Merida One-Forty 800 review

Merida has been methodically updating their trail bike ranges, two years ago it was the shorter travel One-Twenty, last year saw the enduro wand waved over the One-Sixty, and the 2018 model One-Forty recently received its makeover treatment.

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The frame

For now, the One-Forty range is offered only as an aluminium frame with sturdy looking tubes clearly indicating the intentions of the bike. The platform is right up to date with trunnion mounts for metric shocks, boost axle spacing, and internal cable routing that clamps the cables firmly in place on the entry and exit ports.The One-Forty is designed to accept 650b tyres up to 2.6" wide and Merida show they mean business filling all the allotted space out the box with broad Maxxis DHR and Rekon tyres.

 

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The Float Link suspension is a single pivot design that places the shock between the chain and seat stays (via a rocker link), avoiding any direct mounting of the shock to the front triangle. The upside of this design is said to be supple small bump compliance and traction while achieving a bottomless feel on the bigger hits. Merida also claims that the design has allowed them greater tuning control of the shock.The frame geometry adheres to the modern trail bike trend with a 66.3-degree head angle. Reach is not the longest and upsizing may help should you want more length. Take a look at the table below for all the figures across the size curve.

 

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It's a very black bike. The black decals melt into the black frame making it rather impossible for passersby to ascertain what brand of bike you're riding. Perfect if you simply want to get on with your ride without the judgement of fellow riders. However, should you prefer to shout from the rooftops, there is also a sharp yellow colour option that can't be missed. The extra large frame does look somewhat like a farm gate with the gap between the top tube and down tube at the head tube but, for the aesthetically conscious, these three tubes do all meet neatly as one in smaller sizes.

 

Build kit


The component selection in this price point is a big talking point for the One-Forty 800's R45,000 asking price. All too often mid-range trail bikes cut a corner here or there but the One-Forty's components appear to be equally matched and capable of standing up to the demands of rigorous trail riding.The suspension is covered by RockShox with a Deluxe RL shock and 150 mm Revelation fork. The new Revelation matches the chassis of the Pike making it an equal in stiffness while continuing to use the tried and tested Motion Control damper.

 

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The drive system is SRAM's workhorse 12-speed Eagle GX with a 32 teeth chainring pulling the 50-10 cassette. The 2.6" wide Maxxis DHR II and Rekon tyres boast a large contact patch which is well matched to SRAM's Code R brakes. The new Code brakes use larger reservoirs and pistons than the company's Guide brakes for extra stopping power. The wheelset features Merida branded rims with an adequate 29 mm internal width laced to Joytech hubs.

 

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Merida alloy components make up the handlebars and stem with a trail-trendy 760mm width and 45 mm length respectively. Of course, an essential item for any trail bike these days is a dropper seatpost and the One-Forty 800 employs the services of a KS LEV Integra fitted with a Prologo Nago saddle.

 

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If the One-Forty 800 is too much of a budget stretch, there is also the 700 model which features the same suspension and tyres but with a Shimano XT/SLX mix drivetrain and M500 brakes, retailing for R36,000.

 

Specifications:

  • Colourmatt black (shiny black)
  • Frame SizesS, M, L, XL
  • Frame SizesONE-FORTY aluminium
  • ForkRock Shox Revelation RC, 150mm travel and 15mm bolt through boost axle standard
  • ShockRock Shox Deluxe RL
  • DerailleurSram GX Eagle
  • ShiftersSram GX Eagle trigger, 12 speed with Sram MMX clamp
  • BrakesSram Code R hydraulic disc, 180mm rotors
  • ChainringSram Descendant 6K Eagle 32 teeth
  • ChainSram GX Eagle
  • HubsJoytech FoBearing 15X110mm 6B / 12x148mm 6B
  • RimMERIDA Expert TR, 29mm inner width tubeless ready
  • CassetteSram XG 1275 Eagle, 12 speed, 10-50 teeth
  • TyresMaxxis DHR II 2.6" TR EXO front and Maxxis Rekon 2.6" TR EXO rear
  • SpokesDouble Butted Black stainless
  • StemMERIDA Expert TR 3d forged 6061 aluminium, oversize clamp
  • HandlebarMERIDA Expert TR double butted 6061 aluminium, 20mm rise, 760mm wide
  • HeadsetMERIDA M2339
  • SeatpostK-Shock LEV Integra dropper 30.9mm
  • SaddlePrologo Nago X20
  • Weight (Extra large frame)13.91 kg (with sealant)
  • PriceR 45 000

 

On the trail

From the initial few hundred meters down the first trail, it is evident that Merida One-Forty is ready to rumble. The stability of the wide tyres, the confidence-inducing geometry, and coddling rear suspension all worked together to produce a fantastic first impression.

 

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On flow trails, the One-Forty rips through turns and boosts off humps and roots. The big tyres and supple suspension make easy work of brake bumps and ruts. The floating suspension design does seem to slightly sacrifice the quality of feedback the rider receives with a hint of dullness at times, possibly also a consequence of the high-volume tyres, which can make it feel cumbersome on easier trails.

 

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Point the One-Forty down a steeper trail and the bike starts to shine. The deep suspension and big tyres make it a ripper on the fast and technical descents. It’s a bike that tries to boost your confidence, egging you on to go bigger and faster. The bike holds a line excellently, be it through a banked turn or a precarious rock garden, the One-Forty does its best to bring you out the other side upright.When the trail turns got tight, the One-Forty changed direction well with the larger tyres providing and traction filled platform to throw the bike around whilst staying on track. The bike tends to stay perky under pedalling if you keep the cadence on the higher side. Mash down in a heavy gear out of a corner and the One-Forty will lurch deeper into its travel.

 

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While a great fork in shorter travel models, I felt that the previous Revelation sometimes struggled to deliver with its 32 mm chassis on the longer travel models. The new Revelation has solved that, borrowing the same 35 mm chassis from the Pike. The resulting boost in stiffness is exactly what the fork needed to hold its own out on the trails. Although the suspension feel cannot match with Pike, the Revelation is smooth, provides good feedback, and can take a beating.I found the geometry to be on point for Western Cape trail conditions. I often find modern trail bikes a better match than full-blown enduro geometry for the majority of my trail riding. The One-Forty is such an example that hits a sweet spot for my local Tokai and Jonkershoek trails. That said, I'm itching to try out Merida's longer travel One-Sixty bike.

 

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Merida went with wide(ish) and slammed for the cockpit arrangement. While the 760 mm bar is on the narrow side of my prefered width (yes, an easy fix), the short 45 mm stem is spot on for a direct, responsive steering feel.The One-Forty is designed to accept tyres with a width of up to 2.6" (this width range is also sometimes labelled as mid-plus). While I genuinely enjoy the grip and forgiveness of Plus sized tyres (2.8" and up) on trail bikes, I do find myself struggling with the sensitivity to pressure, the unsettling feeling of sidewall roll, and durability issues. I find that 2.6" answers my need for mountains of grip, a sturdy sidewall, and reliability.As mentioned, the Maxxis DHR served up what felt like endless grip. The Rekon provides less rolling resistance and served well for grip on the climbs and braking on the downs, proving to be a worthy adversary when it came to trying to slide through the turns. I found that a smidgen under 20 PSI (on a Ryder digital pump) to be my happy place with the Maxxis tyres.

 

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The wheels are Merida branded. In-house branded wheels can be a cause for alarm but in the case of the Merida Expert rims and Joytech hubs, I found no reason for doubt. A good sign is the respectable 29 mm internal diameter that complements the bulky 2.6" tyres. On the trail, the wheels rolled without drawing any attention to themselves holding their form and line admirable through the rougher obstacles. Usually, the manufacturer branded wheelset would be a no-brainer upgrade but these wheels certainly match the level set by the other components equipped on the Four-Forty.

 

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Merida did not skimp on the brakes. The SRAM Code R brakes are an excellent combination with the wide tyres. The braking power is immense with the grip of the tyres helping the Code brakes reach their full potential. Perhaps, dare I say, even a bit of overkill for this bike but I'll take it. The stopping power of the One-Forty, without a doubt, was directly responsible for me avoiding a few spills.The One-Forty is a decent climber. With our test bike weighing in just under 14 kgs (almost 400 grams less than claimed by Merida) and having large tyres to spin up, gravity will always state its case when ascending the mountain. Even with these challenges, the One-Forty faired no worse than similar bikes after reaching for the shock lockout. The large tyres made easy work of technical or loose climbs, serving up good grip and balance. Once or twice on hard climbing, I got lazy with my positioning and lost control of the front. At the end of the day, the One-Forty is capable of long trail sessions with intense climbing but be prepared to be suitably tired by the end of the day.

 

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In the end


The Merida One-Forty 800 is a hard-charging trail bike offering confidence and composure to help push your limits. The wide tyres, deep suspension feel, and poised geometry work together to create a predictable ride, ready for most challenges. It's a rip-roaring ride that had me grinning like a madman.

 

The One-Forty 800 also represents reasonable value with smart use of trickle-down technology while the latest standards provide some future-proofing should the upgrade itch start creeping in.

 




8 Comments

Odinson, May 28 2018 08:35

Would smash!

Adr!@n, May 28 2018 09:05

"The Four-Forty is designed..." 

Headshot, May 28 2018 10:33

That's a very decent bike for the price. Compared to my Enduro.  its lighter, has better brakes and gears and probably tyres and costs 10k less. Sure its only 140mm, the shock  and fork are cheaper and is not as DH oriented but I bet the 160 has similar pricing and components. 

BaGearA, May 28 2018 08:26

this looks like A damn good bike 

ChrisF, May 28 2018 09:43

NOPE !!

 

I own a Merida, and may well buy another ... but MAN I sure dont like the look of this thing ....

Admin, May 29 2018 08:30

NOPE !!

 

I own a Merida, and may well buy another ... but MAN I sure dont like the look of this thing ....


The size of our test model (XL) does make it a bit awkward looking compared to a Medium. 

 

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Teamcliff, May 29 2018 06:22

"That said, I'm itching to try out Merida's longer travel One-Sixty bike."

Hey Nick, I know a guy. ;)

RuanLeroy, Oct 04 2019 09:25

I've had my one forty 800 for around 2 months now!

I really love this bike!

It's the most comfortable bike I've ever owned, and I've previously had two Scott sparks (2012 spark 30 and 2018 710), which I'm not dissing, but I always had to spend a few grand to spec up after purchasing (drivetrain, saddles, numerous setups and wheelsets), and then previously had some hardtails, but I'm not about that life anymore.

I still haven't spent a cent to spec this bike other than setup, bottle cage, frame protection and pedals, absolutely perfect!
The suspension is excellent and one can literally tackle any terrain, loose enduro line to an XC marathon race, up to you.

 

This bike gave me so much confidence that I'm now starting to consider skills clinics to stay alive as I'm getting into obstacles faster than ever, and realise I might be the weak link for a change.

 

The claimed weight is probably right, but almost like those tight underwear things one can buy, my Merida hides her weight really well.

 

The only let down on the bike so far was KS lev dropper, it works, sometimes, but started binding and scratching its own stanchion from day one, warranty was rejected. KS are no longer represented in SA, but I'll wait on international response for that.

 

Then the bottle cage mount feels a little high, but I'm getting used to it, and I'll probably upgrade the chainring to a 34/36 tooth when the chain is tired.

I'm nitpicking, that's all I can find wrong, really.

I'll save up and slap a Lyne dropper and perhaps a Holy rail setup with the storage box in future, and then I can't imagine wanting to change anything else. I have a set of wider spank rims that I bought to fit on, but haven't felt the need to do so yet either. We'll see.

 

If you're considering this bike, just buy it!