Cross-Country or Trail? Merida's BIG.NINE vs BIG.TRAIL Hardtails

Cross-Country or Trail? Merida's BIG.NINE vs BIG.TRAIL Hardtails

Cross-Country or Trail? Merida's BIG.NINE vs BIG.TRAIL Hardtails

Hardtails are the perfect gateway to mountain biking. Affordable, easy to maintain, and arguably the best type of bike to learn the fundamentals of mountain biking on. Choosing the right type of hardtail is important, and Merida has two models to choose from: the cross-country focused BIG.NINE, and the trail focused BIG.TRAIL.

In this guide we’ll break down the key differences between the two models, helping you choose the bike that’s best suited to your needs.

The BIG.NINE - Versatile, lightweight speed machine

Cross-country bikes are built with efficiency in mind. Everything, from the frame to the components, prioritise speed and weight reduction. The BIG.NINE is available in aluminium or carbon fibre, both frames balancing lightweight with stiffness to deliver the ultimate pedalling efficiency.. The 29” wheels are fitted with tyres with a low rolling resistance to maximise the amount of speed the BIG.NINE can carry across terrain, and a short travel 100mm fork provides more traction, improves handling, and increases comfort without a big weight penalty.

Cross-country bikes have a more aggressive riding position, with a focus on lowering your body position. This is to minimise drag when racing. They’re also shorter than other types of mountain bikes to increase agility, and to make it easier to move your weight back and forth to maintain traction on mixed surfaces and undulating terrain.

The BIG.TRAIL - Capable, durable and buckets of fun

Where cross-country bikes prioritise efficiency, trail bikes prioritise durability, handling, and performance in technical terrain. The BIG.TRAIL is made from aluminium, and is longer and slacker than a cross-country bike. This makes the BIG.TRAIL much more stable at high speeds, or in steep terrain. The 29” wheels help smooth out the trail, and a 140mm travel fork is fitted to handle the demands of more technical riding.

Trail bikes have a more upright riding position, making them a little more comfortable, and allowing you more control over the position of your bodyweight. They also come fitted with long travel dropper posts, which helps with navigating technical trails and descents.

So, which one is best for you?

While the differences sound small on their own, when combined they make for a riding experience that is radically different. If you want a bike that is capable of doing a bit of everything, that prioritizes handling and capability over speed, the BIG.TRAIL is for you. It will happily climb any hill you point it up, and once the trail points down, the bike will really come to life.

If you want to cover ground quickly, go racing, or simply don’t see yourself riding more technical terrain, the BIG.NINE is for you. Its shorter geometry makes it easier to handle at low speeds, and its lightweight and efficient design will ensure as much of your energy as possible is being converted to forward momentum.


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