Review: 2023 Merida One-Sixty: An Easygoing Enduro Bike

Sep 23, 2022
by Seb Stott  



Merida probably isn't the most desirable or well-known name in mountain biking, but they're one of the biggest manufacturers in the world, producing most of the frames for Specialized.

Today they're unveiling two brand new bikes of their own, designed for trail and enduro: the One-Forty and One-Sixty. Both use the same basic frame, but with different shocks and forks to deliver the travel that gives their name. Technically, the One-Forty has 143 mm of travel at the rear and a 150 mm fork, while the One-Sixty's numbers are 162 and 170 mm. The One-Forty comes equipped with 29" wheels in all five sizes while the One-Sixty is a mullet in XS to Medium and a 29er in Long and XL. However, a flip chip allows any of them to be run with either rear wheel size. Running a mullet setup bumps up the travel by 9 mm.

Merida One-Sixty Details
• Intended use: trail/enduro
• Wheel size: 29'' or mullet
• Rear travel: 162mm (29") or 171 mm (mullet)
• Fork travel: 170 mm
• Carbon or alloy frames
• Flex pivot suspension
• 64° head angle, 79° seat angle
• Five frame sizes, 415 to 525 mm reach
• Weight: 15.3 Kg / 33.7 lb (XL, top spec)
• 5-year frame warranty
• MSRP: £9,000 / €11,900 (10K) & £4,600 / €5,760 (6000)
merida-bikes.com
Although a big part of Merida's business is making frames for other people, they've been impressively creative with the design of their own frame. It's one of only a few bikes to make a simple and lightweight flex pivot suspension system work in a long travel application, the geometry is modern and adaptable, and the frame is packed with handy features.

I've been riding the One-Sixty in two different sizes and two different spec levels, including racing an enduro, to see if it's any good.

Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox
As well as the top-spec 10K model (top image) I also rode this 6000 model, which costs half as much.



bigquotesIt would be a good choice for rough enduro races or uplift days, but can also take long days of pedalling in stride. Seb Stott



Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox


Frame Details


The frame's main talking point is surely the flex pivot on the seatstay, which eliminates parts, weight and service requirements. Merida couldn't say exactly how much weight but having four fewer bearings to change (compared to most modern bikes) is a nice bonus. This design is everywhere on modern XC bikes but rarely seen with this much travel. Even more unusually, they've made it work with both carbon and alloy frames. By aligning the rocker link vertically, the angle through which the seatstay bends as the suspension compresses is minimised to the point where it flexes less than their 100 mm travel XC bike. As a result, Merida claim its fatigue lifespan is effectively indefinite, independant of material.

The frame also passes Zedler's category 5 fatigue tests (usually reserved for bike park and DH bikes). That means the five-year warranty on the One-Sixty covers you for any amount of bike park riding, although the One-Forty's lifetime warranty is category 4 (excluding bike park riding), purely due to the components used. A dual crown fork is not recommended due to the lack of reinforcement where the fork bumpers would hit the side of the frame. But it will happily take a 180 mm fork, and with 171 mm of travel in the mullet setting, it could be a great park bike.

The seat tube is short, straight and uninterrupted, helping riders to size up or down with ample dropper travel and insertion depth. The carbon frame is compatible with the Eightpins integrated dropper post (which is significantly lighter), but for now, all bikes (XS to XL) get a more conventional dropper co-developed by Merida, which offers up to 230 mm of infinitely adjustable travel.

A service port under the bottom of the down tube allows access to the cables for installation, and also can be used to store a (narrow) tool roll in the carbon version, which can stash a small pump and tire levers or a handful of Curlywurlys. The alloy frame's "door" is too small for significant snack storage.

Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox
Another neat feature is the removable rear axle lever, which holds a 4 and 6mm Allen key. This can be used to tighten all the frame bolts and both wheel axles.
Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox
The flip chip makes it possible to swap the wheel size while keeping the BB height unchanged. It's not recommended as a geometry adjust.

Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox

Cables run through internal guides in the carbon frame or foam tubes in the alloy version. They also pass through the main pivot axle, which minimizes cable stretch as the suspension cycles, but means you'll have to remove the cables before removing the pivot bolt when it comes time to change the bearings. The cables also run through the upper headset bearing. Merida claim it's no harder to remove the fork or install a cable than any other internally routed frame, but it will make it harder to swap the headset bearing.

Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox
The brake mount is bolted to the chainstay to allow the seatstay to flex freely. This is a 200 mm post mount but a 180 mm version is available. Merida say it acts as a heat sink, preserving braking performance on long descents.
Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox
The forward shock bolt threads into an oblong insert (which won't rotate), making it possible to remove the bolt with one tool, including the one stashed in the axle.

There's a tool/tube mounting plate in front of the shock, and carbon bikes come supplied with a Fidlock bottle mount. The plastic fender above the chainstay is a permanent part of the frame, stopping debris from collecting above the main pivot. There is also an optional fender that bolts on above the seatstay to protect the rider and seatpost from mud.

The claimed frame weight is 2,460 g in carbon, or 3,660 g in aluminium. Those numbers relate to a size medium, without shock, axle, frame protectors, saddle clamp, hanger, headset bearings or cable guides. That doesn't sound like a very useful frame to me, but that's a standard way of weighing things in the bike industry and the figure for the carbon version is competitive.





Geometry & Sizing


Merida offers five sizes, all with short seat tubes and long (but travel adjustable) droppers so most riders could choose between two or three different sizes depending on how much stability or agility they want. Merida call this approach "Agilometer sizing".

At 191 cm (6'3") I chose to ride both the Long and the XL. Which is best? For the tight, blind race stages where I rode it, the Long made a lot of sense, with more weight on the front tire and a slightly nimbler feel; but for rough and fast sections, the XL was noticeably more surefooted. Honestly, though, I was happy riding either. This was backed up by the results at The Ex Enduro where I raced the Long on day one and the Xl on day two, coming third in my category bot times, suggesting neither is outright faster. With a gun to my head, though, I'd probably take the XL. The extra stability comes in handy on trails where you know where you're going, and that's what I ride most often.

Merida decided to stick with one chainstay length for all sizes, but the 29" rear wheel setup used in the larger sizes lengthens the (static) chainstay length by 4 mm. One geometry quirk that's less obvious is the stack height (that's the vertical distance from the BB to the top of the head tube) is low, especially in the larger sizes. This is done to allow smaller riders to size up without the bars being too high. It does mean that taller riders will need to add more spacers under the stem, which effectively reduces the reach because of the angle of the steerer tube. This means the XL doesn't feel quite as big as the 525 mm reach figure would suggest.



Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox

Suspension Design


As the flex occurs in the seatstay and not the chainstay, it's a single pivot affair like other bikes in Merida's range. That means the suspension stays deeper in its travel during braking than most Horst link bikes, which is no bad thing in my view.

The leverage curve is pretty progressive through most of the travel, with a linear or slightly regressive phase at the end. This is designed to work with modern shocks (air or coil) which generally have bottom-out bumpers and/or hydraulic bottom-out control.

The leverage curve is size-specific, so larger frames have more progression. The idea is that bigger riders need more support while smaller people have more trouble using all the travel. The difference is achieved by moving the front shock mount; the back end and link aren't size-specific. The overall progression (the change in leverage from 0% to 100% travel) goes from approximately 15% in XS to 25% in XL. I'd say that's about average to quite progressive, respectively.

Unlike size-specific kinematics from other brands like Structure and Cannondale, the anti-squat doesn't change by size. It's relatively high though, which means there's a generous amount of pedalling support to resist bob and slouching. In my view, size-specific anti-squat makes more sense than leverage curves, because taller riders need more mechanical intervention to stop their weight from rocking back with each power stroke. That's not a criticism of Merida, though, as it's true of all bikes



Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox

Specifications


Specifications
Release Date September 2022
Price $10212
Travel 162 or 171 mm (r) / 170 mm (f)
Rear Shock Rock Shox Super Deluxe Flight Attendant, 230x65 mm
Fork RockShox Zeb Flight Attendant, 170mm
Headset MERIDA 8151
Cassette SRAM XO1 Eagle, 10-52T
Crankarms SRAM XO1, carbon, 170 mm
Chainguide MRP AMg V2 Alloy 26-32T
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB, BSA 73 mm
Pedals N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 AXS
Chain SRAM X01 Eagle
Front Derailleur N/A
Shifter Pods SRAM AXS Rocker
Handlebar Merida Team TR, Alloy, 780 mm x 30 mm rise
Stem Merida TRII, 35mm diameter, 40 mm
Grips Merida Expert EC
Brakes Shimano XTR, 4 piston, 203 mm MT900 rotors
Wheelset Reynolds BLACKLABEL Enduro
Hubs Industry 9 Hydra, 0.52 degree engagement
Spokes 28 Sapim CX-Ray
Rim 28 mm internal, carbon, hookless
Tires Maxxis Assegai 2.5”,MaxxGrip,DD / Maxxis DHR2,2.4”,MaxxTerra,DD
Seat Merida Expert SL, V-mount w/ minitool
Seatpost Merida Team TR, 34.9mm diameter, 0mm setback, 30-230mm travel


Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox

The dropper post is exclusive to Merida for now. The unit on the collar allows the travel to be set anywhere from 30 to 230 mm, so shorter riders will slam the collar and set their saddle height by adjusting the travel, while taller riders will set the saddle height the traditional way. The adjustment mechanism on the collar looks clunky but never gets in the way when riding.

I rode both the 6000 and 10k models which share the same carbon frame. The 10k's specs are listed opposite. At around half the price, the 6000 is far more cost-effective with SLX brakes and drivetrain (with an XT shifter), alloy wheels and RockShox Select+ suspension, all of which performed brilliantly.








Test Bike Setup

Setting up the One-Sixty was pretty straightforward. I started with 30% sag in the shock but found this a little unsupportive at times, so I added an extra 10 psi, giving me a touch under 30%. On the 10K model with Flight Attendant, I set the open mode compression damping to the middle position to offer a little hydraulic support. With the 6000 model, there is no compression adjustment but I found the stock setting about right - supple but not too soft.

With the 2023 Zeb fork, I ran 72 psi with no volume spacers. This is about 10% more pressure and one fewer spacer than I'd use in the old Zeb. I set the compression damping fully open on the Select+ fork on the 6000 bike, and one back from the middle setting on the 10K's Flight attendant model. Rebound damping was fully open.

Tire pressures were 21-22 psi front and 25-26 psi rear.


Seb Stott
Location: Tweed Valley, Scotland
Age: 30
Height: 6'3" / 191cm
Inseam: 37" / 93cm
Weight: 189 lbs / 86 kg, kitted

Most importantly, I swapped the 30 mm rise bar for a 50 mm rise Burgtec one on both bikes to raise the front-end height. Merida say they'll leave the steerer tubes longer on production bikes, and at 191 cm (6'3"), fitting a taller bar is standard practice for me.


Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox

Climbing

These days enduro bikes are expected to be capable uphill, but the One-Sixty climbs particularly well. The 79-degree effective seat angle is a great seating position to attack steep slopes, without being over the front on flatter trails. There's plenty of anti-squat to keep it from bobbing and slouching under power too, so the suspension is stable and stays high in its travel, but it still moves out the way when pedalling over bumps.

I spent most of my time riding the 10K model with Flight Attendant, which noticeably firms everything up when the RoboCop dampers zip shut, but I made a point of riding some climbs with the system switched off and also spent a day riding the 6000 model without Flight Attendant. Certainly, the bike is not reliant on a lockout of any kind (manual or electronic). For long and steep tarmac climbs when I wanted to spare every watt, I was happy to let the Flight Attendant do its thing or switch the manual lockout on the 6000, but the bike climbs well without it. It doesn't hurt that the 10K model is impressively light (15.3 Kg in XL with DoubleDown tires) but when switching back to the 6000, it never felt lethargic.

Sizing-wise, the XL gave a roomier feel which I appreciated when tackling steep slopes, but I liked the more upright position of the Long size's shorter cockpit for a long day in the saddle.

Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox

Descending


One aspect of the One-Sixty's character that stood out straight away is the forgiving ride feel. Even after I'd increased the pressure in the shock to make the suspension feel balanced through big compressions, the suspension is supple and active, swallowing up bumps large and small with minimal fuss. It tracked the ground well in all situations I put it through and never got hung up. If you'll forgive the cliché, it feels like there's a little more than 162 mm of travel on tap. When riding over webs of speed-sapping roots and stones, that supple action is much appreciated. Though I never bottomed out, I could imagine wanting more support for bike park riding with built-up berms and heavy landings, but that could be done with another volume spacer or more pressure.

Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox
The size large was a bit more lively and unstable, but flat turns took a little less effort.

The bottom bracket (around 343 mm) is not radically low, and the suspension stays high in its travel under power so pedal strikes are rarely an issue. Yet in the corners, the handling is predictable and responsive. The numbers are pretty typical for a modern enduro bike, so there's nothing crazy to get used to. The size Long felt super agile and responsive in the tight turns, while the X-long was noticeably more stable at speed and over rough stuff - more like a DH bike. When riding flat turns, the XL took a little thought to keep applying gentle pressure on the bar to ensure plenty of weight on the front wheel, so a longer chainstay might be better here, but I had no issues weaving it through tight turns.

Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox

On steep terrain, the bike feels very confidence-inspiring in either size. The rear suspension barely rises up under braking, making it feel settled and stable, especially when braking hard into a turn. At 64 degrees, the head angle is slack enough without the front end becoming floppy on flatter tracks. I also like being able to drop the seat 230 mm out of the way. Sure, 200 mm is enough, but 230 mm offers that bit more room to maneuver when things get sketchy. The DoubleDown tires certainly help the bike feel composed compared to the flimsier tires seen on many enduro bikes too, yet the MaxTerra compound at the rear helps them roll reasonably fast. Finally, the four-pot Shimano brakes with 203 mm rotors front and rear offered ample power and control, whether it was the SLX brakes on the 6000 or the XTR on the 10K.

Overall, the One-Sixty is comfortable, confidence-inspiring and easy to ride fast. The standard shock tune is not the most supportive when pushing into big compressions, but the flip side of that is a supple feel that works very well for steep and natural terrain.



Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox
Merida One-Sixty
Canyon Strive

How Does it Compare?

The Strive's 505 mm reach (size large) fits me well. But while the reach is closer to the Merida in a size Long, the wheelbase is similar to the XL. The Canyon's higher stack and slacker head angle push the wheelbase out that bit further relative to the reach. When just riding along, the XL Merida feels like a bigger bike in terms of the cockpit, but when I got stuck into the corners the agility is similar to the large Strive, which is unsurprising as the wheelbase is near identical. Out of the box, the Merida's rear suspension is more forgiving and less supportive than the Strive's, but after I'd got rid of a volume spacer and backed off the compression damping on the Strive, I ended up with a similar feel to the Merida.

The climbing ability is similar too, although the Merida doesn't need a complicated Shapeshifter mechanism to achieve this, instead relying on a steeper seat angle and plenty of anti-squat to keep the climbing spritely.



Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox
RockShox Flight Attendant
Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox
Shimano XTR brakes

Technical Report


RockShox Flight Attendant: For long days in the saddle or enduro stages with lots of sprinting, having the suspension firm up without having to think about it feels like it offers a little boost, even if it's just about feeling less tired at the end of the day. With the bias in the middle position, it did once feel harsh on the first root after a sprint, but in the -1 setting (where it's more likely to stay open), I never caught it out; it was always in an appropriate mode. But when I went back to the 6000 spec (which costs half as much as the 10K) I didn't miss Flight Attendant. On a bike that pedals well, it just isn't a huge upgrade.

Shimano XTR brakes: When they work, they work really well. I seem to be having better luck with Shimano's brakes and the dreaded wandering bite point recently. Perhaps there's been a running change.

Merida Bike launch at The EX 2022 Please credit PaulBox




Pros

+ Supple and comfortable suspension
+ Well-balanced handling, especially on steep and fast terrain
+ Composed and efficient climber (even without Flight Attendant)
+ Plenty of scope to size up or down to suit handling preferences

Cons

- The 10K spec with Flight Attendant is silly money when the 6000 is half the price and nearly as good
- Suspension tune isn't the most supportive.




bigquotesThe One-Sixty is easy to get along with. The suspension is simple to set up, the tune is comfortable and supple (if not the most supportive), and the geometry is stable without requiring special techniques to maneuver it around. It's particularly composed in the rough and steep, plus it climbs very well too. It would be a good choice for rough enduro races or uplift days, but can also take long days of pedalling in stride. Seb Stott






193 Comments

  • 263 7
 Cables running through the upper headset bearing ffs please stop doing this..
  • 28 1
 At Merida haven’t just left a gaping hole like some others, but yeah this trend still needs to disappear quickly
  • 23 2
 Can someone explain why bike companies are doing this? Is it cheaper? Easier? Or is it simply just to piss everyone off?
  • 38 2
 @stevemokan: It's cheaper to not have to design ports into your frame.
  • 44 1
 yep, looked a specs first, looks good, then scrolled through pictures and didn't even read the review after the shot of the farking ridiculous headset routing. Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey... why?!?!?
  • 5 1
 At this point it looks like my new bikes find have internal headset routing and some stick on cable guides so I can route the hoses externally...
  • 27 1
 I was optimistic about this bike (I'm a flex stay fanboy) until I scrolled to that headset pic. Didn't even bother reading the rest of the review.
  • 35 1
 I for one support this trend. but they are doing less than half the job! They need to run the cables throug the bottom bracket as well as main pivots. I won't buy a new bike until i see these features. MAYBE they can try run cables through the hubs?
  • 7 0
 @big-scot-nanny: I know it's a rhetorical question but it's a carry-over from road bikes where they've decided that saving point two watts at 40 kmh is worth the hassle of internal routing. But in mountainbikes even the wee donkey will tell you that it's nonsense
  • 11 0
 Will one of you 3D print geeks PLEASE start making external guides I can superglue wherever I want on the frame?! Then I'll run my cables and hoses however I damn well please getoffmylawn!! (I'm pretty sure this must already exist but I'm lazy right now.)
  • 2 0
 You guys are the best.
  • 11 8
 But how often do you change your headset bearing or headset? My headset is still silky smooth after 4 years in one of my bikes with heavy riding.
  • 14 0
 @tacklingdummy: When the headset is open for cables to pass, mud and water will also pass. Headsets will need changing every 6 months to a year when riding in muddy conditions. Bearings don't like mud, water, ... I have a beach racer, and have external cable routing on that bike. Even with the external cable routing I still need to change the headset bearings every year at least. Seawater gets in there and locks everything up. Imagine a half open headset. Bearings would need changing every ride...
  • 8 0
 @tacklingdummy: That's the point... right now, almost never. Put a couple holes in it and run cables through it... and in the constant rain through the winter, probably need to clean it up and regrease it monthly.
  • 5 9
flag salespunk (Sep 23, 2022 at 8:43) (Below Threshold)
 @tacklingdummy: look at it a different way, you are stuck with the crap stock headset in this model. First upgrade I do on almost every bike is a King headset. I HATE the Cane Creek headsets since they never stay tight.
  • 18 0
 I will NEVER buy a bike where the cables run through a bearing. NEVER.
  • 8 3
 @RidleyRijder: Have you ever seen one of those headsets from the inside? There's usually an additional sealing on the upper bearing and one on the lower bearing to protect it from the inside. I am running such a headset on my gravel bike which I use for commuting all year and I like to pressure wash the bike (because I am lazy). Two years running and no problems...I can't say that about the Shimano bottom bracket unfortunately.
  • 2 1
 It's always from a brand that's out of touch with riders anyway. They are just counting themselves out
  • 6 0
 @hamncheez:
Same, I was thinking
‘Ooo this looks nice...
Geo looks bang on....
... oh, headset routing’
And skipped straight to the comments!
  • 3 11
flag nickfranko (Sep 23, 2022 at 10:12) (Below Threshold)
 @Xaelber93: Did you really bring up your gravel bike? Commuting on your road-bike with offroad tires is not the same as riding an MTB in the dirt, mud, and general filth when it comes to dirt ingress.
  • 3 0
 What is keeping the brake hose and derailleur/dropper housing from touching the steerer tube? On externally routed housing I've seen housing cut into alloy fork crowns and frames if not properly managed.

Also wouldn't you have to do a brake bleed every time you changed the headset bearing?
  • 2 0
 I'm mostly hung up on the frame decal font being a little too close to Raleigh
  • 3 1
 @m47h13u: and yet more and more of them have ports for carrying shit. i don't buy it, it's for aesthetics only.
  • 3 0
 I was keen until I saw that pic and felt sick. Transition and Pole are doing it right!
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: it won't be with that cable opening, Google it and read a few reviews and user feedbacks
  • 2 0
 @Xaelber93: #thanksshimano
  • 3 3
 @nickfranko: I have a few friends with interested cable routing on their mountain bikes as well. No trouble what so ever. I would assume bike brands do quite some testing before commiting to such a technology before making the move. Especially with all the hate around here. It just seems to work for them and the users as well. Headsets beeing assembled without any grease is a far bigger issue and probably the number one reason anyone becomes trouble with their steel bearing at the headset...no matter if with or without cable integration.
  • 1 0
 @Xaelber93: my 2022 Canyon came with no grease in the headset Frown
  • 2 0
 @RidleyRijder @islandforlife Ok. Fair enough. However, in my area, I don't ride in mud and rain. When muddy, the trails are like molasses and completely clog up the tires making it completely unrideable. Clay dirt. I don't know any places where you can ride in the mud and rain.
  • 10 2
 @Xaelber93: I have seen those bearings from the inside yes. I am a bike mechanic/seller. I have personal experience with several brands. Yes some have an extra seal, others don't. Chris King are the best, but pricey. Ritchey suck(and i'm a Ritchey fanboy...), they last 1 ride. Cane Creek is ok for road bikes. FSA is ok for 1 season. I can go on with several brands...

A problem we have seen in the shop are those cables that go under the handlebar trough the headset like on this Merida. Water gets in there and forms a pool around the BB area. With road bikes it's less off a problem when the cables go trough the handlebars, spacers and headset. If they go under the bars, water gets in again. We had a bike in the shop not to long ago where we heard a watery noise coming from the BB area. We took the seat post out and turned the frame upside down. More than a litre water came out off the bike. Result was a BB that was complete trash and so was the headset.

When the cables go trough the frame we almost never see problems. Shit has gotten a lot worse since they chose to go trough the bearings.
  • 1 0
 What’s the difference between routing that runs under the stem vs running your cable into ports on the side of the head tube?
  • 2 0
 @lindsayflowhan: Routing on the side of the headtube does not go through the headset bearing.
  • 1 0
 @ranchitup: And most off the time they are much better sealed off, with also less cable rub in places you don't want.
  • 2 7
flag suz18 (Sep 24, 2022 at 7:30) (Below Threshold)
 @big-scot-nanny: please use Jesus's name with more respect.
  • 1 0
 @Xaelber93:
Bravo, the first to argue on the basis of real experience and facts.
Significantly undersized bearings in trunnion dampers and, in principle, all ball bearings in suspension that do not carry out a full rotation to lubricate the balls in grease and additionally get in contact with pressure cleaning, are really way more critical. Especially when those headsets are double sealed, to avoid contact with water.
  • 3 1
 I honestly don't understand what the big deal is. Some applications like the Focus bikes make it really annoying to work on, but for this the only thing it affects is changing the upper headset bearing, which if you're like most people do once in a rainbow coloured moon, if at all, and with changing cables. Eh, I guess it's a bit harder to work on but it's being blown way out of proportion.
  • 1 1
 @spuddo:
Cause and effect are constantly confused.
If a frame manufacturer is not able to avoid a swimming pool in the bottom bracket area, then the cause is not the headset, but the frame that allows a swimming pool. The effect can of course be amplified if the cables are poorly sealed to the frame or run improperly.

It is so: understands a manufacturer, engineer, designer the consequences that come with the so-called integration of functions, all problems are solvable and represent no or a strongly subordinate problem compared to the already existing problems of ball bearings.

But of course, it is easy to ride an in itself trivial topic to death, on which all can agree. Our preferences and thoughts, like the herd of cattle, go one in the other's footstep. Therefore, in everything that one does and says, be aware of the root-cause.
  • 3 0
 @spuddo: I don't know whats so hard to understand about this. You only have to change the upper headset bearing "once in a rainbow colored moon" because there aren't effing holes on either side of your headset, running cabled over, thru, and under them!

Water beads on your cables and flows downwards directly into your headset with this design. Guy at the shop says (in Utah, where it rains once in a rainbow colored moon) that this requires a headset change at least once a season from what hes seen.
  • 1 0
 @taskmgr: don't give them any ideas lol
  • 101 1
 I knew a Flight Attendant once. She too, cost me a lot of money.
  • 2 0
 It's because they don't get paid anything
  • 3 0
 Their pay only starts when the cabin door is closed, I'm told
  • 1 0
 You didn't get perks on flights, flight upgrades, airport lounges, and maybe hotels?
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: y'all be pimping while I was simping
  • 1 0
 @Spark24: Heck no, I'm never pimping. Lol. I get treated like lowest man on the totem pole.
  • 66 0
 “We heard you guys love cables routing through the headset, so we went ahead and routed them through the pivot axle too.”
  • 19 0
 the moment some designer said 'hold my beer'...
  • 61 2
 *Scroll, Scroll, Scroll. (Sees headset cable routing)...*fast scroll to comments... "Booooooooo!"
  • 48 0
 It was all looking so good until.. I’m not gonna say it
  • 6 0
 Yea, Looks nice Cool Nifty feature Ugh this bike is dead to me
  • 4 0
 yep, I was nodding my head going "yes, yes, yes" thinking I've found my new frame..... bow bowwwww
  • 29 1
 IMO everything looks pretty good and the bike looks really good...and then headset cable thing comes and crashes the party...
  • 22 1
 Respect to Merida for speccing the XT shifter with the SLX drivetrain on the 6000 configuration. So many brands only upgrade the derailleur, which seems useful mostly for misleading prospective customers.
  • 23 2
 Available in bright metallic green and purple? Sold. No other details necessary. Other manufacturers, learn from this.
  • 1 0
 Cannondale Jekyll in beetle green.
  • 18 2
 Other than the cable routing that bike looks great. 6k is...reasonable (even though this same parts spec would've been 1.5k cheaper three years ago). What kind of distribution does Merida have in the US? I wonder if the fact that they make frames for Specialized means they have distribution agreements between the US and Europe.
  • 5 0
 Can't buy them in the US. They make too many frames for other US companies.
  • 4 1
 @jwdenver: yeah you can't buy specialized in Europe either
  • 2 0
 When Specialized first struck a deal with Merida they agreed that Merida would not sell in the US to not compete with Specialized there. That deal seems to be weird in the current situation. Specialized and Merida are for many intents and puposes the same company. Merida owns 49% of Specialized.
  • 3 10
flag tacklingdummy (Sep 23, 2022 at 16:26) (Below Threshold)
 The bike looks good, but to me the price is high for a Merida. For 6K you can get a top brand.
  • 16 1
 "One geometry quirk that's less obvious is the stack height (that's the vertical distance from the BB to the top of the head tube) is low, especially in the larger sizes. This is done to allow smaller riders to size up without the bars being too high."
Because, f*ck tall riders. They have no business riding bikes anyway! Twats.
  • 5 12
flag kokofosho (Sep 23, 2022 at 7:48) (Below Threshold)
 because stem spacers and riser bars dont exist...
  • 12 2
 @kokofosho: stem spacers reduce the reach...
  • 2 2
 @k2theg: get a bugger bike then
  • 1 2
 @k2theg: a bigger bike
  • 5 1
 @k2theg: Also, run enough stem spacers and your steerer tube turns into a wet noodle when you're riding. It's actually scary, because you can flex a steerer tube and visibly see it flex in the parking lot.
  • 3 0
 @mjlee2003: third times a charm.
  • 1 3
 @k2theg: That depends on whether the designer keeps reach, or front-center equal when reducing the head tube length.
  • 1 0
 @k2theg: Riser bars don't reduce the reach
  • 14 0
 Hey Seb! Thanks for the in depth review of the suspension kinematics. I love seeing that level of feedback and analysis. Every reviewer can anecdotally feel different things, but it super valuable to learn and see some graphs and charts to show what the bike is actually doing, and what this translates to on the trail. Keep up that level of detail!
  • 6 1
 Also can you tell Merida nobody wants headset cable routing..
  • 2 3
 @DizzyNinja: I would rather have it than be forced to run my brake hose on the wrong side of the headtube.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: I swap my brakes moto style and would rather have my brake hose on the wrong side..
  • 13 0
 "...although the Merida doesn't need a complicated Shapeshiter mechanism to achieve this". That made my morning.
  • 11 0
 I quit reading at the headset cable routing. No matter what this bike has to offer, that's a deal breaker. Whoever is responsible for the headset cable routing deserves a good public mocking.
  • 1 1
 That's why I scroll the pictures before reading anything
  • 25 16
 "its fatigue lifespan is effectively indefinite, independant of material."
Absolute bullshit. Especially aluminium alloys will never have an indefinite fatigue lifespan.
Send it to Paul Aston and I'm almost sure you'll have a broken frame after a year
  • 28 0
 @bashhard It's just materials engineering terminology. Means under normal usage, the material will never fatigue and fail. You may be surprised by how many designs have finite fatigue cycles. Obviously this doesn't mean it is an "unbreakable material" no one ever said that and an "unbreakable" bike would be poorly designed bc it would be so overbuilt.
  • 13 0
 Going by a standard S-n curve, 'indefinite' is possible in aluminium alloys with a sufficiently low load. Whether Merida have strain gauged the area in lab/ride tests to design this properly vs just running some quick FEA is another question entirely.
  • 54 0
 People like you are the reason that kitchen cleaner only kills 99.9999 % of bacteria.
  • 7 0
 i mean, having an indefinite lifespan isn't a bold claim. WE all have indefinite lifespans.
  • 10 1
 Also, I'm going to make this prediction now, the top spec model is built specifically to win the EnduroMag group test. It hits every metric they seem to judge a bike on. 203 rotors, DD tyres, storage box and integrated tool, lightweight, chainguide.
  • 8 0
 This x1000. Lihtweight downcountry test- We marked it down because it did'nt have massive rotors,dual ply tyres with inserts and a coil shock. We gave it full marks despite pedalling like a dog and weighing 35lbs because we did'nt get a puncture.
  • 3 0
 I mean they are called ENDUROmag? 203 rotors, DD tyres and chainguide are at least requisite.
  • 2 3
 Alloy bar tho on $10k bike.
  • 7 0
 This looks great. Finally Merida have updated their geo and wheel size. Merida make awesome bikes. I have 2 of them. Multitool under the saddle is a nice little feature. Comes stock with proper tyres. Shame all anyone cares about is the headset routing.... myself included . But my Merida Ebike has it, and I've been riding that all through winter. Done a year on it. No headset issues.
  • 12 2
 Sharp looking bike, but cable routing unacceptable.
  • 6 0
 That single bolt under the frame holding the storage/service door in place worries me a little. If it comes loose, you won't even notice it. You'll lose the door, then the contents of whatever you had in there like keys, tools and money. I can imagine myself overtightening it, breaking it on a ride and then still lose everything.
  • 9 2
 Have to remove cables to service main pivot bearings is the stupidest thing I’ve heard this week
  • 1 0
 Primarily riding a hardtail your comment gets me wondering, do people take apart the linkage without removing the cables? Or can you service the bearings without taking the linkage apart?
  • 5 0
 @vinay: Most rear suspension can be disassembled while leaving cables in place.
  • 5 0
 Honest question? Who rides Merida bikes, and where do they live? I've spent three decades riding almost daily in North America, and one more riding in Europe, and never actually seen one in the wild.
  • 3 1
 I hear they own Specialized, but yeah, weird brand: wouldn't know where to get one, and never known anyone to own one.
  • 5 0
 I am now living in Spain and I see them on the road and trails here. Never in the US.
  • 8 1
 I'm in New Zealand. I have a carbon Merida 120 and a alloy Merida E160 ebike. They're really good bikes. They don't have a "cool bike" reputation so they're not super popular and up until now they've ran outdated geo. I also have a transition spire which is great.
Meridas have had less issues and I've had then longer.
  • 1 0
 My local trail centre had a Merida rental fleet a couple of years back but there are a few privately owned ones getting around. Hugely outnumbered by Polygon though.
  • 4 0
 Merida and Specialized struck a deal once that Merida would not sell to the US (or all of NA??) so they won't eat into Speci market share. Merida don't care because they own almost half of Speci. You see plenty of them in Europe.
  • 3 1
 they have a HUGE e-mtb share here in Australia, I had the old e-160 and it was awesome, lasted years of abuse. They make great bikes but just don't have that "cool" factor that other big names do.
  • 1 0
 @Brasher: yeah I feel like the only reason for that is they don't sponsor "cool" athletes and make cool videos like commencal for example. But they obviously sell bikes anyway.
  • 3 0
 I've got one and quite like it, as do a few people I ride with. They're relatively popular with kids and newer riders on my local trails, mainly because they're sold at a decent price by a large shop chain with a few local branches, and their E-bikes are very common too
  • 1 0
 Had 3 meridas in the family in recent years and the build qaulity is far better that the giant , gt or mandrakers that I had.
  • 1 0
 @danctm:
I've got a Merida E OneSixty. Fantastic bike. They sell like hotcakes here. Great value for money.
  • 1 0
 @KTM83Jack: So they're the Giant of Oceania, got it. Based on glowing owner testimonials, sounds like they learned from Giant's foible for producing lackluster MTBs and have managed to aim higher and do what Cheng-Shin did when they launched Maxxis as their performance line.
  • 3 0
 @powturn: nah we have Giant here, Specialized, Trek, all the big ones..... Merida and Norco just seem to be the two standouts in recent years, decent bikes and decent prices (considering covid)
  • 1 0
 Got to say I'm glad I've got a model with a standard headset and cable routing into the frame. The headset routing looks like another stupid idea foisted on the consumer.
  • 1 0
 @Brasher thumbs up x2
  • 1 0
 @powturn Per the other comments, they're pretty popular in Australia, particularly their eMTBs. I have an e160 and am really happy with it, even though it has "older" geo (65.5 degree HTA and 75 degree STA). Stock set up is mullet with 440mm chainstays so with the steeper HTA it's a bit more maneuverable than a typical 150mm ebike.

They've also been making good value road bikes for decades and they're pretty popular here too.
  • 5 0
 I call bullshit on that 'heatsink' rear brake mount. Or at least I won't believe that it makes a significant difference until someone shows me the IR thermometry.
  • 2 0
 I'm genuinely curious - what is the main reason for brands using headset cable routing? Does it make creating the frames cheaper in any way? Or have a benefit in the frame's overall strength? Or is just purely for "cleaner" aesthetics?
  • 6 0
 Steep uninterrupted seat tube, thank you... now was that so hard to do?
  • 1 0
 it often relates to rear wheel travel(path), lower frame design and how that interacts with the "ETT" measurement

Something i've noticed is brands like trek and the Slash, The Seat actually pushes quite far forward and out of the way.

Bikes with Really steep STA often climb mountains great but awkward for the flatter stuff and then seat feels in the way on the way down.
  • 2 0
 Seriously? Why on hell should I be forced to bleed the rear brake every time I have to change the main bearings? I could even pass the cables running through the headset, but the cables running through the main pivot axle is a huge no-no. Almost there Merida, I liked everything about this bike but that main pivot axle thing is just a huge pain in the ass
  • 5 2
 A bike from merida which is not bad at all. Its a huge improvement. Not bad Merida, hard to say it, but this bike looks and seems good!
  • 3 1
 Shouldn’t pinkbike have compared this frame to the commencal Meta. It would’ve been perfect. You compared the same design but one is in aluminum and the other in carbon fiber.
  • 5 0
 I can see me ride a Merida.
  • 5 0
 Guerrilla Gravity and Transition please keep the external cable routing!
  • 2 0
 I think Transition knows better. They've been stalwarts of external rear brake routing (and I love 'em for it).

I'm hoping the next sentinel has frame storage, and everything else is pretty much the same (save the x2 shock that keeps blowing up).
  • 1 0
 @bonkmasterflex: their E-Bike has the stupid headset routing already
  • 2 1
 I llike their use of "indefinite" to describe the lifespan. Could be 1 ride, could be 10 years....
On a side note though, Aluminum can not have an infinite life span from the S-N curves. Hence why people like steel bikes, infinite life is possible. Im not sure about S-N curves for carbon.
  • 4 1
 Anther Brand that has forgotten that 6ft (183cm) riders exsist. we dont want 470 reach or 500.

Can we please have a modern bike in size large?
  • 1 0
 I dont get point of reviewing the 10k merida model, just because you can. Thats clearly not the relevant build most customers, especially those looking at Meridas, would go for. Ive tested my share of bikes and always felt that magazines dont do themselves any justice by reviewing the super top end impractical builds..
  • 4 0
 The emoji on the main photo is annoying
  • 2 2
 How does the flight attendant work without the dropper remote/control? or do you just adjust it all from the top of the fork?

Also, where TF are all the AXS droppers. I love mine, and there are a load of AXS geared and now flight attendant bikes shipping without them.
  • 2 0
 Maximum drop for the AXS dropper is much less than the 230mm post on this bike.
  • 3 0
 finally seeing higher rise bars OEM, finally! Interesting knowing this brand built my specialized frame
  • 4 0
 Nice colors and good looks until head tube.
  • 2 1
 Any thoughts on the 5 Year Warranty? Seems odd that Spesh offers lifetime, but their OEM only offers 5 years.

On the other hand, what percentage of people own their bikes more than 5 years?
  • 3 0
 Why is it odd? Spesh frames are more expensive. Lifetime warranty says little about frame quality. It's a cost/benefit decision made by the marketing department. The markup you pay on a similarly equipped bikes from Spesh easily pays for the number of 6+ year old warranty frames they have to send out to customers.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: Fine point…
  • 1 0
 And on the other hand - Merida offer lifetime warranty o all their models

"WARRANTY PROCESS
*Models from 2011 onwards are covered by the following warranty. Exclusions apply:-

MERIDA COMPONENTS
Lifetime frame warranty
*Our frames are covered by a lifetime warranty for the entire ownership of the original purchaser. Exclusions apply. This applies to manufacturing and material defects and includes bikes used for racing.
"
"The Merida Warranty Excludes:
Componentry which isn’t Merida branded (see below)
Normal wear and tear
Damage caused by accidents, neglect or abuse
Improper assembly
Improper follow-up maintenance; all bikes must be serviced by an authorised Merida dealer, initial service within 6 months of purchase. Suspension systems must be serviced annually by an authorised dealer
Modification or alteration of the frame or original components
Direct, incidental, or consequential damages, including damages for personal injuries, property damage or economic loss
Labour charges for part replacement or changeover
"
  • 1 0
 @PerNyberg1Bn: Good find… but wow! A warranty with those terms really dares you to make a claim.
  • 1 1
 @ak-77: I could be wrong but Europe or parts of Europe can't legally offer a lifetime warranty. Which will be where the 5 years possibly comes from.
  • 2 0
 @psyloman: which parts?
  • 4 0
 Apart from the cable situation it looks like a good thing.
  • 1 0
 I hope this gets a real long term review, at least a full season or riding, just to test the reliability of that flex. A month or six rides is really not enough to test a new design.
  • 3 0
 That seatpost design is an excellent idea. Everyone gets maximum drop (if they want it) out of the same unit.
  • 1 1
 This looks like a very serious contender for my next bike. The geometry looks spot-on perfect and everything else is pretty good aswell (except for the cable routing).

Especially the Category 5 classification by Zedler is a HUGE bonus. More companies should design actual DH-worthy enduro bike frames, compliant with cat 5 standards.
  • 2 0
 Pretty to look at . That's personal opinion. Mechanics nightmare I'm certain that's a common statement. Run cables through as many holes as possible. What a joke .
  • 2 0
 yet another great bike coming with those horrendous Shimano brakes. Merida owns Hayes. Why not use Dominion? Never seen those OEM
  • 3 0
 IM SO EASY GOING!!! LOOK HOW EASY I GO!!!!!
  • 12 13
 Was reading old reviews of enduro all mountain bikes earlier, the giant reign from 09,and the whyte 146. Just looking at the weight of this new 8000quid bike can't help but notice how heavy it is and no body seems bothered nawadays. The old bikes were very light in comparison and neather renowned for snapping or being weak flexy maybe. I think the pr companys of recent years have trained consumers in to excepting overweight nearly 10,000 pound mountain bikes.
  • 2 3
 Mad isn't it. It's must be that weight just isn't important now that bike parks with shuttles are becoming more common, and places like the Alps cater for the bike crowd with the ski lifts. Significantly improved suspension might also reduce the burden, especially as every enduro bike gets reviewed with 'climbs like mountain goat' nowadays
  • 20 0
 A lot of that weight is in the 38 mm fork and those Double Down tires. You can easily lose 2-3 pounds of rotating mass switching to a lighter casing tire. And rotating mass in tires makes an absolutely massive improvement in acceleration and playfulness.
  • 31 0
 What size were the wheels of those ‘09 bikes? How big were the tyres? They have dropper posts, 12 speed 50+ t cassettes?
  • 17 0
 You pay the weight price for modern capability. Longer and slacker = physically larger frame. 29" wheels that don't fold up are heavier. Compare the physical size of any 26" wheeled bike from the early 2010s to now, and there's just more of it there on average. I'd rather ride the modern "light downhill bike" style enduro than the "big x/c" 26" rig of yesteryear. There still are lighter-ish frames on the market like the carbon Transition Spire or Yeti SB150.
  • 1 4
 @tomhoward379: no... that's why they were lighter.

Did I miss something??
  • 15 1
 @T4THH: exactly. They’re heavier for a reason, it’s not some conspiracy to fool us into ‘accepting overweight bikes’
  • 5 0
 Wheels are bigger than 26”, which increases weight of frame wheels and tires. Tires are typically properly specced for intended purpose with dual-ply or reinforced casings. Other gravity oriented parts like forks and shocks and brakes have also been beefed up since those days. That 2009 bike likely had 32mm stanchion fork and an inline air shock with single piston 180mm rotors. Bikes also have dropper posts now, which added significant weight too.
  • 1 0
 @tomhoward379: agree with this guy. Best to compare frame weight if you want a fair comparison.
  • 5 0
 Neat. Buy one of those bikes then if you care about weight.
  • 2 0
 price is stoopid...but at least they didn't drink the chalked-out paint scheme koolaid...so there's that.
  • 2 0
 Knolly call ur lawyers
That seatpost tube / bb placement are treading all over your patents
  • 1 2
 I’m a little confused by the idea of size-specific anti-squat. Bigger riders produce more power thus more anti-squat. I suppose that maybe a big rider that spins the smallest possible gear everywhere and doesn’t put out many watts might end up with more seated suspension bob, but that seems like a tiny outlier.
  • 3 0
 A frame that has 100% AS for a short rider will have less than 100% for a tall rider. AS depends on the height of the centre of mass. The higher it is, the lower the AS (and AR).
  • 1 0
 @AgrAde: we all know antisquat numbers are not based on small frames. But this is a good reminder that anti-squat numbers are based on a designer chosen cg that may not accurately reflect your own. And that shifting that cg up, down, fore and aft will change anti-squat forces. Also a good reminder why some bikes that feel great in the saddle are mushy as hell when standing to pedal.

Maybe it is time to see anti-squat numbers disclosed across the range of possible saddle heights for the entire range of frame sizes?
  • 1 0
 @eMcK: Not sure exactly what you're trying to say in the first half of your first paragraph. But AS doesn't change when the COM is moved fore/aft, height is the only thing that really matters.

Bikes that have high AS do pedal better when you're standing up, but it's not cos your COM is higher. If you've got over 100% AS then you'll also be helping counter the effect of your weight moving up and down as you pedal, which happens a lot more when you're standing than sitting.

I don't know if there's a good solution for displaying information about AS. Doing it by seat height just opens up a tonne of other questions. upright seating position or slammed bars? Are they a gym bro that skips leg day or a road cyclist with pencil arms and no shoulders?

Most people don't have any idea what AS means in the first place, drawing a bunch of different graphs for one frame is even more confusing. to keep everything apples to apples, a standardised COM height above the bb is probably the best we can hope for.
  • 1 0
 It doesn't have size specific anti-squat. It has size specific leverage ratios.
Anti-squat will change depending what gear you're in and what size chainring you're running. 32/51 in this instance.
I guess they think bigger riders weight more and require more forces at the end of the travel to slow/support said weight.
But it also means each size bike will have different riding characteristics.
  • 1 0
 @Mattleese: Indeed, but we were talking about size specific anti squat here, mentioned in this part of the review:

"Unlike size-specific kinematics from other brands like Structure and Cannondale, the anti-squat doesn't change by size. It's relatively high though, which means there's a generous amount of pedalling support to resist bob and slouching. In my view, size-specific anti-squat makes more sense than leverage curves, because taller riders need more mechanical intervention to stop their weight from rocking back with each power stroke."

I agree with the reviewer. Size specific AS makes more sense than size specific leverage curves.
  • 3 3
 The logic that smaller riders will have a harder time using full travel isn't very accurate to say the least. Also 25% is pretty average for progression and 15% is pretty low.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, I thought that was a bit weird. A lot of the sendier guys that break bikes that I know are shorter. Seems to give them a lot of strength to really load the bike up in G-outs and big hits, and they also can't put in as much body english to absorb hits.
  • 2 3
 „cable through headset?“ bashing is the 2022 version of „no waterbottle?“ bashing of 2010 it seems. The headsets are sealed under the plastik cap. That should be the case on you „normal“ headsets as well, because water can enter in between the top cap and the bearing there as well as they are NOT waterproof.
  • 1 0
 Yep, I know headset cable routing sucks, but this bike looks really appealing to the eye and seems to perform well. I'd consider it if you could get it in the states.
  • 2 0
 It looked so good.... until i saw IT Frown
  • 2 0
 The carbon meta has finally been realized
  • 1 0
 Great review. Nice bike. But… what is the pouch and frame mount holder pictured on the Strive?
  • 3 0
 I love the colors
  • 2 0
 Did you test this in 29er or mullet?
  • 1 0
 This bike looks awesome and well deigned, perhaps a YZ 150 Yamaha kind of feel , the rest depends on a good set of tyres.
  • 1 0
 Would you have to run the cables through the main pivot or could you bypass that 'feature'?
  • 1 0
 Given the geometry is almost the same as everything else, sure ... why not?
  • 1 0
 New X01 carbon cranks with AXS power detected!!! @SramMedia any announcements?
  • 1 0
 Looks schnazzy. With all those fancy parts I would expect this bike to ride me down the mountain.
  • 3 1
 Crazy prices.
  • 2 0
 :Paul Box
  • 1 0
 Since when are DDs available in MaxTerra?
  • 1 0
 Since ages. Had a few like that
  • 1 0
 Pricing of the alloy models would be nice to see @seb-stott
  • 1 2
 Looks dope! cable management via headset is kinda controversial, however, how often do u disassemble the fork? 2 times per year?
  • 2 2
 Would love this frame in a downcountry version. They nailed a lot of elements that I like.
  • 1 0
 Stopped reading at 11.900e
  • 1 0
 I liked the look of the old one better...
  • 1 0
 Who though this was a revel rail?
  • 1 0
 Cool bike too bad it's not sold in the good ol US of A :-[
  • 1 0
 Is the green metallic one called the "Las Vegas" model...?
  • 1 2
 I don't hate the top cover routing but why is the high zoot specimen 34lbs?
  • 2 0
 DD tires, 38 fork.
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