Review Merida TFS 100: one year, 3500km

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Review Merida TFS 100: one year, 3500km

Postby santi » April 5th, 2009, 8:24 am

Hi All,
Just wanted to give a brief update on the Merida TFS 100 after about 11 months of use and during which I did 3500 km, all on road. In fact, I use it as a commuter bike. It has never stepped outside of paved roads.

The build quality and paint job is just solid. I have not had a single broken spoke (no exaggeration, never had to touch the rims or spokes) in 3500km. Considering that I am about 106 kgs in weight now, that is something! :)
I have not done any kind of stunts on the bike, no bunny hops and all that stuff. Am too old for such things.
The gear shift is good, though it is not silk smooth. But never had ANY problems with it though.
MY bike runs on Geax Evolutions and I had one puncture on the rear tyre after about 2000km. None after that. MY ride from RT nagar to ITPL via KR Pura takes me through some really crappy roads and this bike is absolutely at home on any kind of bad roads that Bangalore throws up. I have been very very happy on this count. You dont even have to consider slowing down for bumps or anything.
8x3 gear configuration is good enough for all apps, except speed. But then, this is not a bike made for speed. If speed is the main aim, please look at road bikes. That said, I have got better timing on this bike compared to my Hero Hawk. I think the lesser weight is the key.
Last but not the least, this is a very pretty bike. I have seen some of the models of Canondale or Bianchi in MTB segment. They dont come anywhere close in visual appeal. Though many may scoff at the mention of visual appeal for a MTB in this forum, it is an important factor for me.
At 13.5 kg on the scales, this is a light bike.
The original Merida V-Brakes are very very powerful. But they seem to have an issue with some screw falling loose and Venkatesh gives you an upgrade to Shimano V brakes for this reason when you buy. The brakes on my bike has not had any issues so far, and acts as good as new even now. Have changed brake pads though.

Most importantly, the riding posture is not for long distance riding. I get visibily uncomfortable after about 30-40km of continuous pedalling. 100 plus km commute on this bike will be a nightmare for me, though I know folks who do it.
The first month with this bike will be a little tough for folks who are used to very very relaxed positions on bikes like Hero Hawk. Upper back pain is very possible. :) But that is something you get over with. The solidity and stable feel that this bike offers will far outweigh any of the so called negatives.
Original spare apart availability with Venkatesh at Wheel Sports is a slight problem. I ask for the original shimano chain and he does not have it (he has other MTB chains, but I insist on the original shimano since I am paranoid).


A definite STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who is willing to dish out 26K for a decent MTB.
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Re: Review Merida TFS 100: one year, 3500km

Postby abhi » April 5th, 2009, 12:33 pm

Nice review of your 3.5k with the TFS100V Santi, have you had to replace any other spare over the year?
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Re: Review Merida TFS 100: one year, 3500km

Postby ananth » April 5th, 2009, 5:03 pm

Good review Santi.
I am planning to upgrade soon, either Trek 4300 or Merida. I had heard Merida is more comfortable on longer rides, now I am confused again :(
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Re: Review Merida TFS 100: one year, 3500km

Postby uhk » April 5th, 2009, 6:31 pm

Nice write up Santi. I think the TFS 100 is a lovely bike too.
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Re: Review Merida TFS 100: one year, 3500km

Postby vinayde » April 5th, 2009, 6:36 pm

Hey Santi...
Great review here. I am guessing you're the guy who wrote the Hawk review on Mouthshut too.
Have you tried fiddling with the seat and handlebar height to get a more relaxed ride.
I'm saying this because I went exactly your route. I had a hawk which I thoroughly enjoyed and then bought a Merida SUB 5V.
I had some issues with the stock seat that Venkatesh replaced with a Velo. He also gave me a longer stem so that I had better reach.

I rode it for a while and found it uncomfortable on 30Km rides, to this, I removed one spacer so the handlebar height came down a bit below the seat, changed seat angles, moved the seat front and aft by a few mm, played with optimum seat height etc. Its now as good as it gets. I rode it for a week with the tool ( the swiss army thing with lots of allenkeys etc ) in my pocket and would make small 1-2 mm adjustments until I felt good and found the most optimum position, this worked specially well on long rides where I was starting to get buttsore or I felt reach was an issue or I felt the seat was pressing too hard too close to the family jewels, out came the tool and away went the problems.

I think that you should try this too, because the TFS is a cross country bike and is probably designed for long hours in the saddle. Do not shy away form making small adjustments, especially on long rides when your body actually complains about very specific things like seat height or reach or whatever.

Do post back if this worked for you.

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Re: Review Merida TFS 100: one year, 3500km

Postby deepakvrao » April 5th, 2009, 7:52 pm

Nice review. Did you need to change your chain already?

Though many may scoff at the mention of visual appeal for a MTB in this forum, it is an important factor for me.

Why should anyone scoff at 'visual appeal'? Its there for all bikes and is important for all of us I'm sure :D

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Re: Review Merida TFS 100: one year, 3500km

Postby mohan.subramanyan » April 5th, 2009, 8:22 pm

Hi Santhosh,

Nice review. I am just eager to see which road will you take (that can take you ;))
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Re: Review Merida TFS 100: one year, 3500km

Postby santi » April 7th, 2009, 11:58 am

Folks... thanks for all that encouragement.

Regarding spares, I have not changed a major thing so far, except brake pads. I have changed brake pads at least twice, all four of them. Of course, it did not get very close to the "wear line" on the pads, but I did not want the risk of having the metal inside the brake pad slam against the rims... so I became paranoid and changed. But the quality of the pads are amazing. That said, the brakes are rock solid. In fact, when I drive fast on the Outer Ring Road on my way to work, I am afraid to slam them too hard because some motor cyclist behind me may come and ram into me - and this is no exaggeration. The stopping power of the V brakes have made me abandon thoughts of the disk.

The chain is due for replacement, as it has started slipping of late. The Geax Evolutions on front and rear for my road use is holding up perfectly well.

Yes, my bike requires some adjustments as Vinay suggested to make it more comfy for long rides. The trouble for me is that during the rides, esp to commute to ITPL, I have absolutely no issues. If I stretch it over 35km, things start to change. I begin to feel the fatigue in the upper body, esp near shoulders, lower neck.

My feeling was that the handle bar being too low is the cause. My seat is higher than the handle bar currently. I did get the seat a little lower than was it used to be when I bought, but that has not made my long rides comfortable.

vinayde, you got it right, I am the guy who wrote the review of hero hawk in mouthshut.

What impresses me the most about the TFS 100v is that the bike is absolutely oblivious of my weight. The build is so solid that I can go through bad roads at speeds of 35-40kmph without even the thought of slowing down. These days, the stretch from ITPL to KRPura is helping me a lot of "stress test" the bike on bad roads. :)

One thing needs to be said. My confidence on Merida MTB bikes is really really high. Though I am a very careful rider, the very fact that every single spoke is intact on both wheels after 3500km shows that the bike is made by people who know their stuff.

Another point is that i have not found much use of the "rebound adjustment" knob on the left side of the shocky.

I am not a die hard cyclist or a competition dude who wants to ride in the mountains. I dont care if my components are XTR or Deore or Alivio, as long as they dont become a pain in the neck. My expectation is I should get pleasure and value out of the bucks I shell out on the bike. Merida has definitely not disappointed me on that count.

Lack of MTB parts with Venkatesh is also a concern for me.

My long term goal is to have a high end MTB as well as a high end road bike. :)
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Review Merida TFS 100: one year, 3500km

Postby vishy » April 8th, 2009, 2:48 pm

Good review bro! Looks like you have a Team Green frame.
TFS is indeed a good MTB.
And good luck for you, in dream of owning an high end MTB or a road bike.

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Re: Review Merida TFS 100: one year, 3500km

Postby SanjayK » May 29th, 2009, 6:29 am

Useful review--thanks.
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