Merida HFS 2000-D - First Ride £1399

Speedy lightweight at a fair price

BikeRadar score 4/5

Merida’s HFS 2000-D sits one step down from the top of the HFS (Hydro Forming System) range. It’s fast, light (24.2lb) and adaptable enough to be far more than just a purist race bike.

If you’re looking for a sharp-handling, high-speed race bike that’ll be more than happy in as a fast trail bike, the HFS 2000-D will serve you as well as anything else we’ve tested at this price.

Ride & handling: Fast and sharp, but without feeling race-bike nervous

Not everyone will appreciate the flat bar and bar ends on the 2000-D, but they’re easily changed at point of purchase if you don’t – and it’s worth mentioning that the bar is fairly wide and there’s an inch of stem height adjustment.

The Merida’s handling is sharp without feeling race-bike nervous. The tyres are just cushy enough to mute the pinball effect as you flow your way through rocky, rooty sections, but you never feel that speed is compromised for comfort.

On the contrary, the comfort adds enough confidence to boost speed potential, and the 2000-D climbs and accelerates as a race bike should, with only the board-hard saddle reminding you how stiff the back end is as it skips through dodgy lines made possible by the superb performance of the fork. The fork, plus the long ride position, makes it a confident descender too.

Frame: First class detailing and minimal weight

Merida are good at building hydroformed frames, as they make them for a lot of other manufacturers, and proudly display state-of-the-art methods in their own structures.

While the resulting aesthetics are a real talking point, the weight, strength and performance advantages are far more crucial to the frame’s true value.

Every tube on the 2000-D is formed to create the ideal blend of durability, minimum weight (just over 3lb) and the sort of sharp trail feel that sets this apart from the lower-budget hydroformed offerings out there.

Equipment: Great RockShox SID fork and Mavic wheelset

An 80mm travel RockShox SID Race is the ideal fork choice – it’s beautifully controlled and has a handlebar switch for lockout duties. The drivetrain mixes SRAM X9 and X7 with a Truvativ Firex crankset.

The Mavic Crossride blade-spoked wheels are a highlight, but the Maxxis CrossMark 2.1in tyres make a bigger difference in terms of trail performance. An almost constant centrestrip tread means they are very fast in all but slippery conditions, but widely spaced side knobs make for decent cornering traction and the profile is big enough to noticeably boost comfort over the bumps.

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