At a glance
Manufacturing giant Merida has just released its brand new 160mm travel enduro machine. Besides a brand new geometry, the frame is packed with features and options to provide their most high end enduro machine to date. It is available in 5 different build kits, 7 different colors and 5 different frame sizes.Buy Enduro Bikes on
Price: starting from 4600 GBP / 5760 EUR (Model tested 9000 GBP / 11.900 EUR)
The brand new frame has been designed from the ground up and has a ton of changes compared to the previous model. With two models in alloy and three in carbon there is a wide range of price points served.Size wise Merida made the move away from inches, and settled on the X Short, Short, Mid, Long and X Long. This gives the rider a lot more choice as the top tube height is dramatically lowered enabling you to ride a longer bike if you are looking for more stability, or a shorter ride if you want maneuverability. To help make this possible, Merida specs their own dropper post that has an incredible range of travel between 30 and 230mm! Just adjust the height that’s right for you by adjusting the travel and off you go. No more kinked dropper cable!
Geometry wise the big M followed the longer lower slacker trend. The designers settled on a 64 degree head angle, with a steep 79 degree seat tube angle. This makes a short and comfortable bike on the ups, but when pointing it down the 498mm reach creates a nice and roomy front end. Chainstay length is another key measure that determines a lot of the handling of the bike. With 434mm on the XS, S and M, and a 438mm on the L and XL frames, the CS is nice and short.
Another interesting feature is that the XS,S and M version can be turned into a Mullet ride by swapping the rear wheel and flipping the rear dropouts. Unique about this is that this barely changes the geometry but does change the ride because of the smaller wheel.
Their all-new Flexstay-Adjustable-Size-Tuned suspension kinematic means they got rid of a pivot point for less maintenance and lower weight, it’s adjustable to work with full 29” wheels or a mixed ‘mullet’ setup without altering the geometry, and it’s size-tuned to deliver more wheel rate progression as you move up the frame lengths, allowing smaller, lighter riders to access all their travel while giving heavier or harder riders the support they need.
You can’t release a new bike in 2022 without talking about storage compartments. And of course the new OneSixty has one. A neatly tucked away Merida Service Port in the downtube area gives access to any of the internal cable routing, and has plenty of space to tuck in some gummy bears. The carbon models even come with a tool roll, neatly packing in your pump, patches, minitool and spare dropout. Tidy!
What about innertube storage? They thought of that. Instead of going all enduro and duct taping it to your frame, Merida created a neat tube base plate so you can strap a tube and Co2 cartridge right under the top tube. Talk about attention to detail!
Out on the trail
Once set up the bike was ready to roll, and arguably the only issue was the person on top of it who’d spent the last month surfing and not working on his fitness. The first thing I noticed about the bike as I pedalled was how short it felt, considering Merida has gone for a longer reach on these new models. It felt much shorter than the stated 498mm as I pedalled up the hill; this put me in a central position over the bike and gave me plenty of purchase on the front wheel. In fact, this was my first experience of the super steep seat tube, which pushes you forward over the front of the bike as you sit in the saddle and climb.
On the first descent, and as soon as I stood up on the pedals, the bike grew underneath me, and the longer reach was right there all along. It’s an interesting concept and bang up to date with where bikes should be; often, seat angles leave you wallowing on the climbs, but that wasn’t the case here, and even for my unfit legs, it was an impressive bike to climb. Of course, the Flight Attendant suspension was working away to ensure all my power went into the tires, too, but the general feeling from the launch was a bike with impressive climbing ability, especially for the ONE-SIXTY with its huge suspension travel.
Pointing it downhill, the bike was phenomenal; it took a couple of runs to dial in the suspension, but when we had it was incredibly capable and deathly silent, there was bountiful grip on the front and rear end, and in the corners, it never even hinted at wanting to let go. Your position on the bike feels just right, and the ample travel feels progressive as you hit the bigger stuff. At speed, it is stable, and confidence comes in abundance; on the more technical descents, the ONE-SIXTY is happy threading a line and sticking to it.
The engineering team has outdone themselves on this one. Great new geometry that brings them right back at the sharp end of bike design. It has a lot of overlap making it easy to pick a size depending on your riding style. The new frame features are well thought out and manufactured with skill and with a ton of colorways and price points to choose from, the OneSixty should definitely be on your shortlist!Buy Enduro Bikes on
This review was in Issue 72 of IMB.For more information visit Merida Bikes
By Jarno HooglandJarno's life has revolved around two wheels ever since he swung a leg over his first BMX at age 4. After a BMX and DH racing career, he moved on to work for bike shops, distributors and brands before ending up in the editors seat at IMB. Based in the ultimate testing ground in the Swiss mountains, he runs his guiding operation and makes sure every IMB issue is filled with top notch content.