You may ask why the MERIDA ONE-FORTY is not in this test. The answer? At the time of testing, the new ONE-FORTY had not yet been released, so the shorter-travel MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 7.800 had some big shoes to fill with its limited travel.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Seven trail bikes around 3.000 € in review
Not many people know this, but Taiwanese-based MERIDA are one of the world’s biggest bike producers. In addition to the MERIDA brand, their factories make bikes for some of the industry’s biggest names. In short, they know what they are doing. This is the only bike in the test to feature the FOX FLOAT Performance suspension, which is a good thing. We were delighted to see MERIDA’s own-brand rims with a 29 mm internal width. Unfortunately, it did not seem to help the Continental Mountain King II tyres, as they lacked the aggressive side profiles to make the most of the grip on offer – although they are perfect for surfaced trail centres.
On the trail the MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 7.800 is a rocketship, a bike to make your mates cry on undulating trails. The full-floating rear end fizzes with excitement, almost frictionless as it mops up every hit whilst constantly encouraging you to stand and sprint like a madman. The rear is matched well with the front, as the 130 mm FOX Float Performance 34 is a solid performer. Ours was a little stiff at first, but once it had broken in it it kept the pace well. With a 68 degree head angle, the steering is fast and precise, and the 760 mm bar is just wide enough to calm down any nervousness. On the climbs, the linear suspension tracks the ground well, but we struggled to get the Continental Mountain King II tyres to hook up on roots, no matter what pressure we ran.
While the MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 7.800 was not the lightest at 13.6 kg, it was always the fastest to the top of the hill – the comfortable 452 mm reach gives enough room to breath. Of course, only boasting 120 mm of travel, we found the aggressive nature of the bike saw us bottoming out frequently, and it does get out of shape on big rocky trails – but if you hang the hell on, the bike will charge on through. While the Shimano M615 brakes may lack a ‘cool’ factor, we cannot argue with their impressive power, the dual 180 mm rotors working well to haul the MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 7.800 down from some frankly outrageously fast speeds.
The MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 7.800
Fork Fox Float 34 Performance 130 mm
Rear shock Fox Float DPS Performance 120 mm
Brakes Shimano M615
Drivetrain SRAM GX
Seatpost MERIDA Expert Dropper
Stem MERIDA Expert TR 55
Handlebar MERIDA Expert 35
Tires Continental Mountain King II
Wheelset MERIDA Expert TR
Price € 2,599
The geometry of the MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 7.800
|Seat tube||415 mm||450 mm||500 mm|
|Top tube||575 mm||595 mm||620 mm|
|Chainstays||440 mm||440 mm||440 mm|
|BB Drop||25 mm||25 mm||25 mm|
|Wheelbase||1122 mm||1142 mm||1167 mm|
|Reach||412 mm||430 mm||452 mm|
|Stack||589 mm||593 mm||603 mm|
The MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 7.800 is the perfect bike for high-speed attacks on mellower trails. Acceleration up short climbs is vicious, and it holds its momentum well. The bike feels modern, lively, and aggressive, the very definition of the best new trail bikes.
– Full floating rear eats up rocks
– Great Acceleration
– Tires lack Grip
For more info head to merida-bikes.com
The test fleet
For an overview head to the main article: Seven trail bikes around 3.000 € in review
All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral AL 6.0 EX | Marin Rift Zone 3 | MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 7.800 | ROSE Granite Chief 2 | Vitus ESCARPE 29 VRX | Whyte T-130 S | YT JEFFSY AL ONE 27
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Words & Photos: Trev Worsey