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e-Bikes

Merida EONE SIXTY 900E – Opening shots

Top of the class? New emtb gets it right on so many levels

It has only been through extended use that the shortcomings of many e-mtb’s have been recognised. Such things as poor rubber, dainty displays which are only really fit for purpose on tarmac rather than upside down in the woods, and clogging sprockets that lead to malfunction and wear.

Words and Images: S Jones

There’s a real race on with e-mtb manufacturers attempting to create the the perfect bike and this one from Merida has a lot going for it. We’ve just taken delivery of the One Sixty, it comes with Shimano Steps E 8000 series motor, full alloy frame, DT Swiss wheelset and Shimano Di2 gearing. Finishing the 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.

 

The Shimano Steps 8000 motor offers three modes – eco/trail/boost – we like this system a lot as it translates very well to real world situations. 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 rides on pre- production motors we look forward to some proper time on the real thing, the production version 8000.

The durability of displays is something that’s really been bugging us on a lot of emtb’s and many are very susceptible to damage when 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 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 hope this to be the case.

Tyres have been weak on a number of e-mtb’s – pointless having power if you don’t have grip. Initial rides reveal these tyres to enable riders to really make the most of the assist modes but also offer an incredibly comfortable ride. Their performance in really tough terrain is remarkable. We’ll be keeping an eye on the wear rate.

All in all we’re really, really excited about 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, and with pricing set very realistically (around £5000 for this bike) this looks set to be one of the seasons star performers. Full test to follow shortly.

www.merida.com

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