Merida One-Twenty 700 first ride review

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The latest Merida One-Twenty boosts the travel to 130mm and uses P-FLEX suspension system for simple and light performance.

  • Brand: Merida
  • Product: One-Twenty 700
  • FromMerida Bikes
  • Price: £3,100
  • Tested: by Ross for 1 day
Pic: Paul Box

Here’s how Merida describe the new One-Twenty:


“A mountain bike made for mountain biking. That was the goal of the new ONE-TWENTY – to create a simple yet hugely effective all-rounder that is a strong climber, perfect ground coverer, and daredevil descender while being fun-packed, affordable and simple to look after thanks to a reliable and uncomplicated design.

Looking back at a long history as the ‘jack of all trades’ in the MERIDA range and with the last major update taking place in 2019, it was time for the ONE-TWENTY to benefit from our latest innovations to keep our short travel trail bike at the top of its game.

We’ve harnessed our expertise in aluminium frame production to focus on creating a tough but budget-friendly range of bikes combined with a cost-conscious but high-performance fit-for-purpose kit.

The geometry of the new ONE-TWENTY has also seen some major updates, steepening the seat angle to 78.5° creating a well-balanced position above the bottom bracket for efficient pedalling and climbing and slackening the head angle to 66° for increased trail stability, while reach has grown across the sizes.

We’ve also integrated our reach-based AGILOMETER sizing system, allowing riders to choose their bike size based on desired handling rather than seat tube length/rider height. Go long for more stability, go shorter for more agility – or go in the middle for a balance of both.

Furthermore, the ONE-TWENTY gets WIRE PORT cable integration, multiple fixing points for two bottles, a MERIDA trail mount, and a 34.9 mm seat tube diameter for the latest long-travel dropper posts.

“One frame, two bikes:

While the new bike is a hugely capable all-rounder, we have also created the NINETY-SIX LITE based on the same frame. By specifying a shorter stroke rear shock and shorter travel fork with marathon and mountain bike touring-focused components, we now have a more affordable alternative to the hugely popular carbon NINETY-SIX.

Ross’ First Ride Review

With the Merida One-Twenty 700 sporting RockShox suspension front and rear setup was nice and easy as I’m accustomed to it. The fork and shock were both pretty uncomplicated, so I set the sag on the front to 20% and after chatting with the guys from Merida I went with 30% on the rear. The rear shock only features rebound in way of external adjustment so I set that to suit (fast ish) and left it as it was.

The fork features RockShox’s Charger RC damper which has external low speed compressions and rebound settings. The rebound was set to give a balance with the rear and I ran the low speed compressions a couple of clicks from fully open.

Pic: Paul Box

The ride

I only had the chance to ride the One-Twenty for an afternoon, which is by no means enough time to review a bike, but it gave enough riding to form some initial impressions. Which is what I’ll give you.

The ride terrain was a mix of trails that were to be used for the EX Enduro, and featured a good mix of pedalling, punchy climbs, fats and twisty woodland singletrack and a few steeper sections to spice things up.

Swinging a leg over the One-Twenty and the dimensions feel pretty spot on for me for a modern bike. The steep seat angle and ample reach on the size L put you in a good position for pedalling, with your hips nicely positioned in relation to the BB area for efficiency.

Spinning away, the One-Twenty gets up to speed well and thanks to the lower profile fast rolling tyres, is easy to maintain speed and momentum on flat and undulating terrain.

Climbing is good, with the trail focused tyres helping out in this department to keep things feeling fast and efficient on smoother climbs. The One-Twenty gets you to the top efficiently and without fuss. And while there is a small amount of movement from the shock, it’s nothing too bad or unexpected. On rougher and looser climbs you can spin the rear a little but this is no doubt more down to the shallower tread tyres.

Pic: Paul Box

When things start pointing the other way, the One-Twenty feels like a sorted, modern trail bike. It feels fast, nimble, poppy and engaging to ride. The general handling of the front end was sharp, while still being capable enough in the rough and on steeper trails.

The precise front and short-ish stays make changes of direction fast and intuitive and the One-Twenty felt great on loamy, twisty, woodland singletrack. The rear suspension seemed nicely progressive, offering plenty of support for hopping and popping.

Merida One-Twenty 700 specification

  • Frame // One-Twenty Lite V Alloy, 130mm
  • Fork // RockShox Pike Select, 130mm
  • Shock // RockShox Deluxe Select+
  • Wheels // Merida EXpert TR rims on Novatec SL-Team hubs
  • Front tyre // Maxxis Forekaster 29 x 2.4in EXO
  • Rear tyre // Maxxis Forekaster 29 x 2.4in EXO
  • Chainset // SRAM NX Eagle DUB, 32T
  • Drivetrain // SRAM NX Eagle, 10-50, 12 Speed
  • Brakes // SRAM DB8, 200/200mm
  • Stem // Merida Expert ETRII, 35mm, 40mm
  • Bars // Merida Expert TRII, 780 x 18mm
  • Grips // Merida Comp EC
  • Seatpost // Merida Expert TRII Dropper, 34,9mm, 150mm (XS, S), 170mm (M), 200mm (L, XL)
  • Saddle // Proxim W400 STN
  • Bottom Bracket // SRAM DUB
  • Size tested // L
  • Sizes available // XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Weight // 15.1kg (claimed, M)
  • Head angle // 66°
  • Effective seat angle // 78.5°
  • Seat tube length // 445mm
  • Head tube length // 110mm
  • Chainstay // 435mm
  • Wheelbase // 1,221mm
  • Effective top tube // 611mm
  • BB height // 40mm BB drop
  • Reach // 485mm

UK pricing

  • ONE-TWENTY 700, £3100
  • ONE-TWENTY 600, £2800
  • ONE-TWENTY 300, £1900

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Review Info

Brand: Merida
Product: One-Twenty 700
From: Merida
Price: £3,100
Tested: by Ross for 1 day
Author Profile Picture
Ross Demain

Ad Sales Manager

Ross pairs his childlike excitement for bikes with a complete disregard for the wellbeing of his ribs, or his rims. Best known for riding cheeky trails, his time is also spent trail building in his local woods, drinking beer, eating pies and entertaining his two children.

More posts from Ross

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • Merida One-Twenty 700 first ride review
  • bentudder
    Full Member

    Two water bottle bosses and some tool bosses, looks like lots of room for longer droppers. Looks like it will be a really nice bike to ride with all them angles.
    And then they go and ruin it with all the cables and the brake hose through the headset. Who thinks this idea is a good one? Who the hell up one day and chose violence?

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)

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