The products mentioned in this article are selected or reviewed independently by our journalists. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our opinion.

Merida Big.Trail 600 review

Does Merida's latest live up to its name with big results on the trail?

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £1,675.00 RRP | AUD $2,499.00
Pack shot of the Merida Big.Trail 600 hardtail mountain bike

Our review

As versatile as it is great fun to ride, the Big.Trail is a well-designed and very competent bike
Pros: Versatile frame; short seat tubes make it easy to size up to get the handling feel you’re after; presence of chain guide
Cons: Tall stack means you may need to play with bar height; not much in the way of frame protection
Skip to view product specifications

Previously best known for its road and cross-country bikes, Merida’s trail bikes have really impressed us in recent years. The new Big.Trail 600 is a bike with a big bag of tricks.

Advertisement

Merida Big.Trail 600 frame

Merida Big.Trail 600
The 6061 aluminium alloy frame is eye-catching and accompanied by a number of useful features.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

The double-butted 6061 aluminium alloy chassis looks sleek with its low-slung top tube and smooth welds.

A host of neat features make the Big.Trail a highly versatile bike. These include two bottle cage mounts plus an equipment mount under the top tube, so you can load it up for all-day epics.

There are also discreet rack and mudguard mounts, in case you fancy doubling it up as a commuter or adventure bike. Boost rear-hub spacing will make any wheel upgrade easier.

The frame is limited to 2.5in tyres, although clearance seems ample. It has a small chainstay protector to curb chain slap.

Reach numbers are conservative – just 455mm on our large frame. However, short seat tubes (430mm on the large) mean you can size up if you want more stability at speed.

The Big.Trail’s 75.5-degree effective seat tube angle is steep and modern, and the 65.5-degree head angle makes for confident handling on a wide variety of trails.

Merida Big.Trail 600 kit

Merida Big.Trail 600
The fork is a Marzocchi Bomber Z2.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

The Big.Trail 600 delivers a capable package, but it comes at a price that seems high.

The Marzocchi Z2 fork gives you the basics required to set it up for your weight and riding style.

You get 12-speed Shimano Deore gears, paired with Race Face Ride cranks and an upper chain guide. The Shimano MT410 brakes have only two pistons, but you do get lever-reach adjustment.

Merida’s Expert TR wheels have a 29mm internal width and are shod with 29×2.4in Maxxis Dissector tyres.

Finishing kit is also own-brand, with a 780mm bar, 50mm stem and 150mm dropper.

Merida Big.Trail 600 ride impressions

Male cyclist in white top riding the Merida Big.Trail 600 hardtail mountain bike over rough terrain
The Big.Trail is a composed ride that won’t make all-day adventuring an uncomfortable experience.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

The Big.Trail is comfortable to sit on. I removed the stem spacers to lower the bar height, and it puts you in an upright, relaxed position when pedalling seated.

That doesn’t make it a poor climber, though – its steep 75.5-degree seat angle gives you a strong position over the bottom bracket for pedalling.

It also helps keep your weight forward, maintaining pressure on the front wheel to keep it tracking up steep ascents.

Whether seated or standing, the Big.Trail is a proficient climber, so if all-day adventures are your cup of tea, it’s not going to stretch you out into a painful position.

Some flat-pedal riders have found the chainstays prone to heel rub, but that wasn’t an issue for me, riding clipped in.

Merida Big.Trail 600
Chainstay height could be an issue for flat-pedal riders.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

While the Merida feels casual in its seated position, it’s anything but tame when things get more challenging.

Thanks to its low BB and standover height, short seat tube and long dropper post, the frame and saddle don’t get in your way when you’re hitting the descents.

This gives you plenty of space to manoeuvre the bike when tackling tight turns and technical sections of trail. Although it’s not as agile as some of the best trail bikes, it’s certainly no slouch.

The 140mm-travel Z2 fork has enough small-bump sensitivity and progression, helping to instil confidence in the front end, while the Maxxis Dissector tyres give a good balance of grip and support, without being too harsh and reducing comfort.

Male cyclist in white top riding the Merida Big.Trail 600 hardtail mountain bike over rough terrain
While the Merida feels casual in its seated position, it’s anything but tame when things get more challenging.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

The 1×12 Deore drivetrain works predictably well, giving crisp and precise shifts both up and down the cassette, and has the edge in feel and performance over SRAM’s equivalent offerings.

Its 10-51t cassette, here paired with a 32t chainring, provides an ample gear range to grind up the steepest climbs and not spin out on the fastest descents.

Under the saddle is an 11-function multi-tool, plus there’s a mount below the top tube to carry essential spares.

With its 34mm stanchions and 140mm of travel, the Marzocchi Z2 fork inspires confidence when tackling bigger hits.

The 2.4in Maxxis Dissector tyres give good grip and support.

Merida Big.Trail 600 geometry

SMLXLXXL
Seat angle (degrees)75.575.575.575.575.5
Head angle (degrees)65.565.565.565.565.5
Chainstay (mm)435435435435435
Seat tube (mm)380410430450470
Top tube (mm)579600622645670
Head tube (mm)95100110120120
Bottom bracket drop (mm)66.566.566.566.566.5
Wheelbase (mm)1,1501,1721,1961,2201,245
Standover (mm)716723725728782
Stack (mm)636641650659659
Reach (mm)415435455475500

Merida Big.Trail 600 bottom line

My only niggle with the spec (other than value) is the MT410 brakes, which are okay in the dry, but lack punch in the wet.

Advertisement

Taking everything into account, the Big.Trail 600 is a composed ride with handling that never felt too demanding.

How we tested

The £1,500 mark has become a highly competitive price point for hardtail mountain bikes in recent years, with many brands offering versatile builds that pack in a solid spec for the money.

We put four trail-focused hardtails around the £1,500 mark to the test to see which came out on top.

All four of the bikes on test are built tough to withstand some abuse, so while they may not be as fast over the roughest terrain as a more expensive full-suspension rig, they shouldn’t be any less fun to ride.

While the hardtails tested here all serve a similar purpose, individual brands often prioritise different ride characteristics, giving each machine its own feel. These reviews and our in-depth buyer’s guide to the best hardtail mountain bikes should help narrow down the choice.

Other bikes on test

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $2499.00GBP £1675.00
Weight 13.89kg (L) – without pedals
Brand Merida

Features

Available sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL
Headset Merida M2331
Tyres Maxxis Dissector Dual EXO TR 29x2.4in
Stem Merida Expert TR, 50mm
Shifter Shimano Deore M6100
Seatpost Merida Comp TR
Saddle Merida Comp SL
Rear derailleur Shimano Deore M6100 (1x12)
Handlebar Merida Expert TR, 780mm
Bottom bracket Race Face BSA
Grips/Tape Merida Comp EC
Frame Double-butted 6061 aluminium alloy
Fork Marzocchi Bomber Z2, 140mm travel
Cranks Race Face Ride, 32t
Chain KMC X12
Cassette Shimano Deore M6100, 10-51t
Brakes Shimano M410, 180mm rotors
Wheels Merida Expert TR, 29mm rims on Shimano MT400 (f)/Shimano MT410 (r) hubs