Evolution, not revolution. With its new Shimano EP8 motor, the MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K is ready for 2021. Moreover, the Taiwanese brand has clearly taken note of our remarks regarding the spec of last year’s model. Can any of the bike’s competitors in our test match its outstanding trail performance? How does it do as an all-rounder?

Before we get into the review, we would like to tell you about our latest print edition. The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2021 is our fourth annual edition and the ultimate guide in your search for the perfect eMTB. Spread over 260 pages of high-quality print, we offer you a comprehensive buyer’s guide, reviews and details of 35 bikes and a group test of the 8 most exciting motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best eMTB of 2021 – 25 models in review

MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K | Shimano EP8/630 (504 in XS) Wh | 160/150 mm (f/r)
22.96 kg in size L | € 9,899 | Manufacturer’s website

Since its launch, the MERIDA eONE-SIXTY has been a serious competitor in all of our group tests. For 2021, MERIDA have swapped the old motor with the brand new Shimano EP8 motor and added a bigger 630 Wh Shimano battery, with minor modifications to the down tube to make it fit. The new battery is neatly integrated into the elegant carbon front triangle, making for a clean look and quiet ride – excellent! All cables and connections are routed inside the handlebar and run almost unnoticed from the stem directly into the frame. This leaves only the cables and hoses for the Shimano XTR brakes and drivetrain, which are routed through the futuristic THERMO GATE in the head tube. While the alloy swingarm doesn’t match the elegant look of the carbon frame, in purely practical terms it offers many well thought-out details. A soft, ribbed chainstay protector keeps chain slap in check but doesn’t eliminate the signature clunking noise of the EP8 motor. MERIDA deliver the eONE-SIXTY 10K with a standard Lezyne headlight discreetly integrated into the cockpit and a multi-tool hidden under the saddle.

The spec of the MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K is perfect!

The clue’s in the name: the eONE-SIXTY 10K retails at € 10,000, almost. Anyone splashing out € 9,799 on a bike would expect nothing but top-notch components, and MERIDA have delivered! The spec is perfect and includes a 160 mm FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 fork, 150 mm FOX X2 Factory shock, as well as a top-of-the-range Shimano XTR 12-speed drivetrain and matching four-piston brakes with 200 mm rotors front and rear. The 22.96 kg MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K relies on mixed wheel sizes and rolls out of the factory on a DT Swiss HXC 1250 carbon wheelset paired with MAXXIS rubber. At the front there’s a 2.5″ ASSEGAI with ultra soft MaxxGrip rubber and at the rear a 2.6” Minion DHRII with the slightly harder MaxxTerra compound. Both tires come in the robust Doubledown casing. To round off the harmonious package, MERIDA have thrown in a 170 mm RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post which is far superior to any other mechanical option for ergonomics, speed and operation.

Support and traction
The rear end and shock of the eONE-SIXTY 10K harmonise perfectly. The stiff suspension offers plenty of support and reserves yet still generates tons of traction.
The name speaks for itself
The robust Doubledown casing and super grippy 3C MaxxGrip rubber compound of the MAXXIS ASSEGAI front tire allow you to experiment with low air pressures. It’s the tire that offered the most grip in our test.
Tidy cockpit
All cables of the EP8 motor are hidden inside the handlebars and run directly through the stem into the frame. Only the rear brake line and shift cable run into the THERMO GATE. All in all, a very clean look.

MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K

€ 9,899

Specifications

Motor Shimano EP8 85 Nm
Battery Shimano BT-E8036 630 (504 in XS) Wh
Display Shimano SC-EM800
Fork FOX 38 Factory 160 mm
Rear Shock FOX X2 Factory 150 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb AXS 125–170 mm
Brakes Shimano XTR M9120 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 1x12
Stem MERIDA Expert eTR II 40 mm
Handlebar MERIDA Expert eTR 780 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss HXC1250 SPLINE 29"/27.5"
Tires MAXXIS ASSEGAI/Aggressor DD 2.5"

Technical Data

Size XS S M L XL
Weight 22.96 kg
Perm. total weight 140 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 117 kg
Trailer approval yes
Kickstand mount yes

Specific Features

Lezyne lights
Multi-tool underneath the saddle


Successful cooperation
Last year, the maximum payload of the eONE-SIXTY 10K was too low – partly due to the wheelset. For this year’s version, Merida and DT Swiss have worked together and achieved a very reasonable payload of 112 kg (135 kg maximum permissible weight). Brilliant!
Ready for emergencies
The eONE-SIXTY 10K comes with a multi-tool hidden under the saddle as standard. While this is slightly harder to access than Specialized’s multi-tool, it’s still very practical.
Better than nothing
Admittedly, the Lezyne E115 head light can’t quite keep up with the Supernova you get on the Cannondale Moterra. However, it’s there and works pretty well, making late trail sessions even more fun.

The MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K is available in five sizes, where the smallest XS size only fits a 504 Wh battery due to the short downtube. Having said that, small and light riders will benefit from the lower system weight and will still achieve decent range. MERIDA combine a relatively compact reach (460 mm in size L) with the highest front end in the entire test field (652 mm stack in size L). The long 470 mm seat tube (size L) is also striking but makes it hard to size up if you prefer long bikes. Due to the pronounced kink in the seat tube, we recommend pushing the saddle all the way forward, especially if you have long legs. This ensures a comfortable ride on the flats. The high front allows for a very relaxed pedalling position and only the stiff, sporty suspension prevents the MERIDA from matching the outstanding level of comfort of the Moustache Samedi 29 Trail 8.

Size XS S M L XL
Seat tube 405 mm 420 mm 440 mm 470 mm 500 mm
Top tube 563 mm 584 mm 605 mm 629 mm 652 mm
Head tube 110 mm 115 mm 120 mm 135 mm 150 mm
Head angle 65.5° 65.5° 65.5° 65.5° 65.5°
Seat angle 75.5° 75.5° 75.5° 75.5° 75.5°
Chainstays 440 mm 440 mm 440 mm 440 mm 440 mm
BB Drop 18 mm 18 mm 18 mm 18 mm 18 mm
Wheelbase 1,168 mm 1,190 mm 1,212 mm 1,239 mm 1,265 mm
Reach 400 mm 420 mm 440 mm 460 mm 480 mm
Stack 629 mm 633 mm 638 mm 652 mm 665 mm
Helmet POC Tectal Race SPIN | Glasses POC Aspire | Backpack Fox Utility Hydration Pack
Jersey LEiWAND Kahlenberg Night | Shorts LEiWAND Anninger Night
Kneepad POC Joint VPD System Knee | Shoes ION Raid Amp II
Socks POC Essential Mid Lenght | Gloves POC Essential

Fun, good-natured and fast – The MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K on the trail

Despite its high front end, the MERIDA is surprisingly easy to handle on climbs. Particularly on flowing and winding trails, it’s great fun and encourages you to play with the trail features, similar to the ROTWILD R.X375 ULTRA. Even uphill, it turns forlorn tree stumps into attractive obstacles to pop off of. When negotiating steeper climbs, the front needs to be actively loaded. However, the eONE-SIXTY 10K makes it easy to ride out of the saddle and the efficient suspension, paired with the grippy rear tire, always generates enough traction, despite the shock remaining high in its travel. The MERIDA rewards an active riding style but always provides intuitive and predictable handling, even for inexperienced riders.

The MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K makes everyone feel at ease from the get-go, mastering all sorts of trail challenges with flying colours. No other bike in this test is as much fun and inspires as much confidence: a well deserved test victory!

Tuning tip: riders with long legs should push the saddle all the way forward

Drop the seat, look ahead, off you go! The MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K conveys huge amounts of confidence from the get-go. The high front ensures an upright and central riding position. On flowing trails, the lively yet precise MERIDA remains unrivalled in this test. The stiff suspension offers tons of support and makes it easy to pull the eONE-SIXTY 10K into the air while providing huge reserves for messed-up landings and massive drops. The bike is easy to control through open corners, even in direct comparison with its predecessor. Thanks to the super grippy front tire and balanced weight distribution, beginners will also be able to shred their way into the valley at full throttle. On steep and technical descents, the MERIDA generates marginally less traction than the Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR or the Lapierre Overvolt GLP 2 Team. No worries, because it quickly catches up again on fast bike park tracks. Especially downhill, the MERIDA combines many irreconcilable opposites in one excellent package: playful yet smooth, precise yet safe, fast yet good-natured!

Riding Characteristics

7

Agility

  1. sluggish
  2. playful

Stability

  1. nervous
  2. stable

Handling

  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Riding fun

  1. boring
  2. lively

Motor feeling

  1. digital
  2. natural

Motor power

  1. weak
  2. strong

Value for money

  1. poor
  2. top

Application

Forest road

1

Flow trail uphill

2

Flow trail downhill

3

Technical single trail uphill

4

Technical single trail downhill

5

Downhill tracks

6

Conclusion

Here comes the best eMTB of 2021: the MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K! With its outstanding all-rounder qualities, it secures our coveted Best in Test! No other bike is as versatile and suits as many different types of rider, whether you’re a beginner or downhill adrenaline-junkie. The elegant MERIDA combines the incompatible and is just as agile as it is smooth, setting a new benchmark for trail performance. The spec is perfect and while the price is high, it’s totally justified given the outstanding performance!

Tops

  • widest range of applications in the test
  • fast, safe and fun for everyone
  • perfect spec
  • seamless integration of the Shimano drive system

Flops

  • long seat tube

You can find out more about at merida-bikes.com

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best eMTB of 2021 – 25 models in review

All bikes in test: Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 1 (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral:ON CF 9 (Click for review) | CENTURION No Pogo F3600i (Click for review) | CUBE Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC SLT Nyon (Click for review) | CUBE Stereo Hybrid 160 C:62 SLT Kiox (Click for review) | Ducati TK-01 RR (Click for review) | FLYER Uproc6 9.50 (Click for review) | FOCUS JAM² 6.9 NINE (Click for review) | GIANT Trance X E+ 1 (Click for review) | Haibike AllMtn 7 (Click for review) | KTM Macina Kapoho Prestige (Click for review) | Lapierre Overvolt GLP 2 Team (Click for review) | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K | Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR (Click for review) | Moustache Samedi 29 Trail 8 (Click for review) | ROTWILD R.X375 ULTRA (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Bullit X01 RSV Air (Click for review) | SCOTT Ransom eRIDE 910 (Click for review) | SIMPLON Rapcon PMAX (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL (Click for review) | STEVENS E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF (Click for review) | Thömus Lightrider E2 Pro (Click for review) | Trek Rail 9.9 X01 (Click for review) | Whyte E-150 RS 29ER V1 (Click for review)


Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of E-MOUNTAINBIKE, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality cycling journalism. Click here to learn more.

Words: Felix Stix Photos: Various

About the author

Felix Stix

Felix is chief of testing and undoubtedly one of the best test riders in the world. With a degree in sports engineering, excellent mountain bike skills, his love of technology and as a certified bike guide, Felix has everything it takes to make comprehensive and fair assessments of bikes. His legendary group tests are internationally known and feared, though they tend to be a bit longer due to his love of detail and technical deep dives. Every year, he reviews around 100 bikes, specialising in the subject of tires, motors and suspension, before putting on his skis come winter! His know-how is incorporated into each of our reviews, ensuring the quality of our work stays high!