Merida and CUBE team up
Bicycle brand Merida is as well-known as it is popular with the cycling community. So we’re pleased to have with us someone instrumental in this success, especially in the Swiss region: Luca Cereghetti, head of marketing at Belimport, the Swiss distributor of Merida. He makes sure that your next Merida bike hits the shelves of a Swiss dealer near your. We didn’t hold back and subjected Luca to a tough (and quite long) CUBE interview. But read for yourself.
CUBE: Hi Luca, for starters can you tell our readers a little more about the bicycle brand Merida? Where does Merida come from and when was it created?
Luca: Dear CUBE crew, the Merida brand originated in Taiwan. This carries a seal of very high quality as Taiwan is a kind of reference for the bicycle industry. This is where virtually all of today’s high-grade bikes are manufactured. Merida itself has been in business for 40 years, but has had a European soul for about 10 years since basing its development operations in Germany.
CUBE: What is your role at Merida? Do you ride MTBs yourself? If so, which bikes do you prefer?
Luca: I work for the Swiss Merida distributor. My role is primarily in marketing. I like spending my free time on two different bikes: the Merida Ninety-Nine Team for trails and the Merida Scultura for the road.
CUBE: Starting with the next summer season, CUBE and Merida will walk side by side. How did that happen?
Luca: We’ve been collaborating with Graubünden Ferien for years. CUBE SAVOGNIN and its crew immediately agreed to offer attractive prices to our customer program My Merida. Last year we also organized a dealership weekend in Savognin and the Merida specialized dealers were totally enthusiastic! Afterwards, CUBE approached us and asked if we wanted to take the partnership to the next level: with a test center and a bike rental. We were very pleased and so we got the show on the road.
CUBE: What are your plans, what does the cooperation with Merida offer to the CUBE guests?
Luca: Beginning with the summer season 2012, CUBE SAVOGNIN will provide a range of high-quality rental bikes, including the latest hardtail and full-sus models! As part of the test center, guests can test the latest Merida models on the spot!
CUBE: Which top bikers are currently using bikes by Merida?
Luca: Not counting myself :-) we have at an international level the Multivan Merida Biking Team with MTB stars such as former world champion Ralph Naef (from Switzerland), José Antonio Hermida (Spain) and Iron Lady Gunn Rita Dahle (Norway). Apart from these “celebrities” we also support stars from many other sports: Lara Gut (skiing), Benjiamin Weger (duathlon), Timo Glock (Formula 1), to name but a few!
CUBE: What are the trends in the mountain biking scene in 2012?
Luca: 29ers are the next big thing (at least in Europe)! In the US, this has been a fad for years, but the new wheel size is considered “almost” an innovation in Europe. Such bikes certainly hold many advantages for riders 175 cm and taller. This is best explained by our head of development Jürgen Falke in this video:
CUBE: What is the future of MTBs? Where is the trend headed to? Should we expect changes?
Luca: The big step forward at the moment are the 29ers. There are rumors about 27.5ers, which is a nice compromise between the well-known 26-inch wheels and the new ones with 29 inches. It’s hard to tell right now whether this size will get accepted, but personally I am all for it :)
CUBE: Do you have some tips for our readers to help them get off to a good start into the 2012 biking season?
Luca: The joy of riding is without doubt the number one motivation. But to have joy, you need the right bike. Switzerland and Austria are not only home to proficient ski racers such as Didier Cuche and Marcel Hirscher, but also to competent and specialized bicycle dealers! Take your time to listen to the advice these specialised dealers have for you – you might regret spending a lot of money on a bike that turns out not to fit your size or match your riding style. At the specialists, you’ll find the right bike in the right size – and if it is made by Merida, that’s another plus. ;)
CUBE: What do you feel are the must-haves of the 2012 biking season?
Luca: You mean at my company? At Merida, the new Ninety.Nine is a “must”. For more on that, I recommend you watch the following video:
MTB aficionados absolutely think of it as the champion bike of the 2012 season! But more generally, this question is difficult to answer, as there are just too many riders and with even more different needs. But let me tell you this: just ask your specialized retailer to find the bike that suits you!
CUBE: And, finally: Do you have a personal MTB message four our readers out there
Luca: Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Most of the time, I ride my racing bike. And each time that I switch to my ninety.nine, the riding experience is different: less stress + more nature = total fun! Switzerland and Austria are top destinations for moutain bikers, you just have to take advantage of that!
And if you’re still listening to me, I’m inviting you to my race in the canton of grisons on July 29, 2012. Here is an interview with Ralph Naef for you: http://www.radsportphoto.net/sanbike
CUBE: Thank you so much for the interview!
Luca: Thank you!