Top quality frame with really good rear suspension and a decent overall build

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 7

Merida One-Twenty 6000

Pros:

  • Proper knobbly tyres offer a ton of grip

Cons:

  • Front end is too low

Product:

Merida One-Twenty 6000 review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£3,300.00

The Merida One-Twenty 6000 is 120mm travel bike with a triple butted 6000-series aluminium rear end paired with a carbon fibre front triangle.

>>> Best full suspension mountain bike in 2019

The seamless front end gets Merida’s patented Nano Matrix process, which consists of fine carbon particles mixed into the resin when the frame is formed – think of it as carbon concrete that reinforces the carbon fibres and also increases impact strength.

merida one twenty

Merida One-Twenty 6000 review

The surface finish on the carbon is really sleek and the frame features some nice details too, like the Smart Entry cable system to stop cable rattle, extra secure TORX 30 fasteners on the pivots and a handy bottle cage mount, not something crammed under the down tube.

Merida has kept the geometry pretty tight on the 6000. The bike has the shortest wheelbase on test and the shortest chainstays, which offers the worst tyre clearance. The head tube is short too, which isn’t unusual on shorter travel trail bikes, but for some reason Merida has cut the fork steerer really short and fitted a flat stem and low-rise handlebars. This resulting low front end actually makes the bike feel longer than it actually is, but it also pushes your weight too far over the front when descending.

merida one twenty

Float Link design got the best from 120mm-travel shock

Suspension

To compensate for the lack of bar height we ended up jacking the pressure up in the suspension fork. This wasn’t ideal because we lost some of the RockShox Revelation’s inherent sensitivity, but we reckon it’s a price worth paying because if the front is too low you end up having to push your weight too far back on the descents, causing the front tyre to wash out. The fork also came up a bit short on travel due to the negative spring getting overcharged. We re-set it but we only ever got 125mm out of the Revelation.

With its the rebound dial, the RockShox Deluxe RL shock felt a bit low-rent compared to the Fox units elsewhere, but the performance was top dollar. Merida uses a Float Link system, reminiscent of the Trek Full Floater design, and the rear suspension is super sensitive, with ample mid-stroke support and no harsh bottom out.

merida one twenty

Lightweight SRAM GX Eagle cassette and rear mech

Components

The drivetrain components on the 6000 are top drawer too – the cassette is the lighter 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle and this shows in the overall weight. However, Merida fits budget Shimano MT-500 disc brakes and, while they have plenty of modulation and decent power, the rotors are designed for resin pads only, so you can’t use sintered-metal pad to prolong the life of the brakes in winter. These rotors are £10 each, so it’s really odd that Merida has made this compromise.

The 150mm KS Lev dropper post does what it says on the tin and has virtually zero play, but when it’s lowered and you grab the saddle to pick the bike up, it pulls up in your hand, which is annoying from a £250 post.

merida one twenty

RockShox Revelation fork came up short of stated travel

Performance

We had a bit of initial set up issue on the Merida, we couldn’t get the saddle level. It’s because the bike has a really slack seat angle and the clamp on the KS Lev post doesn’t rotate down far enough at the front. This meant the nose of the saddle would stick up slightly, putting pressure on our soft parts when climbing. The saddle is also really thin and sharp, so would hook into the back of our shorts.

More to the point, we never felt really stable on the Merida, like we did on the Giant or Specialized. In fact, with the low bar and high saddle, we felt pretty perched on this bike and that didn’t inspire confidence when hitting some of the steeper, rougher descents.

On flat singletrack the 6000 has great pace and there’s plenty of grip when carving loose turns. The frame has a nice amount of flex too, it didn’t step out suddenly or do anything unexpected.

Merida One Twenty

Verdict

You don’t have to follow Specialized’s lead and have a massive name that takes up two lines but Merida could reference the fact that the One-Twenty 6000 has a carbon front end. It has a top quality frame and we think that’s worth shouting about. The rear suspension is really good too, and it has a decent overall build but the front is too low making the Merida feel more like a pumped up XC bike, than a short-travel trail bike. A higher rise bar would help with confidence and while we’re at it, we’d want brakes that can take sintered pads too.

Details

Frame:Merida CFA carbon fibre/aluminium, 120mm travel
Shock:RockShox Deluxe RL
Fork:RockShox Revelation RC, 130mm travel
Wheels:Merida alloy wheelset, Maxxis Minion DHR II/Forekaster 29x2.4/2.35in tyres
Drivetrain:Truvativ Descendant 32t chainset, SRAM G Eagle r mech and shifter
Brakes:Shimano MT-500, 180/180mm
Components:Merida Expert TR 780mm bar, Merida Expert TR 50mm stem, KS Lev Integra 150mm post, Merida Expert EC saddle
Sizes:M, L, XL
Weight:14.06kg (31lb)
Contact:merida-bikes.com
Size tested:L
Head angle:67.1°
Seat angle:65.8°
BB height:332mm
Chainstay:430mm
Front centre:755mm
Wheelbase:1,185mm
Down tube:725mm
Top tube:610mm
Reach:455mm