Merida EONE SIXTY 900 - Dirt

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Merida EONE SIXTY 900

All-action 160mm emtb at the right prices

There is little doubt that the E One Sixty will get you up and down any mountain. This seems like an obvious statement for an emtb but we’ve ridden many where inadequate geometry, components and gearing really put a limiter on the bike’s ability to go any place you choose.

The Merida is that go everywhere bike. The 160mm travel front and rear with solid Fox 36 up front delivers the basic ability in technical terrain but the Merida’s low bottom bracket plays a huge part in this bike’s ability to charge. The poise and dynamic ride on this bike is exceptional – I simply couldn’t get enough of it.

COMPONENTS

It’s pretty much a full Shimano wardrobe on this bike. Saint brakes are there for a reason, the heavy weight pile driving down a mountain has burnt many a weak stopper. We’re not overly sold on Saints for most situations but on an emtb they are dynamite. This particular set has also been the only pair we’ve had which doesn’t squeak like crazy either.

Saint cranks are solid too but its in the XT Di2 that was most interesting. We found the shifting almost too precise, too delicate and it requires a lot of time to get tuned into this action. MTB gearing is often a smash and grab affair, do that with Di2 and becomes all a bit messy. Manual shifting is actually a lot simpler to operate too. And be aware that if your battery runs out the gearing ceases to shift.

Merida’s own bar and stem are bang on the money and dimensions, the Reverb stealth ever present and whilst we’re not convinced on wide rims, the DT wheelset was incredibly tough and totally up for the job in hand. The Maxxis 2.6 tyres were utterly brilliant. There’s no point in having power without grip and boy do these tyres bite. What many will enjoy is the fact that they allow for mistakes and on unseen enduro style stages or adventure riding for you can pretty much straight line anything. We’re surprised more downhill racers don’t use them.

MOTOR

There is no doubt that the Shimano system translates exceptionally well to real world riding. ‘Eco’ is used for flat sections, ‘Trail’ for the climbs and ‘Boost’ only really needed to haul you up out of insanely technical sections. We did have some issues when shifting from trail to boost on crazy steep stuff in that the motor didn’t kick in and provide the much needed assistance. But this was on a climb virtually impossible on a normal bike.

Overall the Steps E8000 motor is exceptional, it’s crazy smooth through the range which with the big Minions translates to excellent traction. Its one of the most quite systems on the market and even under extreme pressure never makes too much noise unlike some other motors. When riding, it’s pretty anonymous in sound and the compact system doesn’t protrude in any way. The only niggle is the sensor cable could be internal to avoid snagging.

What we have found with some systems is that the front chainring gets clogged, something the big 34 T on the Shimano never does. This bike has been very good in the wet conditions.

Display is easy to sight but more than anything the shifter is so much simpler to use than those mounted on the top of the bar. When climbing, it’s easy to gear up or down on the motor without having to change body position. Durability of the shifter was exceptional during the test and the battery housing was tight which meant no rattles form this bike.

SUSPENSION

There’s not much to say regarding suspension, the linkage and damper are a good pairing and the tune working to provide superb support. The Fox 36 is a minimum requirement on an ebike to take the forces at work.

FEELING

There is little doubt this bike has had a fair bit more ride time than any other test bikes we get, and that’s because it’s totally compelling in its nature.

The bike is silent, offers incredible grip on ascents and descents and carves its way through technical terrain without missing a beat. The Shimano motor and assistance does not dominate the ride but rather works with the rider translating to a ride very well in tune with how you’d ride on a non-assist bike.

It seems the myth of it been lazy seems to be subsiding because ultimately you’re just doing more riding and have the ability to avoid boring fireroad climbs, the bane of many a rider’s life.

LIMITATIONS

It would be good to have separate power supply for gearing and there needs to be another larger size in the range. If you’re over six foot you’d better try one first. We’re not massively excited about Di2, it’s simply a bit fussy, and a spot of reinforcing on cable routing into rear sensor and out of the head unit wouldn’t do any harm.

VERDICT

Order one. It’s a simple as that.

merida-bikes.com

For the non pedal-assisted 2017 Merida One-Sixty 8000, see our First Look HERE

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