If you think the eONE-FORTY looks a lot like its big brother the eONE-SIXTY that’s because Merida has been smart and made two bikes using one frame design.
But has it successfully adapted a burly enduro chassis into a fun trail ebike?
Merida eONE-FORTY 9000 frame
While Merida uses the same frame for both bikes, it’s specced a reduced-stroke shock and shorter-travel fork on the eONE-FORTY. This drops rear travel to 133mm and steepens the head and seat angles, making it more trail-friendly.
It also lengthens the reach – too much so for Merida’s liking. So, to get around this, the medium eONE-SIXTY frame is used to create the large eONE-FORTY, and so on, with a longer 50mm stem added to open up the cockpit.
The Merida eONE-FORTY 9000 is the top-spec model of the range at £7,000.
All this means that you get a 66.5-degree head angle and 76.5-degree effective seat angle, with reach numbers that go up in 20mm increments, to 489.5mm on the XXL. The stays are a compact 439.5mm.
The carbon front triangle is paired with an alloy rear end, which delivers reasonably linear suspension (8.1 per cent progression rate) via a single-pivot linkage-driven platform mounted to the front triangle.
Merida uses a shorter stroke shock to limit the travel to 133mm on the eONE-FORTY.
The progression rate has been chosen, according to Merida, to help novice riders use the full amount of travel, while more aggressive riders can add tokens to ramp up the progression.
Shimano’s E8000 drive unit powers the bike, with a 504Wh battery that’s integrated into the down tube.
There’s also space to fit a water bottle inside the front triangle, and tucked under the seat is a multi-tool holder, which is a smart touch.
The Thermo Gate allows the integrated battery to keep cooler by letting hot air escape.
One standout feature is Merida’s ‘Thermo Gate’ – what look like gills behind the head tube that allow the battery to dump heat and also form the entry point for the internal cable routing.
Merida has opted for a ‘mullet’ wheel set-up, with a 29in hoop up front and a 650b out back.
Merida eONE-FORTY 9000 geometry
Sizes (*tested): S, M, L, XL*, XXL
Seat tube length: 470mm
Seat angle: 76.5 degrees
Head angle: 66.5degrees
Top tube (effective): 626mm
Bottom bracket drop: 24mm
Head tube length: 135mm
Merida eONE FORTY 9000 specifications
Shimano’s capable STEPS E8000 motor and integrated E8035 504Wh battery take care of the ‘e’ part of this bike and the M7000 handlebar display handles operations.
Shimano’s 12-speed Deore XT groupset and enduro-spec four-piston M8020 brakes with 200mm rotors take care of moving and stopping on this top-spec 9000 model. The shifter is the cheaper SLX model, though.
This trail-friendly ebike gets 200mm front and rear, which is a big plus.
The bike rolls on DT Swiss HX 1501 Spline ONE 30 wheels with Maxxis DHF and DHR II tyres. Unfortunately, they’re the EXO-casing version, not the reinforced EXO+ option on the eONE-SIXTY.
You also get an inline Fox DPS shock rather than the bigger bike’s piggyback damper, paired with a 140mm DT Swiss F 535 ONE fork.
Merida finishing kit completes the build, providing the bars, stem, saddle and seatpost.
Merida eONE FORTY 9000 ride impressions
I took the eONE-FORTY to some of my favourite riding spots around South Wales. These are trails I know well and they offer a wide variety of terrain, from fun trail centre flow to steep natural tech, and of course a trip to the bike park for good measure.
I set up my suspension with around 25 per cent sag because I like more aggressive riding.
Merida eONE FORTY 9000 climbing performance
The Shimano E8000 motor and 504Wh battery at the heart of this bike mean you know you’re getting a decent motor with plenty of service support if needed.
It’s good to keep the cadence high when climbing to get the best efficiency and most assistance from it, and Shimano’s 12-speed 10-51 cassette helps with this.
Overall, I like the Shimano’s ride feel, and its three modes (Eco, Trail, Boost) provide plenty of assistance options. I never found the Shimano lacking on the climbs, and my climbing talent ran out before the motor struggled when it came to steep, technical gradients.
Flow trails or steep tech, the Merida eONE-FORTY puts you in a strong position to tackle the climbs.
The 76.5-degree seat angle means you can climb for extended periods in comfort and the reach doesn’t feel overly stretched out when seated because of this. It’s easy to shift weight forwards or backwards depending on where you need to place your balance to find grip or keep the front wheel down.
The 66.5-degree head angle and short chainstays mean tight hairpin turns are easy to negotiate too. I never once reached for the compression lever when climbing, not noticing there was excessive pedal bob.
That doesn’t mean the rear-end is too stiff under power. Merida has found a sensible balance between bump absorption, traction and efficiency.
The eONE-FORTY is happy to grind up whatever you put in front of it, and it will tackle it with composure, fun and comfort.
Merida eONE FORTY 9000 descending performance
When the gradient points down, the eONE-FORTY is a lot of fun, up until a certain point, that is.
Trail centre descents that undulate and don’t feature big hits are a blast. Its geometry can help you thread through tight sections without fuss, and the wide bars and short stem help promote confident handling.
That means it is quite easy to get the bike up to the 25km\h assistance cut off, which does leave you lugging a 22kg bike around, but that’s similar with other ebikes too. The handing is still pretty agile for a bike of this weight, though.
Trail centres descents are where the eONE-FORTY 9000 shines.
Once you take this trail-orientated bike out its comfort zone, it will let you know.
The 140mm DT Swiss forks work well, but the travel limits what the rear suspension potentially could handle.
The head angle, for the most part, is fine, but when matched with the shortened fork on steep downs can make things feel a little more nervous. I never found this on high-speed sections though, possibly down to the extra stability from the bike’s weight.
Even though the suspension is relatively linear, set at 25 per cent sag I didn’t notice any harsh bottom outs, but it’s not the bike for session kickers and drops due to the forks. There was still enough support in the rear-end to take repeated hits, and it kept its composure over rocky, rooty terrain.
The tyres promote a decent amount of confidence too, but I would like to see at least EXO+ front and rear for some extra protection – it’s a small weight sacrifice.
I would like to see a more puncture-resistant tyre on the back of an ebike.
The mullet set-up offered no strange riding characteristics and the eONE-FORTY is an easy bike to feel comfortable on.
The Shimano brakes are known for their power, and paired with the 200mm rotors I never second-guessed having enough bite to slow down when I needed.
Merida eONE-FORTY 9000 bottom line
The Merida eONE-FORTY is a very competent trail ebike that will gladly churn out mile after mile of fun.
It’s happiest on flowing terrain where you can get the most out of it. Take it a step too far, though, and its front-end geometry and fork will let you know about it. Keep it in its comfort zone, however, and its well-specced kit and agile handling will reward you with a bike that relishes flowing terrain.