The brand new MERIDA eONE-FORTY looks strikingly similar to the recently introduced eONE-SIXTY. Nevertheless, it’s a completely different beast on the trail. We’ve had the exclusive opportunity to take it for a test ride and we’ll tell you what it’s capable of.
Just a few weeks ago, MERIDA blew us away with the presentation of their new eONE-SIXTY and now they’re rounding off their portfolio with the eONE-FORTY. Like its big brother, the newest model in the line-up features a carbon frame with the distinctive cooling fins at the head tube, a Shimano STEPS E8000 motor with an integrated but removable 504 Wh battery and a 29″ wheel up front paired with a 27.5″ wheel at the rear. The rear suspension of the bike offers 133 mm of travel and it comes with a 140 mm fork.
The eONE-FORTY comes with all the same clever details that MERIDA already presented on their eONE-SIXTY. Be it the battery cover and the chainstay protector, which both effectively minimize noise, the beautiful on/off button in the top tube or the charging socket in the down tube. A KnockBLock in the headset limits the steering angle, preventing the fork from hitting the frame. It doesn’t affect the bike’s handling on the trail, but it can be somewhat annoying when you’re packing the bike into your car.
The geometry of the MERIDA eONE-FORTY
The similarity between the eONE-FORTY and eONE-SIXTY is no coincidence. Both bikes are based on the same frame and the difference in travel is achieved primarily by speccing a shock with a shorter stroke length on the eONE-FORTY. But if you think that’s all that MERIDA have done, you’re mistaken. The development team has given a lot of thought to the intended use and the target group of the different bikes.
What they’ve come up with is a concept where the official size of the eONE-FORTY is always one frame size smaller than the same size eONE-SIXTY. For example, the large eONE-FORTY has the same size frame as the medium eONE-SIXTY. This might sound strange at first, but it makes a lot of sense. The shorter travel fork results in a steeper head tube angle, which also results in an increase in reach on the same frame size (the distance between the rider and the handlebar). However, since the eONE-FORTY is meant to be a more agile and playful bike than the eONE-SIXTY, an increase in reach would be counterproductive. If you compare the geometry, you’ll notice that the large eONE-FORTY has a reach figure of 449.5 mm, putting it in between the medium (440 mm) and the large (460 mm) eONE-SIXTY.
In general, the geometry is aimed more towards agile handling and more efficient climbing characteristics. The seat tube angle is 0.9° steeper and the front end is 34 mm shorter compared to its longer travel sibling.
The geometry of the MERDIA eONE-FORTY at a glance:
|Seat tube||405 mm||420 mm||440 mm||470 mm||500 mm|
|Top tube||561 mm||582 mm||603 mm||626 mm||648 mm|
|Head tube||110 mm||115 mm||120 mm||135 mm||150 mm|
|Chainstay||440 mm||440 mm||440 mm||440 mm||440 mm|
|BB Drop||24.4 mm||24.4 mm||24.4 mm||24.4 mm||24.4 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,160 mm||1,182 mm||1,204 mm||1,231 mm||1,257 mm|
|Reach||410 mm||430 mm||450 mm||470 mm||490 mm|
|Stack||622 mm||627 mm||631 mm||645 mm||658 mm|
Without compromise – the componentry spec of the eONE-FORTYY
Fortunately, the times when eMTB were specced with the same components as their non-motorised counterparts are over. MERIDA have also come to understand the importance of speccing robust and sturdy components made to withstand the demands of eMTBs. So, all models come specced with 200 mm disc brake rotors, stiff forks and aggressively treaded tires. The eONE-FORTY will be available in a total of four builds ranging from € 4,599 for the eONE-FORTY 400 to € 7,199 for the eONE-FORTY 9000, which we got to test.
Fork DT Swiss F535 ONE 140 mm
Rear shock FOX FLOAT DPS Factory 133 mm
Motor/Battery Shimano E8000/504 Wh
Drivetrain Shimano XT 12-Fach
Brakes Shimano XT 4-Kolben 200/200 mm
Seatpost MERIDA COMP TR
Stem MERIDA EXPERT eTR 50 mm
Handlebar MERIDA EXPERT eTR 780 mm
Wheels DT Swiss HX1501 Spline 27,5″
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF/DHRII EXO 2,6″
Weight 21.92 kg
Price € 7,199
The new MERIDA eONE-FORTY on the Trail
The fun begins before you even set off on the new MERIDA eONE-FORTY as you get to push that inticing on/off button in the top tube. With a rider height of 180 cm, we went for the size L. The upright riding position is nicely balanced and very comfortable. Long days in the saddle shouldn’t be any problem and we never had the feeling over being too far over the back of the bike, no matter how steep the climbs got – perfect. As with all Shimano driven eMTBs, the eONE-FORTY has three riding modes, but we spent the majority of our time on the bike in Trail-Mode where the output of the motor adjusts automatically to rider’s input. If you want to extend the battery life as much as possible, you can switch Eco-Mode.
Riding along forest service roads, the bike feels very relaxed and stable, offering good-natured and intuitive handling. The suspension performs sensitively, and together with the large volume tires, it simply irons over all irregularities. If you decide to take on more technical climbs, the central and upright riding position means you’ll always have enough weight on the front wheel. You’ll come to appreciate this on tight and twisty sectons. Though the rear wheel traction isn’t the best, it’s good enough and the rear suspension doesn’t wallow or get hung up on holes or roots.
The MERIDA eONE-FORTY convinced us with its lively and playful character on the descents. It doesn’t take much to get it airborne and manualling it is very easy too. When changing direction, the bike feels very agile and precise. However, as soon as you pick up speed, you’ll soon notice that you’ve only got 140 mm of travel at your disposal. The handling becomes noticeably harsher, not able to absorb all of the impacts coming your way. Having said that, the bike never feels nervous, it’ll just let you know when it’s time to get on the brakes. The low slung top tube gives a lot of freedom of movement in steep terrain and thereby instils you with confidence.
Our conclusion on the new MERIDA eONE-FORTY
The new eONE-FORTY is a successful addition to MERIDA’s product portfolio, offering a lot of comfort for long days in the saddle as well as a very agile and playful character on the trails. It features the same smart details and beautiful design as its big brother. In case you’re wondering how the eONE-FORTY compares to the eONE-SIXTY, you’ll have to wait for the release of the next issue of E-MOUNTAINBIKE where we’ll have the bikes battle it out on the trails.
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Words: Photos: Christoph Bayer, Reynaldo Ilgana