Merida One-Sixty 8000 review

Excellent frame shines despite skinny rims and wonky bar

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £5,500.00 RRP

Our review

Outstanding shape, handling balance and suspension shine despite some niggles
Buy if, If you want one of the best 160mm frames around
Pros: Excellent enduro geometry and composed suspension performance for tough terrain
Cons: Deserves wider wheels and better shaped bars
Skip to view product specifications

Merida has been quietly edging closer and closer to the top of the long-travel rankings in recent years, and the latest One-Sixty puts them into a potential podium position.

Advertisement

Even before you get onto the 8000 you can see it’s shaped ‘right’. The large size combines a 475mm reach with a 65.5-degree head angle to create a super-stable, self-correcting handling feel that’s on your side even when the terrain definitely isn’t.

RockShox’s Lyrik is an unshakably solid, smooth and consistently-controlled fork that’s easily tuned to a sweet spot. There’s no shortage of stiffness from the big box-section front end of the carbon frame too, making the only handling glitch the odd-shaped 760mm bar. That’s an easy swap though, and the SRAM X01 Eagle and Guide RS stop/go kit is excellent.

Clamped internal cable routing and room for a bottle are design pluses, while the press-fit bottom bracket and just three frame size options are minuses. The asymmetric alloy rear end has extended chainstay tips which, together with the short rocker link, create a ‘floating’ mount for the latest RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 shock. This has a three-position low-speed compression damping lever, which adds pedalling support to the smoothly mobile, high-traction back end if revs are low and torque high.

The Merida performs well on the rowdiest trails
The Merida performs well on the rowdiest trails
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

The One-Sixty is clearly a gravity-orientated rig though, and while it has 160mm of travel, its capacity to calmly swallow the biggest blocks and drops of battering black runs or off-piste boulder fields without flinching, spiking or getting kicked off line means it feels like a much bigger bike.

This means you can push the Merida hard on the rowdiest trails with masses more confidence than on most bikes. Like the Lyrik, the Super Deluxe shock has a more forgiving bandwidth, in terms of tuning, than the Fox Float X dampers on the other bikes, so you can get your A game on ASAP.

Advertisement

It would have been a possible Superbike of the Year test winner if Merida had fitted a wider option from the excellent DT Swiss 1501 wheel line-up. Unfortunately, the 25mm rims together with the stiff ‘2.4in’ carcass of the Continental Baron mud tyres (which actually only measures 2.2in) create an unnecessarily harsh ride. That meant the One-Sixty only revealed its truly outstanding performance when I swapped in wider, smoother wheels and tyres, but it’s potential is still good enough to score very high.

Product Specifications

Product

Name One-Sixty 8000
Brand Merida

Brakes SRAM Guide RS
Cranks SRAM Descendant
Fork RockShox Lyrik RCT3 Boost, 170mm travel
Frame Material 'CFA' carbon fibre w/ aluminium swingarm
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe RC3
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth, 150mm
Shifters SRAM X01 Eagle
Wheelset DT Swiss EX 1501