Merida is a name you’ve probably heard of in relation to bicycles. Merida is a Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer that has built a reputation of making some of the best bicycles in the world. They are especially well known amongst commuters/fitness cyclists and road cyclists.
Merida is now the second-largest bike manufacturer in Taiwan. They began the distribution of bicycles in India back in 2009 and have performed quite well in the Indian market. Backed by a supportive distributor, Merida has been able to offer high-quality rider support with good availability of spares and timely support.
Unlike a lot of other brands, healthy sales have ensured a good lineup of bike inventory for the Indian market with a good range of bicycles from hybrids, mountain bikes to high-end race bikes with a good selection in the latest model year.
Merida’s dealership and service center network has grown wider over the years with the brand being easily available and serviceable across India. Bikes have been aggressively priced over the years, which makes this brand a hot choice for the value-conscious rider.
WHY MOUNTAIN BIKES?
The strong urge to pick up a mountain bike exists within all of us. What’s not to like about them? They’re big, burly, and look absolutely amazing. Mountain bikes, however, are made specifically with the purpose of being ridden off-road. If you intend to ride trails, gravel roads, and off-road tracks on a regular basis then a mountain bike is perfect for you.
The frame geometry, tires, drivetrain and braking systems on mountain bikes are optimized for the demands of riding in off-road conditions.
FEATURES SPECIFIC TO MTBs
Mountain bikes also typically have flat handlebars that go straight out from the stem. With a wider grip, usually about shoulder-width, these handlebars allow riders to sit upright and offer a better position for vision and control of the bike on varying terrain.
- Stouter, more upright frames.
- Higher clearance to get over rocks, logs, and through ruts, etc.
- Rear shocks
- Ability to handle a lot of stress and abuse and still allow the rider to comfortably negotiate rugged terrain and go over obstacles that he/she may encounter on the trail.
Be sure that you intend on doing plenty of off-roading before you buy a mountain bike. If you are just going to be riding around town or on paved, hard-packed smooth surfaces then there are better choices of bikes that will be more comfortable and serve you better, such as hybrids or road bikes.
MERIDA 2020 MOUNTAIN BIKE LINEUP
Just glancing over Merida’s Mountain Bike lineup, you may get intimidated but it’s rather easy to understand. There are essentially 2 hardtail series and 1 full-suspension bike that is available in India as a part of Merida’s 2020 mountain bike lineup for India.
MERIDA’S 2020 BIKES
- Merida Big Seven series
- Merida Big Nine series
- Merida One Twenty 9.600
1. MERIDA BIG SEVEN 20-MD/D
As it’s visually apparent from the pictures. The Big series bikes are quite aggressive with their frame geometries, with the slanting top tube and the relatively slack seat tube and head tube. This allows shorter riders the comfort of having a ton of standover clearance.
The Big bikes are made to handle the really rough stuff too. If you look at the top tube – down tube junction, you’ll notice that they are welded together for additional stiffness, durability, and vibration damping.
The bike is specced with a 100mm Suntour XCM fork that is plenty plush for whatever you decide to throw at it. Thanks to the suspension lockout, you can have the speed of a rigid fork on flatter patches of the trail.
Driving things on this bike are the Shimano Tourney front derailleur and the Shimano Acera rear derailleur. The 24-gear combo sure works well to provide a good combination of gears for quick shifts on trails. In the braking department, we have the Promax MTD front and rear mechanical discs (Big Seven 20-MD). We found the braking to be quite good considering the bikes’ intended usage. The Big Seven 20-D, on the other hand, has a pair of Shimano MT200 brakes that are probably the best we’ve seen at this price point.
2. MERIDA BIG SEVEN 40-MD/D
The Merida Big Seven 40-MD and D models are essentially the same as the 20-MD and D. The groupsets are the only major differences between the two series. The Big Seven 40-MD and D are equipped with Shimano Altus at the front and Acera at the rear as derailleurs. The entry-level Shimano Altus front derailleur with a 3×9 range is the perfect setup for fast and efficient trail riding.
As with the previous models, MD stands for Mechanical disc and D stands for Hydraulic disc. Apart from the drivetrain, all other components remain the same.
3. MERIDA BIG SEVEN 300
This Big Seven 300 is the more performance focused trail bike of the lot that is meant for fast paced rides on the dirt. With a Shimano XT at the rear and Deore at the front – shifts were quick and precise. The 2×10 Speed drivetrain had enough range for both accelerations as well as for climbing the steep slippery trails.
A highlight here would be the dual compound Maxxis Ikon 27.5” x 2.2” tires. They provided superb grip and rolling resistance. The standard Shimano MT200 brakes performed well too.
Overall, the Big Seven 300 is a great nimble XC bike that can handle some gnarly trail too thanks to the inclusion of a plusher air fork from SR Suntour (XCR).
4. MERIDA BIG NINE 20-MD/D
If rolling on bigger 29″ wheels is your thing, then the Big Nine series bikes are best suited to you. In the most part, this range mirrors the Big Seven bikes.
Bigger wheels help you carry momentum over the chunkier sections of a trail that you may feel uncomfortable tackling on smaller wheel sizes. The same 9-speed Altus groupset is shared between the Big Nine and its younger sibling the Big Seven. Unfortunately,. There’s no tapered head tube – not a surprise at this price – but there is a complete set of rack and mudguard eyelets at the rear. It’s a small touch, but one that means the Merida could easily do double duty as a commuter or tourer as well as a weekend trail center basher.
For a mid-range mountain bike, the Big Nine 200MD/D does stand out in comparison to other out there thanks to its perfect ergonomics and solid build quality at a price few can match.
5. MERIDA BIG NINE 40-MD/D
The Big Nine 40 series bikes are the same as the Big Seven 40 bikes but with larger 29″ wheels. As budget 29ers go, the Big Nine bikes are good value for money bikes that offers a good geometry and a fair price. It’s up to you to choose between wheel sizes here.
With roughly 10 percent more rim, tire and inner tube than a 26in bike, the extra mass – which needs to be accelerated both around and along – is enough to make a noticeable difference. Can the average rider feel this difference? Yes, definitely. Experienced riders will argue that the smaller wheels are more fun to move around the trails with. 29ers on the other hand roll over rougher trails just a little bit better.
As in earlier models, the choice between mechanical disc brakes (MD) and hydraulic disc brakes (D) is completely up to you.
5. MERIDA BIG NINE 300
Similar to the Big Seven 300, the Big Nine 300 is the bigger wheel’d brother. Apart from the better obstacle-clearing characteristics and better momentum carrying with bigger wheels there’s not much difference.
In our opinion, the combination of the 29″ wheels and the 100mm XCR air fork makes for a great combination out on the trail. The air fork is a lot more plush than the budget coil forks used on the lower end Big series bikes. The off-road riding experience overall is a lot better thanks to this.
6. MERIDA ONE TWENTY 9.600
Currently one of the only full-suspension Merida bikes available in India. The One Twenty is actually a series of full suspension trail bikes. This particular model is a mid-range 29er aluminum frame model.
The One Twenty is a great XC+Trail bike that is super versatile and capable. The name One Twenty comes from the fact that it has 120mm of rear-wheel travel. Up front, its got a 130mm Rock Shox Sektor air fork. Both the fork and the shock provide for a super plush ride feel that can handle even the most challenging terrain.
The One Twenty is a bit pricey but you get what you pay for if not more. The rear “float link” suspension design provides great comfort and traction when things get rough. Additionally, the fork and shock are adjustable for rebound and air pressure (fork also has compression adjustment). This setup allows for a lot of adjustability and therefore greater control over the bike in rougher patches.
Chances are you already know what style of mountain bike you want. Whether that be hardtail or full suspension. All mountain bikes are versatile and capable of many different types of riding. So don’t worry that you’ll never be able to hit the serious trails if you buy an XC bike. Having said that, you’ll have a better experience if you buy a bike that best suits the type of riding that you do the majority of the time.
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING
I’m an avid mountain biker and I like riding fast and flowy singletrack. As I keep riding, I continuously work on honing my riding skills. I like to ride whenever possible, especially with friends. I also like to influence folk into getting to ride more often.
Working on bicycles has also been a keen interest of mine for quite some time.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain biking and Road biking
CURRENT BIKE: Merida One Twenty 9.600 & Specialized Allez Elite DSW
DREAM BIKE: Santa Cruz 5010