Saddleback Staff Rides – Tom’s Merida eONE-SIXTY
09 March 2023
By George Wise
Here at Saddleback, we’re used to being asked, ‘What bike do you ride,’ or ‘What kit do you use?’ We are lucky enough to work with some of the industry’s finest brands, which means that we’re constantly adding to our personal shopping lists of products we want to own or upgrade on our bikes. So, which do we actually invest in?
Check out the Youtube video, or read on, to learn what gear Tom Wheeler has chosen to add to his rather unusual Merida e-ONE SIXTY bike.
Learning to adapt
In 2011, a life changing crash whilst downhill racing left Tom with a right arm paralysed from the shoulder down. The traumatic injury had no effect on his love for cycling, so just a few months later Tom faced the challenge of learning how to ride his bike with one hand. This journey, and the adaptions he had to make to his bike as a consequence of it, paved the way for him to set up his own adaptive brace company, Trinity, which he still runs today.
Tom’s bike is a stock Merida eONE-SIXTY with a Shimano EP8 motor. The suspension is ‘out of the box’, with a Fox 38 Performance fork and a Fox DPX2 shock out back. His suspension setup has changed over time, to match his evolving riding style, a process he goes more into depth about in the video. He has gradually tested out different products to work out what suits him and made changes accordingly.
Since Tom has the use of just one arm, he uses his hips to turn the bike more than the average rider does. It also costs him more effort to lean the bike over onto the edge of the tyre, to maximise its bite. That being the case, Tom has bucked the wide rim trend and gone for a Stan’s Crest rim on the front and a Stan’s Flow at the rear. The narrower width creates a less squared-off tyre profile, allowing him to lean the bike more easily. Laced to the rims are a pair of 32h Chris King ISO hubs, chosen for their durability and fast pickup.
Tom is supported by Wolf Tooth, a brand that he’s been a massive fan of for years. Since he’s pretty pedantic about the design and engineering of his own Trinity products, Tom appreciates the problem solving nature and high quality construction of all of Wolf Tooth’s products.
Tom was one of the first people in the UK to have the new Resolve Dropper Post fitted. Having used Fox Transfer posts for years, Tom opted for the 125mm option, to match his previous model. In hindsight, Tom feels he should have gone for a longer drop on the Resolve, as the ultra-low stack of the seatpost means he could have enjoyed a generous 10-20mm more drop.
On the bars, he has used the Wolf Tooth ReMote Light Action Dropper Lever since its release. The lever is extremely light to use and doesn’t require much throw, an important consideration for someone who uses one hand to steer, balance, brake, shift and use the dropper.
The final arrow in his Wolf Tooth quiver is the B-RAD 3 Slot Mounting Base and B-Rad Strap and Accessory Mount kit. This mounting system creates two extra bottle cage mounting spaces in which to add accessories to your bike. Tom uses his Strap and Accessory Mount kit to hold an inner tube and basic tools.
Don’t be ENVE-ous….
Despite not being able to use wide ENVE rims, for the reasons previously touched upon, Tom does use ENVE bars and an ENVE carbon stem. He has tried out most of the ENVE handlebars from the M9, M7, M6 and M5 ranges and finally settled on the M6. In fact, he initially went for the M9 and M7, but found them too stiff and fatiguing for his arm and bike setup, while the M5 was too soft, narrow and did not offer enough ride options for his purposes. The M6 therefore turned out to be his ‘Goldilocks’ handlebar.
Alongside a crazy setup that moves all the controls onto the left side, the bike uses Tom’s own Trinity brace system to lock his paralysed right arm to the bar, promoting balance and composure as he rides. To ratchet the system, Tom uses Sidi Tecno-3 dials, due to their micro adjustment capabilities and robustness. Again, watch the video to learn more about his system.
We can’t say that Tom’s staff ride picks are typical for Saddleback, but his setup is certainly one of the most ingenious. Using a mixture of quality off-the-shelf gear and custom options, he has produced a truly unique bike.
Frame: Merida eONE-SIXTY 9000 large / Shimano EP8
Fork: Fox 38 Performance
Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary front / Big Betty rear / tubeless with with Silca sealant
Dropper post: Wolf Tooth Resolve 125mm / bar mounted ReMote Light Action Dropper Lever
Wheels: Chris King hubs, 32 hole, laced into Stan's Flow on the rear and Stan's Crest on the front (built by Saddleback)
Gears: SRAM 11 Speed Grip Shift (run upside down)
Brakes: Magura Trail front with grip tape on the lever / XT rear; 203mm rotors / Trinity B-Adapt to overlay both levers on the left side
Bars: Enve M6 31.8mm / 25mm rise cut to 760mm wide
Stem: Enve M6 Carbon stem 31.8mm / 35mm Length
Pedals: Shimano Saint SPD