T.Kellogg had this to say about Merlins at the Serotta Forum.
Sorry I have been missing all of this discussion. Just too little time for me to lurk around the forums that might have discussions that I might be interested in or that I may be able to help with. I do wish that I had more time since I think that I can occasionally be of help ...
Yes, Merlin and Litespeed still exist and still continue to make frames. However time and markets change, and both companies have changed as well. Both brands still produce Ti frames, but most of Litespeed's units are now composite. They had sold out of their '10 composite production about the same time that they started shipping them. Merlin's strongest sales areas are now in Europe and the far east. Sounds odd, but the US just doesn't absorb very many Ti frames any more. If you want one, your dealer can still order and get them in any case.
How has this effected us here at Spectrum? Not very much over the last few years. Back in the early Ti days, we were selling five a week, but we have been in the range of about 35 - 45 a year for many years now.
I am still Merlin's road design guy, but because of market changes and Merlin's traditional approach to tradition (and mine as well) I have not been called on to design a new model for a couple of years now. It seems that Merlin customers don't see much reason to ask me to fix what ain't broken. Since Merlin has never had much interest in tube shapes, fads and trends, we just haven't had reason for any "new and improved" features. The only (slight) departure from that Merlin tradition was the CR frame from six years ago. The tube work that made the CR different was quickly incorporated into the Extralight and the CR went away.
So it really does come down to "if it ain't broke ..." There are still enough who appreciate what we (Merlin and I) do, but what we do is no longer "hot" enough to put money into big marketing. The Ti frame market is just too small to support significant marketing dollars. Just the way it is.
Now, back to work getting these Ti frames out the door.