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The new Merida One-Forty 800 is chunky on the scales as a complete package and okay rather than outstanding value on paper. Hit the trails, though, and it’s an absolutely addictive max-control playbike that just keeps getting better the harder you ride it.
Merida One-Forty 800 spec overview
Frame: ‘Superlite 16’ hydroformed 6016 aluminium, 140mm (5.5in) travel
Fork: RockShox Revelation RC, 150mm (5.9in) travel
Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle w/ SRAM Descendant 6K cranks (1×12)
Wheelset: Merida Expert TR rims on Joytech hubs
Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHR II (f) and Rekon (r) EXO TR 27.5×2.6in
Brakes: SRAM Code R, 180mm rotors
Bar: Merida Expert TR, 760mm
Stem: Merida Expert TR, 40mm
Seatpost: KS LEV Integra dropper
Saddle: Prologo Nago X20
Weight: 14.6kg (32.2lb), large size without pedals
Merida One-Forty 800 frame
Merida is one of the largest and most advanced frame producers in the world. The One-Forty has a totally new chassis built from its latest ‘Superlite 16’ tubing, which comes in under 3kg (medium), which is impressive for alloy, and significantly lighter than some affordable carbon frames.
Boost spacing gives plenty of mud room, even around a 2.6in tyre. The rear pivot sits on top of the dropout, so the wheel follows a simple arc. Keeping the bike single-ring only means the chainstays can extend over the top of the press-fit bottom bracket (BB), where they connect with the base of the RockShox Deluxe shock.
This creates a ‘floating’ mount that reduces frame stress and gives the suspension a gently progressive ‘bottomless’ feel. There’s room for a (small) bottle on the down tube, but you need to use a side-loading cage.
The ‘floating’ shock (it’s attached to the linkage at both ends) delivers a supple feel Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media
Merida One-Forty 800 kit
The 12-speed GX Eagle transmission is the obvious spec highlight on the One-Forty 800. Brilliant 2.6in Maxxis tyres and solid 29mm (internal) tubeless rims are what really underwrite its performance, though.
The RockShox Revelation fork is a consistently controlled performer too, and the SRAM Code R brakes are some of our favourite max-control anchors. Some testers found the own-brand bar needed a lot of twisting to find a happy place, but the 760mm width works really well with the bike’s overall character.
Merida One-Forty 800 first ride impressions
While the frame is light, overall weight is fairly high. We’ve also tested 2018 bikes with similar specs for £300 less. But don’t let that put you off. The One-Forty proves its value where it matters most — on the rowdiest gravity-assisted or self-propelled trails you can find.
Merida has understandably toned down the radical angles of the super-slack One-Sixty on this shorter-travel bike, but the 66.3-degree head angle and 75-degree seat angle are still more aggro than average.
Reach is healthy at 455mm (large), and mid-length 435mm chainstays stretch the wheelbase out close to 1,200mm. The floating shock set-up gives a brilliant mix of ultra-supple initial traction without excessive movement under pedalling.
Up front, the sensitive fork stroke contributes to incredible climbing and cornering grip. A degree of flex through the frame, and particularly the rocker link, helps the Merida shrug off hits and hug the ground too.
The One-Forty proves its value where it matters most — on the rowdiest gravity-assisted or self-propelled trails you can find Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media
Add big tyres that thrive on being run at teen pressures, on weighty wheels, and you’ve got a bike that feels glued to the trail whatever you’re doing.
Unlike on many slack ’bomber’ bikes, these insane levels of grip are matched with a surprisingly lively and responsive frame and suspension character too. That makes it almost impossible not to hip, boost or manual the One-Forty off every trail feature you can.
The big tyres and floating shock give excellent speed sustain and control too, carrying the bike through roots, trail chunder or serious blocks and drops without it ever getting choked or knocked off line. Despite its weight, the Merida will claw up impossibly techy climbs all day long.
Because it carries speed and lays down power so well, accelerating that mass is rarely an issue. There are lockout levers on both the shock and fork, but I never felt the need to use them.
I did feel the need to seize any excuse to ride the Merida again, though. Although there were carbon bikes costing double the price hanging up next to it throughout the test period, the One-Forty was the one we always grabbed when we wanted a guaranteed good time.
Merida One-Forty 800 early verdict
Hefty weight and average value, but brilliant rough-play performance.