First Look | The 2023 Merida One-Sixty & One-Forty get a radical overhaul


Get excited folks, because today sees the arrival of the brand new Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty! That’s right, Merida is launching not one, but two new mountain bikes for 2023. This is no mild-mannered update either, with both the One-Sixty and One-Forty introducing a totally new frame design and suspension platform. There’s been a seismic shift in the approach to sizing and geometry, with the new models also introducing in-frame storage, mullet compatibility and an adjustable dropper post with 30-230mm of travel. Indeed there is a lot going on with these new bikes, so let’s get stuck in to see why Merida reckons these are the most advanced mountain bikes it has ever developed.

merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
The new Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty have received a dramatic overhaul for 2023, and come packed with a whole load of new tech.
merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
The Merida One-Forty is equipped with a 150mm travel fork and 143mm of rear travel. It’s the lighter and more trail-oriented bike of the two.

Merida One-Sixty & One-Forty Overview

The reason we’re seeing the new Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty arrive at the same time is because both models actually share the same frame and suspension design. What separates the two bikes is the amount of suspension travel they offer, and along with some key spec changes, Merida has been able to produce two very different bikes.

The Merida One-Sixty is the burly enduro bike designed for the roughest trails. It’s built around 29in wheels on the bigger frame sizes, and a mullet setup with a 27.5in rear wheel on the smaller sizes. It’s equipped with a 170mm travel fork and the rear suspension either delivers 161mm of travel in the 29er setup, or 171mm in the mullet setup.

The Merida One-Forty is the trail bike. It features 29in wheels across all frame sizes, with a 150mm travel fork and 143mm of rear wheel travel. You’ll see that the One-Forty models are equipped with a slightly less aggressive spec with lighter forks, in-line shocks and faster-rolling tyres. The result is a lighter and more pedal-friendly package designed for all-day trail riding.

merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
The Merida One-Sixty utilises the same frame, but a longer stroke shock increases rear travel, and it’s paired to a bigger 170mm travel fork.

New Flexstay suspension design

The most obvious change with the new Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty is the suspension layout. Taking cues from Merida’s XC bike, the Ninety-Six, the shock now mounts horizontally underneath the top tube. The lower eyelet is captured by an alloy shock extension, and is driven by a compact rocker link. Both models feature the same 230mm eye-to-eye shock length, but a different stroke is what alters the rear travel.

merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
A compact rocker link drives the shock via an extension link and sealed cartridge bearings.

You’ll see that there is no pivot down at the dropout, with the one-piece swingarm adopting a flex-stay design. According to Merida, there is actually very little rotation through the seatstays, with there being more deflection found in other parts of the frame, like the seat tube.

Having removed the traditional pivot, the engineers were able to reduce weight and complexity, while supposedly maintaining long-term durability, even on the alloy frames. To that end, Merida states the new One-Sixty and One-Forty frames have passed Category 5 testing and are rated for bikepark use.

merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
No more dropout pivot. The Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty move to a one-piece swingarm, with the seatstays undergoing a small amount of flex through the travel.

It’s got a mullet chip

At the top of the rocker link on the new Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty frames is a two-position flip chip. This is designed to allow you to run either a 29in or 27.5in rear wheel, while maintaining the same geometry.

Suspension travel does change between the two positions;

merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
There’s a two-position flip chip that allows you to run either a 29in or 27.5in rear wheel.

On the note of suspension, Merida claims that the leverage ratio is size-specific. Larger frames feature a slightly more progressive rate to provide increased support for heavier riders.

Fresh sizing, with an adjustable dropper post

Further developments have been made in the approach to sizing and geometry for the new Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty.

Taking inspiration from Specialized’s S-Sizing concept, Merida is offering X-Short, Short, Mid, Long and X-Long frame sizes. Riders will be encouraged to choose their size based on their preferred reach.

merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
The huge 230mm travel dropper post can be adjusted all the way down to 30mm without tools. This is a key part of Merida’s new sizing approach.

To maximise sizing flexibility, Merida has developed its own adjustable dropper post that can be set anywhere between 30-230mm of travel. That is a huge range of adjustment, and it means riders will be able to tailor the total drop based on their optimal saddle height. The Team TR post features the larger 34.9mm diameter for stiffness, and it slots into a straight, uninterrupted seat tube.

Merida has also employed compact head tube lengths in order to minimise the overall stack height and allow riders to easily size up. Larger frame sizes will come with a higher rise handlebar and the option to run a full suite of headset spacers to lift the bars up, though we’re curious to see how the tallest riders will find the riding position.

merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
The front end is low to allow riders to easily size up for a longer reach.

Geometry

As for geometry, the new Merida One-Sixty features a 64° head angle. The One-Forty is a degree steeper at 65°, since it comes with a shorter travel fork.

Curiously, both frames feature the same 79° effective seat tube angle. How? Merida specs the One-Forty with a seatpost that incorporates a 10mm offset, while the One-Sixty gets a 0mm offset. Clever!

Rear centre length is a compact 434mm on the One-Sixty, and grows to 437.5mm on the One-Forty. Whereas some brands are offering size-specific rear centre lengths, Merida chose to maintain the chainstay length across all frame sizes. It states that the small changes that other brands are offering are too little to provide any meaningful difference in front-to-rear weight distribution, and so it stuck with the same length for all sizes.

merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
The carbon frames introduce a storage compartment underneath the downtube.

Integrated storage & frame protection

The Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty feature a variety of options for stowing tools and spares to allow you to ride pack-free.

Alloy frames get a conventional water bottle mount, while the carbon frames feature a built-in Fidlock bottle mount that sits flush in the frame. A 600ml Fidlock bottle will also be included.

Speaking of the carbon frames, these introduce a new storage compartment called the Merida Service Port (MSP). There’s a removable hatch underneath the bottom of the downtube that gives you access to the internal cable routing, while also providing a cavity to store additional spares and tools.

All frames can accommodate an optional tube base plate that allows you to carry a spare tube just forward of the shock mount, and most models will come supplied with a mini-tool that stows inside a holster underneath the saddle. There’s also a hidden 4 & 6mm hex key integrated into the rear axle lever.

Merida has also developed a sturdy bolt-on rear mudguard that comes standard on all models. A longer guard is also available separately for those who ride in really filthy conditions. You’ll find generous armouring underneath the downtube and along the drive-side chainstay, while protective film has been pre-applied in key areas from the factory.

Along with the threaded BB, standard Boost spacing and SRAM UDH, it’s all practical stuff. Well, except for the headset cable routing, which we continue to have mixed feelings on.

merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
All models include a bolt-on rear mudguard, while the carbon frames come with a Fidlock water bottle.

Merida One-Sixty & One-Forty prices & specs

With both alloy and carbon frame options, there are a huge number of models across the Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty lineup for 2023.

Prices will start at $3,399 AUD for the Merida One-Forty 400, and they’ll top out at $13,499 AUD for the Merida One-Sixty 10K. It’s worth noting that the 10K model is also the first Merida to come spec’d with RockShox Flight Attendant.

We’re yet to swing a leg over the new bikes, but given all of the changes and new tech that Merida has incorporated into the new One-Sixty and One-Forty, we are very keen to see how they perform on our local trails.

We’re also eager to see whether the new frame and suspension layout will be incorporated into the new eOne-Sixty, which aside from getting a new motor and battery, has been largely unchanged since it was introduced in 2019. Time will tell!

In the meantime, read on below for all the specs and prices on the 2023 Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty lineup.

merida one-sixty 2023 10K
The premium Merida One-Sixty 10K features lots of carbon bits, AXS wireless shifting, and RockShox Flight Attendant suspension.

2023 Merida One-Sixty 10K

merida one-sixty 2023 8000
The Merida One-Sixty 8000 is spec’d with the latest 2023 RockShox Zeb & Super Deluxe along with an AXS drivetrain and Race Face wheels.

2023 Merida One-Sixty 8000

merida one-sixty 2023 6000
The One-Sixty 6000 is the cheapest carbon model in the range, but still comes with a Shimano SLX groupset and a RockShox Zeb.

2023 Merida One-Sixty 6000

merida one-sixty 2023 700
Using an alloy frame, the Merida One-Sixty 700 is equipped with a Marzocchi Z1 fork and Fox Float X shock.

2023 Merida One-Sixty 700

merida one-sixty 2023 500
The cheapest One-Sixty model comes with a RockShox Yari fork and a Shimano Deore groupset.

2023 Merida One-Sixty 500


merida one-forty 2023 10k
Utilising faster-rolling tyres, a Fox 36 fork and a Float DPS shock, the Merida One-Forty 10K is claimed to be a kilo lighter than the equivalent One-Sixty 10K. Looks tidy eh?

2023 Merida One-Forty 10K

merida one-forty 2023 8000
You’re getting high-quality Fox suspension, a SRAM GX AXS drivetrain and that crazy 30-230mm adjustable dropper post on the Merida One-Forty 8000.

2023 Merida One-Forty 8000

merida one-forty 2023 6000
Coming in under $7K, this is the cheapest carbon model in the One-Forty lineup.

2023 Merida One-Forty 6000

merida one-forty 2023 700
The Merida One-Forty 700 uses the heavier alloy frame, but it also gets a much smaller sticker price than the carbon models.

2023 Merida One-Forty 700

merida one-forty 2023 500
The Merida One-Forty 500 is spec’d with a Marzocchi Z2 fork and a Shimano Deore groupset with 4-piston brakes.

2023 Merida One-Forty 500

merida one-forty 2023 400
For a bit over three grand, the Merida One-Forty 400 is the cheapest bike in the lineup, but still features air-adjustable suspension, a dropper post and a 1×11 drivetrain.

2023 Merida One-Forty 400

merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
Merida has designed both bikes around a very steep 79° effective seat tube angle to provide a comfortable climbing position.
merida one-sixty 2023 one-forty
How does the new suspension and geometry approach play out on the trail? We’re looking forward to getting the new Merida One-Sixty and One-Forty onto the trails soon!

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