Merida, the quiet giant of the bicycle world, has updated its eONE-SIXTY electric-enduro bike.
The new model gets a carbon front end, an integrated Shimano battery, a heat-dissipating chimney system and a host of small, neat features. Merida has also introduced a new top-end version, the eONE-SIXTY 10k, which comes decked out with top-spec parts and a fancy Evoc backpack with a spare battery locked and loaded, ready for even longer rides.
The bike has 160mm of travel front and rear and, as with most new bikes, has geometry that’s slightly slacker and lower than the previous generation.
As we’re seeing with a fair number of ebikes, Merida has also opted for mixed wheel sizes, with 29×2.5in at the front for better roll-over and control, and 650bx2.6in at the rear for grip and to keep the back-end short.
Shimano’s latest XTR groupset, with 12 gears, is starting to appear on production bikes, finally! Tom Marvin
Merida’s eONE-SIXTY frame
The biggest obvious difference with the previous eONE-SIXTY is that this generation comes with a carbon front triangle. While the previous version of the bike had a Shimano battery sat on top of the down tube, Merida has followed the trend of packing the battery into the down tube for a smoother, better-integrated package.
Releasing the battery requires a 4mm Allen key – handily it’s the same as the one found in the rear axle! Tom Marvin
The trouble with doing this is that to access the battery a hole needs to be cut into the tube, which compromises strength and stiffness, according to Merida. This has necessitated the move to a carbon frame, allowing Merida to ensure that stiffness (and therefore ride quality) is maintained, while also allowing for more weight to be dropped.
The next issue is that the standard internal Shimano battery had a rather oblong shape, which Merida also felt compromised its ability to build a stiff yet light chassis that kept the weight of the battery in the right place and didn’t look clunky. They, therefore, worked with Shimano to develop its new BT 8035 battery, which has a more octagonal shape for better integration.
This is the new non-square Shimano internal battery, the BT 8035 Tom Marvin
Another facet of maintaining frame stiffness while still having a battery sized hole in the bottom of the down tube is the use of a straight tube from the (1.5in) head tube to the motor. This, though, means that there’s an Internal Block System to prevent the bars spinning all the way round in a crash, which could cause the fork crown to damage the down tube.
At the back, Merida keeps the alloy rear-end of the previous generation, saying it’s the strongest it’s ever made.
Yet more integration information
So there’s a touch more to the new bike than just having an integrated battery. Merida has done the job very nicely, with a new down tube cover that’s rubberised on the outside to reduce noise when clattering through rock gardens.
The battery hole cover has a rubberised finish to keep the ride quiet Tom Marvin
It’s easily removable with the battery release using a 4mm Allen key — conveniently there’s one stored in the rear wheel’s QR axle lever. This lever has a stepped 4 and 6mm Allen key system, so works for the battery release, both axles, seat tube clamp and bar/stem/control adjustments too. Smart.
Merida has made living with the Shimano system a bit easier. On top of the top tube, there’s a remote on-off switch for the system, while the charging port is located between the top of the motor and the top of the down tube. Rather than using Shimano’s trigger shifters (which make using a trigger-style dropper lever impossible), Merida specs the SW-7000 motor shifter, which is a much neater button system that doesn’t interfere with anything else. This means the Merida-branded dropper post can be actuated by the Shimano SL-Mt800 trigger shifter.
Shimano’s dropper lever tucks in nicely under the motor-mode selector Tom Marvin
The other feature which had us scratching our heads a little was the Thermo Gate. Merida claims that with the system switched on, and left in the sun, the system can overheat, leading to it turning itself off. As carbon is a poor heat conductor, there’s an aluminium, finned Thermo Gate integrated into the head tube/down tube junction, which allows hot air from inside the down tube to travel up and out of the frame. We’ve been assured that in hotter climes than the UK this is a real issue.
This is the top of the Thermo Gate heat chimney system Tom Marvin
In keeping with modern ‘enduro’ trends of minimising what you carry on your back, there’s room for a 750mm bottle in the frame and the mounting system for the bottle cage doubles as cable routing guides on the inside of the down tube.
Merida eONE-SIXTY geometry
The changes to this generation eONE-SIXTY’s geometry are subtle, however, there are now five sizes, from XS to XL.
Head angles have been slackened by a degree to 65.5 degrees, while the bottom bracket has dropped by 5mm to 17.5mm below the axles. To maintain pedal ground clearance, Merida is building the bikes with 165mm cranks, rather than the 175mm previously used, leading to a 5mm improvement overall.
Shimano’s eBike motors are some of the best regarded out there. Here it’s paired with short 165mm cranks Tom Marvin
Stack and reach have remained pretty much the same as the previous model, which is something not many brands are doing with their latest bikes. As such, reaches range from 400mm in XS to 480mm in XL, at 20mm increments.
Dropper post lengths also change with size: 125mm drop in the two smallest sizes, 150mm in the M, and 170mm in L and XL.
Size Large geometry
Seat tube length: 470mm
Chainstay length: 439.5mm
Head angle: 65.5 degrees
Seat angle: 75.5 degrees (75 degrees with seatpost at full extension and with minimum frame insertion)
Bottom bracket drop: 17.5mm
Head tube length: 135mm
Merida eONE-SIXTY specs
All versions of the bike will come with the same chassis and motor, with the main points of difference being the suspension, wheels and drivetrain. As yet, we do not have model pricing in US Dollars or Euros, however, we’re told that the cheapest 5000 level model will cost below €5,000 and the 10k model will be below €10,000. Full spec details are sparse, as are photos of all but the 10k model. UK pricing has now been added, though we believe that the 5000 level model won’t make it on to UK shores.
The 4-pot XTR calliper sits snugly in the rear triangle Tom Marvin
Merida eONE-SIXTY 10k
This flagship model comes with a top-end spec list, as you’d expect. There’s a full Shimano XTR 12-speed groupset, XTR four-pot Trail brakes and Fox eBike suspension: a Factory 36 GRIP2 fork and X2 shock. The bike will roll on carbon DT Swiss XMC Hybrid 1200 wheels and Maxxis tyres: a 2.5in Assegai up front and a 2.6in Minion DHR II at the back, both with the new EXO+ casing.
Greg Minnaar’s signature Assegai tyre sits up front Tom Marvin
This model also comes with the EVOC FR Trail E-Ride backpack, which has a battery holster inside, as well as a back protector. Accompanying the pack is a spare Shimano BT 8035 battery.
Merida eONE-SIXTY 9000
The next model in the range sees largely the same suspension, but with a DPX2 shock in its place. The bike is driven by a 12-speed Shimano XT drivetrain and related four-pot brakes, while DT Swiss’ 1501 wheels complete the package.
Merida eONE-SIXTY 8000
Marzocchi finds its way on to this bike, with the Z1 fork, while out back there’s a RockShox Super Deluxe shock. Fulcrum provides the Red Metal wheelset.
Merida eONE-SIXTY 5000
RockShox provides the suspension on the entry-level model and Merida supplies its Expert TR wheels.
Fox’s X2 shock is one of the most adjustable out there, with high and low-speed compression and rebound adjustment. It’s found on the 10k model Tom Marvin