Merida One-Sixty 700 Mountain Bike Review
Merida One-Sixty 700 Mountain Bike Review


Words by Robert Johnston  |  Photos by Adam Lievesley

Merida have been manufacturing bikes in their Taiwanese factory since 1972. While making bikes for many other companies, they’ve also been making bikes under their own name since 1988. These days, they’ve got an extensive range of bikes from commuter and road machines through to mountain bikes and eMTBs. We were very excited to finally welcome one of their full suspension mountain bikes in for testing, in the form of their ONE-SIXTY Enduro mtb. It was worth the wait to get on board Merida’s Enduro mountain bike, let me tell you why.


• 162mm Linkage Driven Single Pivot Suspension With Flex Stay
• Dual 29” or Mixed 29”F/27.5”R
• HTA 64
• STA 79 (effective)
• REACH 498 (Long)

Frame: PROLITE 66 Triple Butted w/P-Flex | 162mm/171mm
Fork: Marzocchi Z1 Grip | 170mm
Shock: Fox Float X Performance | 230x65mm

Shimano SLX M7120, 200F/R RT64 rotors
Handlebar: Merida Team TR 35mm | 780mm| 18mm Rise
Stem: Merida Expert eTRII 35mm | 40mm Length
Headset: Merida 8158 w/Cable Routing
Seatpost: Merida Team TR 30mm-230mm travel
Saddle: Merida Expert SL

Hubs: Shimano SLX
Rims: Merida Expert TR 29mm
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai Maxx Grip DD | 29″ x 2.5″
Rear Tire: Maxxis DHR II Maxx Terra DD | 27.5” / 29” x 2.4”

Bottom Bracket: Race Face BSA
Cassette: Shimano Deore M6100 | 12spd | 10-51T
Cranks: Race Face Aeffect 170mm | 32T
Shifter: Shimano XT | 12spd
Derailleur: Shimano SLX M7100 | 12spd


  • Excellent Attention To Detail

  • Solid All Round Enduro Performance

  • Killer Value


  • Heavy, but not excessively

  • There are more capable bikes


The ONE-SIXTY is Merida’s enduro machine, designed to attack the hardest hitting enduro descents while still providing a comfortable machine to climb back up on. It has a 29” front wheel and 170mm fork as standard on all sizes. The rear can be fitted with either a 27.5” wheel with 171mm rear travel, or a 29” wheel and 162mm travel, thanks to the geometry-preserving flip chip.

FRAME AND FEATURES | Merida has put a huge amount of well-considered details into their ONE-SIXTY. The frame is available in either carbon fiber or alloy (as tested) depending on the spec level selected. The aluminum frame is manufactured from Merida’s PROLITE 66, Triple-Butted alloy tubing. The welds are passed over twice to produce smooth junctions, improving looks and fatigue life. Both frame materials use a flexstay suspension design, with a section of the Seat Stays designed to flex in a controlled manner to eliminate a set of frame bearings. This shaves weight, reduces maintenance, and adds stiffness to the frame.

The feature-packed frame includes the Wire Port headset cable routing, designed to produce a cleaner looking and quieter cockpit. Gear, brake and dropper post cables pass through the frame almost entirely out of sight. There’s a bottle cage and a tool mount inside the front triangle; mechanic-friendly threaded Bottom Bracket; and integrated fender to protect the main pivot from being attacked by crud off the rear tire. There’s generous rubber downtube and chainstay protection to keep the ONE-SIXTY quiet and fend off damage. Under the saddle, Merida includes a multi tool for on-the-fly repairs.

Merida One-Sixty 700 Mountain Bike Review

SUSPENSION | The Merida ONE-SIXTY is given their “Fast Kinematic”, with size-specific progression rates to offer heavier riders more end-stroke support. In the 27.5” rear wheel setting, progression sits at roughly 17%, whereas the 29” setting boosts this to 21%. Anti Squat sits at around 110% at sag in the climbing gears and increases progressively to 125% in the hardest gears to offset the increased rider weight transfer. Anti Rise is around 95% at sag and falls slightly throughout the travel down to 80% at bottom out, giving good geometry preservation.

GEOMETRY | Merida offers the ONE-SIXTY in sizes extra-short to extra-long, with low standovers and long 230mm travel-adjustable dropper posts with full insertion allowing riders to choose frame size based on the reach alone. Sizes “Xshort” to “Mid” come with the mixed-wheel setup as standard with the increased travel and slightly shorter 434mm rear end, whereas “Long” and “Xlong” frames come as dual 29ers with a 437.5mm chainstay.

Standout figures are the slightly steeper than average 79° Effective Seat Tube Angle, and fairly long 498mm Reach for what is effectively Merida’s size Large. Of course, with their sizing system, you could opt to size down to the “Mid”, with a 470mm reach. Stack heights are low across the range, offering versatility but forcing riders looking for the best handling machine in steep and gnarly terrain to run a higher rise bar.

Merida One-Sixty 700 Mountain Bike Review

BUILD SPECS | Merida offers the ONE-SIXTY in a range of builds, from the entry level alloy-framed offering starting at £2,750, to high-spec carbon framed offerings up to £9,000. We tested the ONE-SIXTY 700 spec, with an alloy frame and very solid build kit that retails for £3,300.

The Merida ONE-SIXTY 700 spec is equipped with a Marzocchi Z1 fork and Fox Float X Performance shock combo, which isn’t ultra-tuneable but proved to work well. The drivetrain is a 12-speed mashup from Shimano; with XT, SLX and Deore components in there. The brakes are the SLX four-pots, with a pair of 203mm rotors to offer plentiful stopping power. The wheelset features Shimano hubs with Merida’s own alloy rims. These are wrapped in a Maxxis Assegai Double Down (EXO+ as tested) Maxx Grip and Minion DHR2 Double Down Maxx Terra tire combo that makes the bike ready to race out of the box. This build tipped in at 17.1kg/37.7lbs including the spare inner tube, set up tubeless.

Merida One-Sixty 700 Mountain Bike Review


SETUP | Getting the ONE-SIXTY set up proved to be relatively trouble-free, aside from the low rise stock handlebar and low Stack height leaving the front end too low for my preferences. A relatively inexpensive and easy switch of the bar for a higher rise unit left me feeling much more comfortable. Otherwise, it was a case of setting fork air pressure to the recommended psi and the rear shock to deliver 30% sag, and I was immediately feeling comfortable.

The sizing on the ONE-SIXTY leaves me in a tricky spot in terms of preferred reach. I was concerned about losing too much stability if I went for the “mid” with its mixed wheel setup and fairly short rear end. To avoid this, I opted to go for the long, with a longer reach than I’d typically choose. This turned out to be quite manageable since the head tube angle is not extremely slack and the rear end is still fairly short, but the more stretched out body position on the descents was notable.

Merida One-Sixty 700 Mountain Bike Review

CLIMBING | With a nicely upright seating position and plenty of pedaling support even when open, the ONE-SIXTY climbs very competently given its 17.1kg/37.7lbs weight. The easily reachable lockouts on both ends come in handy to add further efficiency on long and smooth climbs, but I didn’t typically reach for them as I was very comfortable spinning away with them open. The slightly longer reach than I’d typically go for was offset by the steeper than average Seat Tube Angle to leave me in a comfortable body position, with enough weight on the front wheel for all but the steepest climbs. Ground clearance was adequate too, so more tech portions of climb were no trickier than necessary. Overall, Merida has done a great job at making this burly enduro bike pedal acceptably well.

Merida One-Sixty 700 Mountain Bike Review

DESCENDING | On the way down the hill, the ONE-SIXTY is a very balanced machine in terms of its traits. The suspension is fairly plush and comfortable, yet offers plentiful support to work the terrain. Bottom out resistance is ample to support some fairly hard charging with the stock Float X spec, but some of the more aggressive riders or those looking for a pedal-friendly bikepark machine will be well served by adding further volume reducers.

The geometry is fairly stretched in terms of cockpit feel compared to what I’d usually run, but the moderate head tube angle and fairly compact rear end avoid it being overly sluggish. The stiffness of the overall package is middle-of-the-road too, and it makes for a very versatile bike. It’s not the most settled and stable bike when things get super rowdy, and there were a few instances where I overwhelmed the fork a touch. Overall though it hides its fairly high weight well, and offers reassuring confidence to push hard.

FINISH AND VALUE | The Merida ONE-SIXTY ran quietly for the majority of testing until a creak developed in the headset, but a quick pull apart to re-grease the contact surfaces fixed it without too much of a headache. The amount of attention to detail and features that Merida has managed to cram into this £3,300 bike is quite astonishing. The overall build spec and feeling of quality as a result make the value feel very reasonable, especially given it’s a bike with full dealer support and a five year warranty.

Merida One-Sixty 700 Mountain Bike Review

COMPONENT REPORT | Overall the part spec Merida selected was very solid, and left little to be desired at this price point. My build was supplied set up tubeless, whereas customers would receive their bike with tubes, so you should factor in the price of a tubeless conversion when buying to obtain the best performance.

Marzocchi Z1 Fork | This Marzocchi fork is a very solid performer, though suffered from a relatively noisy damper. It’s plush and well controlled for the most part, only becoming overwhelmed on some very gnarly sections of trail with repeated hits. The damper adjustments are effective and easy to tune on-the-go. The 36mm chassis is well proven, and although it doesn’t quite deliver the same precision as the stouter 38mm Fox/Marzocchi when pushing the limits, only a select few riders are likely to complain about the reduction in stiffness.

Merida Team TR Seatpost | With 30mm-230mm of adjustable travel, the Merida dropper post is a very interesting offering. We tested the older version with the rather bulky side-mounted adjuster unit, whereas bikes purchased will ship with an updated design featuring a sleeker collar. This dropper post performed flawlessly for us when tested at the full 230mm drop offering. We’ve heard reports of issues with the post sticking occasionally when adjusted to shorter drop lengths, but can’t comment on this.

Maxxis EXO+/Double Down Tires | Though they add reasonable weight to the bike, it’s great to see proper tire casings spec’d that are fit for abuse. Kudos to Merida on this one, it’s how it should be on an enduro bike.

The Wolf’s Last Word

The Merida ONE-SIXTY is an impressively well rounded Enduro machine, with pleasant climbing manners and versatile descending performance. At £3,300, the 700 build with the high quality aluminum frame is excellent value, and a bike I can highly recommend to those in supported markets.

Price: £3,300 (700)


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