Simply mentioning that Merida’s Big Seven Team is a recently developed mountain bike, part of the 27.5 inch hardtail range, would be somewhat of an understatement. The specifications chart might mislead you at first glance, with the alloy frame and modest components among the features, but what if we told you the frame has the exact same geometry as the carbon version professional Antonio Hermida is using? Or that the Big Seven Team confirms that any material is the right one for a great bike as long as it’s processed by the right hands?
Frame/On the trail
Sitting in the mid-level category, the Big Seven Team needs to reach a fine balance between the right features offered for the right price, a thing that often proved elusive for different brands and bikes. Its price gives birth to a series of expectations, but above all, Big Seven Team means big fun. The classical geometry that includes a 71 degree head tube angle and a 73 degree seat tube one makes for a very agile hardatil. While it may not be very stable, nor compliant, as a result of its shorter chain stay, it promptly responds to commands regardless if you jump over tree stubs or suddenly make a turn. In order to best describe the feeling, it’s like a 26er with an increased rolling speed.
Stem length (80mm) and handlebar width (660mm) play a key part in this brilliant maneuverability, especially when going downhill, while the decent weight figure of about 12 kilograms (26 lbs.) sure comes in hand when climbing. Also, I can say about the rider’s position that it’s centered, allowing an increased range of movements if you feel they can be of any assistance when pedalling. However, the stiffness has an average value of 93.7 Nm/grad, but is enough to provide the right amount of power transfer and comfort.
As for the details, the crafty finishings, the marvelous drop-outs, the stiffness-increasing 12mm rear thru axle, and the inner routing all elegantly round up this very efficient XC machinery that the Big Seven Team represents.
You won’t be let down by the Rock Shox Recon Gold TK27 (100mm travel) suspension fork that Big Seven Team features, even if it’s not as light as a Reba. It passes over uneven terrain in a very reassuring manner, and handles corners in the same way, so it’s a right option given that the overall build of the bike demands such performances.
Also working great is the 2×10 drivetrain, composed of SRAM X9 shifters and derailleurs, and a SRAM S1000 crankset, although this last components isn’t exactly top notch, but neither is it too far off from this. In order to keep the price at the right level, some compromises had to be done, and the crankset embodies this issue, but I could live very well with the idea as long as this is how SRAM views compromises. Another important feature can be found included in the rear derailleur, and if you were thinking of the Type II technology, then you are right. No, sir, no chain slap here!
Cutting expenses also meant using the Magura MT4 brakes, with their 180/160mm rotors, which can be persuaded to stop the bike only if you pull their levers hard enough. Last, but not least Big Seven Team features a couple of reasonable wheels, although you might agree that ball bearings don’t do so great in terms of durability. The rims provided by the manufacturer look sturdy, while the Maxxis Aspen tires ensure a high rolling speed, and sufficient grip in corners.
I haven’t seen such a nice build, and surely not as suited for both climbing and descending as the Big Seven Team in quite a while. The rider’s position is spot on centered which makes controlling the bicycle very easy, subsequently offering a great riding experience. In fact, Merida’s bike only lacks wider bars, better brakes, and some grams shaved off the cranks in order to shut us up, that’s how smooth it runs.
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