The Merida One-Forty model was launched in 2022, and represents perhaps one of the most radically shaped trail bikes on the market. I hope Merida wouldn’t take umbrage at me saying that’s a sentence I wasn’t expecting to write when I first heard a new model was on the way. As you might expect from the name, the One-Forty has around 140mm of travel at the back (it’s actually 143mm), and this is paired with a 150mm fork. The 6000 model is the cheapest carbon One-Forty and represents what can only be described as ‘really good value for money’, in my opinion.
My One-Forty 6000, in snowier times. Other than the geometry and good value, there are a couple of noteworthy spec details I’m sure will come up in discussion as the year progresses. First of these is the routing of cables through the headset, something that doesn’t lend itself to my maintenance-phobic attitude to bike ownership. Then there’s the unique 30 to 230mm adjustable dropper, the backbone of Merida’s geometry concept. The One-Forty shares the same frame as Merida’s longer-travel One-Sixty enduro bike. Longer forks and a longer stroke shock boost travel on the bigger rig.
Merida One-Forty 6000 specification and details
I love how the bright red Marzocchi Z1 looks on the front of the bike. I’ll start with the headlines. At the front is a Marzocchi Z1 suspension fork, with 150mm of travel. It’s an air-sprung model and features the Rail damper. It’s almost a Fox Rhythm 36 in disguise (Fox purchased Marzocchi a few years ago), and none of these facets are a negative, in my opinion. Further back is a RockShox Deluxe Select+ shock. It, too, is air sprung, and features a lockout and rebound control. The bulk of the drivetrain comes from Shimano. Most of it is solid SLX kit. However, I’m impressed to see an XT shifter – the most important part of any drivetrain in my opinion, and a real upgrade over the SLX model, thanks to its dual-release thumb paddle and overall feel.
Cranks from Race Face and a chain from KMC complete the picture. Shimano’s SLX 4-piston brakes decelerate the bike effectively, thanks to 203mm rotors at each end. For context, this is still classed as a trail bike. Clearly, braking power is important to the Taiwanese brand (and its German engineers).
These 4-piston brakes from Shimano have serious stopping power. Merida’s own rims spin on fast-engaging SLX hubs, while Maxxis provides some decent rubber, including a relatively strong EXO+ rear casing. Finishing kit comes from Merida, too, including that aforementioned dropper. Its (admittedly) rather clunky box on the side enables you to adjust the amount of travel on offer between 30 and 230mm. This means you’re able to pick a range of model sizes to satisfy your bike-length requirements. Finally, there’s a headset through which the cables are routed. I’m not exactly thrilled at the prospect of working on this, but at least it gives the bike moderately clean lines.
Headset-routed cables – love them or hate them, they’re here to stay.
Merida One Forty 6000 full specification
- Sizes (*tested): XShort, Short, Mid, Long*, XLong
- Frame: One-Forty CF4 III, 143mm travel
- Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+ Plus
- Fork: Marzocchi Z1, 150mm travel
- Shifters: Shimano XT
- Derailleurs: Shimano SLX
- Cranks: Race Face Turbine 32t
- Wheelset: Merida Expert TR on Shimano SLX hubs
- Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 WT 29X2.5in EXO (f) and Maxxis Dissector 2.4 WT 29X2.4in EXO+ (r)
- Brakes: Shimano SLX 203/203mm rotors
- Bar: Merida Team TR, 780mm
- Stem: Merida Expert eTRII, 50mm
- Seatpost: Merida Team TR 30-230mm
- Saddle: Merida Expert SL
Merida One-Forty 6000 geometry
This little box holds the secret to adjusting the travel of your Merida dropper post. I’ve got the ‘Long’ model, which equates roughly to a Large… in some respects. Basically, it’s the size down from the biggest, which is what I’d usually choose. There are five sizes on offer, and if reach is the figure by which you judge a bike, the range from 426mm to 535mm will raise some eyebrows. Those are some seriously long reaches (with healthy gaps between sizes). These tally with seat tubes that range from 400 to 470mm – not exactly long in the grand scheme of things.
My size-Long bike has a 509mm reach and a 445mm seat tube. That’s seriously long – longer than the Marin El Roy I loved so much. However, with a near 80-degree seat tube angle, the saddle-to-bar reach fortunately doesn’t cover quite the same acreage. Other figures to be aware of are the 65-degree head angle (not the slackest ever, but hardly steep) and the mid-length 437.5mm chainstays that are consistent across all the sizes. Other nerdy numbers can be gleaned from the geometry chart below, if that’s your thing.
|FS Frame Size||X Short||Short||Mid||Long||X Long|
|Tyre size (in)||29/29||29/29||29/29||29/29||29/29|
|Seat tube (mm)||400||410||425||445||470|
|Top tube (mm)||532||559||586||618||649|
|Chain stag length (mm)||437.5||437.5||437.5||437.5||437.5|
|Head tube angle (degrees)||65||65||65||65||65|
|Seat tube angle (degrees)||80||80||80||80||80|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||35||35||35||35||35|
|Head tube (mm)||95||95||95||105||120|
|Fork length (mm)||557||557||557||557||557|
|Standover height (mm)||722||725||732||731||771|
Why did I choose this bike?
Here I am, racing an enduro on Merida’s trail bike. I attended the launch of the Merida One-Forty and One-Sixty, held just before The Ex Enduro (supported by Merida and Shimano Steps). I’d had a sneak peak of the bikes ahead of time, so knew the One-Sixty was going to be fairly radical, but I didn’t grasp that the One-Forty would fall from the very same tree. While I’m happy riding longer-travel bikes, I do rather like the mid-travel trail bike genre. I like taut bikes that pedal well and don’t feel like an under-ripe blancmange. It seems 2022 was a vintage year for the more aggro-trail bike, with both the Fuel EX from Trek and the Scott Genius subscribing to my MTB ideals, as well as the One-Forty. As such, it was definitely one of these bikes that I wanted in my garage for 2023.
Merida One-Forty 6000 initial setup
That 50mm-long stem has to go. Setting up the bike was fairly easy – I set the suspension at around 20 per cent sag for the fork and 25 to 30 per cent at the back (I like to play around a bit, anyway). Rebound is usually pretty much as open as it goes for me – I like a quick-feeling bike. There’s no compression adjustment on either suspension unit. I run my brake levers moderately flat, and I don’t have massive hands, so my shifters are pretty close to the grips. The dropper uses a Shimano lever, and so cockpit setup is nice and easy.
Setting the dropper’s height isn’t overly intuitive, though there’s a good video on YouTube to walk you through it. Having spoken to Merida, it’s really important to follow it carefully to avoid wearing out the little orange cord that determines how the adjustable travel operates, especially out of the box. I’ve heard a rumour that there’s a new version of the dropper on the way, so if you’re buying this bike later in 2023, yours might look and operate differently from mine. Tyres are set at my usual pressures – around 23psi at the back and 20 at the front. I’m running my favourite Nukeproof Horizon CS clipless pedals on the bike.
Merida One-Forty 6000 ride impressions
The rear suspension is solid, helping the bike’s climbing capabilities. I’ve not had masses of time on the bike yet, so excuse my brevity. However, I have gleaned a few things from the riding I’ve done. First up, the suspension is absolutely solid under power. There aren’t many mountain bikes, especially aimed at the trail market, that are so stable under regular pedalling forces. This means the bike feels efficient and easy to ride, and I’ve rarely felt the need to flick the lockout switch on the shock. On flatter, rolling trails, this plays into the bike’s advantage, too, because it’s easy to accelerate up to speed with a few pedal strokes that don’t rob power.
Drop your heels, twist your hips and let the bike rip. Of course, standing on the pedals and mashing them does result in some bob, but that’s par for the course on any full-suspension bike. There is a bit of a trade-off with these pedalling manners. It’s not the smoothest bike ever. If you like complete isolation from the ground, the rear suspension might not be quite to your tastes. This doesn’t mean it’s harsh, or uncontrolled, but it’s not a smooth, sofa-like bike to ride.
The length of the bike, plus its stable and supportive suspension and moderately slack head angle, means it’s a complete weapon in steep tech. It feels unshakeable when pointing down horribly steep terrain (especially if you have weather-specific treads – more on that in a future update). The 203mm rotors and SLX calipers combine to offer ample power and control, too. Confidence, then, is at an all-time high.
Eyes up! It’s not all roses and popcorn, though. The 50mm stem is too long for a bike that’s got ample stability from its long reach. A shorter stem should quicken handling a touch. At the same time, as I’ve mentioned time and time again, 780mm bars on a trail bike are a mistake. Give us 800mm bars and let those who want something narrower chop them down, please. I’ll be fitting some bars that fit my frame, soon.
Merida One-Forty 6000 upgrades
The long geometry is well suited to going fast round corners. I’ve already given you a taste of what I might change down the line. A shorter 40mm stem will be the first upgrade to the bike to sharpen its handling. And, if I can find something in the garage, an 800mm bar will go on there at the same time. I’m a big fan of getting the right rubber for the right situation, too. Down in the South West of England, we’ve a broad range of terrain, and so while the Minion is a reliable all-rounder, I’ll be looking to my collection of mountain bike tyres for something more situational.
There are a few other changes that’ll almost certainly make their way onto the bike. I’m not going to be able to dodge the internal (infernal?) cable routing, because a set of Formula Cura X brakes are destined for testing. We’ll see how easy that is. And, as you’ll have heard, there are some new goodies from SRAM knocking about. It’d be remiss of me to not attempt to get hold of some of them for myself.