More than just 2 cm
Over the last few years, our full suspension line-up has gained lots of credibility amongst the international cycling press and trail/enduro riders alike. In the past, we were always known for our super fast, super light and super efficient marathon and cross-country full suspension bikes, but our more long travel versions were sometimes ignored. This has certainly changed since the introduction of our ‘Float Link Suspension System’, which was introduced to our line-up on-board the ONE-TWENTY in 2015. From then onwards the new system made its way first onto our test and award-winning long travel ONE-SIXTY bike and ultimately to test winning ONE-FORTY mid travel machine.
To the untrained eye, the three current bikes (wheel size aside, the ONE-TWENTY is available in 650b or 29er – depending on size and model) look very similar, and this article will hopefully explain where they differ beyond the apparent 20mm of rear wheel travel and where they are really at home.
To start with, one quick explanation of why our front and rear travel never matches, at least not if you go only by the numbers. Our ‘Float Link Suspension System’ offers super supple rear real travel, that often ‘feels quite bottomless’ (Wideopen, Oct 2018). To offer a well-balanced riding experience where the super effective back end is on the same level as the front, we increase the front fork travel. So, on all three bikes, you will find 10mm of extra travel on the front in comparison to the back. The only exception is the ONE-TWENTY 9000, but more about that in a minute.
Let’s get started with the updated version of the bike that started the ‘Float Link Suspension System’ trend – the new ONE-TWENTY.
ONE-TWENTY – THE GREAT ALL-ROUNDER – MADE EVEN BETTER
As we mentioned above, the ONE-TWENTY was the first bike in the MERIDA line-up that was equipped with the new ‘Float Link Suspension System’ when it first came out in 2015. At the time it was more a bike that was aimed at ‘Alp Cross’ riding rather than the new 2019 version which has far more of a trail edge to it. Available in 29er or 650b (depending on size and model) the ONE-TWENTY now offers full carbon, carbon/alloy combination or full alloy frames. The standover height has been lowered for more room to manoeuver when the trails get a bit rough, and the geometry has been further ‘trail optimised’ with a slacker head angle – going from 69 to 67.3 degrees on the 29er version. The chainstays are kept short (10mm shorter than the 2018 model) to increase the playfulness of the bike even further and to offer the perfect balance between being a great climber and an agile trail bike.
The new ONE-TWENTY has also seen vast improvements in durability and stiffness, making it super tough but also super responsive. And to offer plenty of space for some more trail worthy rubber the tyre clearance has also been increased further.
With the carbon CF4 frame being super light and stiff we felt that it could also offer the perfect platform for a more capable marathon or stage racing bike. With this in mind, we have created the ONE-TWENTY 9000 that features some super light (yet durable) parts and contrary to the remaining range a 120mm fork up front. That gives the bike a more aggressive riding position and slightly more agile handling, elements which are essential when covering long distances fast is one of the main objectives.
DURING OUR OWN TESTS AND BASED ON THE FEEDBACK OF OUR SPONSORED RIDERS WE CAN CONFIRM THAT THE ONE-TWENTY IS ONE OF THE FASTEST ACCELERATING BIKES IN OUR RANGE AND HUGELY CAPABLE WHEN THE TRAILS GET TOUGH. IT IS A REAL ALL-ROUNDER, AND THE PERFECT BIKE IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR:
- marathon and long distance capability
- trail fun well beyond the 120mm rear travel mark
- modern ‘trail optimised’ geometry
- 29er wheels
For an overview of the 2019 ONE-TWENTY line-up where you can find out further details on the geometries and the frame features, please click here.
ONE-FORTY – ENDURO AND TRAIL FUN
The ONE-FORTY followed in the footsteps of the hugely successful ONE-SIXTY, which managed to collect countless test wins and awards. It was very much our intention to create a bike that features the same suspension system but offers very different riding characteristics which go well beyond the 20mm difference in rear wheel travel. While the ONE-SIXTY is a flat out enduro bike (more about that later) the ONE-FORTY has a far more playful geometry due to its slightly steeper head angle (66.3 degrees on the ONE-FORTY rather than 65.3 degrees on the ONE-SIXTY). A suitable reach and low centre of gravity combined with a short stem and wide handlebars deliver fun packed, confidence inspiring handling.
The ONE-FORTY is simply more capable than the ONE-TWENTY and more agile than the ONE-SIXTY.
All ONE-FORTY models come with a lightweight yet super durable aluminium frame and with 650b wheels. The wide rimmed 650b wheels come with super grippy 2.6” tyres for impressive corner grip and superb traction.
The ONE-FORTY is the perfect bike if you don’t know where the trail is going to take you. It offers great pedalling efficiency, which lets you cover ground quickly, but it gets rarely pushed out of shape on the way down. And its nimble handling really shines on technically demanding trails where flat-out pace is not the only objective. Besides all of that, it is easier to pop a wheelie on the ONE-FORTY in comparison to the ONE-SIXTY, underlining the playful nature of our 140mm bike.
FOR US THE ONE-FORTY IS A REAL ‘GO TO’ BIKE. WE OFTEN TAKE IT OUT FOR A SPIN WHEN ‘HAVING FUN’ IS THE MAIN ORDER OF THE DAY OR WHEN WE SIMPLY DON’T KNOW WHAT THE TRAILS HAVE IN STORE FOR US. THE ONE-FORTY IS THE PERFECT BIKE IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR:
- an all-day trail munching machine
- super capable fun orientated descender
- for a ride that can play with the big boys at your mid-level enduro race but when not carrying a number board it certainly loves riding enduro inspired tracks
For an overview of the 2019 ONE-FORTY line-up where you can find out further details on the geometries and the frame features, please click here.
ONE-SIXTY – GET HEAVY. STAY LIGHT.
The ONE-SIXTY put MERIDA back on the map amongst the trail riding and enduro community. It offered superb handling, a hugely capable (almost bottomless) rear-end and an immensely durable frame. All aspects we are looking for if hitting enduro trails hard is the main objective.
The ONE-SIXTY is available as a carbon front end/alloy rear end frame configuration or as an all aluminium option. All models feature the same test and award-winning geometry, durable and easy to accelerate 650b wheels and low step-over height for easy manoeuvrability when the trail gets more demanding.
When creating the geometry, it was very much our ambition to build a bike that is stable and confidence inspiring at high speeds. That’s the reason why the ONE-SIXTY features a reach of 445mm in size M. The top tube of the M sized frame is below 600mm due to a steep seat angle of 75 degrees, which also has a positive effect on the climbing ability of the bike. The steep seat angle positions the rider above the bottom bracket for perfect power transfer. The head angle with 65.3 degrees is slack, which, paired with the long reach (445mm on the ONE-SIXTY in comparison to 435mm on the ONE-FORTY in size M), gives superb stability and control at high speeds. And to make sure that the bike’s agility doesn’t fall behind, we have given the ONE-SIXTY 430mm short chainstays. Perfect to pop the front wheel when needed.
Despite its clear ‘down’ orientation, the ONE-SIXTY is a surprisingly good climber. The rear end offers plenty of mid stroke support and the steep seat angle as well as the overall weight of the bike help to get it back to the trail-head without too much effort.
FROM THE VERY FIRST PROTOTYPE, IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT THE ONE-SIXTY IS A HUGELY CAPABLE BIKE. WHEN THE TRAILS GET FAST, STEEP AND LITTERED WITH OBSTACLES, THE ONE-SIXTY IS IN ITS ABSOLUTE ELEMENT. THE ONE-SIXTY IS THE PERFECT BIKE IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR:
- a flat out and competition ready enduro bike
- a bike for big backcountry rides where you know that the terrain demands the best
For an overview of the 2019 ONE-SIXTY line-up where you can find out further details on the geometries and the frame features, please click here.