On Test | The 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty 9000 is an e-MTB with a mullet

Handily arriving at the start of our Australian spring is this shiny new test bike; the 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty 9000. It’s an e-MTB we’ve been thoroughly excited about getting onto our home trails, having had a taster of the new eOne-Sixty platform at the official launch back in June. There’s been a load of buzz around this bike since that launch, though admittedly not everyone was thrilled by the $12K price tag of the top-of-the-range 10K model we tested at the launch. The good news? There will be four eOne-Sixty models available for 2020, including this one; the 9000.

2020 merida eone-sixty electric mountain bike shimano steps
Merida’s second generation eOne-Sixty platform has launched in a big way for 2020.

We won’t be going into a load of detail about the new eOne-Sixty platform here, since Oli already did a fabulous job of that in the original launch feature (you can read the full story here). We’ll also be bringing you a broader range overview shortly, including a closer look at the eOne-Forty model too. In the meantime, here’s a short and sweet rundown of what’s special about this new e-MTB.

The 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty In A Nutshell

This is Merida’s second generation eOne-Sixty. The original model was a much-loved bike here at Flow, having made its way into our long term test fleet where it joined us on many an adventure around the country. It wasn’t perfect out of the box though, and we made a bunch of changes to its setup and specification during our time with it. Looking to address some of those shortcomings while taking advantage of newly available technologies, Merida unveiled the new eOne-Sixty platform back in June.

The biggest change? From first glance it’s pretty obvious – this bike looks a kerbillion times better! The 2020 eOne-Sixty now gets a lighter and sleeker carbon fibre mainframe, which integrates the Shimano E8035 battery neatly into the downtube, giving a much cleaner look without the bolt-on style of the old model. It also allows you to fit a water bottle inside the mainframe, which earns a big tick from us.

2020 merida eone-sixty electric mountain bike shimano steps fox 36 grip2
The eOne-Sixty gets a 160mm travel fork plugged in at the front, with 150mm of squish at the rear wheel.
shimano steps e8000 2020 merida eone-sixty electric mountain bike
Shimano’s latest integrated battery sits inside the sleek carbon mainframe. Merida has retained the metal back-end though.

Suspension travel remains the same, so you’ve got 150mm out back and a 160mm fork up front. However, wheel and tyre sizes have changed. There’s still a 27.5in rear wheel, but Merida has gone all on-trend on us with a 29in wheel up front. Depending on your personal feelings about wheelsize, that makes the eOne-Sixty either a mullet bike or a reverse mullet bike. Oh and you also won’t find plus tyres anymore. Instead, Merida has spec’d new-school 2.6in wide tyres front and rear.

Geometry gets a wee massage, with the head angle slackening to 65.5°, and the seat angle steepening to 75.5°. Chainstay lengths remain at 439.5mm, because the welded alloy back end has actually been carried over from the previous model. That means you get Boost hub spacing, anti-slap rubber armour on the drive-side chainstay, and post mounts for the rear brake calliper that tucks it in behind the seatstay for a little extra protection.

2020 merida eonesixty geometry
The eOne-Sixty has had its geometry massaged for 2020.

What’s It Wearing?

There are exactly six models in the Merida eOne-Sixty range for 2020. Two of those are alloy, and they’ll carry over the previous generation frame design. The other four pricier models use a hybrid carbon/alloy frameset that is all-new for 2020, which gets the refreshed geometry and integrated battery design.

The eOne-Sixty 9000 that we’ve just received for long term testing is one step down from the big banger 10K model. While it uses exactly the same frame and Shimano STEPS E8000 drive system, it lobs off a cool three thousand dollars by moving to alloy DT Swiss wheels, and changing to a Shimano Deore XT 1×12 groupset, instead of XTR that comes on the top model.

dt swiss hybird hx 1501 spline one xtr
High-end alloy hoops from DT Swiss are e-MTB specific, with thicker-walled alloy rims, reinforced hub internals and stronger spokes.

Particular highlights on this bike include the aggressive Maxxis EXO+ tyre combo, Kashima-coated Fox suspension, and four-piston disc brakes complete with 203mm rotors front and rear. Proper powarrr!

There’s a swag of other neat details, like the integrated on/off button on the top tube, the removable 4/6mm allen key inside the rear thru-axle lever, and the rubber-coated downtube armour that protects the removable battery within. Along with the bike, Merida includes its own cute front and rear mudguards (and zip ties to cable them on), tubeless valves, a carbon fibre bottle cage, and a multi-tool that tucks into its own special pouch underneath the saddle. Nice details!

2020 merida eone-sixty electric mountain bike shimano steps
There’s a 29in front wheel paired to a 27.5in rear wheel. Merida has spec’d 2.6in wide tyres at both ends though, complete with the burly Maxxis EXO+ casing.

2020 Merida eOne-Sixty 9000 Specs

shimano deore xt m8100 derailleur mech
Shimano’s sleek 12-speed XT rear mech keeps the back end nice and low-profile.
shimano deore xt m8100 brake i-spec ev shifter
New XT brake levers share the same handlebar clamp with the I-Spec EV shifter mount.
dt swiss hybrid hubs 240 e-bike
Inside is a bomber Star Ratchet freehub mechanism.
merida lever thru-axle tool
Give the rear axle lever a tug, and out it pops to provide you with a 4 & 6mm hex key. How neat!

What’s Next?

I’ve already had a couple of rides on the 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty 9000, including a local gravity enduro race on the weekend just gone. So far everything’s settling in nicely, though there’s a fair bit of tuning required on both Fox dampers, which offer a load of dials and levers to twiddle with to get everything just-so.

I also want to play around a bit with the cockpit setup, which will be interesting since the stock Merida bar/stem use internal wiring for the Shimano STEPS control unit. We’ll have plenty of time to get to know one another though, and we’ve got some pretty epic rides planned for spring and summer that I am VERY much looking forward to.

I’ll have an in-depth review coming down the line, but in the meantime, give us a holla if you’ve got any questions about the eOne-Sixty, and we’ll see if we can get them answered for you!

Want to know more about the 2020 eOne-Sixty? Then make sure you check out the launch story here. And if you want to know how things ended up last time round with our long term eOne-Sixty long term test bike, have a gander at the story and video here.

2020 merida eone-sixty electric mountain bike shimano steps
The new eOne-Sixty looks a kerbillion times better than the original version. As to how it rides? Stay tuned for the review!

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