I've been long-term testing Merida's One-Forty 6000 trail MTB, here's my verdict after 12 months of riding...

A customized Merida One-Forty 6000 mountain bike
My customized Merida One-Forty 6000 trail riding partner for the past 12 months (Image credit: Rich Owen)

I first got to try out the latest Merida One-Forty along with its more capable sibling, the One-Sixty, at a launch for both bikes just over 18 months ago. Both models use the same frame, but as the names suggest, the One-Forty is the shorter travel model with 143mm rear travel.

Bike Perfect's free-range technical editor, Guy Kesteven, originally reviewed the One-Forty 6000 I've been riding for the past 12 months. Guy was impressed and gave it a 4.5/5 score saying, "Merida’s One-Forty 6000 packages radical, hard riding geometry, smooth suspension plus wheel and travel change potential and a lot of neat features with super solid, good value kit. It’s on the hefty side though and the seat angle might not agree with everyone."

So after that time using the bike as my go-to option for all manner of trail situations, do I still agree with his assessment and have I encountered any issues that weren't apparent in the initial period of testing? 

Close up of Marzocchi Bomber Z1 fork compression adjustment

The Bomber Z1 brings with it Fox/Marzocchi's superior GRIP damper and is a smooth and capable performer (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Testing the Merida One-Forty

I've ridden the One-Forty 6000 through a record-breakingly wet British winter and it has taken a proper battering. It's put in several hundred miles on my local North Devon trails, hammered through rocky Welsh trail centers and bike parks, and regularly smashed down steep and slippery, root-strewn Exmoor enduro trails. The bike has taken a fair share of crashes in the process too, but unlike me, has emerged more-or-less unscathed from them all.

The One-Forty has served me well throughout all of the above. The progressive geometry gives a really planted feel which works with the grippy Maxxis tire pairing to boost confidence on steep trails. I rode the Mid size with a 480mm reach. It's long for what is in essence a medium-sized bike, but it worked very well for me and my 5ft 9in frame. The 36mm stanchioned, 150mm travel Marzocchi Bomber Z1 with its GRIP damper aided assured piloting on tough terrain, while the RockShox Deluxe Select+ shock worked well with the flex-stays to instill rear end calm.

When the trails turn upwards, the One-Forty is a decent climber, But at 15.25kg it's no featherweight and feels a tad draggy on longer ups with its burly Merida rims and grip-oriented tires. I had no issues with the steeper than most 80-degree seat tube angle which helped keep my body weight over the cranks when hauling up nasty sections.

Close up of a MTB drivetrain

The Transmission GX drivetrain was the only major upgrade I made to the One-Forty  (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Changes and upgrades

While there was absolutely nothing wrong with the original Shimano SLX drivetrain, I used the One-Forty as a test bed for SRAM's GX Eagle Transmission and the wireless drivetrain has been on there ever since. It's performed admirably over the long term, and hasn't needed any maintenance aside from cleaning. The GX Type chain only just needs to be replaced and has been impressively rust-resistant too. However, the DUB bottom bracket has just started feeling and sounding like an industrial pepper grinder.

Ergon SM Comp saddle on a Merida MTB

My slender sit bones meant the narrower Ergon SM Comp saddle was a more comfortable fit for me than the original Merida option (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Another important upgrade was to change the Merida Expert saddle for a narrower (144mm) Ergon SM Comp which better suited my dainty sit bones.

With brake pads at their wear limits by the end of winter, I upgraded the Shimano pads to DiscoBrakes Ceramic Pros which are excellent and much quieter than the originals. I've also used the One-Forty to test various tires over the 12-month period. 

Merida MTB dropper post

Merida said there had been some issues with early versions of Team TR dropper and the affected models usually also had scuffing on the lower part of the post (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Wear and tear

After four or five months of riding, I began having issues with the adjustable Merida Team TR dropper post as it would no longer sit at the height I wanted and would extend to its full 230mm length. I checked with my Merida contact and he said there had been some issues with early versions of the post, but they would upgrade it to the newer Merida Team TR II. The newer post has adjustable travel too and it's much easier to set the maximum height by rotating the seatpost collar – rather than the somewhat fiddly mechanism on the original. Merida branded components come with a two-year replacement warranty, and while I fitted the new dropper myself, should you have an issue with one, your Merida dealer will get things sorted. All new Merida bikes with adjustable droppers now use the Team TR II by the way.

Merida MTB headset parts being held by hand

The headset bearings cleaned up much better than I expected despite the top cap cable routing (Image credit: Rich Owen)

The One-Forty's internal cabling is routed through the top cap, so I wondered what state the headset bearings would be in – given that the extra holes provide easier entry for water and grime. They'd definitely got a tad grindy, but were cleaner than I expected once I took things apart. The bearings definitely need replacing though, which though par for the course a year on, is more hassle than it would be as the dropper post, rear brake, and rear mech (if I hadn't switched to a wireless version) will need disconnecting to swap out the upper headset bearing for a fresh one. That said, if you don't do your own servicing, you're unlikely to care.

While the suspension is well overdue a service, it and the other components have performed admirably over the months of riding over a tough winter and are still going strong. The rear suspension bearings have no discernable play in them and still feel smooth, while the burly rubber chainstay protector is still firmly attached to the bike.

MTB upside down showing internal storage hatch by the bottom bracket

I didn't use the internal storage and it would have inevitably meant tools rusting up in the bottom of the downtube (Image credit: Rich Owen)

The downsides

One of the features of the carbon One-Forty bikes that Merida flags up on its website is 'on-board tool storage'. However, the access hatch lives at the bottom bracket area which isn't that handy and is invariably covered in crap. While I do use other in-frame storage (with handier access), I found carrying tool essentials in a pack a much easier option. The frame reinforcements required to enable the opening will undoubtedly have added additional weight to the bike too.

The One-Forty also comes with an 'enduro' inner tube strap on the underside of the top tube. While it's definitely a handy thing to have, I stopped using it after a while as the Velcro holding the inner tube in place sticks out a little wider than ideal and chaffed my knee pads as they brushed against it while riding.

While you can opt for a bigger option, the mini rear fender that comes with the One-Forty and One-Sixty as standard didn't seem to keep any crud away from the suspension pivots or anything else.

The Merida One-Forty 6000 viewed from the front

The Merida One-Forty 6000 has served me very well over the long-term test period, I'm gutted to be giving it back (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Merida One-Forty 6000 – 12 month test verdict

After a year of riding, I've been left in no doubt at all that Merida has created a totally sorted, easy-to-ride trail mountain bike and it's been a blast putting it to the test over that time. It's fared very well over the many months of testing which included a winter that has been particularly hard on bikes.

As outlined above, there are a few very minor aspects that I'd change, but they didn't impact my riding or enjoyment of the bike in any way. I can't argue with Guy's original score and I were looking to buy a new trail bike, the Merida One-Forty 6000 would definitely be right up there on my shortlist.

Tech specs: Rich Owen's Merida One-Forty 6000

  • Discipline: Trail
  • Head angle: 65 degrees
  • Frame material: ONE-FORTY CF4 III carbon
  • Fork: Marzocchi Bomber Z1, 150mm travel
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+ 143mm travel
  • Sizes: XShort, Short, Mid (tested), Long, XLong 
  • Wheel size: 29in
  • Chainset: SRAM GX Eagle T-Type Transmission
  • Rear mech: SRAM GX Eagle T-Type Transmission
  • Shifter: AXS Pod Controller
  • Cassette: XG-1275 T-Type Eagle 10-52t 12-speed
  • Chain: GX T-Type Eagle
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX disc brakes with Shimano RT64 203mm rotors. 
  • Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF MaxTerra 3C EXO 29x2.5in front and Maxxis Dissector MaxTerra 3C EXO+ 29x2.4in rear
  • Wheels: Merida Expert TR 29mm internal rims with 32 double butted 32 spoke Shimano SLX hubs
  • Bars: Merida Team TR 780mm bar
  • Grips: Merida Expert EC
  • Stem: Merida Expert eTR II 50mm 
  • Seatpost: Merida Team TR II 30-230mm dropper
  • Saddle: Ergon SM Comp
Richard Owen
Editor, Bike Perfect

Rich is the editor of the Bikeperfect.com team. He worked as a print journalist and editor for over 20 years, before transitioning to purely digital media in 2021. Rich bought his first mountain bike (a rigid Scott Tampico) in 1995 and has been riding MTB for almost 30 years. He likes hitting flowy yet technical trails and is a jack of many MTB trades, competing in cross-country, enduro and long-distance races over the years. A resident of North Devon, he can mostly be found pedaling furiously around his local trails, or slightly further afield on Exmoor and elsewhere in Britain's southwest.

Current rides: Merida One-Forty 6000, Banshee Paradox

Height: 175cm

Weight: 69kg