Mention the brand name Merida, and I bet many would have been made to believe that this company has its roots in a European country. Mention D.H. Ike, Tseng and you are likely to be greeted by blank stares from most riders. The truth is, contrary to popular belief, Merida is actually a creation of Taiwan and it is founded by Mr. Tseng himself in 1972. Mr. Tseng is still serving as the Chairman of Merida currently. With a strong corporate culture revolving around continuous improvement, Merida has bagged numerous awards of excellence since its incorporation and is one of the biggest bicycle manufacturers in Taiwan. In addition to producing bikes under the Merida branding, the company is also a contract manufacturer for many leading brands in the bicycle industry. Armed with extensive R&D expertise in alloy welding, suspension concept and the development of magnesium and carbon frames, they are able meet the rigorous demands of elite racers and at the same time create value for the masses by bringing down the cost of technology. You will find a wide range of product lines in Merida’s catalogue, catering for anyone, from the racer boys to daily commuters.
The Merida Matts TFS 500 mountain bike in this review is Merida’s mid-range bike, targeted at cycling enthusiasts. It comes with a good mixture of components from both in-house and specialties manufacturers, striking a delicate balance between cost, strength and performance.
The frame is the soul of every bicycle, and this is where manufacturers will try to differentiate themselves from the rest of the playing field. For Merida, they oversee their entire manufacturing process in their own in-house facility. By doing so, they are able to have direct influence on product quality and have direct communication channels with end users. Equipped with more than three decades of frame manufacturing experience, Merida proved to us how much technology can possibly be crammed into a simple diamond shaped frame.
Our Matts TFS 500 is constructed from standard 6061 aluminum alloy and is built through Techno Forming System (TFS) unlike its more expensive brothers who are built from Merida’s proprietary Prolite 6066 alloy and are hydro formed (HFS). TFS is similar to the more expensive HFS, which essentially allowed Merida to work with complex shaped tubes. The major difference between the two is in the butting of the tube walls. The TFS, in general has a more constant wall thickness which results in a lower cost. Having knowledge on advance TIG welding technology allowed Merida to build frames that capitalized on uniquely shaped tubes in their quest to maximize strength to weight ratio. The special Shotgun tubing found on the down tube of our ride is one such example. Merida claimed that the shotgun shaped tubing has the ability to absorb and disperse stress from riding much better than conventional tubing. This in turn allowed thinner tubing walls and an overall weight reduction of 20% as compared to a standard aluminum frame.