Updated: 28th February 2018
A capable short travel full suspension trail bike, the Merida One-Twenty offers a fast, efficient and thrilling ride. The 120mm of rear suspension travel is matched to a 120mm or 130mm travel fork, with geometry and components optimized for rapid climbing and confident descending.
The Merida One-Twenty we review here is available with either 27.5” (650b) or 29” wheels at most specification levels. You can easily tell which wheel size a specific model has: the 29ers have a 9 before the specification level while the 27.5” wheeled bikes have a 7. There are two frame options available: carbon fibre composite on the 6000 and 8000 specification level bikes, aluminium alloy on the 400s, 600s and 800s.
Merida are one of the largest bike manufacturers in the world. They make bikes for many other top brands, so it should come as no surprise that you get the highest quality at affordable price points. The 400, 600 and 800 models get a full aluminium frame that is made from triple butted 6066 alloy. This is a very high-quality alloy with tubes that have been manipulated to minimise the amount of unnecessary material in low stress areas. This gives you a lightweight frame that is very stiff and strong. The 6000 and 8000 models get the same rear-end mated to a carbon fibre composite front triangle. Again, the carbon quality it top notch with increased impact resistance to guard against rock strikes.
The 27.5” models feature a more playful trail geometry to help you extract the most fun out of the trail. The 29ers get slightly more XC race oriented angles for maximum speed and efficiency. Every bike features internal cable routing and the carbon framed bikes get Smart Entry ports which clamp the cables in place securely, so there is no chance of them rattling about inside the frame.
All of Merida’s engineering know-how results in a frame that feels punchy and reactive to both sudden direction changes and pedal-induced accelerations. - MBR
The float link rear suspension design on the Merida One-Twenty allows the lower shock mount to move as you go through the travel. This delivers plenty of support in the mid stroke, while still offering plenty of small bump compliance. The overall effect is a feeling that you have more than the 120mm of rear travel available, without getting bogged down with more suspension than you need. Most models get a plush performing Fox Float shock with an SR Suntour Unair on the 400s and a RockShox Monarch RT3 on the top of the range 29er.
Up front most models get a 130mm travel fork for more descending prowess. The only exception is the Suntour Raidon-XC fork on the 400 models that offers 120mm of travel to perfectly match the rear. Moving through the range the 600 bikes get a plush performing Manitou Mattoc Comp, the 800s and 6,000s both get the confident feel of a RockShox Revelation RC with the highly regarded RockShox Pike RC at the top of the range. Tapered steerers and 15mm thru-axles on every model add stiffness for precise steering control.
Its balanced geometry and progressive rear end gave us the confidence to tackle new lines, skip over off-camber sections like they were flat, and generally push our limits. – Enduro MTB
The wide bars, short stem and dropper post are ideal for tackling the more technical sections on trail centre loops
You get a wide range of gears on every bike in the One-Twenty range. The 400 bikes get a Shimano XT/Deore 2x10 speed drivetrain with a double chainring to give you plenty of climbing gears. The other bikes in the range get a single front chainring combined with a wide range cassette. This gives you a similarly wide range of gears but with easier more intuitive shifting. The 600 bikes get Shimano SLX 1x11 speed while the rest of the bikes get SRAM Eagle 1x12 speed that offers a massive 500% gear range. Powerful hydraulic disc brakes offer confident all-weather stopping power.
The trail ready component spec on each bike includes a dropper post with a remote lever. This allows you to make the most of every trail section without having to stop and fiddle with your seatpost. It is great to see short stems and wide 760mm handle bars on the One-Twenty as these offer more control on challenging trails.
With two different wheel sizes on offer, you can choose whether you want the more playful feel of 27.5” wheels or the faster rolling ability of the larger 29” hoops. Of course, size comes into it too. The 29er bikes are better suited to taller riders, and XL sizes are only available in this wheel size. At the other end of the scale, the 27.5” wheeled bikes are the only option in small frame sizes.
Most bikes feature Merida’s own brand rims that offer exceptional performance levels for the price. The 800, 6000 bikes get tubeless ready rims with a 29mm internal diameter that offers great support for the tyres and are a real plus point on these bikes. At the top of the range the 9.8000 gets the excellent DT Swiss Spline 1501 wheelset.
High-quality Maxxis or Continental folding tyres on every model are a nice touch that adds value to the bikes
Fun, playful and efficient, the Merida One-Twenty is a great bike for anyone that just wants to go mountain biking. Perfect for blue and red trail centre loops, the One-Twenty is lightweight and efficient enough for traditional cross-country rides and even a bit of XC racing. The trail ready component spec gives the bike a confident feel on technical trail sections. In the right hands this bike is capable enough to tackle more challenging tracks.
If you want to extract the most fun out of your ride without carrying too much suspension travel on the climbs, then the performance and value of the Merida One-Twenty will be hard to beat.
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