Trail Fun Simplified


Whether you’ve been riding for years or you’re just starting out on your mountain biking adventure, a hardtail always packs in the most laughs for the money – and the Big Trail has always been about delivering the biggest grins of all.

For as long as we can remember, hardtails have been the backbone of Merida. The hardtail is for many, the first step into the
exciting world of off-road riding.

The last generation hit the trails on 29er wheels, with 140 mm of fork travel and progressive hardtail geometry. Loved by the international cycling press and hardtail riders alike, the Big Trail has made a name for itself and enjoyed great popularity.

However, similar to our short-travel full-suspension bikes, riders are looking to tackle even more challenging trails on their trail hardtails.



Originally developed on the back of a napkin by our R&D team, Merida UK and some of the UK's most knowledgeable dealers, the Big Trail had a rather unconventional start to life. The aim was to create a super capable trail hardtail with progressive geometry, featuring 29er wheels, long travel forks, dropper posts and trail-ready components. The result is more affordable, easier to set up and requires less maintenance than a full suspension bike.

Entering the world of trail riding, the Big Trail featured a slack 65.5° head angle and a steep seat angle, both of which made it a solid descender even when the trail was littered with roots and rocks while maintaining impressive climbing ability due to the central seating position over the bottom bracket. It featured internal cable routing, bottle bosses for two bottles, trail-ready tyre clearance, and long insertion depth for dropper posts, paving the way for upsizing or downsizing, allowing riders to find the perfect size for the riding characteristics they were looking for.

As bikes become more capable, riders use them to tackle more challenging trails. They want the latest features and technologies, as well as the ability to upsize or downsize to suit their preferred riding style. This led us to revisit our Big Trail to ensure it meets those needs. We’ve made a number of changes and upgrades to make it perform even better on demanding tracks and trails.



As well as bringing the frame size into line with the existing MTB range, the Big Trail's already progressive geometry has been refined to further improve handling on steep and challenging terrain. Comparing size to size (e.g. the outgoing Medium to the new Mid), the reach has increased, as tests have shown how much impact this has on the stability of a trail bike.

In line with the extended reach, we have increased the stack, allowing the front wheel to be easily popped without making the bike feel too stretched. The seat tube remains short for a super low stand over height and is now straight for maximum insertion depth, allowing long-travel dropper posts to be fitted, even on smaller frame sizes. This gives the rider more room to manoeuvre over the bike; a huge advantage when the terrain becomes more challenging.

We’ve increased the seat angle from 75.5° to 76.5°, which is well ahead of other trail hardtails in the market. This increases the pressure on the front wheel on steep climbs resulting in a much more relaxed position, even on the steepest ramps. It also makes it possible to ride a bike with a longer reach as the length of the top tube is reduced, offering a more natural experience. This means that the bike doesn't feel too long when you're pedalling in a seated position and provides plenty of stability on rough terrain. 

To further aid the stability on steep, demanding terrain, we’ve slackened the head tube angle by 1.5°, from an already progressive 65.5° to 64.0°. This, combined with a large BB drop (70 mm, up from 66.5 mm) creates the feeling of sitting in the bike rather than on top of it, providing plenty of stability and confidence when things get rowdy.

With key elements such as the steep seat angle, extended reach and other progressive geometry updates, the Big Trail now complements the new generation of Merida performance mountain bikes, offering very similar riding characteristics to the award-winning One-Sixty and One-Forty ranges.



One of our first bikes to feature an extremely low stand over height combined with a long insertion depth seat tube, the Big Trail allowed riders to up or downsize, choosing a smaller size with a shorter reach for agility or a larger size with a longer reach for more stability. This is now reflected in the Agilometer sizing, common to other Merida MTBs, offering X Short, Short, Mid, Long and X Long options.

The seat tube diameter has been increased to 34.9 mm so it can accommodate our travel-adjustable Merida Team TR II dropper post whilst boosting the strength of the seat tube, top tube and seat stay junctions.

Dropper posts vary by frame size; X Short is 150mm, short/ Mid are 170mm, Long is 200mm and X Long is 230mm.

Sizing has been brought in line with the rest of our MTB line-up making it easier for riders to switch between different models; a Long One-Sixty is comparable to a Long Big Trail.


Whilst a mullet set up is increasingly popular in the world of trail and enduro riding, our Big Trail sticks to its proven 29er hoops. Extensive testing showed that a 27.5" wheel may have a slight advantage on rough trails when hammering over rocks, the full 29" is the better all-rounder due to its greater bum clearance and the rider’s ability to move around the bike. It pedals better, has a more balanced weight distribution and remains very agile. We also found that the head angle had a more significant overall effect on performance than the smaller rear wheel. A 140 mm travel fork complements the set up.



Over the last two years, we’ve introduced a number of key features that not only improve the aesthetics of our bikes but also provide real benefits on the trail. The One-Sixty and One-Forty started this process; some of the features developed for these ranges have been introduced to our more affordable new Big Trail models. The cable integration follows in the footsteps of the full suspension bikes; the running gear, dropper post and rear brake cable go through the Wire Port headset featuring long-lasting, superbly sealed ACROS parts allowing easy, simplified bearing replacement when required. The Wire Port keeps cables out of harm’s way, prevents them rattling and helps keep the cockpit uncluttered. In addition the gear cable now runs through the chainstays for a cleaner look and added protection.

The latest Wire Port headset (featuring the new 2-piece top cap configuration) makes servicing and replacing cables straightforward and allows foam tubes (for maximum noise reduction) to be fitted easily. The stems and spacers used are easily interchangeable as they are not specific to our Wire Port headset routing, allowing for a more personalised setup if required.   

To increase heel clearance and provide ample space for trail tyres, we run a 55 mm chain line. To improve the durability of the top tube seat tube junction and ensure the Merida Team TR II adjustable dropper post can be fitted we now use 34.9 mm diameter seat posts.


A key factor in the development of the outgoing Big Trail was that it should offer impressive performance, handling and capability at a great price. With the introduction of new frame features and updated geometry, the Big Trail will continue to offer amazing trail performance at an affordable price.



Most cables, including gear, rear brake and dropper post cables, enter the frame through a specifically designed 2-piece headset cover, creating a clutter-free cockpit and reducing cable rattle. The ACROS parts of the Wire Port system offer impressive longevity due to their sophisticated seals allowing quick and easy bearing replacement and cable maintenance when the time comes.



Trail hardtails are particularly sensitive to chain slap on rough trails. As a result, riding on a demanding trail can be a noisy affair. To make the Big Trail one of the quietest trail hardtails on the market we’ve gone the extra mile, developing an elaborate, highly effective chainstay protector. This is made from two different plastics;  a hard one provides shape and rigidity enabling it to be fitted to the chainstay without glueing, and a softer material on the outside for more damping when the chain hits. In addition to the soft outer material, we’ve added air pockets to further increase the sound-deadening abilities. The rear of the chainstay protector minimises heel rub which can be an issue for riders with larger feet, particularly when using flat pedals.



The addition of a Trail Mount provides an extra mounting point under the top tube.



Now a standard on modern mountain bikes, the SRAM UDH hanger is readily available, aids shifting and is ready to work with the latest SRAM drivetrains.



Up to 2.4" wide trail and enduro tyres can be fitted, providing plenty of grip, traction and comfort.



148x12 mm Boost  axle is standard and 180 mm Post Mount direct rear brakes are well protected inside the rear triangle. 



Whilst at home on tracks and trails, the Big Trail is also perfect for everyday use such as commuting to school or work. With this in mind, hidden fixing points for fenders (available separately), a rear rack and even an off the shelf kickstand.



For additional frame and rider protection, the optional long rear fender, as seen on the One-Sixty, can be fitted to the wishbone section of the rear triangle.

The frame is designed with 140 mm forks in mind. As standard, it comes with 140 mm forks but can accommodate up to 150 mm of fork travel without having a negative effect on the riding behaviour.

Yes, Category 4 means that enduro riding and racing is allowed and approved.

Extensive testing with a mullet setup demonstrated that the Big Trail rides more efficiently with 29" wheels across all sizes due to enhanced rollover performance.

It is possible to fit a 27.5" rear wheel into the frame but this would affect the geometry; the head tube angle and seat tube angle would be much slacker and the bottom bracket would be critically low

Adjustable dropper posts add cost and we wanted to make the Big Trail affordable. Shorter  sizes benefit from long travel dropper posts; X short will have 150 mm travel, Short and Mid 170 mm, Long  200 mm and X Long 230 mm.

The Big Trail has water bottle bosses for two water bottles on the downtube. It can accommodate the following bottle sizes using side-loaded cages:

X Short: 1 x 700 ml + 1 x 500 ml
Short: 1 x 700 ml + 1 x 500 ml
Mid: 1 x 700 ml + 1 x 500 ml
Long: 2 x 700 ml
X Long: 2 x 700 ml