Merida can do no wrong with their eMTBs, so how does the new eOne-Forty Limited look?
Merida quickly shot to the top of the eMTB game when they released their eOne-SIxty 900E in 2017. The bike was burly, powerful, and had a parts spec few could fault. And while it wasn't cheap, it represented excellent value for what was on offer. The eOne-Sixty range grew, and an updated range was released in May 2019, with carbon frames and mixed wheel sizes to suit the ever-evolving nature of mountain biking, and especially pedal-assist mountain biking.
Pedal-assist mountain bikes really found their stride through 2017 and 2018, and 140-160mm travel eMTBs were where everyone was looking. They could get up the hill thanks to the pedal-assist, but with slack angles, a burly parts build and plenty of travel they could really charge on the descents. Still, plenty of people bought bikes like the eOne-Sixty who didn't really need 150-160mm of travel, but they bought one of the best-in-class bikes as, well, they're a really good bike.
What we have seen since then is an expansion in what is available in eMTBs. From lightweight, low power bikes like the Specialized Levo SL that was recently released, or more trail-oriented bikes like the Merida eOne-Forty 8000, as tested in Issue #180.
The eOne-Forty platform is Merida's response to riders who need a bike that suited going mountain biking, compared to self-shuttling on something like the eOne-Sixty, which is essentially an Enduro bike with a battery and pedal-assist motor. The mainframe between the eOne-Forty and eOne-Sixty is the same but with a different fork and shock to make the geometry more suited to riding up steeper trails and around corners, while still giving 140mm of travel for a playful trail bike. After releasing both variants in carbon last year, the aluminium 'Limited' models were released in early 2020. Merida state that:
"Because of the travel, the comfortable and upright riding position, the eOne-Forty gives a lot of confidence and offers a real alternative to a 'normal' mountain bike. If a 2nd battery or charging device is carried, there is (almost) no limit for all-day riding or multi-day excursions."
You can read all their details on the product website.
We have had an eOne-Forty Limited land for testing recently. It's a really smart looking bike that does what you'd imagine - it packs all the features of the carbon model into an aluminium package, which puts the price at $6499, compared to $7799 for the eOne-Forty 8000 model. The higher spec model has the carbon mainframe, but also upgraded suspension, drivetrain and components. So it's not quite like for like besides the main frame.
On the scales, setup tubeless with Peaty's sealant, tape and valves and Shimano XT Trail pedals, the eOne-Forty tips the scales at 23.78kg. It's about 1.5kg heavier than the 8000 model, so not a terrible penalty when you consider you do have pedal assist.
With trails drying up here in south east Queensland, it's time to take it to the trails. I would imagine the overall ride quality will be similar to the 8000 model tested by Brad in our current issue, but coming in at a lower price point is a real bonus. While spending over $6000 on a bike is still a big investment, being able to get an eMTB from such a well-respected stable at $6499 is really noteworthy, especially when it still has Shimano's STEPS E8000 drive unit. Our full review will be in Issue #182.
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