Bicycle and Gear Reviews

2011 Review: Merida Twenty-Nine Lite 1000D

6 Comments 27 October 2010

You know how hyped Maarten has been about 29ers? Look at that gentle caress.

We started our Merida review row two days ago, first on the road with the Reacto 907 and then headed towards the forest with the Cyclo Cross 4 Disc. Now we head deep in to the bush, where you need bigger tires and larger suspension to make it alive, also the first Merida review to be something really new: The Twenty Nine.

Merida is known for its mountain bike range and they still have a large model range available, still, they have been tweaking their 29 inch models until they come out in the spring of 2011. We were lucky enough to take them out for a spin and our resident 29er freak was a happy little monkey.

We will review the 29er from two angles, from Markus’ “I haven’t ridden an MTB in 6 years” and Maarten’s “I rode Cape Epic in South Africa blindfolded” – that should give you some feeling on what the bike is like for a commuter and a more serious rider. Tomorrow is Maarten’s turn.

Now this looks more like it, next to some boulders

In a way, a 29 inch mountain bike is not very different from a traditional 26 inch version: It has bigger wheels. This allows a lower rolling resistance, but it makes agility in technical tracks less optimal. Apart from the frame, the fork or the wheels, the other parts are identical in all mountain bikes.

Shimano SLX standard MTB gear, good quality with a decent price

Merida will come out with two Twenty Nine models (1000 D and 1800 D), we tried the cheaper 1000 D version that comes with Shimano SLX groupset with an XT 10-speed (11-36) derailleur. With a triple 42-32-24 crankset it means that this XC/Marathon beast has 30 speeds in its drivetrain and there probably isn’t a hill that you would need a smaller gear for.

80mm Rock Shox and 180mm Shimano disc brakes for soothing and stopping

The fun thing we noticed is that thanks to the increased size of the bike, it’s sometimes hard to really see the sizes of things. For example we thought that the Shimano M505 brake discs were 160mm, even though they actually are 180mm. Since the wheels are larger, but the whole setup looks so well balanced it’s hard to understand.

The front of the Twenty Nine has a Rock Shox Recon Gold 29er fork with a 80mm travel, which is not a bad selection with its light weight (1805 g) and decent travel.  Together with Racing Ralph 29″ 2.1 tires from Schwalbe, you could say that the starting from 29er model from Merida comes with a decent setup.

Those small trunks on the road? We hardly even noticed them.

Ride-wise the bike was a solid hit with both urban environments to singletracks, and it seemed like Maarten seemed to like the bike more after every minute. Speaking of which, he will do an article about the noticed differences of riding with a 29er compared to a traditionally sized bike.

Merida is also planning to build a full-suspension twenty-niner together with a carbon framed version to complete the model range. Can we expect these already next spring when the beginning of the Twenty-Nine range comes out, we can’t say, but eventually they will come.

Our verdict: ★★★★½

It will cost over 2000 euros, the other models even more, but I’m getting one. I think my colleague is thinking the same thing.

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- who has written 201 posts on Coming thru!.

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.

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  • Al

    Is the fork an 80mm travel? Why is it in their website a 100mm?

    Im planning to build my new merida 1000d twenty nine and im looking for the rst m29 air 80mm.

    Is it okay for my frame with either an 80 or a 100mm travel?

  • Al

    Is the fork an 80mm travel? Why is it in their website a 100mm?

    Im planning to build my new merida 1000d twenty nine and im looking for the rst m29 air 80mm.

    Is it okay for my frame with either an 80 or a 100mm travel?

  • http://www.varha.com Markus Varha

    We had a little debate on the matter, I said it was 100mm and Maarten said the one we rode had 80mm. It might be cheaper to buy a complete 1000d Twenty-Nine and just change the fork if you need to. I would go with the 100mm though.

  • Al

    thanks for replying.  I got my used 1000d 3 weeks ago.  Transfered my SLX groupset, bought a 100mm RST M29 air and used wheelset.

    Haven’t really rode it yet on trails.  Its been raining hard here during my only free time (sundays). 

    Hope I can do it this week.

  • Al

    May I ask  another dumb question?  I bought an RST M29 air fork which my LBS told me is a 100mm travel.  Dumb me, I did not measure it until 3 weeks later.  My stanchion tube’s length is 120mm in length.

    How do you measure travel? I know I bought a 100mm travel but the length is 120.

    In case its a 120mm travel is it okay with my twenty nine frame?

  • http://www.varha.com Markus Varha

    The difference is only 20mm even if it would be wrong, so it will fit just nice. If you would have bought a downhill fork, then you would notice the difference :)

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Coming Thru (or Coming Through - as that URL was taken) is a daily updated bike magazine - a collection of writings and links that relate to biking in its every form. The idea started from when Maarten met Markus decided to finally start collecting the things we like about bikes and talk about our everyday adventures in dodging moving objects at high speeds.The site is run by a collage of cyclists, most notably by Canadian Johanna MacDonald, Belgian Maarten Patteeuw and Finnish Markus Sandelin.

It all started in the spring of 2010, after a record breaking snowy winter when Markus bought a house 25 kilometers from the office and decided to handle the commuting with a bicycle. It turned out the bike wasn’t up to standards for that kind of stress and the first weeks were more tragicomic than glorious. Thus the idea began to brew to actually document this journey.

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