Seems the usual misunderstanding ref Rock lobster again.
After Paul went to the far east for his single steel model, which was distributed in the uk by N.T.I, and only avaliable in either green or blue. that is.... about where it ended.
After this, Merlin cycles bought the rights to use the name, and ON there own went to the far east and imported alloy and steel frames by the container load, and assembled them here in the uk to what ever spec you could afford, doing mental mail order deals using surplus O/E shimano etc etc, this was suppose to be there flagship range, toping that of the homebranded Merlin frames, which in all honesty come the end, there was very little difference between the two.
Paul remained hand building frames in the U.S, with absolutely no involvement at all with the Uk mail order firm, selling the generic far east frames of the same name.
The last involvement he had was when he took the original steel wishbone design to the far east for manufacture, leading to the UK supply of the NTI supplied stock.
To be fair to those of us who were doing a Roaring trade with Bontrager frames, when Bontragers were selling hand over fist and we couldnt get them due to demand outstripping supply, we all turned to the Paul Sadoff designed (NTI supplied) ROCK LOBSTER.
They sold and sold well, getting great reviews too. Hardly surprising really given Paul did his time with keith at the beginning, and they were...to my mind, of a similar mindset.
To my mind, all Merlin did was cash in, and buy the "rights" to a good name. They needed a brand name at the time, and they exploited it well. It always got good reviews in the mags, but then, the way it was being done, and the massive low cost on the generic frame, coupled together with higher spec than the competiton on test, it wasnt really surprising the masses bought into it. The sum of the parts and all that.......