There’s a real race on with e-mtb manufacturers attempting to create the perfect bike and this one from Merida has a lot going for it. A late entry to our e-bike testing but it arrived at a time when we’d ridden enough bikes and technology to know what makes a great machine.

The Merida One Sixty, is decked out with Shimano Steps E 8000 series motor, full aluminium frame, a DT Swiss wheelset and Shimano Di2 electronic gearing. Proven suspension from Fox comes in a suitably robust mix of a 36 fork and Float X for the rear shock. Finishing this 160mm build are Shimano Saint brakes and Maxxis Minion 2.8” tyres giving the bike some serious clout on which to tackle some big challenges. It’s a very complete specification.

The Merida is the only e-bike in the Dirt 100 equipped with Shimano Steps drive system. This 8000 series motor offers three modes, eco/trail/boost – we like this system a lot as it translates very well to real world situations. A twin shifter sitting under the bar on the left hand side operates it. In a typical enduro style day out taking in several descents ‘Eco’ is used most of the time on the flatter ground, ‘Trail’ for the steeper banks and ‘Boost’ only really as a way of pulling you out of a seriously steep or gnarled out climb. After a few initial rides on pre-production motors we looked forward to some proper time on the real thing, the production version 8000 – as on this Merida.

‘The Merida’s performance in really tough terrain was remarkable’

The durability of the display console is something that’s really been bugging us on a lot of emtb’s and many are very susceptible to damage – falls are common on a bike made for this type of riding. It’ll be interesting to see how the under bar lever manages over extended time, we think it could be the best system so far.

One of the biggest problems with some of the Bosch motors in testing has been motor malfunction when the small front sprocket gets clogged with mud. This has happened on a number of bikes although interestingly the Bosch powered Cannondale Moterra and Moustache Samedi with front guards similar to motocross and trials bikes this has not happened so much. Both the Yamaha and Brose motors on Haibike and Specialized feature large front chainrings where there is simply no issue. Similarly here with the Merida we have not had this issue and it has been subjected to a winter of hard testing in filthy conditions.

Tyres have been weak on a number of e-mtb’s – it’s pointless having power if you don’t have grip. Initial rides revealed that the ‘Plus size’ 2.8” Maxxis rubber on the Merida enabled riders to really make the most of the assist modes, giving improved traction and plenty of support from the tough sidewalls. The performance in really tough terrain was remarkable.

The large volume rubber also resulted in an incredibly comfortable ride and we feel that this tyre size really works well on an e-bike where rides can be long and rough. A good move.


All in all we’ve been really impressed with the Merida. Geometry is excellent, the detailing of short stem, inboard disc mounts and a super silent ride means this bike already sits close to the top of our pecking order. The EOne-Sixty is one of this season’s star performers.

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Selected for Dirt 100 2017

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