Merida has a part-stake in Specialized, and builds a lot of bikes for Halfords. It's a brand player in other parts of the world but has long been a behind-the-scenes player in the UK. In the New Year, Merida Bicycles UK will launch, headed by Chris Carter, formerly of Halfords. Merida Bicycles UK plans to have a B2C and B2B website, Merida is also the new sponsor of the race series formerly known as the Kona 100.

Merida re-launches in UK with bikes and helmets and carbon kit

In April, Merida UK was asked by Halfords to reduce its prices and extend its payment terms. Other suppliers were asked to do likewise, see link below.

Merida Bicycles UK is a joint venture with Merida Taiwan, one of the biggest bike manufacturers in the world.

As well as Merida bikes, the website will list Mango helmets of Italy and IKE Carbon products, a Merida own-brand.

IKE Carbon products – MTB and road handlebars, seatposts, road forks, complete frames and other accessories – are named after the name of the founder of Merida Industries, Ike Tseng. will focus on a small range of complete bikes and frames. The hard-tails will include the magnesium MTB as used by Gunn Rita Dahl, the 2002 women’s World Cup Champion and European XC champion.

In order to create a brand impression from the start, Merida Bicycles UK has taken over the title sponsorship for the Kona 100 MTB-Marathon Series. Naturally enough, it will become the Merida 100 MTB-Marathon Series.

"Marathon events are where the enthusiast and weekend warrior get together to enjoy their sport and we as a brand want to take part in those festival-like events," said Merida’s Chris Carter.

"We offer a World-Cup-winning range of short and long travel LRS full suspension bikes as well as magnesium hard-tails which are very much at home in the marathon scene."

For 2004, five events are on the cards, with more in the pipeline:

Rhayader 29 – 30th May 2004

Builth Wells 3 – 4th July 2004

Bad Goisern 10 – 11th July 2004 (10th July Salzkammergut Trophy and 11th July UCI Marathon World Championships)

Ruthin 18 – 19th September 2004

Scotland August 2004 (location TBC)

The site has a holding page online at the moment and will launch fully some time this week.

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