First Look | The 2025 Merida Big Trail offers more grins in a cheaper hardtail package

The Merida Big Trail first arrived in 2021 as a fun-focussed hardtail designed for all-round riding. Combining a 140mm travel fork with progressive geometry, 29er wheels and chunky tyres, the Big Trail packed a load of capability into a simple and easy-to-maintain package. This kind of UK-style hardtail is especially popular as a winter mud-plugger since they’re typically a lot cheaper to maintain than a full suspension mountain bike. They’re also a lot cheaper to buy in the first place, making them a great option for new riders. And if they’re done right, they can be an absolute hoot for more experienced folks to ride whether they’re scratching in lines in the woods, or linking up doubles on a modern flow trail.

Having had a positive reception to the first generation Big Trail, Merida decided to put together a whole bunch of updates and improvements to bring its performance and appeal up a few notches.

2025 merida big trail hardtail
Nothing beats the feel of a good modern hardtail on flowy trails!
2025 merida big trail hardtail
The 2025 Merida Big Trail receives a new alloy frame with significant updates to its geometry and integration.

An overview of the 2025 Merida Big Trail

For 2025 the Merida Big Trail receives a brand new butted and hydroformed alloy frame. It continues to be designed around 29in wheels and a 140mm travel fork, and there’s plenty of clearance for 2.4in wide rubber out back.

A shortened seat tube provides more standover clearance, and the diameter has fattened to 34.9mm to improve strength and stiffness with long-stroke droppers. Merida supplies its own dropper post for the Big Trail with up to 230mm of travel.

2025 merida big trail hardtail
As with the rest of the Merida mountain bike and e-MTB lineup, the Big Trail now runs the control lines through the headset.

Cable routing has been updated with the main control lines now entering the frame through the headset. We had notable issues with the internally-routed headsets on the One-Forty and One-Sixty, though Merida says those problems have been rectified with an updated design from Acros that’s said to be easier to work on.

We’re a lot happier to see all of the storage options on the Big Trail frame, which will accommodate two bottles on the downtube in every size. There’s an accessory mount underneath the top tube, and a new dual-density chainstay protector that uses a hard plastic core for the base shape and a soft outer material to deaden chainslap.

2025 merida big trail hardtail
Up front is a 140mm travel fork, though the frame is rated for 150mm should you wish to go bigger.

Merida Big Trail geometry & size chart

It’s the geometry that sees the biggest updates on the 2025 Merida Big Trail, which follows in the footsteps of the One-Sixty and eOne-Sixty with a change in its sizing nomenclature.

Instead of the traditional Small, Medium and Large frame sizes, you’ll now find sizes referred to in their reach measurement; X-Short, Short, Mid, Long and X-Long.

In addition to shortening the seat tube lengths, Merida has also slackened out the head angle by 1.5° (now 64°). The reach is 20mm longer and comes in at 455mm on the Mid frame size. To maintain a comfortable seated position, the seat angle has been steepened by 1° (now 76.5°). Those are progressive numbers for a hardtail that should make for a more confidence-inspiring stance compared to the previous model.

It’s worth noting that while it isn’t recommended to set up the Big Trail as a mullet with a 27.5in rear wheel, the frame is rated for use with up to a 150mm travel fork.

2025 merida big trail geometry size chart
Merida Big Trail Geometry & Size Chart
2025 merida big trail hardtail
The low BB and short chainstays aim to maintain agility through tight corners.

Merida Big Trail price & specs

There will be three Merida Big Trail models coming into Australia this year. Prices will start at an accessible $1,599 AUD for the cheapest model.

All three bikes utilise the same alloy frame, a 140mm travel fork and Merida’s own Expert TR II dropper post. They also get hydraulic disc brakes, a 1x Shimano drivetrain and thru-axles front and rear.

The top-end Big Trail 600 looks particularly impressive with its RockShox Pike fork and premium Maxxis tyres that utilise 3C MaxxTerra rubber and a heavier EXO+ casing for the rear. Nice!

2025 merida big trail 600
The top-end Merida Big Trail 600 offers a belting package for the money.

2025 Merida Big Trail 600

2025 merida big trail 500
The Big Trail 500 features a RockShox Psylo fork and a Shimano 1×11 drivetrain.

2025 Merida Big Trail 500

2025 merida big trail 300
Even on the cheapest Big Trail 300, you’re still getting an air-sprung fork, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and a decent long-stroke dropper post.

2025 Merida Big Trail 300

2025 merida big trail hardtail
We’re loving the look of the Merida Big Trail 600, which could be one of the more capable hardtails on the market.

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