Has Merida kept the XC hardtail fire burning with an updated Big Nine and all-new Big Nine TR?

Details on the new Merida Big Nine
(Image credit: Merida)

Merida's Big Nine has a long and successful history with countless race wins, that include XC World Championships and XC World Cups. While being hugely progressive when it first launched, impressing the best cross-country mountain bike racers with its handling, comfort, and low weight. Merida now says that a bike with such pedigree and with modern XC racing demanding a new way of riding, the Big Nine is ready for a significant overhaul, and now launches the updated Big Nine and the all-new Big Nine TR.

The new and updated models have taken inspiration from the progressive approach seen in their award-winning Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty trail and enduro bikes, and Merida says the overhauled Big Nine is ready to meet the needs of the modern cross-country rider with its race-focussed lightweight build and the classic 100mm of travel fork. The Big Nine TR has some equipment changes to differ from the Big Nine, including more fork travel at 120 mm, and a more rugged kit aimed to deliver exceptional trail performance, with minimal weight, designed to be fast and fun.

Rider adjusting the seatpost on a Merida Big Nine

The Big Nine has an aggressive look across all models (Image credit: Merida)

Both models are available in carbon and aluminum frames, with an updated geometry to improve descending and climbing capabilities, but also still retains the core speed the Big Nine is known for. There is a new, low-slung frame design that increases standover clearance and also comfort. Merida has also used their reach-based Agilometer Sizing System in both models that give riders the option to choose the handling response they prefer without compromising the fit.

Merida has dropped eight different versions of the Big Nine and Big Nine TR along with various color choices. They say the range caters to everyone from the cost-conscious novice mountain biker to the seasoned competitor looking to shave every gram. We had a look over the various models and have picked out some of the stand-out features on the new range.

Rider on the new Merida Big Nine

Tire clearance is boosted with the entire range rolling on 29-inch rims and 2.4-inch tires (Image credit: Merida)

Progressive geometry and design

The new Big Nine is claimed to stay true to its do-anything roots, but Merida says they've added a little more spice into the design mix, giving both the Big Nine and the TR models an aggressive look. Both have more tire clearance to boost comfort and grip, with the entire range rolling on 29-inch rims with 2.4-inch tires. 

The progressive geometry approach is taken from Merida's latest enduro and all-mountain bikes but adapted to suit the needs of the Big Nine and TR. The seat angle is 75.3 degrees which is 1.8 degrees steeper than the previous model, aimed to give the rider more front-end control on climbs. The head angle goes from the outgoing models 70 degrees to 68 degrees on the Big Nine and moves to 67 degrees on the TR due to the longer 120mm travel fork.

A substantially shorter seat tube at 410mm on a size medium, which is 34mm lower than the previous model is claimed to give more comfort when running a rigid seatpost. It also gives the option of running a long travel dropper thanks to the greater standover clearance increased from 40 to 90 mm, depending on sizing. Reach is increased by 31mm to 452mm on a medium and increases by 30-44 mm across the range, again depending on size, which is aimed to improve the stability of the bike.

On the CF carbon framed models, Merida has introduced size-specific chainstay lengths claimed to help improve handling. The brand says that having the chainstay length grow proportionately larger as the reach grows means that the finely tuned front-to-rear weight balance is maintained when seated across a wider range of rider heights, which they add makes for better climbing and cornering characteristics.

Details on the new Merida Big Nine in grey coloring

There are eight models across the Big Nine and Big Nine TR (Image credit: Merida)

Agilometer Sizing System

The reach-based Agilometer Sizing System allows riders to choose the handling response they prefer without impacting fit. That means riders can go longer for stability, shorter for agility, or somewhere in the middle for a balance of both. Merida has added the reach-based sizing system that's already used on their enduro bikes and says if you don’t want to go into the world of geometry figures, the system is easy to understand. The S, M, and L sizes stand for short, mid, and long rather than small, medium, and large. 

Details on the new Merida Big Nine cranks

The Merida Agilometer Sizing System allows riders to choose the handling response they prefer (Image credit: Merida)

Choose Race or Trail, Carbon or Aluminum

Overall, the new range is Merida's ‘do-it-all’ hardtail mountain bike for everyone from beginners to pros, taking on everything from easy tracks and trails to World Cup-level cross-country courses. 

The ‘classic’ race-proven Big Nine retains the traditional 100mm of front suspension travel, with fast-rolling 29-inch tires and a weight-saving rigid seatpost. There are four models in the range, three carbon with the top-of-the-line Big Nine 10k the only one having the carbon CF5 frame, with the others having the CF3, and one in aluminum.

The new TR Big Nine is a more trail-orientated machine with a longer travel 120mm fork and more purpose-capable kit as standard,making them a better choice for anyone that wants additional descending performance without the additional weight or expense of a full suspension bike. There are four TR models available, two with a carbon CF3 frame and two with a more affordable aluminum LITE frame. As well as the longer travel fork, the bikes will come equipped with more aggressive, heavily treaded tires as standard, plus a dropper post.

Merida says their CF5 and CF3 carbon fiber frames are designed to put their lightweight to good use on the race track, from the cut-and-thrust world of cross-country racing or smashing out the miles during endurance marathons. They say the aluminum versions can be used as everything from a first mountain bike to a robust and reliable ride for the privateer racer. 

Details on the new Merida Big Nine 10k frame

The top-of-the-line Big Nine 10k has the brands CF5 carbon frame (Image credit: Merida)

Drivetrain Technology 

Being at the cutting edge of cross-country, marathon, and downcountry technology, the Big Nine and Big Nine TR feature the latest drivetrain technology. Some of the models have the latest SRAM T-Type drivetrains, combining the proven performance of SRAM’s wireless AXS technology, with crisper-than-ever shifting thanks to a radical new interface with the frame, while the extra low-profile design helps to reduce the possibility of trail damage. SRAM’s new T-Type is now available in the top-end XX level as well as the more affordable GX platform and has allowed Merida to spec it on a selection of models in the range. 

Details on the drivetrain of the Merida Big Nine 10k

SRAM T-Type features on the higher end models (Image credit: Merida)

Pricing, availability and specification

At the time of writing Merida has yet to announce pricing or a launch date on any of the Big Nine or Big Nine TR models, and we will update as and when they do so. Below are all the specs on the eight new models and more information on all Merida bikes can be found at Merida-Bikes.com.

Suspension details on the new Merida Big Nine

Suspension is either 100mm or 120mm on the TR versions (Image credit: Merida)

Big Nine 10K

Side view of the Merida Big Nine 10k

(Image credit: Merida)
  • Frame: Big Nine CF5 Carbon
  • Fork: RockShox SID SL Ultimate, Air, 100mm 
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM XX Eagle SL AXS, T-Type 
  • Shifters: SRAM AXS POD Ultimate Controller 
  • Stem: Merida TEAM CC, Carbon
  • Bar: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Crankset: SRAM XX SL Eagle 
  • Seatpost: FSA SL-K, Carbon 
  • Saddle: Prologo Scratch M5 PAS NACK 
  • Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate Stealth, 2 piston 180/160mm
  • Wheels: Reynolds BLACKLABEL 309/289 XC 
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race, 29x2.4" 
  • Color: Cool Grey or Ocean Blue/Golden Bronze 
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Weight: 9,3 kg
  • Price: TBC

Big Nine TR 8000

Side view of the Merida Big Nine TR 8000

(Image credit: Merida)
  • Frame: Big Nine CF3 Carbon
  • Fork: Fox 34 Float SC Performance Elite, Air, 120mm 
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle AXS 
  • Shifters: Trans-X JD-FL remote / SRAM AXS
  • Stem: Merida TEAM CC, Carbon
  • Bar: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Crankset: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Seatpost: Merida EXPERT TR LIGHT, 100mm dropper
  • Saddle: Prologo Scratch M5 PAS TIROX 
  • Brakes: SRAM Level Silver Stealth, 2 piston 180/160mm
  • Wheels: Reynolds TR 309/289 XC 
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon / Maxxis Rekon Race 
  • Color: Cool Grey or Silk Dandelion Green
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Weight: 10,4 kg
  • Price: TBC

Big Nine XT

Side view of the Merida Big Nine XT

(Image credit: Merida)
  • Frame: Big Nine CF3 Carbon
  • Fork: RockShox SID SL, Air, 100mm 
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT, SGS 
  • Shifters: Shimano XT M8100, Multi Release 
  • Stem: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Bar: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Crankset: Shimano XT 
  • Seatpost: FSA SL-K, Carbon 
  • Saddle: Merida EXPERT SL
  • Brakes: Shimano XT M8100 / Shimano XT M8110, 2 piston 180/160mm
  • Wheels: Merida EXPERT CC II 
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race
  • Color: Cool Grey or Burgundy Red
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Weight: 10,2 kg
  • Price: TBC

Big Nine TR 5000

Side view of the Merida Big Nine TR 5000

(Image credit: Merida)
  • Frame: Big Nine CF3 Carbon
  • Fork: RockShox Judy Gold, Air, 120mm 
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT, SGS 
  • Shifters: Trans-X JD-FL remote / Shimano Deore M6100 
  • Stem: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Bar: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Crankset: Shimano Deore MT512 
  • Seatpost: Merida EXPERT TR LIGHT, 100mm dropper
  • Saddle: Merida EXPERT SL
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX, 2 piston 180/160mm
  • Wheels: Merida EXPERT CC II 
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race
  • Color: Cool Grey or Silk Champagne
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Weight: 12,4 kg
  • Price: TBC

Big Nine 3000

Side view of the Merida Big Nine 3000

(Image credit: Merida)
  • Frame: Big Nine CF3 Carbon
  • Fork: SR Suntour Raidon 34 R-2CR, Air, 100mm 
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore M6100
  • Shifters: Shimano DEORE M6100
  • Stem: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Bar: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Crankset: Shimano Deore
  • Seatpost: Merida COMP, Alloy
  • Saddle: Merida EXPERT
  • Brakes: Shimano MT200, 2 piston 180mm
  • Wheels: Merida COMP CC II 
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race
  • Color: Cool Grey or Matt Fall Green
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Weight: 12,3 kg
  • Price: TBC

Big Nine TR Limited

Side view of the Merida Big Nine TR Limited

(Image credit: Merida)
  • Frame: Big Nine TR Lite Alloy 
  • Fork: Manitou Machete Comp, Air, 120mm 
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT, SGS 
  • Shifters: Shimano SL-MT500-L / Shimano Deore M6100 
  • Stem: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Bar: Merida EXPERT CC, Alloy
  • Crankset: Shimano Deore M6100
  • Seatpost: Merida EXPERT TR LIGHT, 100-170mm dropper
  • Saddle: Merida COMP
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX, 2 piston 180/160mm
  • Wheels: Merida EXPERT CC II 
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon
  • Color: Gunmetal Grey or Silk Gold
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Weight: 13,4 kg
  • Price: TBC

Big Nine 700

Side view of the Merida Big Nine 700

(Image credit: Merida)
  • Frame: Big Nine Lite Alloy
  • Fork: Manitou Machete Comp, Air, 100mm 
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore M6100
  • Shifters: Shimano DEORE M6100
  • Stem: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Bar: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Crankset: Shimano Deore
  • Seatpost: Merida COMP, Alloy
  • Saddle: Merida COMP
  • Brakes: Shimano MT200, 2 piston 180mm
  • Wheels: Merida COMP CC II 
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race
  • Color: Gunmetal Grey or Light Blue
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Weight: 13,8 kg
  • Price: TBC

Big Nine TR 600

Side view of the Merida Big Nine TR 600

(Image credit: Merida)
  • Frame: Big Nine TR Lite Alloy 
  • Fork: SR Suntour Raidon 34 2CR, Air, 120mm 
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano CUES U6000, GS
  • Shifters: Shimano SL-MT500-L / Shimano CUES U6000 
  • Stem: Merida TEAM CC, Alloy
  • Bar: Merida EXPERT CC, Alloy
  • Crankset: Shimano Deore M6100
  • Seatpost: Merida COMP TR LIGHT, 100-170mm dropper
  • Saddle: Merida COMP
  • Brakes: Shimano MT200, 2 piston 180mm
  • Wheels: Merida COMP CC II 
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon
  • Color: Gunmetal Grey or Matt Red
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Weight: TBC
  • Price: TBC
Paul Brett
Staff writer

Paul Brett is a staff writer for BikePerfect.com. He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm