Merida Big Seven Elite 300 – Shimano Steps – Review

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The Merida Big Seven Elite 300 is the complete package, capable of being ridden off-road and still compliant with the EN15194 (road legal) regulations. The Shimano steps mid-drive unit is an awesome torque-sensor motor rated at 250W nominal and 500W peak output power.

The frame design compliments the battery and motor selection due to the hydro-forming allowing for integration with the downtube battery and mid drive motor housing. The bike comes in a red and black colour scheme which looks very nice and aggressive. Some accents along the seat and handlebar ends top off the looks of the bike. The bike comes in at just over 20kg and feels awesome to ride, so lets have a closer look at what comes with the package.

Motor/electronics:

          The Shimano steps light off-road motor is a mid-drive pedalec that meets the en15194 standards. Which means it’s operated only by pedal power, no throttle on this model and can assist the rider up until 25kph.

          The motor is a 250W nominal, 500W peak motor which is based off a torque and cadence system, tending more towards the torque side of things. The torque based system gives a lot of response to how you feel like riding, strong pushes on the cranks give you a lot of assistance and light pedalling gives you little assistance.

          The battery on this system is a 36V, 11.6Ah pack with a total of 417watt hours of life. The pack is a sleek design and moulds well into the frame of this bike. Chargeable both on and off the bike, with some nice LED indicators providing you some guide as to the life left in the pack.

          Battery comes in and out of the bike to the side with the key, it can be a little fiddly to turn the key and move the battery out at the same time as the key barrel is on the same side as the way the battery comes out.

Display:

          The display is a removable unit, which provides a lot of information about the battery life and riding statistics. Options can be accessed through the sleek thumb module that sits to the left. This unit allows you to cycle through assist levels and also click through some settings from range, speed, average speed and max speed.

          The display is backlit for visibility and is quite easy to see and use even while riding. It features 3 modes: ECO, normal and High. Where you get the most level of assist out of High but the most range out of ECO mode.

Riding:

          The Shimano Steps motor is awesome to ride off road, the torque sensor unit of the motor is capable of outputting power where needed by registering your harder pedal strokes. This results in a very intuitive riding style while riding off-road. The steeper hills seem to be no problem with this motor; as long as you shift down into the low gears to transfer the 50nM of motor torque to the rear wheel the bike powers up even steep inclines.

          The bike has no brake cut-off sensors or gear change sensor. The gear sensing issue is not a problem as the bike does not produce the massive amounts of power and torque of some of the more powerful kits that can snap chains and mangle sprockets. Also, as a rider it is second nature to back off the cranks while changing gears so the torque sensor is therefore reading less input and provides less power output to the wheel.

          The Tektro 180mm brakes give great feel and progression in the braking motion. The shifters are positioned well and provide sharp clear gear changes. The 100mm of travel provided by the Suntour forks provide good dampening on the trails but a bit more travel would be nice on some of the higher speed riding.

          The range we saw while testing on the dyno was 48km on high setting with average constant pedal assistance. Of course the way the bike is ridden allows for greater range or less range but this gives a clear estimation to the expected range. This means the lowest distance you can get out of this bike is almost 50 km’s! very impressive.

Features:            

·         STEPS DU-E6001 light off road; 50Nm of torque

·         Shimano lithium Ion 11.6Ah down-tube battery

·         Removable handlebar mounted Shimano LCD display

·         Suntour SR 27 XCM 100mm Travel forks

·         Tektro Auriga hydraulic: 180mm front rotor, 160mm rear rotor

·         Shimano Alivio 9 speed derailleur and shifter

·         Merida 27.5 x 2.1 tyres

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