Merida's One-Twenty short travel trail bike range has been updated for 2019 with revised suspension, more standover and a slacker head angle, but it bucks the trend by not going any longer. As ever, there are 27.5" and 29" wheels depending on frame size, plus carbon and aluminium frame options across a wide range of prices.
Merida says that this is the most versatile bike in their full-suspension range, able to tackle everything from mile munching to all-around trail riding and general messing about. Now on its sixth iteration, the bike has been steadily moving away from being a pure cross-country and marathon machine, something reflected in shrinking stem lengths and slackening angles over the years.
This new bike takes a lot of design cues from it's longer travel One-Forty and One-Sixty brethen - kudos to Merida for making their range nomenclature about as easy to understand as it's possible to be - with the linkage driven single pivot suspension and floating shock being updated with a trunnion mount shock and a low leverage rate that's said to reduce stress on the shock and keep heavier riders away from maxing out air pressures. The bike is now built around a single ring setup with a 34/32T ring and keeping pedal kickback low was said to be a priority, though the aluminium frame can still take a double.
As people are expecting to be able to ride harder on shorter travel machines and air shocks are being made more linear, the spring rate has been made more progressive - 4% to be precise - while bearing sizes have been boosted to produce a back end that's claimed to be twice as durable as the old design and capable of handling higher loads in tests. There's clearance for a 2.35" tyre in the 29" wheeled bike.
Regardless of price, you now get a tapered steerer and through axle back end, while there's now in-built protectors on the chain and seatstay plus a guard on the downtube help prevent damage from rock strikes. There are builds in the lineup that are aimed at both distance and trail, something Merida has felt the need to do in order to cope with the wildly varying views of what a 120mm bike should be used for.
The top end CF4 frame gets a carbon fibre front and rear end plus aluminium rocker link for a claimed weight of 2,105g for a naked medium frame. The mid-level CFA frame gets a carbon front triangle and aluminium rear end and is said to tip the scales at 2,560g while the entry-level all-aluminium frame is 3,020g. As ever, small and medium frames are available with 27.5" wheels, while medium, large and extra large come with 29" hoops.
The geometry has seen a slight tweak, with chainstays 10mm shorter at 435mm for the 29er and the head angle now sits at 67.3º and the seat angle is 75.5º. Reach is static at 455mm for a large, something Merida say they have done in order to keep a balance between being a distance machine and a trail bike. However, standover has been dropped, so it's easier than ever to size up, even with a 150mm dropper post.
There are eight bikes in the lineup, with the top line 9000 and 8000 getting the all carbon frame and being specced as a distance machine and trail bike respectively, both with Shimano XTR 12spd and carbon hoops.
The 6000 gets the carbon and aluminium mix frame and a SRAM 12sd GX Eagle drivetrain.
The aluminium framed range is quite expansive, ranging from the 800 with GX Eagle down to the entry-level 400, which gets an 11spd Shimano SLX group and Suntour suspension.
We're waiting on UK pricing and availability, but stay tuned for a first ride of the new bike...
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