At £9500, the Merida eOneSixty is one of the priciest bikes we’ve reviewed here on Wideopen… But does the performance and the build kit match the price tag?
After a few months on the bike, Jamie checks in to let us know how the Germany power house performed.
Review by Jamie Edwards / Photos by Dave Price
- 27.5″ back wheel / 29″ front wheel
- 150mm rear travel / 170mm front travel
- Carbon front end / alloy rear end
- Shimano XTR groupset
Merida have, to give them their credit, done a great job of keeping their bikes in our sheds over the last couple of years.
First, we met and really enjoyed the eOneSixty 800 and OneSixty 800. Then, we tested the alloy and carbon OneTwenty 29’ers, the alloy OneSixty and then (more recently) the next generation eOneForty (which we raced the Ex-Enduro on and then tested back home).
Whilst Merida might not quite have the perceived cool factor of some brands, we’ve found the bikes to be easy to ride, very fast and with sensible geometry. No complaints here, at all.
The Merida eOneSixty 10k
Arriving at the tail end of last year came another Merida, this time the bells-and-whistles, top-price, top-performance Merida eOne-Sixty 10k. It joined us for much of last summer, into the winter and through into the new year.
As you’d expect, it pretty quickly became my first-choice bike to grab for local rides and further-afield missions alike.
What do you need to know about the Merida eOneSixty 10k?
First up, it’s Merida’s top eMTB with the highest specification of components and the highest price tag to match.
It has 150mm rear travel and 170mm up front. It has a carbon front triangle and alloy rear triangle. It’s also a mullet setup with a 27.5″ wheel on the rear and 29″ wheel on the front.
You’ll need £9500 to put one of these in your shed. That’s almost £2,000 more than the new Santa Cruz Heckler and around the same price as a new Specialized Turbo Levo SL.
It’s also, I should say, £5,200 less than the Merida eOneForty Ltd that Joe reviewed here on Wideopen recently and described as “so much fun”.
What do you get?
What do you get for the same price as 10 months of rent? Quite a bit to give the bike some credit.
The 10k is built around Merida’s latest generation eBike frame design. The front end is carbon and houses a fully integrated Shimano 504W battery and the Shimano Steps E8000 motor.
The battery housing is beautifully designed, with an easy-to-remove cover that makes battery swaps straight forward with just one tool. It’s a nice touch that the tool you’ll need is built into the rear-axle lever so is always within reach.
There’s also those ‘fins’ upfront by the head-tube which are, we’re told, to keep the battery cool in hotter climates. Merida explained that they found the frames to be over-heating and causing issues with batteries, so built the feature in response.
Out-back, you’ve got an alloy rear triangle which did its job without any particular fuss.
The components on the frame are firmly aimed at ‘gravity’ riding and seemed perfectly suited to bike parks and bike, gnarly, natural terrain.
There’s a 160mm Fox Factory 36 upfront, a Fox Factory Float X2 shock on the rear, Shimano XTR groupset and brakes, DTSwiss Spline HXC carbon wheels and Maxxis Assegai tyres. The stem, handlebar, dropper post and grips are Merida’s own.
As componentry goes, the Merida is a bloody high-spec bit of kit. There’s little room for upgrades anywhere, without getting really silly.
10k on the trails
As you’d expect, the Merida eOneSixty 10k is an absolute riot on the trails. But, you’d hope so with that line up of components.
I’d intended to balance my time evenly between the eOneSixty and my human-powered bike… But that didn’t last long and it quickly became the bike I couldn’t resist grabbing every time I went out. Bike Park Wales, steep-and-natural in South Wales and heaps of Forest of Dean laps… the eOneSixty lapped it up.
My overwhelming experience of the eOneSixty was confidence and comfort. It’s a very easy bike to jump on and ride and took very little time to get used to.
You’ll need to spend a bit of time getting the X2 set up properly, but it’s far from complex compared to other shocks available. Similarly, the Fox 36 fork is pretty fit and forget with little to mess up.
Typical to Merida, the geometry is pretty middle-of-the-road without any wild numbers in either direction. Far from a downside, that creates a bike that’s easy to understand and easy to ride. You shouldn’t need to make any wild movements to find traction or make the bike move.
The mullet setup works really nicely and, I feel, seems to work particularly well on an eBike. It offered plenty of grip when climbing and a helping-hand with manoeuvrability through tight terrain.
Where eBikes are a little heavier, a bit of extra help flicking it around is always welcome.
There’s not a huge amount more to say here on downhill performance. The bike rides beautifully. I’d happily ride it anywhere, anytime. It has the travel and angles for big, aggressive, technical terrain and (of course) the motor makes it suitable for big days of pedalling.
Big battery? Little battery?
How much do I need to say about Shimano Steps? It’s a battle for me personally between Steps and the Specialized motor… but it’s a close fight. The Shimano E8000 felt, as always, incredibly natural and intuitive with no weird behaviours or faults of any kind.
Worth noting is the 504Wh battery. Where many brands now use larger 700wh batteries, Merida have deliberately chosen to stick with a smaller and lighter offering.
Their argument is that the added weight of 700wh isn’t worth the extra 200wh. They’d rather you had two 504wh batteries, which adds up to a bigger ride than a single 700wh.
The eOneSixty 10k is provided with two batteries and a Merida branded backpack to help with that.
Anything to add?
There really was very little at all that let the 10k down.
The Maxxis Assegai tyres struggled in the very wet, wintry conditions that we had the bike but… that’s an easy fix.
We also had an issue with the battery cover losing some of its shape and failing to provide a tight seal. Merida told us that this was a fault and would have replaced it under warranty, from their UK warehouse. No problem there.
Otherwise, the bike was as faultless as you’d expect from a bike that would cost twice the price of my Transit van.
What do we think?
There’s no doubt that the price of the Merida eOneSixty 10k will push it outside of many people’s reach.
As crazy as it sounds though, the price of eBikes is typically high and the top-end components and frame on the eOneSixty probably do justify the lofty price tag. The fact that you get an extra battery included is a nice touch. It’s certainly not the most expensive eBike available.
In terms of performance, the eOneSixty was faultless. It was a bike that allowed me to go fast, ride challenging terrain and have loads of fun. I wanted to ride it everywhere and anywhere that I could. Until I sent it back and returned to ‘normal’ bikes, the 10k convinced me that eBikes were the only thing I needed to ride.
If £9500 didn’t feel like a lot of money to me, it would be high on my list of eBikes to buy.
If the tag is a bit rich for your blood, we’d recommend you give the excellent Merida eOneForty Limited a look. It’s almost half the price and still bags of fun. You can read our review of that one here.
- Incredible line up of components
- Fun, easy to ride, all-round geometry
- Very neat and tidy frame design
Could do better
- The price is fair for the build but, wow, that’s a lot of cash!