The One-Forty 7. 900 sits at the top of Merida’s trail range. It’s wedged into the crammed 140mm (5.5in) travel trail bike market, where it faces some stiff competition. But its £3,000 price tag and Merida’s extensive UK dealer network help give it some serious clout.
Frame and equipment
Merida’s 140mm frame has remained largely unchanged for the past few years but small updates have ensured the geometry is up to date. The One-Forty has all the features you’d expect of a nippy trail bike, including 650b wheels, internal cable and dropper post routing, a tapered head tube and a 142mm rear axle. The hydroformed 6066 aluminium tubes are triple butted in a bid to balance weight and strength, and smooth welded for a super-clean finish.
Merida's 140mm frame isn't new, but the geometry has been updated
The One-Forty has some impressive kit hung from its frame for the price. The RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post and 11-speed SRAM set-up give it go-anywhere credentials, while the Pike up front is one of our favourite forks, here appearing in adjustable-travel Dual Position Air trim. We’ve no complaints about the dinky 45mm Gravity Light stem either, though the matching bar does have a rather odd shape. All this bling is offset by the Performance series Fox shock, which lacks the Kashima coating and adjustability of its pricier Factory counterparts. It’s a small price to pay considering the rest of the spec though.
Ride and handling
Any concerns we might have had about the mid-range shock were short lived – it proved impressive over small bumps and the CTD lever made it easy to adjust the low-speed compression damping to suit the trail gradient.
Our medium frame’s 595mm top tube helped provide a lengthy 423mm reach, which, when matched to the 45mm stem and 67-degree head angle, gave a planted and controlled feel, especially on the descents. When that stability allowed the hooligan inside to get the best of us, the shock again performed well, giving plenty of support and resisting bottoming out too easily. The Pike fork gave more than enough support for all but the hardest of riders too, making for easy climbing and even rowdier descending.
The Pike is one of our favourite forks
Weight is distributed evenly enough over the bike for it to climb well, even on technical ascents in the easiest gear – though there's a small amount of pedalling-induced bob and feedback from the rear suspension caused by the slightly rearward axle path of Merida’s VPK (Virtual Pivot Kinematics) layout.
We also lost the chain a few times when pedalling through stutter-bump riddled sections – something we again put down to the chain growth caused by the axle path. Switching to a larger chainring than the 30t fitted would help with both of these problems, making one a sensible upgrade.