Merida Bikes One Twenty Carbon XT-D 2012 Mountain Bike Review

Merida Bikes One Twenty Carbon XT-D 2012

Reviews / Trail Bikes

Merida Bikes 230,029

At A Glance

The Merida One Twenty is a striking looking bike that just looks fast. That may be something to do with the company’s name blazoned along the downtube as they are very much a brand that puts low weight and high speed high on their list of priorities.

Buy Trail Bikes on

The oh-so-fast Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres that will doubtless suit the bike in the summer had me chewing my bottom lip nervously as I watched the rain tipping down outside.

Weather aside I was looking forward to getting out and having a blast on the One Twenty to see if it was just a speed demon or a little more capable of general trail abuse.

Tech Heads

Very much the heart of the One Twenty is its frame and the carbon version we tested was made of the same HM nano matrix black stuff as Merida’s World Cup winning XC frames, this give a claimed frame weight of under 2kg without a shock.

The carbon version that we tested keeps last years suspension characteristics which are truly propulsion bias whereas the alloy versions have a slight change that makes them a little more trail friendly.

Suspension duties are taken care of via a Fox Float RP2BV at the back and a Fox Float 32 RL 120 QR up front.

Transmission is Shimano’s faithful workhorse XT 3 x 10s throughout.

FSA carbon 31.6 seatpost, 100mm stem and 680mm bars all do their job and look good.

The wheels and brakes are possibly the point where compromises were made to hit a price point. Brakes are Shimano M596 with 180mm rotors, steady but not inspiring kit. Wheels are Shimano M595 hubs laced to Merida XCD rims and these are shod with Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres.

Geometry wise the angles are pretty much what you would expect on a bike in this category, the head tube angle is 69º and the seat tube angle is 73.5 º.

A comfortable effective top tube length of 590mm gives room to breath, chain stays are shortish 423mm, this is some way shorter than the alloy versions chain stay length of 435mm.

Our medium test bike came in at 26lbs without pedals.

On The Trail

Getting comfortable on the One Twenty was easy, the 590mm effective top tube is just right but the 100mm stem was a little long for me so that is something I would probably swap out. The bars are a sensible width and the overall first impression was that of feeling just right.

I set the suspension a touch firm as I was worried about using all of the rear wheel travel too easily but it soon became clear that the rear shock tune was quite progressive so bottoming out was not really an issue on XC type terrain, The fork worked well and had a sprightly feel but the fact it was a QR did make itself felt when driving the front end hard into corners.

As expected the drivetrain was flawless but the brakes were sadly lacking. For most occasions they were fine for trimming my speed but as the speeds picked up their performance did not.

So what about the ride? Well I had expected it to be a touch on the harsh side but it actually felt comfortable and well balanced with a playful nature.

The bike is light and pedals well, going uphill is a breeze and stamping on the pedals brings an instant surge of speed, handling was pleasantly amiable too which was a surprise as I had thought it might be twitchy and nervous. It was certainly fast once I had installed a shorter stem but not to the point of being scary. Twisty singletrack is a blast.

Heading downwards was great fun and popping off small lips and roots made me smile, I found myself having a pretty good time.


The One Twenty carbon took me by surprise, I tend to do most of my riding on slightly more gnarly orientated machines so it was something of a shock to find myself having so much fun on a shorter travel bike that has an xc bias.

What made it fun I hear you ask…. Well it is hard to pin point exactly what makes a bike fun but I think that a combination of comfort, light weight and balance all came together in one easy to ride package.


It is always hard to find fault with a bike I have enjoyed riding but as usual nothing is ever perfect so I will give it a shot.

The number one fault I will level at the Merida is those brakes, they simply have no place on a bike of this spec, performance wise they do a job but not to the same level as say an XT brake set which would have been right at home alongside its brethren in the transmission department.


By now you will have worked out that I like the Merida One Twenty carbon, I make a point of calling it that as the alloy versions for 2012 have a different suspension characteristic and longer chain stays which in theory should make the bike more stable and reassured.

Back to the carbon model, I found the One Twenty to be a fast, balanced, accurate, lightweight machine that I would be happy to ride for fun on my local woodland trails
and would make a cracking enduro xc bike or flat out xc racer for those, like me, that like a little comfort.

The frame is available separately and would make an excellent start point to hang some truly uber kit on that would turn this thoroughly enjoy bike into a superbike…. Umm, goes off to price up some carbon wheels… and some bling brakes.

Buy Trail Bikes on

Do you enjoy reading IMB Magazine, using our App and website? We now need your support to keep IMB going. Support IMB from as little as £2 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you!

Support IMB

This review was in Issue 15 of IMB.

For more information visit Merida Bikes



By Merida Bikes

Mountain Bike Reviews - Merida Bikes Mission 8000 CX 2019
Mountain Bike Reviews - Merida Bikes Mission 8000 CX 2019
Merida Bikes Mission 8000 CX

Despite my go-to bikes always being long travel 29ers, I find myself endlessly intrigued by drop-bar bikes. Whether it's reminiscing about my early year's mountain biking, or just enjoying something different, my need for a gravel/cross/road-duro bike seems to continue to the point where I find life hard without one in the garage. For mountain bikers, a drop bar bike…

Mountain Bike Reviews - Merida Bikes One-Twenty 6000 2019
Mountain Bike Reviews - Merida Bikes One-Twenty 6000 2019
Merida Bikes One-Twenty 6000

Continuing Merida's overhaul of their full suspension range, the 120 is the latest model to be brought up to speed. Sharing the style and layout of the bigger 160 and 140 models, the 120 aims to be everything the modern trail rider wants from a bike. Merida claim this new bike is the best balance of 'trail oriented riding on…

Mountain Bike Reviews - Merida Bikes eONE-SIXTY 900E 2018
Mountain Bike Reviews - Merida Bikes eONE-SIXTY 900E 2018
Merida Bikes eONE-SIXTY 900E

Merida has certainly reinvented itself in recent years with enduro bikes and hardtails that show a distinct change in direction from their XC heyday. This eOne Sixty is a further move from their traditional roots and has taken the e-bike market by storm. Very quickly this bike has secured itself as potentially one of the best e-bikes out there. This…

By Nigel Garrood
Nigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!

Tried this? What did you think?


Subscribe it's Free!

Win a Fresh IMB Organic Hoody and T-Shirt this issue in our FREE subscriber prize draw.

By subscribing you will not only be first to read the mag but automatically entered into the prize draw every issue!

Draw closes on Sat 20th Apr, 2019
First name is required.

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy

Subscribe Another
Fresh IMB Organic Hoody and T-Shirt

Issue 56 Sat 16th Feb, 2019

Fresh IMB Organic Hoody and T-Shirt


Issue 55 Fri 19th Oct, 2018

GoPro Hero 6 Black Action Camera


Issue 54 Mon 20th Aug, 2018

A Load of Protection Gear From SixSixOne


Issue 53 Wed 27th Jun, 2018

GoPro Hero 6 Black Action Camera


Issue 52 Mon 30th Apr, 2018

A Whole Bunch of Goodies from DMR Bikes


Issue 51 Fri 23rd Feb, 2018

Exposure Joystick M12 Legendary Bike Light


Issue 50 Thu 21st Dec, 2017

Protective Gear From Bluegrass Eagle


Issue 49 Wed 25th Oct, 2017

Complete Riding Outfit From Cube


Issue 48 Sat 19th Aug, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 47 Sun 20th Aug, 2017

Complete Riding Outfit from Vaude


Issue 46 Mon 17th Apr, 2017

Rinsekit Black Pressurised Portable Washer


Issue 45 Wed 15th Feb, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 44 Fri 16th Dec, 2016

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 43 Thu 20th Oct, 2016

GoPro Hero 4 Session Camera


Issue 42 Mon 22nd Aug, 2016

Range of Top Riding Kit From Dainese


Issue 41 Sat 20th Aug, 2016

Set of LTR Boost Forks From Lauf


Issue 40 Mon 20th Jun, 2016

Some Fantastic Riding Gear From Fox


Issue 39 Fri 19th Feb, 2016

Set of Riding Gear from LEATT


Issue 38 Thu 17th Dec, 2015

Complete Night riding Setup from Exposure Lights


Issue 37 Fri 23rd Oct, 2015

Complete Riding Package From ION


Issue 36 Mon 24th Aug, 2015

One of Three Osprey Escapist Packs

Dan, Joe and Edgar

Issue 35 Thu 18th Jun, 2015

Complete Riding Kit from Endura


Issue 34 Sat 18th Apr, 2015

Pair of Adidas Evil Eye Evo Glasses


Issue 33 Tue 17th Feb, 2015

GoPro Hero4 Silver Edition


Issue 32 Thu 18th Dec, 2014

Load of Riding Gear from Cube


Issue 31 Fri 17th Oct, 2014

Sweet Set Up from Deity Components


Issue 30 Mon 18th Aug, 2014

661 Recon Helmet, Gloves and T-Shirt


Issue 29 Thu 26th Jun, 2014

Set of DMR Accessories


Issue 28 Wed 16th Apr, 2014

Set of X-Fusion Sweep RL2 160mm 27.5 Forks!


Issue 27 Fri 14th Feb, 2014

Complete Set of Riding Kit from IXS


Issue 26 Mon 16th Dec, 2013

Bontrager Rhythm Elite TLR Disc Wheelset


Issue 25 Wed 16th Oct, 2013

Reflex Mk2 and a Diablo Mk5 Light from Exposure


Issue 24 Mon 19th Aug, 2013

Pedros Apprentice Tool Kit


Issue 23 Mon 17th Jun, 2013

Superstar Components Wheels and Pedals


Issue 22 Tue 16th Apr, 2013

Brand New iPad Mini


Issue 21 Fri 15th Feb, 2013

Go Pro 3 and Goodies From One Industries


Issue 20 Sun 16th Dec, 2012

Box Full of Goodies From Cube


Issue 19 Tue 16th Oct, 2012

Complete O'neal Riding Kit


Issue 18 Wed 15th Aug, 2012

Osprey Raptor 14 Pack and Swann HD Freestyle Camera


  1. The Promotion is organised by IMB and the participating brand stated on the subscribe page. You are providing your information to IMB, not the participating brand. The information you provide will only be used for the purpose of facilitating the Promotion and notifying you when new issues of our totally free magazine are released. We will never sell or supply your details to any 3rd parties.
  2. You can opt out of any future emails by clicking the unsubscribe link within the footer of the email at any time.
  3. The winner will be notified by email shortly after the closing date shown. Previous winners will not be eligible to win again until at least three new Promotions have run.
  4. Winners must reply to our email within two weeks or a new winner will be drawn. Please check all spam folders to avoid loosing out.
  5. Participants only need to enter once in order to be eligible for all future prize draws.

Share - Merida Bikes One Twenty Carbon XT-D 2012