One of our favourite long travel eMTBs has had a radical makeover
We really liked the original Merida eOne-Sixty when it was released a few short years ago. It was pretty much the first longer travel eBike that felt right and showed us just how an eBike should ride. One that actually had really sorted suspension and rode just like a ‘normal’ long travel bike. It was also one of the first to try incorporating the battery to keep it as slick looking as possible.
But that first version was not without its issues; the head angle was too steep, plus it was only available in three sizes, along with a few other minor gripes. So when Merida announced it was changing the eOne-Sixty we were excited to see if they had taken on board the criticisms and given this version a new lease of life.
Merida eOne-Sixty Need to Know:
- Totally redesigned frameset with carbon fibre front triangle. Based around the latest Shimano internal battery technology.
- Travel stays the same at 160mm front and rear.
- Motocross inspired mis-matched wheel sizes – 29″ front (running 2.5″ Maxxis Assegai tyre) and 27.5″ rear (2.6″ Maxxis DHR II).
- Shimano STEPS E8000 motor system, utilising latest Shimano BT-E8035 internal battery.
- Improved geometry with slacker 65.5° head angle, lower BB height and steeper 75°+ seat angle.
- Now available in five sizes including XS and XL.
- Three spec options available in the UK.
- Top end 10K model ships with extra battery and custom EVOC eMTB specific riding pack.
- Pricing: 8000 model £5,850, Fox Factory and Shimano XT equipped 9000 model £7,000, top end Fox Factory and Shimano XTR 12 speed equipped 10K model £9,500.
Undoubtedly the highlight of the new eOne-Sixty is the slick new frame. The biggest news is obviously the change from an aluminium front triangle to a sleek and dynamic looking carbon fibre one. This has been designed around Shimano’s latest internal battery, an eBike battery that features a much more tubing friendly shape. Enabling Merida to slim down the frame profile greatly.
It incorporates a few neat features that help give the eOne-Sixty a distinctive look, most obvious of which is the chunky looking head tube junction and its identifiable machined aluminium inserts. This aluminium section actually provides an opening into the frame and is something Merida is calling Thermo Gate. It’s not just there to look pretty but allows heat to dissipate from inside the frame, just like a chimney; as carbon is apparently not very good at moving heat. This critical feature prevents the battery from overheating something that can happen if a carbon eBike is left in the sunshine too long (not a problem in the UK) – and enables the electric system to operate effectively.
As well as making the main frame out of carbon Merida has also aimed at slimming the frame weight down without sacrificing strength and stiffness in a few crucial areas. The motor mounting is pared away to a minimum but in order to keep the BB area from performing like a wet noodle an extra rib of carbon runs along the top of the motor. This also has a dual purpose and also acts as the lower shock mounting point. Keeping things clean and slick looking.
The new frame also has a clever quick release battery cover called the Energy Guard. This doubles up as a down tube protector thanks to a softer outer covering wrapping the harder, more rigid inner construction. This is also part of Merida’s aim at making the eOne-Sixty as silent as possible (barring the motor noise of course). Alongside which the bike also features a ridged chain stay protector akin to that used by Specialized to minimise chain noise on the aluminium chainstays.
New wheel size and tyre widths
Alongside the changes to the frame the new eOne-Sixty now runs on mis-matched wheels, similar to Canyon’s Spectral:On and the Fantic XF1 Integra. Long used in motocross as front and rear wheel effectively have differing jobs to do, the eOne-Sixty features a 29″ front wheel for better steering and the bigger wheel’s ability to roll over obstacles a little better. This is then matched to a 27.5″ rear wheel where traction and strength is key.
Merida has also dropped rubber volume on the new bike. Gone are the 2.8″ ‘Plus’ sized tyres to be replaced by more agile 2.5 and 2.6″ tyre widths. Most models will be running a 2.5″ Maxxis Assegai on the front and a 2.6″ Maxxis DHR II at the rear.
Shimano STEPS electric system
Merida has stuck with Shimano’s excellent STEPS electric system with its E7000 and E8000 versions used over the range. The new internal battery still provides 504Wh of juice and the motor system provides up to 250% of support and up to 250 watts of power. A neat touch is the top end 10K model is sold complete with a second battery and a custom EVOC FR Trail E-Ride backpack to carry it in for monster days in the saddle.
Geometry and sizing improvements
The good news is Merida has added two new frame sizes to the eOne-Sixty to cover the gaps in rider coverage with the XL now offering a 480mm reach. Merida has stuck to its guns with regards reach on all other sizes and the measurements are still definitely on the conservative side. Head angle has been slackened a degree to a more agreeable 65.5°, way more in line with the abilities of the 160mm travel machine. To enhance climbing on the steep stuff the seat angle now pushes above 75 degrees. Merida has also opted for 165mm cranks to add more pedal clearance as well as dropping BB height by 5mm.
The eOne-Sixty also comes specced with a new own brand dropper post working in conjunction with Shimano’s excellent dropper lever. Available in three drops, the L and XL bikes come with the 170mm version, 150mm for M and 125mm for both S and XS.
The good news for fans of the existing eOne-Sixty is that the superb ride quality and top-notch suspension performance is still firmly front and centre with the new version. It absolutely bowls through and down any obstacle in its way but remains effortlessly flickable and a breeze to pop into the air at the merest hint of a lip or drop. It still is an eBike that kind of makes you forget you are on an eBike, until that is, you reach the next rise and the motor kicks in adding a little more grin factor. The taller front end (thanks to the bigger wheel) and loose surfaces at the launch venue near Girona in Spain caused a few grip issues but with time and adaptation to the tyre/surface or riding in more familiar surroundings we’re sure it won’t cause too much issue.
We’ll bring you a more in-depth ride review soon but suffice to say we weren’t disappointed with the new Merida eOne-Sixty.
The new eOne-Sixty range will be fully available in the UK some time during October 2019. Merida are also incorporating two lower price models using the existing aluminium framed eOne-Sixty for riders wanting the longer travel capabilities but not needing the latest, carbon framed version.