Merida is a performance bicycle manufacturer from Taiwan. All their bicycle use German R&D and Engineering and then come into manufacturing at their Taiwan plants which are known for build quality as they also extend their services to few other International brands. Merida’s 2018 range of bicycles has seen a lot of new technology going into their design and componentry. We got the opportunity to test ride the Big Nine 600 (2018) and here is what I thought.
The Big Nine 600 is a Cross-Country MTB built using Merida’s trademark Racelite 6061 aluminium. Cross-Country is a discipline of Mountain biking over longer trail courses and is the only form of Mountain biking, which is featured at the Olympics. This form of cycling needs to do best of both, be strong to conquer trails and also be light to ride fast. It is a tough combination to perfect but after a rigorous test ride on trails I can confidently say that Merida has got it right. This double butted hardtail frame with techno forming system helps the frame get more rigid while staying light and also able to absorb quite a bit of vibration off the surface and in turn making the ride smoother.
The Manitou Machete Comp front suspension air fork with 100mm travel strikes the ideal balance between weight and performance making it a reliable XC/Trail fork. The smoothness of this travel is excellent. A remote lock-out feature is what I was expecting to see on a XC hardtail MTB at this price, nevertheless there is a manual suspension lock-out feature which is easy to operate and helps the rider accelerate on flatter patches.
Merida are known for great designs and they haven’t disappointed with the Big Nine 600. The bicycle which I test rode came in a silver coloured frame with sky blue graphics. The gloss finish paint job was top notch in quality and gave the bicycle a shiny look. The welding on the tubes were elegant and had a smooth flow to it. The large cassette at the rear is the biggest I’ve seen on a MTB and has an immense aesthetic effect on this bicycle’s design.
The drivetrain is perhaps the most exciting part of this XC hardtail MTB. MTB’s are commonly seen equipped with a standard triple drivetrain setup including three front chainrings and a rear cassette. But the future is here, and it is not about adding new tech but about removing a long seen component, the front derailleur. The Big Nine 600 comes with a 1 x 11 Speed Shimano SLX shadow. This is a hardcore performance focused component and was smooth and quick in transmission during the test ride. With no front derailleur there is one or two less chainrings and cable and no front derailleur which means your bicycle weighs less. You no longer have to worry about possibly dropping your chain when shifting between front rings. This is a big advantage, especially for racers shifting under pressure and for less experienced riders who lack confidence and skill to reliably use their front shifter with success. The Shimano SLX 11-Speed Rapid Fire shifter was easy to use.
The Big Nine 600 is an XC MTB which means that there is a lot of speed and quick bursts of acceleration involved. This requires a braking system to keep the rider safe and balanced. The Shimano M315 Hydraulic Disc Brakes at the front and rear are as powerful as it can get on an MTB. It will take a little while to get accustomed to the reaction speed and power of these brakes, but once it does they will help you quickly change directions and maneuver trail obstacles while being in full control of the bicycle.
I like wide handlebars on MTB’s as they help the rider get into an ‘open chested’ riding posture which ensures the rider’s eyes are on the path ahead. The 720mm super wide stock handlebar from Merida does exactly that.
Cross-country Mountain cycling requires a light bicycle and this includes the wheelsets as well. This MTB comes with a pair of Maxxis Ikon 29” x 2.2” tires. These tires are heavily treaded and evenly spaced to cover the corners as well. This helps in keeping the rider and the bicycle balanced on the fastest of corners on muddy trails. The stock rims are strong yet lightweight and support folding tires.
The Merida Sport Saddle is ergonomically designed to keep the rider comfortable on rough trails with the perfect length and width.
This is a hardtail MTB built for cross-country trail rides and races. They can roll over the unexpected obstacles on trails as well as ride fast on single tracks. With a 1 x 11 drivetrain and a double-butted aluminium frame, this bicycle’s light weight helps in acceleration. Priced at Rs.85,990 the Merida Big Nine 600 (2018) is suitable for anyone looking for a MTB to tackle the most challenging of trails and also to get into trail racing.
Prices are subject to change by the brand, without due notice.
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