My Marvellous Merida
After (almost) two years happily thrashing my hardtail Fat Boy around the trails of Rochdale, Littleborough and further afield, I gradually came to the decision that I wanted a bit more bike. Since I decided to buy the Fat Boy, my mileage has increased and with it, the amount of time I spend thinking about bikes in general.
I toyed with the idea of going roadie at one point. A neighbour offered me a good bike at an excellent price but after much soul-searching I decided that mountain biking was my true love. I’m lucky enough to live in the foothills of the Pennines, not very far from where Singletrack Magazine is based, so their features and photos never fail to inspire me to get out into the hills where I live.
So, I started to look around and to think about buying options. My research was in-depth and extensive. But I’m not writing about the purchasing process here: I’ll do that in another post. This one’s all about the bike.
With much advice, much checking, much thought and much procrastination, I decided that I definitely needed a 120mm full-suspension steed. Any more would be too big a step and the bike would be bigger than both my talents and my usual trails.
Merida One Twenty 800 D Carbon 2011
Merida are arguably the biggest bike company in the world. They hold a 48% stake in Specialized (apparently) and their Taiwanese operation turns out huge numbers of bikes of all shapes & sizes. Their MTB design team is German-led and the mountain bikes seem ideally designed for European conditions.
The One Twenty range is designed to merge go-faster XC with go-more MTB riding. The geometry is reasonably steep by modern standards, but noticeably slacker than my speed-intended Focus. As such, the bike feels like a fantastic plaything beneath my feet and hands.
So, How Is It?
I’ve only covered around 8 miles so far, on a beautiful winter’s day. There was plenty of snow, a little ice and some trepidation about staying upright! The bike feels incredibly stable and is a simple pleasure to propel along. The Carbon frame and lightweight wheelset accelerate amazingly and the Shimano gears click into place instantly.
The forks and shock are a total revelation. I have no frame of reference, since this is my first full-bouncer, but the comfort and grip offered as I pootled along in the snow were excellent. I deliberately avoided locking either the front or back, so I could get a feel for how active the suspension was at each end. There seemed to be no stiction when I hit any bumps, but I certainly didn’t feel to be bouncing as I pedalled along my path, even when I climbed out of the saddle.
I can’t wait to get out into my local hills when the weather’s a bit better and I have more time. The new bike’s been a total revelation so far, even with the tiny little ride I’ve managed so far.
Bring it on. 🙂