2020 Merida eOne-Sixty gets a carbon overhaul & new Shimano battery

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Long, low, slack goes the common parlance that describes modern bike geometry but with the Merida eOne-Sixty it’s a case of 2 out of 3.

At 440mm reach on the medium we can rule out ‘long’ as a feature of this bike. But with a lower BB and and slacker head angle it’s still a very modern bike.

merida eone-sixty e-mtb ebike e-bike 2020

This is a brief summary of the new launched bike, which is primarily down to Merida setting the embargo time for 8am on the last day of the press launch itself. While you are reading this I may well still be riding the bike. So, there will be updates to this story over the coming week.

The big eOne-Sixty changes

merida eone-sixty 2020 mark
Mark riding in dust earlier – to which he is unaccustomed

For 2020 Merida have taken their flagship e-MTB and made it slacker, slimmer and with the look of a more normal bike. The lines are straighter, the angle of the head tube slacker (although the seat tube is steepened just a whisker) but the biggest change comes courtesy of the all new Shimano BT8035 integrated battery.

Now wait, aren’t all batteries strictly ‘integrated’? Well yes, but what Shimano means here is that the new battery system is moulded into a much more frame friendly shape in order for it to slot fully inside the downtube. Recall last year’s model with the BT8020 battery that sat on top of the downtube like an ugly tumor. Inside the downtube is a much more aesthetically pleasing and practical place for a battery to sit.

merida eone-sixty 2020 e-mtb charged
The new integrated BT8035 battery system from Shimano

That said the battery doesn’t slide in to a complete downtube – it still requires a great big ‘door’ under the downtube into which the battery sits. There’s a soft but rugged plastic housing that can be removed without any tools to let you get at the battery. The neat rear axle lever doubles as a 4 & 6mm hex key that you will need to be able to pop the battery out for swapsies or for charging away from the bike.

Oh, and with this 10k top of the line model you do get a 2nd battery supplied as standard. Plus an Evoc back pack designed specifically for lugging it along on your rides. Yes, that’s right – An eMTB that comes with it’s own backback.

Having a dirty great hole in the underside of your downtube, unsurprisingly, doesn’t do a whole lot for structural integrity and stiffness and so Merida have decided to make the front triangle entirely out of carbon in order to be able to design that downtube to be as stiff as possible – something they claim is too tricky to do with alloy while keeping the weight down. The entire eOne-Sixty range comes with this carbon front triangle. The rear is the same as last year, made of alloy.

The Mullet Is Back

No, it’s not your eyes – or the angle of the shot. That back wheel really is smaller than the front. Motor housings are starting to look a lot better than they used to but they still take up a lot of valuable space right where the chainstays start. The Shimano motor helps the designers by sticking that BB axle as far to the back as possible, but even so, getting the chainstay length nice and short is always going to be tricky. Merida have got the chainstay length on the One-Sixty down to a modest 440mm, which in part is thanks to sticking the smaller 27.5 wheel on the back. Smaller wheels also mean higher torque too although I think it’s debatable whether that’s a good thing on an e-MTB, where too much torque, especially in boost mode, can get you into trouble sometimes.

eOne-Sixty Venting

A necessary design addition from last year’s all alloy eOne-Sixty is the venting port at the side of the headtube. Carbon doesn’t conduct heat well at all – in fact it’s a known design feature of carbon. But that doesn’t help when your battery starts to get hot as it keeps the heat localised and above 60degrees the Shimano battery system is design to cut out. Merida told us that just leaving the bike in the sun while you eat your lunch could sometimes be enough to trigger the safety cutout. And so they designed the port at the top of the downtube to act like a chimney to allow the build up of heat to rise and escape.

Who is it for?

Let’s look at the clues.

  1. Comes with a backpack for a spare battery – making long days out very much a thing.
  2. Not ‘on trend’ reach at 440mm for medium (460mm for large)
  3. Quite a high front end making it a comfortable bike to ride

Merida’s own marketing brochure uses the word ‘comfort’ several times while also slipping the word ‘e-enduro’ in for good measure. This is a bike designed to be capable enough on steep techy ‘enduro’ style trails while also being plush enough to ride all day, across two batteries. Merida are hoping that this bike will appeal to a wide range of riders who will use it as their main bike for everything from techy enduro style sessioning to long schleps across the hills for days.

The kit

The eOne-Sixty 10k model I rode comes with..

  • Shifting: Shimano XTR
  • Groupset: Shimano XTR
  • Brakes : Shimano XTR 4Pot
  • Fork : Fox 36 E-bike version
  • Shock : Fox X2
  • Seatpost : Merida Expert TR
  • Wheels : DT Swiss XRC 1200 e-Bike specific Carbon
  • Tyres : Maxxis Assegai 3C Exo+ 2.5 (29) REAR Maxxis DHR II 27.5 x 2.6 Front
merida eone-sixty 2020 e-mtb charged
Full range of bike sizes from XS to XL

Merida eOne-Sixty Model variants

eOne-Sixty 10k | Highlights

  • 2 batteries
  • Evoc FR Trail E-Ride 20l Pack
  • XTR all over
  • Fox 36 & X2
  • DT Swiss Carbon wheels
  • weight 48lbs/22kg
  • UK Price £9500 (And in words: nine thousand five hundred pounds sterling)

eOne-Sixty 9000 | Highlights

  • Fox 36 & DPX2 shock
  • XT Groupset including 4 pot brakes
  • DT SWwiss 1501 e-bike alloy wheels
  • Merida Expert TR Dropper post
  • UK Price : £7000

eOne-Sixty 8000 | Highlights

  • Marzocchi Z1 Fork & Super Deluxe Shock
  • Merida Expert TR Dropper Post
  • Fulcrum Red Metal Wheels – e-bike specific
  • UK Price : £5850

eOne-Sixty 5000 | Highlights (NOT AVAILABLE IN UK)

  • Rockshox Fork & Shock
  • Merida Expert TR Wheels

Availability

We’ve been told that all three UK models should be available from October 2019.

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