New Merida ONE-SIXTY 8000 2023 first ride review – Stirring it up for the competition!
“That’s a MERIDA?” is without a doubt the most frequent question we’ve been asked while testing the new 2023 ONE-SIXTY 8000. But the new enduro bruiser from the Taiwanese brand is a lot more than just cool looks, combining a well thought-out spec, countless practical features and a clever sizing concept that could serve as a model for many other manufacturers.
When talking about fancy enduro bikes, MERIDA doesn’t spontaneously spring to mind. Not many people know this, but the Taiwanese brand is one of the biggest bike manufacturers in the world and has been producing elegant trail and enduro bikes for many years. However, the new 2023 ONE-SIXTY should finally put MERIDA on the map, standing up to the competition as a well-thought-out, potent enduro bruiser with a captivating look and countless practical features.
The latest addition to MERIDA’s enduro family allows you to run both a full 29” wheel configuration and mullet setup with a small 27.5″ wheel at the rear. Sizes XS to M roll out of the factory with a mixed wheel configuration as standard, while the larger sizes come with 29” front and rear. Depending on the size of the rear wheel, the ONE-SIXTY 8000 generates either 162 mm (29″) or 171 mm (27.5″) travel. Moreover, the frame is jam-packed with clever features, including a tool mount, two integrated mini tools and a service port, which also doubles as a storage compartment. One of the most striking features is the flexible seat stays of the linkage-driven single pivot rear suspension. This renounces a pivot point between the seat and chain stays and employs flex-stays to generate extra travel instead. MERIDA use this technology on both the carbon and aluminium frames.. Moreover, the ONE-SIXTY shares the same frame platform as MERIDA’s ONE-FORTY trail bike, which has also been updated recently.
The new 2023 MERIDA ONE-SIXTY 8000 in detail
The 2023 MERIDA ONE-SIXTY 8000 features a full carbon frame with an alloy suspension link and dispenses with cable ports in the head tube for an extra clean look. All of the cables are routed internally and disappear neatly into the frame through MERIDA’s proprietary headset. Another in-house feature is the practical Service Port at the bottom of the downtube, which can be accessed through a plastic cover, making it easier to route the cables through the frame. The same cover also gives you access to a practical frame bag pouch, which is included with the bikeand can be stowed away inside the down tube of the ONE-SIXTY, allowing you to carry spares and additional tools like a small pump. Removing the cover requires a tool, but MERIDA have thought of this too – there are 4 and 6 mm Allen keys hidden inside the rear thru-axle as well as an additional tool mount on the upper shock-mount where you can carry other trail essentials like a spare inner tube, using the tool strap that comes with the bike. Like most MERIDA models, the ONE-SIXTY 8000 also features a practical multitool under the saddle. In a nutshell, the ONE-SIXTY has you covered with all your trail essentials, allowing you to ride without a backpack or hip pack – how cool is that!
In the main frame triangle, there’s enough room to accommodate a big water bottle and MERIDA also provide a special cage mount for magnetic Fidlock bottles. A generously-sized mudguard between the seat tube and seat stays protects the frame from mud and debris – and there’s also an extra-long version for foul weather, which is an interesting option particularly for riders in the UK.
A generously sized and well positioned seat and chainstay protector prevents chain-slap and paint chips while protective tape on the exposed sections of the seat stays protects them from scratches and scuff marks. On the down tube, a thin but rather long TPU plate shields the frame from stray rocks and impacts.
Spec variants of the new 2023 MERIDA ONE-SIXTY
As already mentioned, the new ONE-SIXTY enduro bike shares the same frame platform as its trail counterpart, the ONE-FORTY, with a different fork and linkage. The main difference lies in the spec and shock stroke, which are adapted to suit the respective area of application and suspension travel of the bikes – the ONE-FORTY has less travel and focuses more on mellow singletrack riding. Both models will be available with carbon or aluminium frames.. The ONE-SIXTY we tested will be available in three different carbon variants and two alloy models. Furthermore, you can choose between a basic paint finish or different custom colours. The new ONE-SIXTY retails between € 3,399 and € 12,999 and is available from now at your trusted bike shop or directly from MERIDA’s webpage.
Our 2023 MERIDA ONE-SIXTY 8000 – Flawlessly specced
When it comes to the spec, very few bikes make it through our office without a fair bit of roasting. The MERIDA is one of them, leaving nothing to be desired with its consistent, performance-oriented spec. The suspension consists of a brand-new RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork with Charger 3 damper and matching Super Deluxe Ultimate air shock, which both offer countless adjustment options and excellent performance on the trail. SRAM also supply the electronic GX AXS 12-speed drivetrain, which is protected by a chain guide and a bash guard.
Shimano XT four-piston brakes with 203 mm IceTech rotors front and rear do braking duties. A special feature is MERIDA’s in-house TEAM TR dropper post, which is specced consistently across the entire ONE-SIXTY range and allows you to adjust the travel infinitely between 30 mm and 230 mm using an Allen key. Moreover, the dropper can be inserted all the way into the frame, even with the smallest XS frame size, allowing you to use the full insertion depth of your seat tube and set the maximum extension to your needs, regardless of your height – awesome! The dropper is paired with a Shimano remote that offers excellent ergonomics and smooth action. The only drawback: the travel adjustment port isn’t integrated into the dropper too neatly.
MERIDA also rely on their in-house components for the cockpit, combining a 40 mm stem and 780 mm TEAM TR handlebars with 35 mm clamp size. Race Face supply the Turbine R30 alloy wheelset while MAXXIS provide the tires, pairing a 2.5″ ASSEGAI with soft MaxxGrip rubber compound at the front and 2.4″ Minion DHR2 in the harder MaxxTerra at the rear. Both tires come in the robust DoubleDown casing, which offers sufficient puncture protection and suits the character of an enduro bike, allowing you to run lower air pressures for more traction and better damping qualities.
MERIDA ONE-SIXTY 8000
Fork RockShox ZEB Ultimate 170 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Superdeluxe Ultimate 171 mm
Seatpost MERIDA TEAM TR 230 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX AXS 1x12
Stem MERIDA EXPERT eTR2 40 mm
Handlebar MERIDA TEAM TR 780 mm
Wheelset RaceFace Turbine R30 29"/27.5"
Tires MAXXIS ASSEGAI MaxxGrip DD/Minion DHRll MaxxTerra DD 2.5"/2.4"
Size XS S M L XL
The geometry of the new 2023 MERIDA ONE-SIXTY
When developing the new ONE-SIXTY (and the new ONE-FORTY), keeping a short seat tube in all sizes was high on MERIDA’s engineers priority list. This ensures a free choice of sizes and allows you to pick your bike based on your desired reach. However, MERIDA went a whole step further than their competitors, combining a short seat tube and a long-travel dropper across the entire size range – and even with the smallest frame sizes the dropper post can be inserted all the way into the frame. This allows even long-legged riders to downsize to a shorter reach and still enjoy the full freedom of movement.
If you’re still on the fence about sizing, MERIDA’s website gives you several options and recommendations, allowing you to choose your frame size based on your size and desired riding characteristics.
The geometry of the 2023 MERIDA ONE-SIXTY
|Top tube||535 mm||562 mm||589 mm||621 mm||652 mm|
|Seat tube||400 mm||410 mm||425 mm||445 mm||470 mm|
|Head tube||95 mm||95 mm||95 mm||105 mm||120 mm|
|BB Drop||7 mm||7 mm||7 mm||27.5 mm||27.5 mm|
|Chainstay||434 mm||434 mm||434 mm||437.5 mm||437.5 mm|
|Wheelbase||1.188 mm||1.215 mm||1.242 mm||1.275 mm||1.308 mm|
|Reach||415 mm||442 mm||470 mm||498 mm||525 mm|
|Stack||615 mm||615 mm||615 mm||625 mm||638 mm|
For our 189 cm test rider we picked a frame size L, which combines a rather long 498 mm reach, a short 445 mm seat tube and 79° seat tube angle. As a result, you’re positioned far forward on the bike and right in front of the bottom bracket. While this ensures a compact climbing position at the same time it puts you in a rather stretched position downhill. A flip chip in the shock mount allows you to adapt the rear end to the respective wheel size when changing between 27.5″ and 29″ wheels. However, the alteration doesn’t change the geometry of the bike, merely compensating for the change in wheel size.
Our first riding impressions about the new 2023 MERIDA ONE-SIXTY 8000
We had the chance to test the new MERIDA ONE-SIXTY 8000 with different test riders, different frame sizes as well as different wheel configurations. We started off with MERIDA’s size recommendations and switched to the shorter and longer models after several runs.
Both on level ground and uphill, the pedalling position is pleasantly compact, with the steep seat tube angle pulling your body far forward and positioning you right in front of the bottom bracket – even with the longer-reach frame. As a result, you won’t feel as if you were climbing to trailhead on a stretch bench just because you’ve picked a longer bike for more stability downhill. As a result, even on steep and technical climbs, the front wheel always remains planted on the ground while the pedal-neutral rear suspension lets you wind your way up the mountain without reaching the lockout lever on the shock.
When dropping into the valley, the first thing you’ll notice is the short seat tube. While on one hand this ensures plenty of freedom of movement, on the other, the low position and steep seat tube angle place the saddle far forward between your legs, which can be a little weird at first. Once you get used to it, however, this brings a huge advantage, allowing you to move around the bike freely, especially when jumping and negotiating steep and narrow trail sections.
Both with the 29″ wheel and the mullet setup, the ONE-SIXTY offers intuitive and predictable handling, making it easy to throw the bike from one berm into the next and allowing you to safely shred your way back to the car park even after a long day of trail shenanigans. The rear suspension is just as efficient as it’s lively and delivers a well-mixed cocktail of traction, support and reserves, while at the same time maintaining a stoic composure, even when you shred hard. When swapping from the big 29″ wagon wheel to the smaller 27.5” wheel (size L), the ONE-SIXTY integrates you deeper into the frame, making it even easier to spontaneously change your line. However, during our test, we also had to make small adjustments to the fork settings, changing the rebound and compression stages to ensure a more balanced weight distribution between the front and rear.
Our conclusions about the MERIDA ONE-SIXTY 8000 2023
With the new ONE-SIXTY, MERIDA hit the nail on the head, bringing an elegant, stylish and, above all, very competitive enduro bike to the market. The spec is flawless and the sizing system has been consistently followed through. Moreover, the latest iteration of MERIDA’s enduro classic is packed with practical features, including cleverly integrated tool solutions and numerous storage options. On the trail, the bike delivers impressive performance both up and downhill, combining excellent suspension and intuitive handling once you’ve gone through a short acclimatisation period.
- Perfect spec
- Consistent sizing concept
- Practical features like tools and storage
- Balanced suspension
For more information visit MERIDA’s website .