Merida have brought the Big.Nine into a whole new era with their redesign for 2017. We've been putting one of models through its paces for Issue #157.
Earlier this year, Merida brought the world's mountain bike press to Albstadt to present their new hardtails. The Big.Nine, Big.Seven and Big.Trail were shown off and available for test rides. With new geometry and manufacturaing, the carbon race bikes were lighter, stiffer more compliant, and built around today's requirements for components, and handling.
The Big.Nine 7000-E we have on test is adorned with a full Shimano XT Di2 group set, using SynchroShift to run the two chain rings. This means the one shifter moves through the gear range, providing sequential ratios. This gives the range of a 2x setup, with the simplicty for the user of a 1x configuration.
With a fox 32 SC Performance fork and DT-Swiss wheel set, it really is set to go from the box. The frame has been designed to work with electronic or mechanical groups, with the option for a dropper post as well. The internal routing is super neat, and rattle free.
On the trail, the Big.Nine benefits from the longer reach and lower top tubes that the redesign has covered, creating a more stable, yet more agile bike when combined with the short stem and wide bars. The Boost spacing has helped create an exceptionally stiff bike, andit looks like Merida may well have made a popular frame even better.
While not cheap at about $5500, it doesn't look like the Big.Nine 7000-E needs much save for same tubeless valves and sealant, before lining up at just about any XCO or marathon race you can think of.
Our full review will be in Issue #157, out on October 27th. If you don't want to miss it - subscribe!