Online retailer Merlin Cycles has just unveiled details of a brand new range of bikes, with aluminium and carbon fibre models priced from £599 to £1,999.
The range comprises four frames and seven builds. The new Cordite and Fuse models feature carbon fibre frames, the ROC and FF1 use aluminium frames.
Merlin Cycles says inspiration for the names come from the Buckshaw village where the company is now based. It was in Buckshaw that Royal Ordnance (a government-owned explosives and ammunition manufacturer) used to have a factory and where Sir Barnes Wallis developed his famous bouncing bomb during World War II.
So, Cordite is a type of explosive, ROC stands for ‘Royal Ordnance Chorley’, FF1 for ‘Filling Factory 1′ which was another name for Royal Ordnance Chorley, and Fuse should be self-explanatory.
Enough of the names, let’s have a look at the new bikes. First is the most expensive of the new models, the Cordite. It’s the retailer's flagship carbon fibre road bike and will be offered in two builds, £1,449 Shimano Ultegra mechanical and £1,999 Shimano Ultegra Di2.
The frame is made from 24 Ton High Modulus carbon and the bike is designed to be good for all-day riding comfort and “a great bike for rolling hills and curvy terrain”. The geometry is a bit more relaxed than what you’d expect from a regular race bike, with a 10mm taller head tube. Cables are routed internally for a clear look.
The Fuse has a similar appearance to the Cordite but with externally routed cables, and will be offered in £899 Shimano 105 mix build and £999 full Shimano 105 specification. It’s billed more as a practical everyday bike and ideal for sportives, with a high front-end and comfortable reach to the handlebars.
The frame is constructed from 24 Ton High Modulus carbon and the layup of the carbon fibre has been designed to provide a high level of vibration damping to take into account that fact that many roads in the UK are well past their best. The geometry is intended to provide the stability and balance you want for long days in the saddle and for tackling challenging sportives.
Moving away from carbon fibre and onto the aluminium models, the ROC will cost £775 with a Shimano 105 groupset. The frame uses triple butted aluminium tubes with skinny rear stays and a triangulated top tube designed to provide extra stiffness.
Gear cables are internally routed and up front is a tapered head tube to increase front-end stiffness. Merlin describes it as being an ideal sportive bike but one that is built for comfort and those seeking a light and responsive ride.
Last but not least, the FF1 offers a triple butted aluminium frame with a carbon fibre fork and is available in a Shimano 105 Mix build for £699, or Shimano Tiagra for £599. Merlin is confident it has the performance to match its appearance, which we have to admit is pretty good for the price, and should provide a good upgrade for anyone seeking to spend a bit more on their next road bike.
We like the look of these new bikes and we'll see if we can get one in for review. You can see the full range on the merlin cycles site.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.