The new One Sixty is a hardcore, long-travel enduro bike. It’s slack, long and super-fast. Rough and steep trails, big mountains and bike parks are its natural habitat. Compared to the predecessor, the geometry has grown in length, and it can be ridden as a full 29er or with a 27.5” wheel (mullet) in the rear. That makes the bike lightning fast and perfect for racing! And by choosing a smaller size, the One Sixty transforms into a playful bike that loves jump lines and tight berms.
Extensive testing and a fit-for-purpose design have given the One Sixty the highest possible category approval - category 5 - and with that, an industry-leading five-year warranty for such a demanding usage category. So, it can be ridden and raced on the toughest trails in the bike park without worrying that your warranty might be affected.
With all this in mind, the One Sixty is aimed at the most demanding enduro and trail riders and racers out there. You don’t expect any compromises from man or machine, and you are looking for the perfect bike for your preferred terrain and riding style. Over the years, you have learned what you want from your bike, and you appreciate that even subtle differences in geometry, setup and kinematic can make a real difference to your riding experience. While our One Sixty loves to show its strength between the tapes, its impressive climbing abilities, comfortable riding position and outstanding durability and serviceability make it a trusted partner on demanding days in the big mountains.
The most significant difference is the switch from 27.5” wheels with a vertical shock to 29” wheels with a horizontal shock, but we have also made some significant changes to both the anti-squat and anti-rise values along with shock progression.
When looking at shock progression, we have a pretty unique concept now. In general, we wanted more progression to work well with newer rear shocks with bigger air chambers and even coil shocks too. Every frame size has a unique kinematic which delivers different shock progression; the longer the frame, the greater the progression. As the rider gets heavier or rides more aggressively (or as is often the case in sizing up), the risk of bottoming out the shock is much greater. Increasing the shock progression means we give these riders greater support at the end of the travel and increased control in demanding situations.
Talking numbers, we have around 6% progression in the smallest size to over 14% in the biggest frame size, covering a range that starts at a neutral position at sag (30%) up to 95% of your travel. This also works very well with all modern air and coil shocks.
The anti-squat graph describes the suspension behaviour during pedalling. We wanted a reasonable amount of anti-squat at the start and middle part of the suspension to provide really efficient pedalling performance. However, the anti-squat value becomes much less when you are deep into the travel, as pedalling efficiency is of little concern in this circumstance. The end result is suspension that pedals well with very little pedal-bob, but is active and unhindered on descents and big hits.
The influence of the braking on the suspension is described by the anti-rise figures. Compared to the previous One-Sixty, we have reduced the anti-rise to make the kinematics more active, even under braking. At the beginning and middle of the travel, the anti-rise is a little less than 100%, which helps to keep the bike level under braking on steep trails and on smooth, fast trails. But deep in the travel, the anti-rise decreases, leading to more active suspension and increased traction while slowing down on rough terrain or after big drops.
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Yes. Both the frame clearances and the kinematic will work just fine with a coil shock, but we choose to spec the bike as standard with an air shock as it is lighter and more easily adjustable to a range of rider weights. If you prefer the more plush feeling of a coil shock in hard terrain, this upgrade possibility has been considered from the beginning by the R&D team.
In the past, all long-travel bikes were set up to run triple clamp forks. With standard forks increasing in travel, performance and stiffness, it has become less of an issue over the last few years. While there is no strength issue, the taller build of the triple clamp fork would impact the geometry and, therefore, the handling. One bigger issue is that the One-Sixty is designed with a single crown fork in mind and doesn’t feature any bump stops. In case of a crash, the rotating fork legs could hit the front end of the frame and damage it. From that point of view, we would strongly advise against triple clamp forks, particularly on our carbon models.
Based on the fact that going further than 180 mm at the front end would have a noticeable impact on the bottom bracket height and reach figures, we would not suggest going beyond that. The bike comes with 170 mm front travel and delivers the riding behaviour we are trying to achieve. A 180 mm fork in combination with a 27.5” rear wheel creates a competent bike park and freeride geometry though - sounds interesting…
No. When our frames are tested on the test rigs and exposed to forces much bigger than they would experience out on the trail. We measure far bigger deflection from other frame parts than on the flex stay. So, for example, at the lab test, the seat tube is moving several centimetres, while the movement of the flex stays is substantially less.
We don’t believe that small changes of around 2 mm per size would make any significant difference. If you take the ‘growing chainstay length’ argument seriously, they would need to grow in the same way as the reach, which very few do. Apart from that, many other rider-related factors make the riding experience individual and increasing the chainstay length would not even those out. We believe that our new sizing system, in conjunction with the updated geometry and the size-specific suspension configuration, makes it easier and more effective for riders to find the riding characteristics they are looking for, irrespective of the rider’s height.
It is worth noting that the 29er wheel setup has a chainstay length of 437.5 mm, while the 27.5" rear wheel setup has a chainstay length of 434 mm.
Usually, 29er wheels combined with a 170 mm fork make for a very tall front end. While that might be okay for taller riders, small riders often find it challenging to find the right riding position. There are several options to increase the front end height of the bike, like more spacers, bigger handlebar rise or a more upright stem, but only very few, if any, to lower it. With that in mind, we have created a lower front end so that smaller riders can easily find the low position they are looking for, while taller riders can utilise one of the many options available. It should be noted that the stack from the headset (~10mm) is not included in the stack figure of the geometry chart.
To consider the need for a higher front end for the larger frame sizes, without reducing the reach (as adding more spacers would do), we fit handlebars with different rises on the various sizes: XShort, Short have an 18 mm rise bar while Middle, Long, XLong have a 30 mm rise bar as standard. The aftermarket provides a huge amount of choice for those that need something different from that, with everything from wide, flat bars to the latest crop of 50 mm rise bars.
We believe that our progressive geometry doesn’t require further head tube angle adjustment. Regardless, we are not aware of any angle adjusting headsets with integrated bearings (IS52/IS52) being available on the market, making the use impossible.
We’ve worked hard to make the bike handle as it should, and the adjustment feature is to keep our geometry static between the two different wheel size options, not to adjust it.
While you could use Flip-Chip to adjust geometry, we wouldn’t recommend it. If you ride a 29er rear wheel in the 27.5” configuration, the bottom bracket rises, and the head angle steepens, resulting in more nervous and difficult-to-control riding behaviour.
If you ride a 27.5” wheel in the 29er configuration, the opposite occurs. In principle, that is less of an issue, but with the bottom bracket already low, it is more likely to clip your pedals, and there is the chance that the tyre would contact the seat tube under full compression, which would be dangerous.
How much more force does the P-FLEX flex stay design take to compress versus having a seat stay bearing? Does it change how supple the suspension is?
It’s certainly not enough to have any effect on the small bump performance or progression of the suspension. The real world difference is negligible due to the attention we have paid to keeping the rotation of the seat stays very low.
Despite using the same kind of P-Flex flex stay design, the One-Sixty has half the rotation of the seat stay that the Ninety-Six has, despite having 70 mm more travel. Without a shock in the frame, it’s easy to move the suspension through the full travel on the One-Sixty with a single finger.
In the early design stages, we created an aluminium prototype with seat stay bearings and tested it against the flex stay version. The additional forces of the flex stay were so extremely low throughout the travel that the same shock tune worked perfectly on either version.
Theoretically, it could, but as discussed above, the effect is so slight that there is no need for it. The influence of an old, worn or misaligned bearing is much worse. Together with the input of specialists from our suspension suppliers, we did a lot of real world test riding of different tunes to optimise them for real world use.
Similarly to the shock tune, it could, but the effect is so tiny that there is no need for it. This means that we use linear rebound tunes on all One-Sixty and One-Forty bikes.
We didn’t. While the technology might deliver in certain, very specific situations, our One-Sixty is designed as a true enduro and long-travel trail bike, where downhill performance might be the focus, but climbing and general riding behaviour are also hugely important, and an idler system has an unavoidable and negative effect on pedalling efficiency and weight. On top of that, these systems are often loud, require higher maintenance, are more expensive, and increase the potential for durability issues.
The adapter uses the Post Mount fitting, so this doesn’t require a special brake, just a standard Post Mount calliper which is run with a 200 mm rotor, so the customer doesn’t need to worry about compatibility. That said, the adapter gives us several advantages.
The first is that the brake calliper sits on top of the seat stay but is still linked to the chainstay. As the calliper is not squashed between the chain and seat stay, all available brake callipers can be fitted, irrespective of size. While the old design potentially protected the calliper from impact, the space restriction also limited the callipers that could be mounted and made adjustment tricky at times.
The other benefit is that we can ensure that our P-Flex flex pivot design works the same way on both sides of the rear triangle, as both sides of the seat stays are completely symmetrical. The chainstay-mounted brake adapter doesn’t affect the deflection behaviour.
The last aspect is also very significant: Think about descending a very long and steep trail; there is not enough airflow to cool down your calliper. On an aluminium frame, the frame material transfers a lot of the heat, but a carbon frame transfers nearly no heat. That’s why we invented the Disc Cooler design on our road bikes and have been running it successfully for several years. Now we have exactly the same effect on the new One-Sixty by providing a much larger cooling surface.
The three-point chain stay thread brake mount will come on all future Merida full suspension bikes. It will be available in both 200 mm and 180 mm versions.