The Merlin Titanium Ride
Merlin Titanium (MTS 3-2.5) has been described as having exhilarating performance, exceptional comfort, and lifetime durability.
This is a result of the four primary characteristics of Merlin's MTS 3-2.5:
Compliance (Material Memory)
The Way It Rides
Conventional wisdom has always said that the heart of a bicycle is the frame. While we wouldn't disagree, we would like to take the thought another step: We think the heart of the frame is the way it rides.
if it rides right, it is right!
At Merlin, the heart--and soul--of our business is frames. That's what we make. And the way our frames ride is central to everything we do.
The Merlin ride has been described as "Magic" (Bicycling), "Incredibly smooth and surefooted" (Bicycle Guide), "The ride of a lifetime" (Bicycling again). MTB magazine says, "The Merlin XLM is the best bike I have ever ridden. Period." "If the XLM is an experiment in what it takes to make the best hardtail in the world," says Mountain Bike Action, "we would call it a success." And, says Bicycle Guide, "If any frame were said to epitomize all of titanium's qualities in the way it rides, it would be the Merlin Extralight."
So what's our secret? Pressed to name one thing, we'd say: No shortcuts. We build frames the way we wish everything were made, with such precision and attention to detail that we are sometimes called fanatics.
Maybe we are. We know we are fanatical about our MTS325 titanium, which is made in 47 different sizes so that we can choose the right blend of tubes for every frame. Our tubing has a special surface finish, too, for better fatigue strength. (As a bonus, that same finish makes it easy to keep the frame looking like new.)
We admit to some pickiness about alignment as well; not everyone invests $100,000 in one machine, as we have, just to cut the bottom bracket threads exactly--and we do mean exactly--straight. After we've cut the threads, we go back with another special cutter to remove the extra metal between the threads. Doing so saves about one ounce--not much to worry about, perhaps, but we know that light bikes ride better.
We're the same way about our welds, which MBA has called "the best in the world," and our mitering tolerances, and a host of other things. At the end of the day, yeah, maybe we are fanatics.
But, like you, we're riders, too, who came into the sport as kids and grew up with it as a passion. Today, we're building the bikes we had always dreamed about. We build road bikes and mountain bikes for fellow enthusiasts and amateurs and pros all around the globe. Our frames have been ridden in the Tour de France, the Olympics, in NORBA national cup races, and to victory at the World Championships. So we'd have to say that some of our riders could also be called fanatics.
Anyway, as "magic" or "dreamlike" as the ride of our Merlins may be, the frames themselves are the product of some very real work. And the best description of that work comes from those who do it. So what follows are the thoughts of a few of the people at Merlin who make what have been called, again and again, the best bikes in the world.
What We Make and how!
We don't have a production line. Instead, we make each frame one at a time, to your order.
The Merlin factory is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about five miles from Boston. We make all our frames here, and each one is built to order, rather than by batch. This production system helps keep our delivery times quite short; generally, if your authorized Merlin dealer does not have the frame you want in stock, we will be able to make and ship one for you within a few weeks.
Merlin MTS325 frames, which include the Extralight, XLM, Road, Mountain and Aerial are built with Merlin MTS325 seamless titanium tubing throughout. All of the tube gauges and diameters are size-specific; that is, they are individually selected for each frame size in each style to guarantee the best possible ride and lowest weight.
"MTS325" denotes a set of standards developed by Merlin for our 3-2.5 titanium tubing. "MTS" is an abbreviation for "Merlin Tube Specification," while "325" stands for 3-2.5 titanium, which is a high-strength alloy that contains 3 percent aluminum, 2.5 percent vanadium, and 94.5 percent titanium. The MTS325 standard is based on a set of four aerospace specifications, but with stricter tolerances for finish quality, which affects fatigue endurance, and for straightness, which is critical for final frame alignment.
In addition, all MTS325 tubing is made in the United States from 100% certified material. Certification is a fail-safe tracking system of quality control and continuous testing that follows the tubing as it is being manufactured. The MTS325 certification standards call for intermediate ultrasonic testing, which is usually omitted for non-aerospace tubing, and for more rigorous final ultrasonic testing and eddy current testing. These tests measure finish quality and dimensional accuracy, and if the tubing fails any test or inspection, we reject it. We do not use any "sports grade" or scrap material. Certification is our guarantee of the highest possible tubing quality and performance.
Merlin MTS325/G4 frames, including the Odyssey, use a blend of MTS325 certified tubing and Grade 4 seamless titanium. Our Grade 4 seamless tubing is a commercially pure titanium that is cold-worked and stress-relieved for high tensile strength and superior ductility. MTS325/G4 frames are made to the same alignment and dimensional standards as our MTS325 frames and they carry the same limited lifetime warranty (see the Merlin Owner's Manual for full warranty details).
We also offer custom Road and Extralight frames through our Made to Measure program. Touring, triathlon and cyclocross frame styles are available, along with custom variations of our road racing frames. For complete details, please ask for a copy of our Made to Measure brochure.
To design, build and support a superior bicycle for our customers while providing a healthy work environment and supporting our community.
S and S Couplings
Merlin Metalworks, manufacturer of the first seamless 3-2.5 titanium frame is pleased to announce the availability of Merlin frames equiped with the S and S Machine Bicycle Torque System. The BTC system is available as an option on two Merlin frames -- the Road and the Mountain. For the cyclist interested in easy bicycle transport, the BTC system is the perfect complement in both form and function to a Merlin frame. S and S Machine matches the beautiful Merlin frame finish with an equally gorgeous titanium torque coupling to produce the ultimate in light weight, durable travel frames.
For more information on the Merlin/ S and S Machine BTC frames, or any other Merlin frames, please contact us.
PO BOX 23463
Chattanooga, TN 37422
Merlin Titanium s.a.r.l.
Rue de Commerce
41 24 494 38 00