I never thought I’d be the person that went much out of my way to make a bike fancy, or matchy or really unique in any way. When we sat down to decide on the colors for the 2020 bikes, I was immediately drawn to this stunning metallic rusty magical color. When it landed on the Process 153 CR DL 27.5, there was no question as to what my next bike would be.

I didn’t really have much in mind with doing a custom build, but what materialized was sort of a community of parts. I tapped into some long-time favorite companies to get the feeling I wanted out of the ride, but I also wanted to throw on some products from local Northwest brands that I think are doing cool things. When it all came together, Merlin was born. Merlin was named for it’s gorgeous and seemingly magical paint job, as well as it’s proximity to many wild Cougars (the kitty cat type, mind you). In my all-time favorite movie, the cinematic classic that is Top Gun, Merlin was the rio to Cougar. This bike is so quiet that I am regularly afraid that I’m going to run into an unsuspecting cat on the trail. It must be those XTR hubs… Without further ado, here’s what Merlin is rocking.

I opted to go full Shimano on this build. It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden a Shimano bike and I love the clean, simple shifting of this XT drivetrain. 
The XTR hubs are whisper quiet and are laced to FSA’s Gradient Wide R Wheels. I’ve never ridden a bike that is so stealthy before. 
What have we here? These seemingly-old Wah Wah IIs are actually my set of test prototypes of our upcoming Wah Wah II Small pedal! I have tiny feet and am loving the smaller size of this new pedal. I’ve got 8 months and a lot of rides on them and they’ve been flawless. They’ll be out soon!
I opted for XT brakes and rotors. There’s something about the way Shimano levers feel in small hands…

Touchpoints are a big deal to me. I can not ride any other grip than Sensus Dissdaboss. Sensus has spoiled me with this grip. It’s small diameter, and ultra mega grippy, and my prior pair lasted for ages. Speaking of touchpoints, the PNW Components Loam Lever feels so good under thumb

The cockpit features Deity Black Label bars and 35mm stem. For those ultra-long days in the saddle, I’ve opted for the WTB Volt Pro. It’s light and provides just the right kind of squish.
One of the more Gucci items is the Ride Wrap frame protection kit. It is insanely intricate and does an amazing job of protecting Merlin’s bitchin’ paint job. While on the topic of magic, I’m running the PNW components Bachelor dropper in a 150 length. Dropper posts still feel like magic to me.
Without a doubt, my favorite little details are the custom-matched top cap from my buddy Tony Baumann of Made Rad by Tony and the amazingly well-matched fender from his partner’s company, Ground Keeper Fenders. Tony and Keeley are artistic beyond belief and I can’t thank them enough for making this bike extra special.