australia

Merida road range 2015 – first look

BikeRadar?recently visited Hidden Vale in rural Queensland for a dealer launch hosted by Advance Traders, Australia’s distributors for Merida, Lapierre, Norco, Met and a handful of other brands. With the venue being surrounded by trails, the launch of the 2015 mountain bike range gained the most attention, but we got a brief look at what’s new in Taiwanese big-hitter?Merida’s road range, prior to the upcoming media-flurry that is the Eurobike trade show.

The Warp TT and Scultura both continue with solely componentry and aesthetic changes for 2015, but the big news is with a new endurance-based Ride Disc carbon, a triathlon specific Warp and a new price-conscious range of cyclocross bikes. Detailed specifics of each of the models, including geometry, are still a little vague, but below is a brief glimpse and what we know so far.

As well as the new bikes, Merida has fully reworked its previously confusing model naming across its range. The numbers following the model names prefix refer to the level of the bike: four digits is for anything carbon, 9000 being the highest, 1000 the lowest. Three digits is for alloy bikes, with 900 the highest, 100 the lowest. And double digits are left for steel bikes.

Ride Disc

Originally designed as an endurance bike for the masses that its sponsored WorldTour team could also use for the cobble races, the Ride offers a relaxed and stable position in the saddle, along with greater frame and fork compliance for comfort. For 2015, the Ride is joined by a carbon disc-brake version – the Ride Disc.

The new full carbon CF-2 (Comp level) frame features a large offset from the seatstays to seat tube along with ‘FlexStays’ to allow for far greater compliance in the rear end. The seatstays are a super thin 10mm diameter, something Merida states is a UCI minimum. A slim 27.2mm seat post is there to further aid compliance.

Merida road: merida road

A 15mm thru-axle sits upfront of the Ride Disc

Encouraging compliance at the front is the Merida F-Flex fork blades, which have been designed with less material at the dropout for greater flex. Adding back the confidence in this disc-brake full carbon fork is a 15mm thru-axle and tapered steerer tube.?

Post mount brake mounts feature for both the fork and rear chainstay, with the rear one placed at an angle that allows for easy tool access. While the front wheel gets a thru-axle, the rear sticks with a standard 5mm quick release.

Like most carbon frames that offer internal cable routing, the Ride Disc frame is Di2 and mechanical compatible. The fork also receives internal cable routing, with the front brake hose/cable entering near the crown.

Without rim brake calipers, tyre clearance has been increased to allow for 28mm rubber plus fenders (mudguards)? – Merida will offer special aftermarket models that provide a more seamless look with the bike.

One example of the new Ride Disc range that should prove quite popular is the Ride Disc 9000 (AU$3,799 / UK?TBC) which features a 11-speed Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, RS685 hydraulic brakes and DT Swiss R24 Spline centerlock wheels.

Warp Tri

Merida road: merida road

2015 Merida Warp Tri 7000-E

Compared with the UCI-approved Warp TT bike, the Warp Tri is purpose built for those who cycle between a swim and a run. Merida’s NACA Fastback aero tube profiles continue from the Warp TT onto this Tri version. The Warp Tri models we saw were all using a lower grade of carbon – what Merida calls ‘CF2′ – than the WorldTour-level Warp TT Team.

The biggest difference from the TT is in the geometry, with a steeper seat tube facilitating a far more forward position, and a taller head tube for the longer races. The seatpost head can also be flipped, opening up more fore-aft position adjustability.

Merida road: merida road

A look at the highly adjustable head tube design

Other features include Merida’s ‘Spacer Solution’, which combines aero shaped fork steerer spacers with a dropped head tube to allow for a great range of front end adjustment, without a significant drag increase from the bike.?

In a fetching white and black paint scheme, the Warp Tri 7000-E (AU$6,999 / UK?TBC) caught our attention. Its Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, direct-mount brakes, 54/42t Rotor Flow crankset and Profile carbon F58/R78 wheelset appears to be a well thought out package – and one that weighs in at 8.97kg. At the entry level, and sharing the same frame, there’s the Warp Tri 3000 (AU$2,999 / UK?TBC) with Shimano Ultegra/105 gearing.

Cyclocross

While there were hints at a carbon cyclocross bike for 2016, 2015 brings in an all-new disc-brake equipped platform. Featuring a heavily hydroformed alloy frame with full carbon 15mm thru-axle fork, the new Lite series is a price conscious race option. A 27.2mm seatpost should help take a little sting away when seated.

The frames’ angled internal cable routing offers a wide, friction free exit port at the bottom bracket, which should help reduce cable friction from dirt contamination.

Merida road: merida road

The rear brake is tucked away

Positioned on the chainstay, the post mount brake mount was apparently something not easily achieved in aluminium and required brand-new tooling to make it happen. The frame and fork’s low-profile fender mounts add a little daily versatility to the new cross range.

Starting at the Cyclo Cross 300 (AU$1,299 / UK?TBC) with Shimano Tiagra components and a 50/34T compact crank, this new model looks to be a competitive option for those looking to try out cyclocross and gain a versatile commuter at the same time. The other models in the range feature more cross-specific 46/36T gearing.

For a closer and deeper look at the range, scroll, swipe or click through our gallery at top.








Merida mountain range 2015 – first look

BikeRadar recently visited Hidden Vale in country Queensland for a product launch put on by Advance Traders, Australia’s distributors for Merida, Lapierre, Norco, Met and a handful of other brands. With trails surrounding the Hidden Vale lodges, we got a close look at what’s new in Taiwanese big-hitter Merida’s mountain bike range.

Outside of the price-no-object Ninety-Nine, Big-Nine and Big-Seven cross country race-focused machines, Merida’s 2015 mountain range continues with an obvious price conscious and alloy construction focus.

The biggest news is a new price point 650b cross-country trail bike, the One-Twenty, while in other headlines the longer travel enduro One-Sixty gains 650b wheels.

Many of the higher-end models now receive a new ‘Internal Block’ headset that provides hidden rubber stoppers to stop your handlebars over-rotating and hitting the top tube in the event of a crash. The headset adds minimal weight, doesn’t increase the headset stack height and is compatible with all semi-integrated tapered head tubes.

On top of the new bikes, Merida has fully reworked its previously confusing model naming across its range. Placed straight after the name and before the model level designation, wheel sizes are determined with a 6, 7 or 9 for 26, 27.5 (650B) and 29in bikes respectively.

The numbers following the model names and wheel-size prefix refer to the level of the bike: four digits is for anything carbon, 9000 being the highest, 1000 the lowest. Three digits is for alloy bikes, with 900 the highest, 100 the lowest. And double digits are left for steel bikes.

One-Twenty

The One-Twenty – as with most of Merida’s other dual suspension naming – stands for the suspension travel at the rear of the bike, in this case – 120mm. With a big focus on value for money and newer riders, the cross country and trail oriented 2015 One-Twenty range offers an entirely new alloy frame and suspension platform that’s built around the 650b wheel, with design and testing coming from Merida’s Stuttgart, Germany, based design studio.

A closer look at the one-twenty's new 'float-link' suspension. this design ramps up in the final 10% of the stroke for what merida claims is a bottom-less feel:

Asymmetric chainstays connect with the rear shock for Merida’s floating link. It’s not a world first, but the goal is for a more linear leverage ratio

While similar designs have been seen before on other brands, the One-Twenty brings in a new suspension design for Merida called ‘Float Link’. This system has the chainstays link to the base of the rear shock, while a rocker link grabs the shock at the top, enabling the shock to ‘float’ in its action. Merida worked with the likes of RockShox, Fox, Cane Creek and Manitou to find the ideal leverage ratio, resulting in a ‘balanced progressive’ rate. The system is said to achieve the goal of great suspension design – to offer efficient pedalling, small bump compliance and ‘bottomless’ suspension feel.

With Merida being one of the leaders in alloy frame manufacturing, it’s no surprise to see heavy amounts of hydroforming used on this new frame in the 700 and 900 levels. The top tube is curved for improved standover height, and all the junctions of the bike offer smooth lines.

While the rear offers 120mm of travel, the upper models (Lite frame) are equipped with a 130mm front fork, which Merida claims is balanced with the rear suspension. The cheaper models (TFS frame) feature a 120mm fork.  

Merida proudly discussed the finest of details, with the cable routing being an example. The full-length housing that runs beneath the down tube has been designed in such a way that it won’t migrate under suspension compression, and the same goes for the rear shock’s lockout, with the option to loop the cable from behind the shock to flow with the suspension movement, as opposed to coming from the top tube and being constantly under movement.

A shimano/fox style 142x12mm rear thru-axle means the removal/installation of the rear wheel is kept simple :

Plenty going on here with double-row cartridge bearings, 180mm post mount rear brake and 142×12mm thru-axle

Another design objective related to ensuring the frame provided reliable braking without vibrating and noise. This was done with a 180mm rear brake post mount, 142×12mm rear axle, double bearings at the closest pivot, and careful mount placement.

Sitting at the top of the range is the One-Twenty 7.900 (US$TBC / AU$3,999 / UK£TBC), which features the Lite frame, Fox Float CTD suspension front and rear and RockShox’ Reverb Stealth dropper post, along with a Shimano XT 20-speed drivetrain and matched brakes.

The new merida one-twenty 7.500 (us$tbc / au$1,799 / uk£tbc) uses a slightly cheaper frame that does away with the hydroformed tapered head tube. this looks to be a rocking stater dual-suspension bike for the money :

One-Twenty 7.500 (US$TBC / AU$1,799 / UK£TBC)

At the other end of the scale – and at under half the price – is the One-Twenty 7.500 (US$TBC / AU$1,799 / UK£TBC). It features the same frame design as the 7.900, though without the tapered steerer tube and with less hydroforming. The 7.500 features a 120mm SR Suntour Epicon front fork and matched Epicon LO-RP rear shock. The suspension actually felt quite reasonable and offers air spring adjust along with rebound and lockout control. A Shimano Deore drivetrain and Tektro Auriga hydraulic brakes finish off this budget-friendly ride.

One-Sixty

The refreshed 650b one-sixety 7.900 (us$tbc / au$4,999 / uk£tbc) awaits some technical enduro riding:

The refreshed 650B One-Sixty 7.900 (US$TBC / AU$4,999 / UK£TBC)

The enduro focused One-Sixty gains 650b wheels and a tweaked frame design to handle the up-size. While exact details were a little vague, the suspension layout seems to be inline with last year’s versions, keeping with Merida’s ‘VPK’ virtual pivot design.

The two models we saw; the One-Sixty 7.900 (US$TBC / AU$4,999 / UK£TBC) and 7.700 (US$TBC / AU$3,999 / UK£TBC), keep true to enduro trends with SRAM 1×11 drivetrains, RockShox Reverb dropper posts, wider 760mm handlebars and shorter 45mm stems.

Other models

The merida one-fourty 7.900 (us$tbc / au$4,599 / uk£tbc) provides a rockshox pike rct3 front fork, fox float ctd rear shock, sram x01 drivetrain, shimano xt brakes and a proven dt swiss wheelset:

The Merida One-Forty 7.900 (US$TBC / AU$4,599 / UK£TBC)

For 2015 the trail focused One-Forty range continues without any major changes from its 2014 debut.

While it hasn’t been confirmed, it appears the Freddy range has gone under a name change and is now known as the One-Eighty – the one model left flying the 26in wheeled flag. We only saw the new One-Eighty 6.500 (US$TBC / AU$2,999 / UK£TBC), with its downhill-focused componentry including a 180mm Marzocchi 888CR fork.

For a closer and deeper look at the range, scroll, swipe or click through our gallery at top.








Knog releases high-powered action camera light

RICHMOND, Australia (BRAIN) — Australian bike accessories brand Knog is coming out with what it claims is the first high-powered light specifically made for use with action cameras. The waterproof quodos light pairs with the GoPro 2 and GoPro Hero3 and Hero3+

The Sufferfest and the King of Sufferlandria

Spending time riding rollers or the turbo trainer is a great way to maintain and improve fitness through the dark winter months. But it’s something most cyclists have learned to hate.

There are good reasons for this. Riding in the basement, staring at a wall, suffering through an interval workout is about as pleasurable as pulling teeth, or watching Sharknado on DVD.

American ex-pat David McQuillen, the man behind The Sufferfest, started making training videos to cure his own case of Turbo Trainer Boredom Syndrome (TTBS). Now based in Melbourne, Australia, the ‘King of Sufferlandria’ has a catalogue of 17 videos, training plans, a full line of clothing, and an army of Sufferlandrians that is growing daily. We take a look into the story behind the success of a brand built purely on torment.

In the beginning…

Dave mcquillin is the man behind the sufferfest: dave mcquillin is the man behind the sufferfest

The King of Sufferlandria himself

McQuillen, a former investment banker, came up with the idea for the Sufferfest while living in Zurich.

“The winters in Switzerland are pretty brutal, and I had to spend a lot of time on the turbo trainer. At the time I was training for cyclosportives; when I was on the trainer I was bored, and couldn’t get motivated to work hard,” he explained.

Having tried everything from television and movies, to spinning and cycling DVDs, McQuillen was still unable to motivate himself to work hard on the trainer.

“I remembered back to when my brother and I were racing as juniors in Pennsylvania. We would watch old clips of the Tour de France, and pretend we were climbing Alpe d’Huez with Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond,” he said.

So McQuillen threw together a video using old Tour de France footage, with added music and simple onscreen instructions to guide the workouts.

“I showed a couple of my friends, and next thing I know I am making videos. I wanted to do it legally, so I approached the ASO and the UCI to see if I could get rights; and that was really complicated because they were used to selling rights to broadcasters,” McQuillen said. “They had no idea how to sell me what I was looking for.”

Now holding exclusive rights with the UCI, ASO, IMG and the Challenge Family, the videos feature footage from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Flanders Classics, Milan-San Remo, and Amstel Gold among many others.

Beginning as a creative outlet, the success of the videos has allowed McQuillen to take his hobby and turn it into a career.

“When all this was happening I was working at Credit Suisse bank and making the videos in my spare time. We put the videos on the web, and sales started trickling in,” McQuillen continued. “I just loved doing it. I was teaching myself how to edit video and sound; and learning to run an online business. Now here we are today, and I don’t work in banking anymore,” he says.

The citizens of Sufferlandria

Some of dave mcquillens favorite bits of fan mail: some of dave mcquillens favorite bits of fan mail

A choice example of McQuillen’s fan mail…

Now playing in more than 50 countries, the population of the mythical country of Sufferlandria is growing daily. With more than 116,000 fans on Facebook and 11,000 Twitter followers, the Sufferfest has built a massive following through the videos.

“I don’t know of any other workout series, cycling or otherwise, that has this underlying culture and mythology of characters and places: Sufferlandria, Gunter von Agony, the minions and so on and so forth,” he says. “It was people who liked the Sufferfest that started calling themselves Sufferlandrians. I didn’t start that one.”

This mythology combined with hosting such events as the Tour of Sufferlandria, Sufferlandrian National day, and becoming a Knight of Sufferlandria (achieved by doing ten Sufferfest videos in a row), the Sufferfest has brought people together into a commonwealth of sorts.

“The community of Sufferlandrians is surprisingly tight knit, for a group of people who for the most part have never met. They are constantly talking to me, and talking to each other through social media,” McQuillen said.

Despite the speed at which the Sufferfest is growing, McQuillen finds it important to remain a part of that community – and in the process he gets some pretty funny fan (read: hate) mail as well.

“I think that I’m the only CEO in the world that loves to get hate mail. I have been called every name under the sun. People will curse my existence, and then tell me how much they love what we are doing and they can’t wait for more,” he added.

The Sufferfest gives back

The king of sufferlandria deep in the pain cave with out a flashight:

The King of Sufferlandria deep in the pain cave without a flashlight

Humbled by its success, for the American ex-pat the Sufferfest is more than a job and a series of training videos. From the outset McQuillen has stressed that the underlying mission of the Sufferfest is to make people proud of themselves, and proud to be a part of the community surrounding it.

“All our videos are based around how can we make people feel proud of themselves and by extension how we can make them feel proud of the Sufferlandrian community,” explained McQuillen.

This Sufferlandrian pride is what sparked partnerships with Parkinson’s charity the Davis Phinney Foundation and women’s cycling doco Half the Road, and the offer of free videos for race co-ordinators anywhere in the world to give as prizes for fourth-place finishers.

“I still shake my head at the stuff we are doing, because sometimes I don’t believe it is real,” McQuillen said. “We are the official sponsor of the UCI Womens World Cup, and we sponsor the the Sufferfest-ACE Lesotho Pro UCI Team – the first and only all black UCI African mountain bike team – and a couple guys at the Commonwealth games. It is really cool to be in a position to help.”

Despite his grandiose and sinister title, the ‘King of Sufferlandria: evil and unyielding dictator’, McQuillen is actively working to improve the lives and fitness of everyone he comes in contact with. Whether that’s through encouragement over social media, or by using the resources he has to raise the profile of worthy causes, the Sufferfest is committed to giving something back.

With more videos on the way, including triathlon- and running-specific workouts, a full range of technical and casual outerwear, training plans and plenty more, Sufferfest is helping make indoor training more bearable (Ed: it still sucks), and all the while making a difference in the world cycling community.








By admin on August 2, 2014 | Mountain Bikes
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Sufferfest and the King of Sufferlandria

Spending time riding rollers or the turbo trainer is a great way to maintain and improve fitness through the dark winter months. But it’s something most cyclists have learned to hate.

There are good reasons for this. Riding in the basement, staring at a wall, suffering through an interval workout is about as pleasurable as pulling teeth, or watching Sharknado on DVD.

American ex-pat David McQuillen, the man behind The Sufferfest, started making training videos to cure his own case of Turbo Trainer Boredom Syndrome (TTBS). Now based in Melbourne, Australia, the ‘King of Sufferlandria’ has a catalogue of 17 videos, training plans, a full line of clothing, and an army of Sufferlandrians that is growing daily. We take a look into the story behind the success of a brand built purely on torment.

In the beginning…

Dave mcquillin is the man behind the sufferfest: dave mcquillin is the man behind the sufferfest

The King of Sufferlandria himself

McQuillen, a former investment banker, came up with the idea for the Sufferfest while living in Zurich.

“The winters in Switzerland are pretty brutal, and I had to spend a lot of time on the turbo trainer. At the time I was training for cyclosportives; when I was on the trainer I was bored, and couldn’t get motivated to work hard,” he explained.

Having tried everything from television and movies, to spinning and cycling DVDs, McQuillen was still unable to motivate himself to work hard on the trainer.

“I remembered back to when my brother and I were racing as juniors in Pennsylvania. We would watch old clips of the Tour de France, and pretend we were climbing Alpe d’Huez with Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond,” he said.

So McQuillen threw together a video using old Tour de France footage, with added music and simple onscreen instructions to guide the workouts.

“I showed a couple of my friends, and next thing I know I am making videos. I wanted to do it legally, so I approached the ASO and the UCI to see if I could get rights; and that was really complicated because they were used to selling rights to broadcasters,” McQuillen said. “They had no idea how to sell me what I was looking for.”

Now holding exclusive rights with the UCI, ASO, IMG and the Challenge Family, the videos feature footage from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Flanders Classics, Milan-San Remo, and Amstel Gold among many others.

Beginning as a creative outlet, the success of the videos has allowed McQuillen to take his hobby and turn it into a career.

“When all this was happening I was working at Credit Suisse bank and making the videos in my spare time. We put the videos on the web, and sales started trickling in,” McQuillen continued. “I just loved doing it. I was teaching myself how to edit video and sound; and learning to run an online business. Now here we are today, and I don’t work in banking anymore,” he says.

The citizens of Sufferlandria

Some of dave mcquillens favorite bits of fan mail: some of dave mcquillens favorite bits of fan mail

A choice example of McQuillen’s fan mail…

Now playing in more than 50 countries, the population of the mythical country of Sufferlandria is growing daily. With more than 116,000 fans on Facebook and 11,000 Twitter followers, the Sufferfest has built a massive following through the videos.

“I don’t know of any other workout series, cycling or otherwise, that has this underlying culture and mythology of characters and places: Sufferlandria, Gunter von Agony, the minions and so on and so forth,” he says. “It was people who liked the Sufferfest that started calling themselves Sufferlandrians. I didn’t start that one.”

This mythology combined with hosting such events as the Tour of Sufferlandria, Sufferlandrian National day, and becoming a Knight of Sufferlandria (achieved by doing ten Sufferfest videos in a row), the Sufferfest has brought people together into a commonwealth of sorts.

“The community of Sufferlandrians is surprisingly tight knit, for a group of people who for the most part have never met. They are constantly talking to me, and talking to each other through social media,” McQuillen said.

Despite the speed at which the Sufferfest is growing, McQuillen finds it important to remain a part of that community – and in the process he gets some pretty funny fan (read: hate) mail as well.

“I think that I’m the only CEO in the world that loves to get hate mail. I have been called every name under the sun. People will curse my existence, and then tell me how much they love what we are doing and they can’t wait for more,” he added.

The Sufferfest gives back

The king of sufferlandria deep in the pain cave with out a flashight:

The King of Sufferlandria deep in the pain cave without a flashlight

Humbled by its success, for the American ex-pat the Sufferfest is more than a job and a series of training videos. From the outset McQuillen has stressed that the underlying mission of the Sufferfest is to make people proud of themselves, and proud to be a part of the community surrounding it.

“All our videos are based around how can we make people feel proud of themselves and by extension how we can make them feel proud of the Sufferlandrian community,” explained McQuillen.

This Sufferlandrian pride is what sparked partnerships with Parkinson’s charity the Davis Phinney Foundation and women’s cycling doco Half the Road, and the offer of free videos for race co-ordinators anywhere in the world to give as prizes for fourth-place finishers.

“I still shake my head at the stuff we are doing, because sometimes I don’t believe it is real,” McQuillen said. “We are the official sponsor of the UCI Womens World Cup, and we sponsor the the Sufferfest-ACE Lesotho Pro UCI Team – the first and only all black UCI African mountain bike team – and a couple guys at the Commonwealth games. It is really cool to be in a position to help.”

Despite his grandiose and sinister title, the ‘King of Sufferlandria: evil and unyielding dictator’, McQuillen is actively working to improve the lives and fitness of everyone he comes in contact with. Whether that’s through encouragement over social media, or by using the resources he has to raise the profile of worthy causes, the Sufferfest is committed to giving something back.

With more videos on the way, including triathlon- and running-specific workouts, a full range of technical and casual outerwear, training plans and plenty more, Sufferfest is helping make indoor training more bearable (Ed: it still sucks), and all the while making a difference in the world cycling community.








The Sufferfest and the King of Sufferlandria

Spending time riding rollers or the turbo trainer is a great way to maintain and improve fitness through the dark winter months. But it’s something most cyclists have learned to hate.

There are good reasons for this. Riding in the basement, staring at a wall, suffering through an interval workout is about as pleasurable as pulling teeth, or watching Sharknado on DVD.

American ex-pat David McQuillen, the man behind The Sufferfest, started making training videos to cure his own case of Turbo Trainer Boredom Syndrome (TTBS). Now based in Melbourne, Australia, the ‘King of Sufferlandria’ has a catalogue of 17 videos, training plans, a full line of clothing, and an army of Sufferlandrians that is growing daily. We take a look into the story behind the success of a brand built purely on torment.

In the beginning…

Dave mcquillin is the man behind the sufferfest: dave mcquillin is the man behind the sufferfest

The King of Sufferlandria himself

McQuillen, a former investment banker, came up with the idea for the Sufferfest while living in Zurich.

“The winters in Switzerland are pretty brutal, and I had to spend a lot of time on the turbo trainer. At the time I was training for cyclosportives; when I was on the trainer I was bored, and couldn’t get motivated to work hard,” he explained.

Having tried everything from television and movies, to spinning and cycling DVDs, McQuillen was still unable to motivate himself to work hard on the trainer.

“I remembered back to when my brother and I were racing as juniors in Pennsylvania. We would watch old clips of the Tour de France, and pretend we were climbing Alpe d’Huez with Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond,” he said.

So McQuillen threw together a video using old Tour de France footage, with added music and simple onscreen instructions to guide the workouts.

“I showed a couple of my friends, and next thing I know I am making videos. I wanted to do it legally, so I approached the ASO and the UCI to see if I could get rights; and that was really complicated because they were used to selling rights to broadcasters,” McQuillen said. “They had no idea how to sell me what I was looking for.”

Now holding exclusive rights with the UCI, ASO, IMG and the Challenge Family, the videos feature footage from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Flanders Classics, Milan-San Remo, and Amstel Gold among many others.

Beginning as a creative outlet, the success of the videos has allowed McQuillen to take his hobby and turn it into a career.

“When all this was happening I was working at Credit Suisse bank and making the videos in my spare time. We put the videos on the web, and sales started trickling in,” McQuillen continued. “I just loved doing it. I was teaching myself how to edit video and sound; and learning to run an online business. Now here we are today, and I don’t work in banking anymore,” he says.

The citizens of Sufferlandria

Some of dave mcquillens favorite bits of fan mail: some of dave mcquillens favorite bits of fan mail

A choice example of McQuillen’s fan mail…

Now playing in more than 50 countries, the population of the mythical country of Sufferlandria is growing daily. With more than 116,000 fans on Facebook and 11,000 Twitter followers, the Sufferfest has built a massive following through the videos.

“I don’t know of any other workout series, cycling or otherwise, that has this underlying culture and mythology of characters and places: Sufferlandria, Gunter von Agony, the minions and so on and so forth,” he says. “It was people who liked the Sufferfest that started calling themselves Sufferlandrians. I didn’t start that one.”

This mythology combined with hosting such events as the Tour of Sufferlandria, Sufferlandrian National day, and becoming a Knight of Sufferlandria (achieved by doing ten Sufferfest videos in a row), the Sufferfest has brought people together into a commonwealth of sorts.

“The community of Sufferlandrians is surprisingly tight knit, for a group of people who for the most part have never met. They are constantly talking to me, and talking to each other through social media,” McQuillen said.

Despite the speed at which the Sufferfest is growing, McQuillen finds it important to remain a part of that community – and in the process he gets some pretty funny fan (read: hate) mail as well.

“I think that I’m the only CEO in the world that loves to get hate mail. I have been called every name under the sun. People will curse my existence, and then tell me how much they love what we are doing and they can’t wait for more,” he added.

The Sufferfest gives back

The king of sufferlandria deep in the pain cave with out a flashight:

The King of Sufferlandria deep in the pain cave without a flashlight

Humbled by its success, for the American ex-pat the Sufferfest is more than a job and a series of training videos. From the outset McQuillen has stressed that the underlying mission of the Sufferfest is to make people proud of themselves, and proud to be a part of the community surrounding it.

“All our videos are based around how can we make people feel proud of themselves and by extension how we can make them feel proud of the Sufferlandrian community,” explained McQuillen.

This Sufferlandrian pride is what sparked partnerships with Parkinson’s charity the Davis Phinney Foundation and women’s cycling doco Half the Road, and the offer of free videos for race co-ordinators anywhere in the world to give as prizes for fourth-place finishers.

“I still shake my head at the stuff we are doing, because sometimes I don’t believe it is real,” McQuillen said. “We are the official sponsor of the UCI Womens World Cup, and we sponsor the the Sufferfest-ACE Lesotho Pro UCI Team – the first and only all black UCI African mountain bike team – and a couple guys at the Commonwealth games. It is really cool to be in a position to help.”

Despite his grandiose and sinister title, the ‘King of Sufferlandria: evil and unyielding dictator’, McQuillen is actively working to improve the lives and fitness of everyone he comes in contact with. Whether that’s through encouragement over social media, or by using the resources he has to raise the profile of worthy causes, the Sufferfest is committed to giving something back.

With more videos on the way, including triathlon- and running-specific workouts, a full range of technical and casual outerwear, training plans and plenty more, Sufferfest is helping make indoor training more bearable (Ed: it still sucks), and all the while making a difference in the world cycling community.








LIV women’s performance bikes 2015 – crafted by Giant

BikeRadar recently broke the news on the Giant Bikes 2015 men’s performance range. One notable thing was the clear separation of the men’s and women’s ranges; Giant has taken the bold step to rebrand its female-focused bikes as LIV. So female riders looking for a Giant, will now be offered a LIV – but they’ll find a subtle ‘handcrafted by giant’ marked somewhere on the frame.

The other big news for the LIV range was the recent launch of the completely revamped Avail endurance road bike range, with many options now featuring disc brakes and greater comfort. As well as this, the aero race-focused Envie (Propel for the men) now has improved brakes and there’s also a new performance flat-bar road bike.

Road bikes

For the racers, the aerodynamic Envie range continues with numerous options, all well-suited to road or triathlon racing. The Envie offers a different carbon layup and geometry to the men’s Propel bike, and there’s also differences in gearing ratios and contact points.

The biggest change to the 2015 envie line-up is a new brake. previously the envie brakes were known to be fiddly and underperforming - these new alloy models should fix that :

The Envie range gets new and improved brakes

All Envie models receive a small but significant switch to better performing integrated brakes. As well improved lever feel, the new brakes offer a two-position cable stop to enable simple swaps between wide carbon race-day wheels and narrow alloy training wheels.

The liv envie advanced pro 0 (us$8,300 / au$7,699 / ?tba) is a pro-level race bike worthy of world champion marianne vos :

The LIV Envie Advanced Pro 0

Sitting at the top of the range is the Envie Advanced Pro 0 (US$8,300 / AU$7,699 / ?TBA), a bike that’s worthy of world champion Marianne Vos. This full-carbon model features a Giant P-SLR0 carbon race wheelset, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 gearing and an aero integrated handlebar and stem combo.

Sitting a few price points below is the Envie Advanced 1 (US$2,775 / AU$2,799 / ?TBA) in a super bright blue and yellow, which we expect to be a popular choice. This carbon-framed model features Shimano Ultegra mechanical gearing.

For the ironman and triathlon focused, there’s now a Envie Advanced Tri (US$4,250 / AU$N/A / ?TBA), which takes the aero road model and adds composite clip-on aero bars, bottle cages and Giant 55mm deep aero wheels. This model won’t be offered in Australia (other markets TBC), because the purpose built Trinity Composite W (US$N/A / AU$2,799) is available. In any case, it’s quite easy to turn a standard Envie into a bike like this.

The thrive comax 2 disc (us$1500 / au$1,599 / ?tba) is a new carbon composite flat-bar road bike. while an avail or envie will still be more efficient (faster), the thrive range is better suited to commuting or general fitness riding :

New for 2015, the LIV Thrive CoMax 2 Disc

The Thrive CoMax Disc models are designed for commuters or fitness seekers – it’s a range of performance-orientated flat-handlebar road bikes with carbon composite frames. The Thrive CoMax 2 Disc (US$1500 / AU$1,599 / ?TBA), a model we suspect will do well, offers Shimano Tiagra gearing and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.

At a lower end of the price spectrum, the Thrive Disc models move to aluminium frames, but lose little in the way of components. For example, the Thrive 1 Disc (US$925 / AU$999 / ?TBA) has many of the same components as the Thrive CoMax 2 Disc.

Mountain bikes

The LIV mountain bike range mirrors Giant’s push on the 27.5in (650b) wheel size. All but the entry-level Enchant series is now offered with middle-sized wheels only. Another key change for the mountain range is the removal of Giant’s OD2 technology – a proprietary fork steerer and stem size that made finding aftermarket stems a real hassle.

The liv lust advanced 2 (us$3,600 / au$3,299 / ?tba) looks like a high-value endurance and cross country bike. fox suspension and shimano slx/xt gearing :

The LIV LUST Advanced 2 (US$3,600 / AU$3,299 / ?TBA)

The LUST Advanced series of race and endurance-focused cross-country dual suspension bikes headlines the mountain bike range. The ‘Advanced’ part of the name refers to a carbon front triangle, matted to an aluminium rear triangle. Those seeking absolute performance will likely gravitate toward the LUST Advanced 0 (US$8,050 / AU$6,999 / ?TBA), with its RockShox SID XX fork, SRAM XX1 11-speed gearing and, interestingly, a Giant Control SL Switch dropper seatpost.

The fully aluminium-framed LUST series is the more affordable option – the LUST 2 (US$2,450 / AU$2,499 / ?TBA) is likely to be popular, thanks to its Fox suspension package and Shimano Deore 20-speed gearing.

Cross country race focused, the obsess advanced 2 (us$2,775 / au$2,799 / ?tba) shares the same frame as used by the professional liv racing team :

LIV Obsess Advanced 2

The Obsess, a carbon race hardtail used by the likes of two-time U23 world champion Jolanda Neff, is on offer for the speed seekers. In both the US and Australian markets, the Obsess Advanced 2 (US$2,775 / AU$2,799) will be the only model offered; it features a Fox Float Evolution front fork and a Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain. UK models and pricing are TBA.

The giant trance is a bike you'll often see on the trails with its 140mm of suspension travel; the liv intrigue is the female specific version. pictured, the intrigue 2 (us$2,775 / au$2,699 / ?tba) with a price conscious rockshox revelation rl front fork and shimano deore 20-speed gearing :

Built for technical trail riding, the LIV Intrigue 2

And for the less race-focused riders, there’s the 5in (140mm) travel Intrigue trail bike. It’s available in two models: the Intrigue 1 (US$4,700 / AU$N/A / ?TBA) with a Fox Talas Performance front fork and SRAM X0 20-speed gearing, and the Intrigue 2 (US$2,775 / AU$2,699 / ?TBA) with a more basic RockShox Revelation RL front fork and Shimano Deore 20-speed gearing.

Cyclocross bikes

Sitting one below, the brava slr 2 (us$1,650 / au$1,799 / ?tba) should be popular for those looking to give cyclocross a go:

The LIV Brava SLR 2

Introduced last year, the Brava SLR is an affordable cyclocross race bike with disc brakes and a lightweight aluminium frame. While the Brava SLR 1 (US$3,500 / AU$N/A / ?TBA) looks fantastic with its Shimano Ultegra gears and matched hydraulic disc brakes, it’s the more affordable Brava SLR 2 (US$1,650 / AU$1,799 / ?TBA) that will likely be a popular starter bike. The SLR 2 features Shimano’s workhorse 105 gearing and TRP’s Spyre mechanical disc brakes.

If you’re seeking a little adventure, the new Invite CoMax (US$1,650 / AU$N/A / ?TBA) is worth a look. A carbon composite frame is combined with a drop handlebar and a reasonable width tyre for touring, commuting or all-day adventures on a variety of surfaces.

As indicated throughout this article, UK pricing and availability is still to be annouced. Where a price is listed as N/A, the model is not available in that region.








How to choose a bike helmet – video

A helmet is one of the most important cycling accessories you can buy. Your brain is a valuable, vulnerable organ, yet it’s only protected by a thin layer of bone and skin. We were never designed to hit the roads at 50kph, or go hurling down rock-infested hills, so adding an extra layer of protection is an incredibly good idea.

We’ve put together a list that covers everything you need to look for in a bike helmet to make sure it will do its job properly.

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Video: how to choose a road bike helmet

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Video: how to choose a mountain bike helmet

There’s little difference structurally between the desired features of a road or mountain bike helmet, although the styles will vary. For example, mountain bike helmets tend to have integrated visors, while road cycling helmets don’t, because they often impede vision when used with a drop handlebar.?

And dirt jumpers, for example, will favour increased protection, while a cross-country rider will look for light weight and ventilation. Similarly, a road racer might prioritise aerodynamic qualities, while a commuter or weekend warrior will put protection and ventilation first.

No matter what style of riding you do, here’s what you should be looking for in a bike helmet.

Protection

The primary importance of a helmet is protection, and there are plenty of government-instituted standards that they should all meet, which can vary between countries or continents. (In the US, helmets must be CPSC-approved; in Europe, it’s the CE sticker you’re looking for; in Australia it’s AS/NZS.)?

Most helmets are constructed from shock-absorbing expanded polystyrene. Its job is to sacrifice itself during a crash, so after a big impact you might see a cracked helmet – that’s the material doing its job. Once broken, do not use it again.

Nearly every helmet these days is in-moulded – the outer shell and protective inner material are moulded together – for extra strength. And systems such as Mips, found in certain mountain bike helmets, go even further, by offering additional protection against rotational impacts, which are far more likely when out on a ride.

Scott stego mountain bike helmet: scott stego mountain bike helmet

The Scott Stego mountain bike helmet incorporates the Mips protection system

It’s also now common to see mountain bike helmets offer increased protection with a deeper fit and greater coverage at the back.

Ventilation

When you’re working hard your head is one of the places that helps your body regulate heat, and ventilation is vital for keeping you cool as temperatures rise.

Ventilation usually takes the form of multiple exterior holes, or vents, through which air can flow directly to your head.

GT corsa road bike helmet: gt corsa road bike helmet

The GT Corsa road bike helmet has 22 vents and internal air channelling

It’s not just about how many holes can be formed in the outer shell though. Helmets should also feature well designed internal venting – air channels carved into the inner shell to direct air effectively over the hottest parts of the head. This air is then channelled to large exit ports, effectively your head’s exhaust pipes. With these in place, the helmets can easily stop your head from overheating on all but the hottest days.

Some mountain bike helmets feature larger, more open vent holes because mountain biking has a lower average speed than road cycling. The downside to these larger holes is that greater wind noise is created, which makes them unsuitable for road cycling.

Fit

Your helmet should have a comfortable, snug fit, without being too tight. Measuring your head will give you a good starting point. To do this, pass a tape measure around the circumference of your head, just above your ears. This should help you work out what size to try on first.

Giro saros road bike helmet: giro saros road bike helmet

BikeRadar testers found the fit of the Giro Saros road bike helmet to be especially comfortable

Make sure you try on plenty of different makes and models. Helmets aren’t all the same shape internally, and some manufacturers have a distinct shape to their helmets – rounder, or more oval, for example – so you should be able to find one that suits your head.

Adjustments

Every helmet has a retention system, to ensure the helmet fits properly and stays in place in the event of a crash. Most adjustments are taken care of by either a turn-wheel of some sort or little ratchets that control the adjustable band around the head.

SixSixOne recon mountain bike helmet: sixsixone recon mountain bike helmet

Bike helmet retention system, demonstrated on the SixSixOne Recon mountain bike helmet

Ensuring the fit is comfortable is the rear cradle – ideally shaped to hug the base of the skull to stop the helmet popping off the front of your head if you hit the back of it. The chin strap is also adjustable.

Padding

Padding is the icing on the cake when it comes to comfort. It can help with fine adjustment of the internal shape and wick sweat away from the head, and anti-bacterial treatments can prevent unpleasant smells.

Visors

More applicable to mountain bike helmets than road bike helmets, visors are there to protect your eyes against the glare of the sun and to stop raindrops getting in your eyes or on your glasses, but they shouldn’t obstruct your vision.?

Mavic notch helmet: mavic notch helmet

The Mavic Notch mountain bike helmet has a built in peak to protect the rider’s eyes. This one is fixed, but they are adjustable on some helmets. Road bike helmets don’t tend to have peaks or visors

Adjustable visors are worth looking out for too, so you can fine tune how much they sheild your eyes.

Crash replacement

Finally, check to see if the helmet has a crash replacement scheme. Many suppliers offer subsidised replacements if your lid is damaged within the first year or two of ownership – which, if you’re particularly accident-prone, could be worth having.?Terms and conditions vary though, so check the small print.


BikeRadar rides Smithfield, Cairns – sponsored video

BikeRadar recently travelled to Cairns, Australia, for the?UCI Mountain Bike World Cup?and while there, we took the chance to see why a place best known for its coral reefs, rainforests and crocodiles is now gaining a reputation as a world-class riding destination.

In the midst of the world cup racing action, we met with a local Smithfield family to see more of the comprehensive trail network that plays host to the mountain bike world cup. The Smithfield trails offer 60km of purpose built singletrack with varying trails for all abilities, ages and riding styles.

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Video: BikeRadar visits the trails of Smithfield, Cairns

Famous trail builder Glen Jacobs truly believes these trails and the surrounding area are some of the most special places he’s ever ridden – no wonder he chooses to call it home!

While the trails were originally built more than 20 years ago to host the mountain bike world cup and world championships, there is now a range of surrounding options that cater to children and newer riders if the world cup course seems too extreme.

And with the network situated right on the edge of Cairns, there is no shortage of accommodation, restaurants and other activities nearby. ?

For more information on Smithfield, and many other Far North Tropical Queensland rides, visit RideCairns.com.?

BikeRadar also visited the surrounding areas of Cairns to check out other popular rides, including Atherton, Mareeba and Port Douglas.








BikeRadar rides Smithfield, Cairns – sponsored video

BikeRadar recently travelled to Cairns, Australia, for the?UCI Mountain Bike World Cup?and while there, we took the chance to see why a place best known for its coral reefs, rainforests and crocodiles is now gaining a reputation as a world-class riding destination.

In the midst of the world cup racing action, we met with a local Smithfield family to see more of the comprehensive trail network that plays host to the mountain bike world cup. The Smithfield trails offer 60km of purpose built singletrack with varying trails for all abilities, ages and riding styles.

Please install Adobe Flash player to view this content

Video: BikeRadar visits the trails of Smithfield, Cairns

Famous trail builder Glen Jacobs truly believes these trails and the surrounding area are some of the most special places he’s ever ridden – no wonder he chooses to call it home!

While the trails were originally built more than 20 years ago to host the mountain bike world cup and world championships, there is now a range of surrounding options that cater to children and newer riders if the world cup course seems too extreme.

And with the network situated right on the edge of Cairns, there is no shortage of accommodation, restaurants and other activities nearby. ?

For more information on Smithfield, and many other Far North Tropical Queensland rides, visit RideCairns.com.?

BikeRadar also visited the surrounding areas of Cairns to check out other popular rides, including Atherton, Mareeba and Port Douglas.