Wide trail, narrow trail, flow trail: BIG.TRAIL! MERIDA have updated their best-selling mountain bike with the aim of boosting the fun factor on the trail. Find out here if the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL 2024 succeeds!

Merida BIG.TRAIL 600 | 140 mm | 14,58 kg in size L | 2.350 € | Manufacturer’s Website

Launched in 2016, the BIG.TRAIL was MERIDA’s first “trail-focused” hardtail – a real success story, as the BIG.TRAIL went on to become the Taiwanese company’s best-selling mountain bike. The reason? It appeals to a wide range of people, from mountain bike beginners, to commuters and trail shredders. Hardtails are popular because they are efficient climbers, require less maintenance than full-suspension bikes, and are usually cheaper too.

MERIDA’s new BIG.TRAIL features efficient 29″ wheels front and rear, and an aluminium frame with trail-optimised geometry. Our size L BIG.TRAIL 600 test bike weighs 14.58 kg and has 140 mm of travel, though the frame is also compatible with 150 mm forks. Priced at € 2,350 for the top configuration, it is not yet available on the German market – and it’s not exactly a bargain for an aluminium hardtail. In addition to the adapted sizing system already used with the MERIDA ONE-FORTY and ONE-SIXTY, the BIG.TRAIL’s frame geometry has been modified to make it more capable downhill than its predecessor. We tested the bike extensively before its release to see if this claim is true!

The new MERIDA BIG.TRAIL 2024 in detail

Visually, the BIG.TRAIL is rather unspectacular, though the cockpit design is nice and clean. The cables run neatly through the headset into the frame thanks to MERIDA’s two-piece plastic cable port, which effectively prevents rattling. And because the cables don’t run through the stem and handlebars, you can still easily customise the cockpit. On the underside of the top tube, you will find a tool holder for your trail essentials. MERIDA have also included a multi-tool in a small box under the saddle, as well as a 6 mm and 4 mm Allen key built into the handle of the thru axle. The location of the multi-tool is not ideal, as it tends to collect a lot of dirt, but the tool allows you to fix small problems on the trail without having to carry anything extra.

The cables run neatly into the headset – nice!
A tool mount allows you to always have your trail essentials at hand!
The multi-tool on the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL 600 is very handy – but it can get a bit dirty due to its positioning.

To keep you hydrated, there are two bottle cage mounts on the down tube. A notable highlight is the chainstay protector, the first of its kind from MERIDA. It is made of two different plastics: hard on the bottom so that it can be clipped onto the frame, and soft on the top to eliminate noise from contact with the chain. This new design works exceptionally well, making the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL pleasantly quiet on the trail.

MERIDA have fitted the frame of the BIG.TRAIL 2024 with mounts for mudguards, a kickstand and a pannier rack. But the mounts do make it super easy to convert the bike into a commuter machine, capable of hitting a trail or two on the way to or from work or school.

The newly developed chainstay protector keeps the BIG.TRAIL 600 quiet, and effectively protects the frame.

The spec of the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL 600 2024

Our MERIDA BIG.TRAIL 600 features a RockShox Pike Base suspension fork with a simple Rush RC cartridge that allows low-speed compression and rebound damping adjustment. It also has Shimano XT four-piston brakes with two large 200 mm discs. Well done to MERIDA for this – it’s something you rarely see on a hardtail, but it makes a big difference to trail performance! This setup provides plenty of braking power, even on steep descents. The Shimano XT brakes performed well in our brake comparison, only outperformed by the more expensive Shimano XTR in terms of weight.

You can only adjust low speed compression and rebound damping on the RockShox Base forks.
The Shimano XT brake works effectively with the 200 mm brake disc in the frame triangle.

The Shimano DEORE 12-speed mechanical drivetrain ensures reliable shifting on the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL. A chain guide is already fitted, and the integrated ISCG05 mount allows the addition of a bash guard if required. The MERIDA seatpost on our size L bike has a 200 mm stroke and can be fully inserted into the seat tube, giving excellent freedom of movement on the trail – particularly important for a hardtail. There is also an ergonomic remote that attaches to the brake lever and fits neatly into the cockpit.

Without the need for an extra clamp, the controller fits neatly into the cockpit.
The MERIDA dropper post impresses with its long 200 mm (size L).

The in-house 29″ aluminium wheels are fitted with a MAXXIS Minion DHF tire at the front and MAXXIS DISSECTOR at the rear. Both use the slightly harder MaxxTerra rubber compound, which is more hardwearing than the softer MaxxGrip. This highlights the versatile nature of the BIG.TRAIL. The front tire uses the EXO casing, while the rear has a slightly more robust EXO+ casing, which is perfectly adequate for casual rides, but if you plan to tackle rough trails with rock gardens and rattling root carpets, consider upgrading to tires with the stronger Doubledown casing on the rear. This will allow you to run lower tire pressures and improve damping and grip – essential for a hardtail when riding on challenging trails.

Tuning tip: For more fun on challenging trails, fit tires with a stronger casing on the rear wheel.

Spec variants of the new MERIDA

The MERIDA BIG.TRAIL 2024 will be available in three specifications: 600, 500 and 300. The higher the number, the better the quality of the parts, and the higher the price. The BIG.TRAIL 300, for example, costs € 1,300 and comes with an SR Suntour XCR 34 2CR fork, a 9-speed Shimano CUES drivetrain and Shimano MT200 dual-piston brakes with two-finger brake levers. We do not recommend this configuration for technical trails or long descents, however, as the two-piston brakes lack sufficient power and can be tiring on the fingers.
On the 500 version, priced at € 1,775, MERIDA have fitted a RockShox Psylo Silver RC fork, a Shimano CUES 11-speed drivetrain, and slightly more powerful Shimano MT410 brakes, although these also only have two pistons.

Merida BIG.TRAIL 600

€ 2,350


Fork RockShox Pike Base 140 mm
Rear Shock mm
Seatpost MERIDA EXPERT TR II 200 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano Deore 1x12
Handlebar MERIDA EXPERT TR II 780 mm
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF MaxxTerra EXO/Dissector MaxxTerra EXO+ 2,5"/2,4

Technical Data

Size XS S M L XL

Specific Features

Integriertes Tool

The geometry of the BIG.TRAIL 2024

MERIDA have adapted their sizing system for the BIG.TRAIL 2024, based on the ONE-SIXTY and ONE-FORTY models. The new system categorises the bikes into X-Short, Short, Mid, Long and X-Long instead of the traditional S/M/L/XL/XXL. Reach and wheelbase increase with a relatively constant seat tube length, allowing you to choose a frame size that suits your personal taste and intended use, whether you prefer a shorter, more agile bike or a longer, smoother one. Each model still has a recommended height range – for example, the X-Short is recommended for riders 155 cm tall, and the X-Long for riders 195 cm tall – but there should be more scope for riders to size up or down, without being restricted by saddle position. The frame geometry is designed around a 64° head angle, which, according to the manufacturer, improves downhill stability even on rough trails. Meanwhile, the steeper seat tube angle of 76.5° is intended to improve the uphill performance of the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL.

Size XS S M L XL
Top tube 559 mm 581 mm 603 mm 630 mm 657 mm
Seat tube 385 mm 400 mm 420 mm 445 mm 475 mm
Head tube 90 mm 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm 130 mm
Head angle 64° 64° 64° 64° 64°
Seat angle 76.5° 76.5° 76.5° 76.5° 76.5°
BB Drop 70 mm 70 mm 70 mm 70 mm 70 mm
Chainstay 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm
Wheelbase 1,164 mm 1,189 mm 1,213 mm 1,243 mm 1,272 mm
Reach 415 mm 435 mm 455 mm 480 mm 505 mm
Stack 627 mm 636 mm 645 mm 654 mm 663 mm
Glasses Bliz Fusion | Backpack Evoc Hydro Pro 1.5 | Jersey Troy Lee Desings Skyline | Shorts Troy Lee Desings Skyline | Kneepad Bluegrass Aura Core Knee | Shoes Leatt ProClip 5.0

The new MERIDA BIG.TRAIL 600 2024 on the trail

Hopping aboard the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL, you immediately settle into a central riding position. Your body weight is evenly distributed between the bars and the saddle, making for a good balance between comfort and efficiency. Compared to full suspension bikes, which tend to absorb some of your effort while climbing, the rigid rear end and efficient riding position make for a real advantage and will put a smile on your face, especially on forest roads and flowing singletrack climbs. On technical climbs, however, you need to be careful to choose the right line, as the stiff rear end can lose traction on thick roots or steps. The steep seat angle keeps you upright and puts plenty of pressure over the handlebars. This prevents the front wheel from lifting off the ground on steep climbs, keeping you on your line.

Downhill the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL is easy to control and responds directly to steering inputs. Thanks to the stiff rear end, the bike is very responsive and gives immediate feedback from the ground, making active line selection essential. You have to use your body as well as your brain, which can be exhausting, but also a lot of fun. The chainstay protector and cable routing contribute to a pleasantly quiet ride. The BIG.TRAIL feels most at home on flow trails, where you can push the stiff rear end through berms and pump over rollers. This allows you to build up speed quickly, making it easy to pull off edges and soar through the air.

On natural trails with smaller natural features, the RockShox Pike fork works reliably and absorbs small impacts. However, on larger steps and repeated big hits, it lacks reserves and transfers the impact straight to your arms.You should also choose your lines carefully, as on the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL, the rear suspension consists of the thin tires and your own legs. Overall, the BIG.TRAIL is fun and efficient on longer rides and flow trails. However, like all hardtails, it quickly reaches its limits on technical singletracks. The stiff rear end significantly reduces grip on technical trails, just like every hardtail, both uphill and on the descents, and the bike doesn’t plough over obstacles like a full suspension bike.

Who is the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL for?

We recommend the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL 600 to fitness-orientated riders who are looking for an efficient climber and enjoy putting in the kilometres, as well as taking on the occasional flow trail. The BIG.TRAIL is also a great addition to the bike fleet for experienced trail shredders. Thanks to the ease of (and need for) active line selection, you can work on improving your performance, and have a lot of fun in the process. The BIG.TRAIL can also easily be converted into a commuter bike with the integrated mounts for mudguards, a kickstand and a rear rack. If you’re looking for a bike that’s as good on the trail as it is for commuting, we would recommend the BIG.TRAIL.

Conclusion on the MERIDA BIG.TRAIL 600 2024

The MERIDA BIG.TRAIL is a solid and well-designed hardtail with a wide range of uses for beginners, commuters and trail shredders alike. The sizing system is a success and offers more flexibility in frame choice. The MERIDA BIG.TRAIL reaches its limits on rough trails, where you need to compensate with good line choice and physical strength. On easy trails, the BIG.TRAIL is a lot of fun, thanks to its responsive handling.


  • high fun factor
  • direct handling
  • flexible range of use


  • poor positioning of the multitool
  • tires too flimsy for trails

For more information visit Merida.com

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of ENDURO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality mountain bike journalism. Click here to learn more.

Words: Robin Ulbrich Photos: Peter Walker