Merida jump on the 650b bandwagon with new prototype One-Forty all-mountain bike

Taiwan's Merida make frames for some of the biggest brands in the business, and their own bikes are well worth a look too. They're best known for lightweight carbon XC rigs, as used by the Multivan Merida team. The shaved-leg squad will only be running 29in and 650b wheels this year, and it looks like the company reckon big wheels are the way to go for trail/all-mountain duties too, as they've just unveiled this prototype 650b Merida One-Forty.
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Why 27.5in(ish) wheels? Merida reckon they give a more lively ride than 29in hoops and leave room for more suspension travel, while retaining some of the bigger wheel size's bump-smoothing advantages. That should make the One-Forty feel like it's got way more than its 140mm of rear bounce. Sounds good to us! Check out the photos to find out more.

Merida call the bike’s virtual pivot suspension design VPK – Virtual Pivot Kinematics – to avoid confusion with the Santa Cruz owned VPP system. Picture by Robin Wilmott

Merida call the bike’s virtual pivot suspension design VPK – Virtual Pivot Kinematics – to avoid confusion with the Santa Cruz owned VPP system

This non-driveside view shows the lower link more clearly. Picture by Robin Wilmott

This non-driveside view shows the lower link more clearly

Merida's chief designer Jurgen Falke says the switch from 26in to 27.5in wheels has created plenty of engineering problems – including getting internal cable routing to work with so much travel. Picture by Robin Wilmott

Merida's chief designer Jurgen Falke says the switch from 26in to 27.5in wheels has created plenty of engineering problems – including getting internal cable routing to work with so much travel

Mud clearance between the rear triangle cross brace and the tyre is minimal. Picture by Robin Wilmott

Mud clearance between the rear triangle cross brace and the tyre is minimal

Its open shape should minimise clogging, but this does limit tyre choice. Picture by Robin Wilmott

Its open shape should minimise clogging, but this does limit tyre choice

650b fork choice is still fairly limited, with Fox only offering the 34 in that wheel size and the Revelation being RockShox’s heaviest-duty offering. Picture by Robin Wilmott

650b fork choice is still fairly limited, with Fox only offering the 34 in that wheel size and the Revelation being RockShox’s heaviest-duty offering

The wheels are 32-hole Sun Ringle Inferno 27 rims on DT Swiss 240s hubs. Picture by Robin Wilmott

The wheels are 32-hole Sun Ringle Inferno 27 rims on DT Swiss 240s hubs

SRAM's superlight XX1 drivetrain offsets the extra weight of the big wheels and boosts chain security too. Picture by Robin Wilmott

SRAM's superlight XX1 drivetrain offsets the extra weight of the big wheels and boosts chain security too

Merida pair the SRAM transmission with Shimano XT brakes – on the prototype at least. Picture by Rob Wilmott

Merida pair the SRAM transmission with Shimano XT brakes – on the prototype at least

The One-Forty has a 26in-wheeled bigger brother, the Merida One-Sixty, that's already in production. Check out the mini gallery below to find out more. More info at www.merida-bikes.com.

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