John Siegrist of Velosport Imports and Dean Bikes—we reviewed the Antero cyclocross bike last year—has created the Janus Cycle Group as an umbrella for its growing number of brands. The latest brand to fall under this umbrella is Merlin Bikes. (Not to be confused with the online retailer Merlin Cycles of the UK.)
Merlin Bikes is one of the most storied brands in titanium bikes. Last year, we looked at the Merlin-welded John Tomac Raleigh Signature Series Bike.
Originally started in Somerville, MA just outside Boston, the brand has since bounced around between different owners. The Tennessee-based Litespeed bought it, then Competitive Cyclist and backcountry.com took it over. But as part of the big company, it may have lost its following and didn't quite maintain its titanium luster of the early years.
Now Siegrist and his team are the fourth owners and are working hard to bring Merlin back to its roots of a small shop focused on small-batch and custom titanium bikes. No carbon here.
The company plans to start with five models, at least three of which should be of interest to our readers. There will be a Cyclocross race bike, a Gravel bike and the Adventure bike pictured here, as well as a Road and Mountain models. Frames will start at $2,800 and go up to $3,500. The frames will come with a stock geometry, but Merlin offers custom builds at no extra charge.
The company is returning to its roots in size, material and some of the models, and also going back to the original logo and retro Merlin head badge.
The Adventure model as pictured features a custom titanium fork that adds $750 to the price. The complete bike retails for $6,000. The Adventure bike comes built for adventure with Stan's Crest wheels outfitted with Kenda Block Eight tires. The crankset is a 1x SRAM GX mountain crank and the rear cassette has plenty of gear available for steep climbs.
While the post brake mounts may also seem retro, the company is happy to do flat mounts for any customer who prefers that style.
Merlin also displayed a bike that should be similar to its upcoming cyclocross model.
All frames under the new Janus cycle group will be built in Colorado. Merlin Bikes will share the same facility as Dean bikes but have a different build team.
See the photo gallery below for more on the Merlin Adventure and Cyclocross bikes.
More info: merlinbikes.com
See more of what's new in cyclocross and gravel in our 2018 Sea Otter trade show archives.