Following on from our review of the Merida eOne-Forty earlier this year, Andi throws a let over the longer travel Merida eOne-Sixty 8000 to see what this STEPS powered eMTB can do.
Earlier in the year, the Merida eOne-Forty eMTB arrived with us here at Singletrack Towers and while I didn’t review that bike I did nab it from time to time for lunchtime spins around Havok Bike Park. The 140 impressed me so much that when Merida offered its bigger brother up for review, I made sure I was first in line to test it.
With 160mm of front-wheel travel on tap, the eOne-Sixty sits at the long-travel/enduro end of the eMTB spectrum, but with a more conservative geometry, this is a bike anyone can swing a leg over and enjoy.
Merida eOne-Sixty 8000
The introduction of the current Merida eMTBs brought with it some major updates and changes that not only improved the integration of the battery and motor, but increased the cost of eONE-Sixty range. The first incarnation of eONE-Sixty was an all-alloy bike with an external battery, and when it was released it represented excellent value for money.
For the 2020 season Merida took advantage of new Shimano battery technology and decided to wrap its eMTB range in a new carbon skin. Now with a carbon front triangle, alloy rear, and internal Shimano battery the eONE-Sixty is certainly cleaner looking, but it’s more expensive too.
The major change is the battery. Shimano’s BT8035 battery was the first reasonably sized internal battery from the Japanese gear maker and has been adopted by many eMTB makers. The BT8035 offers the same 504Wh capacity, but because it sits inside the downtube it helps to create a better-looking bike while improving the handling with a lower centre of gravity.
While designing a new frame for the internal battery, Merida decided on a carbon front triangle. Carbon is actually an excellent material for eBikes as it offers strength and light weight but it also allows engineers to create slender looking bikes. Sure, you’re never going to mistake this for a non-assist bike, but it looks a whole lot slimmer than those original eBikes.
Using carbon fibre also meant that Merida was able to easily add a couple of air intake ports up near the headtube of the frame. These intakes channel cool air down through the frame to help regulate the operating temperature of the battery. I’ve ridden my fair share of eBikes across the UK, Europe and even as far away as Bali, and I’ve not had one complaint of an overheating battery so far, but the intakes are there and they also make a great place for introducing hoses and cables for internal routing.
On a normal mountain bike internal routing can be a bit of a pain, but on eBikes it’s not usually much of a problem. On bikes like the Merida, all the cables and hoses are usually easily accessible behind the easy to remove battery. In the case of the eONE-Sixty, a rubber-coated plastic battery cover is held in place with a band and once removed you can release the battery with a 4mm Allen Key. This is useful for riders wanting to carry a spare battery, if you want to charge your battery inside, or if you want to remove the battery to help prevent theft.
Because eBikes have additional wires to hide, Merida has fitted the eONE-Sixty with a bar and stem that allows wires to run internally. The wire for the motor control sits inside a groove on the back of the bar hidden by the lock-on grip. The wire then threads through the bar and exits out through the stem and down through one of those cooling vents. It’s a very neat and tidy solution, to keep the cockpit cable and wire free.
As mentioned earlier, you can remove the battery to charge it, but there is also a charging port on the frame. It’s located beneath the shock in an area that looks like water or mud can easily pool, but I didn’t find this to be the case. The soft rubber cover does an excellent job of keeping the muck and grime out, and fits firmly in place when shut.
While Merida did upgrade the front triangle to carbon, the rear end is still made from tubes of welded aluminium. Compared to the chunky carbon up front the back end looks very slim. I didn’t notice any performance disadvantages but in my opinion it isn’t the most attractive design.
What I do like about the skinny back end though is that chunky rubber chainstay protection. All that rubber protects the frame and makes for a silent bike on the trail. There is more rubber protection found on the battery cover and just behind the headtube on the downtube.
To give the eOne-Sixty its 160mm of front wheel travel, an eBike specific version of the Marzocchi Bomber Z1 is plugged into the headtube. This air fork is essentially a Fox Performance Grip fork only with the Marzocchi ‘M’ brace. Out back the frame offers 150mm travel which is controlled by a RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ rear shock. This shock comes fitted with a damper lever, but I didn’t feel the need to use it while testing.
If you’re looking at the side on photos of the Merida eOne-Sixty 8000 and are wondering about the wheels, let me assure you that your eyes are not playing tricks on you. The front wheel is larger than the back. A 29in wheel sits up front with a 2.5in wide Assegai tyre, while the back is a 27.5in wheel with 2.6in DHR. The larger wheel provides riders with the ability to easily roll over obstacles and smooth out steps, the smaller rear wheel is faster for acceleration.
Forward motion is supplied by a combination of your legs, a Shimano XT 1×12 drivetrain and a 70Nm Shimano STEPS E8000 motor. The E8000 sports three levels of assist that are controlled via an on bar button remote. A colour display provides you with speed, distance, range and battery life info, and also houses a Bluetooth connection for tuning the system via App.
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Merida hasn’t been stingy on brakes, and supplies the 8000 with a pair of Shimano SLX 4 piston brakes. They might not be as shiny as the XT equivalent but they provide bags of stopping power and I’ve found them to be an excellent set of stoppers on an eBike.
The rest of the build is largely from Merida’s own parts bin. The bar, stem and lock-on grips are Merida branded items. As is the 170mm dropper post and saddle. I actually really like the Merida saddle as it comes with a trail tool that hides away in a rubber hooded case. Yes, on the rear of the saddle it will get covered in mud and water, but Merida does ship the 8000 with a pair of fenders (which I forgot to fit).
Merida eOne-Sixty 8000 Geometry
|FRAME SIZE CM||41||42||44||47||50|
|ST SEAT TUBE [MM]||405||420||440||470||500|
|TT TOP TUBE [MM]||562.5||583.5||605||628.5||652|
|CS CHAIN STAY LENGTH [MM]||439.5||439.5||439.5||439.5||439.5|
|HTA HEAD TUBE ANGLE [°]||65.5||65.5||65.5||65.5||65.5|
|STA SEAT TUBE ANGLE [°]||75.5||75.5||75.5||75.5||75.5|
|BD BOTTOM BRACKED DROP [MM]||17.5||17.5||17.5||17.5||17.5|
|HT HEAD TUBE [MM]||110||115||120||135||150|
|FL FORK LENGTH [MM]||571||571||571||571||571|
|R REACH [MM]||400||420||440||460||480|
|S STACK [MM]||628.5||633||637.5||651.5||665|
|WB WHEEL BASE [MM]||1168||1190||1212||1238.5||1264.5|