Merida eOne-Sixty 900E (2017) first ride review£5,200.00

Totally sorted electrified enduro bomber

Merida has combined full Shimano e-tech with proper enduro geometry and suspension, then underlined it with high-performance plus-size tyres, to create a battery-assisted big bike benchmark.

Merida eOne-Sixty 900E spec overview

  • Frame: Aluminium, 160mm (6.3in) travel
  • Fork: Fox 36 FIT RC2 Factory Boost, 160mm (6.3in) travel
  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory
  • Drivetrain: Shimano STePS E8000 motor and cranks w/ Shimano E8010 500Wh battery
  • Gears: Shimano Deore XT Di2 (1x11)
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline ONE 40mm wheels
  • Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C EXO 27.5x2.8in
  • Brakes: Shimano Saint, 200mm Ice Tech rotors
  • Bar: Merida Expert, 760mm
  • Stem: Merida Expert, 70mm
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb dropper
  • Saddle: Merida Expert
  • Weight: 21.73kg (47.9lb), large size without pedals

Merida eOne-Sixty 900E first impressions

While the eOne-Sixty looks similar to Merida’s non-electrified One-Sixty, its layout is very different. Rather than attaching the shock to the forward tips of the chainstays, as on the conventional bike, the bridge is on the frame, above the motor, for the lower shock mount.

The eOne-Sixty uses seatstay pivots, rather than chainstay ones too, so rear-wheel movement is a simple arc, not a managed linkage path.

The 500Wh Shimano battery side-swings neatly into its locking position on the down tube, so there’s no rattling. Thanks to the compact Shimano Steps motor and the Boost rear axle, Merida has been able to keep the chainstays super-short (440mm) for a powered bike.

Rear brake and dropper-post controls run internally, along with the Di2 gear cabling. There’s no room for a bottle anywhere.

Apart from an awkward-shaped bar, the 900E spec is totally on point, from the 45mm stem backwards. The Fox 36 RC2 fork and Float X2 shock are perfect for a bike with a lot of mass to control but no need for the rider to stand up on climbs.

The eOne-Sixty looks a lot like Merida’s One-Sixty enduro bike, and it’s just as fun on the descents
The eOne-Sixty looks a lot like Merida’s One-Sixty enduro bike, and it’s just as fun on the descents

Shimano’s four-cylinder Saint DH brakes get finned 200mm rotors for maximum heat-proof stopping power. The 40mm-wide DT Swiss XM 1501s are some of our favourite durable-but-dynamic plus wheels, and triple-compound Maxxis DHR II 2.8in tyres add huge grip while remaining stable at low speeds.

Merida’s master stroke is matching Shimano’s Steps motor with its Di2 electric gears though. You get matching, app-tunable control paddles for the three motor modes and the shifting, and a super-neat display tucked safely between the bar and stem.

The Di2 system only shifts at the optimum pedal-stroke points, which helps preserve the transmission, and the Steps motor adds power in a really user-friendly broad torque/spin speed span.

A chain guide above the proper-sized chainring on tough Hollowtech crank arms means the whole set-up is tough, mud proof, hard-wearing and secure, unlike many Bosch/Yamaha bikes.

Merida eOne-Sixty 900E ride impression

As well as having the best motor/gearing combo I’ve ridden, the Merida also handles its mass better than any other e-MTB I’ve tested. The sorted suspension kinematics and pro-spec dampers combine with the impact-sucking, glued-traction tyres and DH brakes to give outstanding baseline control.

It’s the 460mm reach, short stays and 66.5-degree head angle that really stand out though, giving massive front-end stability without a barge-like back-end. That means you can rip, carve and send the 900E just like you would a conventional bike, but get back up for another go in a fraction of the time.

Despite the bomber spec, it’s impressively light for an e-bike too, and it’s well priced, considering its premium spec and electric gears, at £300 less than Merida’s top One-Sixty bike.

Merida eOne-Sixty 900E early verdict

The best two-wheeled electric monster truck you can buy right now.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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