The 0.Nine uses unique patented construction techniques which help deliver some startling statistics: a 200g weight saving over the Carbon FLX, stiffness increase of 33 per cent and, according to Merida, a comfort increase of 100 per cent for one of the most successful racing frames ever.
The hardtail range offers a standard 40 per cent gross margin across the board and Merida tells BikeBiz that its competitors often claim their frames are Merida-made. Carter says: "None of the claims are true, but it does make us smile. The factory is very much focussed on the brands which it has an investment in, and now turns away many well known names in order to concentrate its R&D efforts on our brands.”
The popular Ninety Six was a key line at the last Core show, but this time looks set to play second fiddle to the new One Twenty range – lightweight but capable full suspension bikes and featuring the One Twenty 400D (priced at £1,099). Complementing the complete road range from £450 alloy bikes to £4,200 carbon will be the Time Warp, a unique Triathlon/TT bike. Merida’s chief R&D man Juergen Falke – a full ironman competitor himself – noted the effect that riders have on bike aerodynamics and their differing positions for a ten mile time trial and a 180km ride. As a result, the firm has developed cunning modular head tube technology that allows riders to use one bike for both events.
And aside from bikes, Merida will also be bringing a host of other brands, including Alpina Helmets and Eyewear and Birzman Tools to Core Bike 2010.
Birzman is a long-standing supporter and tools supplier for the Multivan Merida Team. Fresh from winning a 2009 Eurobike design award (for its Dragonfly chain tool), Birzman’s range of multi-tools and accessories will feature at Core. Already available to the UK dealers, the ranges have seen positive first responses from the Merida dealer days and now the firm is planning to bring in the full range of workshop tools during 2010.
The current UK catalogue spans everything from a ten-function carbon multi-tool weighing just 83g, via workshop tools and ultra light mini pumps, all the way through to wheeled tool chests and storage solutions.
Merida general manager Chris Carter says: “The opportunity to work with Birzman is one we could not turn down. The Birzman brand is very striking and the design of the products is superb, but when you look deeper, you’ll find that the design and production quality are quite exceptional.”
Also up from Merida will be Alpina’s range of helmets and eyewear. An extended range will be available in 2010, which will be fully supported at the show. The two firms have sported links for some time, particularly with the Multivan Merida Biking Team. Merida tells BikeBiz that both accessories brands follow the same concept as the Merida Bike range of having no restrictive contracts, with minimum commitments. Merida’s aim is to build long-term business in the UK.
Paligap’s Core line-up includes bikes from the Kona, Litespeed and Quintana Roo brands. The firm will have a selection of 2010 bicycles and components from Kona, including the new clothing range.
On the bike side, the Abra Cadabra suspension system will be explained in detail to visiting dealers and the distributor will be showing a selection of the road and commuter range from the well respected bike brand.
Litespeed’s new carbon range of bicycles will also feature – including the C1, C2 and C3, all of which are available now from Paligap. The range has been through two solid years of design and development with the same rigorous testing and product evaluation the firm invests in its titanium bikes. Peter Hurley, CEO of American Bicycle Group, enthuses: “We are thrilled to introduce a line of carbon bikes that truly lives up to the Litespeed name and our long legacy of design innovation.”
The entire 2010 Quintana Roo bicycle range will be on show at Core, including the Eurobike Gold Award Winning CD01 Frame. Hurley had this to say of the prize-grabbing bike: “Quintana Roo is the only brand in the world that exclusively manufactures dedicated triathlon bikes. The Eurobike Gold Award recognises the design, development, and rigorous testing and product evaluation procedure that went into developing the CD01 frame.”
Among the other brands on show from the distributor at Core are PowerTap, Saris and Sombrio. The PowerTap tech and sales guys will be at Core 2010 to explain the benefits of training with Power and how to sell and stock the range at a retail level. The Saris Solo rack will be on show too, and Paligap will be taking orders on the single bike Bones rack, which it calls a unique product at a great price.
The distributor is also set to bring Sombrio’s catalogue to Core, including new kids’ and girls’ ranges. The Girls’ range provides fashion and high performance with a mash-up of cultures, designs and musical influences from the past and present. Sombrio’s new Freeride and Epic (XC) ranges will also feature at the Core Bike show.