The 160mm travel market is packed with loads of choice. Well-executed examples, with thoroughly sorted geometry, proven suspension layouts and robust components are available starting at keener than ever price points.

The Merida One-Sixty, with a 170mm fork and 27.5" wheels goes right up against Dirt 100 favourites such as the Orange Alpine 6, Radon Swoop and the ever-popular YT Capra. It’s a full makeover for this 160mm travel hard hitter from Merida and we were keen to see how it stacked up. Let’s say that we weren’t disappointed…

"After spending a large amount of time on the E One-Sixty last winter and the start of this year there was no doubting that this bike should be a goer"

The previous version used Merida’s VPK (Virtual Pivot Kinematics) suspension layout but the One-Sixty now sports a ‘Float Link’ design (with an aluminium upper shock link) and has similarities to Trek’s Full Floater design. A metric shock is used along with Boost 148mm hub spacing and the rear brake is now mounted inboard on the chainstay. Cable routing is well though out and there is a down tube frame protector as standard kit. It’s all up to date, lower in weight and with a more pedal efficient suspension system.

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Not only has this 160mm travel Merida shed some weight, it’s had some revisions to the dimensions too. A slacker heading angle of 65.3 degrees sits well with the 170mm travel Lyrik fork. Chainstays are 10mm shorter than the previous frame design at 430mm too and the large size bike measured up with some good numbers – 475mm reach and a wheelbase of 1237mm.

"The Merida is a quiet bike though, no chain or cable noises makes riding enjoyable. Silence is truly golden"

The carbon chassis feels spot on and with aluminium rear stays the engineering team have got the stiffness flex balance on the money with no real issues over high frequency bumps. The lightweight build of the Merida also allows for a super fast pickup off the mark when charging out of the gate. With a DT Swiss EX 1501 wheelset and the SRAM Eagle X01 gearing this bike’s spec sheet compliments the lightweight frame and helps give it the urgent feeling that we love.

Merida is a brand that has gone to the next level in a short space of time, challenging others that are in their comfort zone.

PRICE: £5500

merida-bikes.com