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Merida Adds BIG.NINE TR 120mm Hardtail with Geometry Overhauls for Alloy & Carbon

merida bignine carbon xc hardtail 10k frame detail
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Merida has sharpened up its hardtail XC mountain bike, building upon a platform that has been ridden to many a victory by Mountain Bike Hall of Fame Inductee, Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjå. The 100mm BIG.NINE and the 120mm BIG.NINE TR, both available in aluminum and carbon frame options, are updated with a longer and slacker geometry to deliver a bike with improved descending capabilities in answer to the demands of modern XCO race courses.

The 2024 BIG.NINE doesn’t quite roll into trail riding territory; their BIG.TRAIL hardtail is the tool for that job, but its slacker head angle, lower standover and increased tire clearance come together to create a race-worthy XC bike that offers more comfort, while being more easily controlled by its rider, both up and down the hill.

Pricing runs from £1,400, right up to £9,000.

The 2024 Merida BIG.NINE 10K retails at £9,000, and weighs a claimed 9.3 kg in Size Mid

2024 Merida BIG.NINE & BIG.NINE TR

The new BIG.NINE and BIG.NINE TR hardtails share the same frame, but the latter is fronted by a longer travel fork that slackens off the geometry, reduces reach and lengthens the wheelbase. The frame itself is radically different to the previous incarnation, not least because the last update was as far back as 2018. Key geometry changes are as follows:

  • The head angle is 2° slacker, now at 68° (67° on TR)
  • The seat tube angle is 1.8° steeper, now at 75.3°
  • Reach on the Mid grows by a whopping 31mm, now at 452mm
  • Seat tube length on the Mid is shortened by 34mm for lower standover
  • Wheelbase is up by 45mm
2024 merida bignine tr 8000 xc hardtail 120mm fork
The 2024 Merida BIG.NINE TR 8000 retails at £5,000 and weighs a claimed 10.4 kg in Size Mid

Short (for XC) stems are paired with 44mm offset forks to prevent front-end handling becoming too lazy. Short and Mid sizes get a 60mm stem, Long and and X-Long get a 70mm stem, and the XX-Long bikes get an 80mm stem.

Not only do the shorter seat tubes allow for longer travel dropper seat posts, but Merida also point out that the significant increase in exposed seat post can give rise to more flex in the post itself, with potential for a little more comfort for long drags of seated pedalling.

Merida BIG.NINE CF3 and CF5 carbon frame geometry
2024 merida big.nine tr geometry
Merida BIG.NINE CF3 and CF5 carbon frame geometry

The aluminum frame and the CF3 and CF5 carbon frames seen throughout the range share the same geometry numbers on everything except chainstay length. Indeed, it’s not just weight that sets them apart; the carbon frames also benefit from a size-specific chainstay length that grows somewhat proportionally as reach goes longer.

Importantly, both get a 148mm x 12mm rear end with a SRAM UDH dropout for the hanger-less interface required by the latest SRAM Transmission groups. Thus, this is a 1x specific frame running a 55mm chainline. Tire clearance is boosted to 29″ x 2.4″, there’s a flat-mount for the rear brake, cables are routed internally entering at the headset, and all five frame sizes can accomodate two 750mm water bottles on the downtube.

2024 merida bignine 600 alloy frame
The 2024 Merida BIG.NINE TR 600 retails at £1,400

The Aluminum LITE Frame

The aluminum BIG.NINE is pitched as the more affordable do-it-all hardtail that can just as happily be appropriated as an all-terrain commuting tool, as it can a race bike for the privateer constrained by budget. The frame weighs a claimed 1,920 grams – almost a kilogram heavier than the top-end CF5 frame. It gets a removable kickstand and rear fender mounts, allowing it to adapt to the changing needs of its rider.

Chainstay length is consistent at 433mm across the five frame sizes. That gives a chainstay to reach ratio close to 1 for the Short frame. However, with a reach of 512mm on the XX-Long frame, one doesn’t need a calculator to see how the rider’s position becomes heavily biased toward the rear wheel.

This has long been the way of things, but a recent trend towards a more proportional approach to geometry is rectifying this to bring the ride feel experienced by short riders and the ride feel experienced by tall riders somewhat closer together. Dependent on your height, you might want to consider the carbon frame options for that improved front-to-rear balance, but be prepared to pay for it.

Only the BIG.NINE 10K gets the lightest, 880g CF5 carbon frame

The Carbon CF5 and CF3 Frames

The BIG.NINE carbon frames are significantly lighter, with the CF3 weighing a claimed 1,100g and the CF5 weighing a claimed 880g. The former is comprised of cheaper carbon fibers that are, presumably, not as strong as the carbon fibers used to produce the CF5 frame. Thus, more of them are required to achieve the same strength and stiffness, hence the additional weight.

Both the CF5 and CF3 frames get a size-specific chainstay length, starting at 430mm in the Short, increasing to 442mm in the XX-Long, with 3mm increments between sizes. The improved front-to-rear balance is said to make for an improved climbing experience; with a longer chainstay length it should be easier to keep the front end down on steeper, technical climbs. Similarly, it should be easier to maintain weight through the front tire in flat corners, reducing the risk of wash outs.

Other Frame Details

  • No ISCG Mounts; a BB chain guide must be used
  • 30.9mm seat post diameter
  • Threaded BSA BB
  • One accessory mount under top tube (CF frames only)

Bonus Accoutrements

Merida go to the extra bother of furnishing their mountain bikes with conveniently stowed tools. Just as we saw on the Merida ONE-FORTY and ONE-SIXTY full suspension bikes, the new BIG.NINE hardtails get a multi-tool stowed underneath the saddle and a 4/6mm allen tool lever on the removable rear axle lever. Actually, this did rattle on our ONE-SIXTY test bike, so we’d hope Merida has fixed that.

The TEAM CC III stem is also equipped with a smart mount for adding a light or cycle computer. There’s also a Trail Mount that can be bolted to the top tube bosses, for secure storage of a spare tube or extra snacks.

Pricing & Availability

Between the carbon and aluminum frame options, and the 100mm BIG.NINE and 120mm BIG.NINE TR, there are no fewer than eight new Merida bikes hitting the market today. Starting with…

2024 merida big nine 10k xc hardtail cf5 carbon frame

BIG.NINE 10K CF5 – 9.3 kg* – £9,000

  • 100mm RockShox SID SL Ultimate Fork
  • SRAM Level Ultimate Stealth 2-Piston Brakes
  • SRAM XX Eagle SL Transmission
  • Reynolds BLACKLABEL 309/289 XC Carbon Wheels
  • Maxxis Rekon Race 29″ x 2.4″, EXO, Tubeless Ready
2024 MERIDA BIGNINE TR 8000 CARBON
Also available in Dandelion Green

BIG.NINE TR 8000 CF3 – 10.4 kg* – £5,000

  • 120mm Fox 34 FLOAT SC Performance Elite Fork
  • SRAM Level Silver Stealth 2-Piston Brakes
  • SRAM GX Eagle Transmission AXS
  • Reynolds TR 309/289 XC Wheels
  • Maxxis Rekon / Maxxis Rekon Race 29″ x 2.4″ Tires, EXO. Tubeless Ready
2024 merida big.nine xt cf3 carbon frame

BIG.NINE XT CF3 – 10.2 kg* – £3,150

  • 100mm RockShox SID SL
  • Shimano XT M8100 2-Piston Brakes
  • Shimano XT Drivetrain Components
  • Merida Expert CC II Rims with Shimano Hubs
  • Maxxis Rekon Race 29″ x 2.4″, EXO, Tubeless Ready
2024 merida big.nine tr 5000 cf3 carbon frame

BIG.NINE TR 5000 CF3 – 12.4 kg* – £2,700

  • 120mm RockShox Judy Gold Fork
  • Shimano SLX M7100 2-Piston Brakes
  • Shimano XT SGS / Shimano Deore M6100 Drivetrain Components
  • Merida Expert CC II Rims with Shimano Hubs
  • Maxxis Rekon / Maxxis Rekon Race 29″ x 2.4″ Tires, EXO. Tubeless Ready
2024 merida big nine 3000 cf3 carbon frame

BIG.NINE 3000 CF3 – 12.3 kg* – £2,000

  • SR Suntour Raidon 34 Fork
  • Shimano MT200 2-Piston Brakes
  • Shimano Deore M6100 Drivetrain Components
  • Merida Comp CC II Rims with Shimano Hubs
  • Maxxis Rekon Race 29″ x 2.4″ Tires, Wire Bead

BIG.NINE TR LIMITED AL LITE – 13.46 kg* – £1,750

  • 100mm Manitou Machete Comp Fork
  • Shimano SLX M7100 2-Piston Brakes
  • Shimano XT SGS / Deore M6100 Drivetrain Components
  • Merida Comp CC II Rims with Shimano Hubs
  • Maxxis Rekon 29″ x 2.4″ Tires, Wire Bead
2024 merida bignine 700 al lite frame blue

BIG.NINE 700 AL LITE – 13.87 kg* – £1,450

  • 100mm Manitou Machete Comp Fork
  • Shimano MT200 2-Piston Brakes
  • Shimano Deore M6100 Drivetrain Components
  • Merida Comp CC II Rims with Shimano Hubs
  • Maxxis Rekon Race 29″ x 2.4″ Tires, Wire Bead
2024 merida big nine tr 600 alloy lite frame

BIG.NINE TR 600 AL LITE – No Weight Given – £1,400

  • 120mm SR Suntour Raidon 34 Fork
  • Shimano MT200 2-Piston Brakes
  • Shimano CUES U6000 Drivetrain Components
  • Merida Comp CC II Rims with Shimano Hubs
  • Maxxis Rekon 20″ 2.4″ Tires, Wire Bead

*Claimed weight in a Size Mid

merida-bikes.com

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Naero
Naero
8 months ago

I find headset cable routing a worrying trend, especially in budget bikes. No one who buys a cheap-ish bike will want to pay the mechanic to work on it once something inevitably breaks. I would wager those bikes will get thrown away earlier.

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