Merida 120 3000D & DT Swiss XMM 140 Twinshot

In terms of an interest its retro/classic steel bikes, but that's about building, restoring, collecting and a little casual riding.  For 'actual riding', 90% of my miles are on the local trails and off road its modern all the way.  This is my current ride, and its a ripper - a Merida 120 3000D Carbon.
About 9 months ago a started looking for something a bit more XC than the Santa Cruz Hecker and after several test rides, borrowing all my mates bikes and trying the 29er thing too, the Merida ticked the boxes. The overriding impression in comparison to the other bikes I tested (and the Heckler in particular) is that it just feels so fast.  I guess that's no great surprise, with all the carbon its a pretty light bike by MTB standards, and its got about 4kgs on the Heckler, but it really accelerates, and it still plenty capable enough for the riding I do.

Anyway, this isn't a full-on bike review, just a quick post about my new trail bike, but a few details about the mods. The carbon bars and Crossmax ST tubeless rims are aftermarket, and I've changed the original Fox F120's for some DT Swiss XMM 140 twin shots with a handlebar remote. 

Surprisingly, I was a little underwhelmed with the Fox forks, I wanted to like them but after the RS Pike 426's on my previous bike they didn't feel as smooth as I expected.   Most of all though (again after being used to the Pikes with U-turn and remote lockout), I missed the adjustablity, and the XMM 140 twin shots with the bar remote give back everything I was looking for and more.  They are smoother, more adjustable (the F120's don't have compression damping), fully open (@140mm) they have more travel and the 'Climb' mode is excellent - dropping the fork to about 110mm and firming them up about 80% at the touch of a 'button' on the bars.  The change of geometry dropping 30mm as well as the stiffening up the compression really makes a difference on any longer uphill grinds.

There is also fully locked mode, but the climb mode is so good I have little use for it.
The 2 gif's below show the differences in geometry with the forks in the different settings, and also in comparison to the F120's.

What doesn't it do? Well its an all day trail bike, not a freeride or downhill bike and its not as stable as the Heckler at high speed on very rough stuff.  That could be improved somewhat with wider bars and  shorter stem but it will never be a downhill bike and I', note planning any more changes at the moment - for my intended use its a ripper and I couldn't be happier with it.

1. DT Swiss XMM full open - 140mm travel
2. Climb mode - approx. 110mm travel and 80% firmer
1. DT Swiss XMM full open - 140mm travel
2. Fox F120 - 120mm travel
2. Climb mode - approx. 110mm travel and 80% firmer

In the picture up the top you can see my $12 video camera on the seat post. Yep, its still going strong. Here's a clip from the ride the day the picture was taken that shows some of the different angles that can easily be achieved with such a small camera, and a little electrical tape.

and ... its because I stuffed up the order - I thought I was getting 2 white tyres.  Everyone asks.


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