Wow, it seems to be hardtail season. And when one of the biggest bike companies in the world looks to the UK for inspiration, it’s time to listen… Merida makes no secret that its new BIG.TRAIL hardtail range was designed with UK riders in mind. In fact, Merida went to the trouble to bring its R&D team to meet with UK bike shop dealers to see what UK riders wanted and to see the kind of bikes and trails that are ridden in the UK.
As Merida admits, the UK has been one of the driving forces in Europe, if not the world, when it comes to riding hardtails hard where riders in most other countries would have dug out the full susser. Perhaps its the mild, endlessly damp winters we have? Our riders are out in all weathers all year, when many other nations are strapping on the skis, or driving to Spain to ride. The BIG.RIDE (all caps, and yes with a full stop in the middle – that’s marketing for you…) is intended as an all round hardtail that leans towards the aggro/hardcore hardtail end of the spectrum.
The new aluminium BIG.TRAIL is based on 140mm travel forks, a pretty ‘modern’ aggressive bike geometry, long dropper posts and 29er wheels with up to 2.5in tyre clearance.
The BIG.TRAIL frame features a slack 65.5° head angle, steep 75.5° seat angle for effective climbing and a reach of 435mm on a medium, up to 475 mm on the XL, the geometry of the new BIG.TRAIL is aimed at aggressive trail riding as well as long days in the saddle. Tubeless ready rims come as standard, as do 180mm rotors.
The aluminium frame features the aesthetically pleasing single line of sloping top tube and seatstays, giving a huge amount of standover room, while internal routing keep things smarter still. It’s designed for a 130mm 29er fork, but you can run 120mm up to 150mm if the fancy strikes. Size small comes with a 125mm dropper and there’s a 150mm post for medium and up. The bike has a lot of hidden talents too, like multiple bottle mounts, hidden rack and mudguard mounts (and even a hidden kickstand mount…) In addition to the two bottle mounts on the downtube, there’s a third mount under your top tube for ‘trail mounting’ your inner tube and spares.
And talking fo spares, the bike also features SRAM’s universal UDH derailleur hanger for easy sourcing of replacements.
Further features of the BIG.TRAIL are internal cable routing, Boost standard front and rear, space for two water bottles plus ‘Trail Mount’ inside the frame, external bottom bracket, Sram UDH hanger, tubeless-ready rims with 29 mm inner width and 180 mm rotors front and rear.
The prices will be something like: BIG.TRAIL 600 (€1.599/ £1,500), BIG.TRAIL 500 (€1.299/ £1,250), BIG.TRAIL 400 (€1.099/ £1,000), BIG.TRAIL 200 (€849/£800).
See Merida’s website for more details…