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.
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.
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.