australia

VAST Link – a never before seen rear suspension design

It’s not often we get a glimpse at a design while it’s still in initial prototype form, but that’s exactly what we have with the VAST Link suspension system. This novel mountain bike rear suspension design is currently in its concept phase and will likely remain that way until it is either bought or licensed.?

The VAST Link allows the rear end to pivot from a main pivot located near the back of a rigid chainstay. This pivot layout comes with a host of claimed benefits including a rearward and upward axle path, improved shock stroke leverage ratio, increased lateral stiffness, reduced unsprung weight, reduced frame weight and lower manufacturing costs.

A basic drawing of the vast link design. the creator, tim southall is a self-confessed 'backyarder' when it comes to bike design: a basic drawing of the vast link design. the creator, tim southall is a self-confessed 'backyarder' when it comes to bike design

A basic drawing of the design makes sense of what’s going on

Part of the inspiration for the design was to achieve a similar rear wheel axle path to successful systems such as the DW-Link, but with less complexity and pivot points.

There is certainly merit to the design. We’re dubious of some claims, however, including the reduced frame weight and increased lateral stiffness. With little holding the seatstays in plane beyond the rear shock, we suspect plenty of reinforcement (weight) will be required at the chainstay-mounted main pivot to counter lateral movement. We also foresee chain growth having a large impact on the viability of this design.

Behind the VAST Link design is Tim Southall, a 33-year-old South Australian with a long history in riding and a self-proclaimed ‘backyarder’ when it comes to design. Doing carbon bike repairs part-time when home from working overseas in the tourism industry, he started to look into suspension system improvements. Over the past two years, Southall has put together this still-unfinished prototype with 118mm of rear wheel travel in order to test his unique suspension design.?? ?

Unlike the majority of the industry – which uses 3D modelling to test early phases of design – Southall built a working model to test common fitment issues. Since starting the prototype, he admits to have underestimated the extreme difficulty in building such a prototype – especially without the use of heavy-duty jigs and similar.

Being in Australia, Southall says that on a small scale, getting items such as high-modulus carbon sheets and pivot hardware is near impossible. So for the moment, the prototype remains a concept and not something he’s has been able to ride.

The prototype looks a little rough and that's because the focus is on the suspension design: the prototype looks a little rough and that's because the focus is on the suspension design

Plenty of time has been invested into this proof of concept prototype – it’s handmade without question…

?“To confirm that the design worked, the bike had to be built to test for chain clearance on the sprung chainstay and crank and heel clearance at all points of suspension travel in every gear – everything else could be tested in 2D modelling.” Southall said. “Luckily it all worked out and everything fits the way it should.”

“The fine tuning of the design which will require multiple prototypes to be built and tested is beyond my budget so I’m looking to sell or license the design to an existing or start-up company that has expertise in that area,” Southall continued. “Many subtle adjustments will need to be made to discover the optimum pivot placements – but as a starting point, this is the best platform by far.”

Either way, we applaud the ingenuity in attempting something so technical. Let us know what you think of the VAST Link!








Singular Buzzard review

Singular describes its Buzzard as a Swift (its cross-country frame) “with a shot of adrenalin and a couple of healthy measures of Dutch courage” but it’s pretty much a completely new bike with very different geometry. Has it got the recipe right for technical raving?

  • Highs: Resilient ride with precise, slow speed handling
  • Lows: Short front end cramps climbing capability and fast and loose descending style
  • Buy if: You want the smoothness of 29er wheels in an almost trials-style hop and pop format

Frame and equipment: tight butt

The Buzzard gets off to a good start with a wide splayed plate bridge behind the bottom bracket and a curved seat tube to give room for the chunkiest conventional boots available, such as the monster Maxxis High Roller 29×2.4in if you want maximum air cushioning.

Using a thin plate rather than tubular chainstay to give maximum tyre clearance isn’t a new idea but it’s simply effective:

Using a thin plate rather than tubular chainstay to give maximum clearance isn’t a new idea but it’s simply effective

While you don’t get the Swift’s eccentric bottom bracket for tensioning the chain, or a bolt-thru axle, you do get chainguide mounts (as well as pragmatic rather than pretty touches, such as folded metal cable guides, which keep the price down). The chromoly steel main tubes are upsized for strength over the Swift, and to take a tapered fork of up to 140mm travel, the Buzzard is fronted by a straight 44mm head tube. Combined with the shorter, more easily flicked round rear end, fat rubber capabilty and rearward shifted weight distribution for instant wheelies it’s potentially looking good for more technical trail taming.

Ride and handling: stunted front

What Singular has done with the front end definitely puts that techy potential in jeopardy. Rather than extending it to give a longer front centre and a decent reach with the shorter stem needed to make sense of the slack, long fork handling the designers have actually shortened it. Not just a bit either, but by 22mm compared with the Swift, which also makes almost 30mm shorter than many other comparable medium frames. Add the rear shifted rider position and the cramped feel immediately makes you think ‘fit a basket’ not ‘blast it’ up climbs or down descents.

At 570mm the effective top tube of the buzzard is very short relative to some of its peers, which has a dramatic effect on handling balance:

At 570mm the effective top tube of the Buzzard is very short relative to some of its peers, which has a dramatic effect on handling balance

Even with a super slack head angle, the short front end is prone to tuck in and slither rather than let you properly get weight behind it and drive it hard.

In its defence getting out of the saddle and working your weight around definitely helps and it’ll pick its way down really steep, tight turning slopes with precision as long as you force your weight back.

It’s worth working round the geometry if you can as the tubeset definitely has the trademark resilient feel and natural spring of steel when you start clobbering through rocks and roots. That tight back end also kicks well as long as you can keep the front wheel down and avoid kneeing the shifters.

Singular doesn’t have distributors in the US or Australia but will ship worldwide – see www.singularcycles.com/faq for details.

Specifications as tested:

  • Size: M (also available in L, XL)
  • Weight: 12.41kg / 27.3lb
  • Frame: Double butted 4130 steel
  • Fork: MRP Loop, 140mm
  • Shock: N/A
  • Max Tyre Size: 2.5in

TRANSMISSION

  • Chainset: Shimano Zee
  • Shifters: Shimano Zee
  • Derailleurs: Shimano Zee (R)
  • Chain: Shimano SLX
  • Bottom Bracket: Mortop Ceramic
  • Cassette: Shimano SLX

WHEELS

  • Front: Mavic CrossMax XL rim and hub
  • Rear: Mavic CrossMax XL rim and hub
  • Tyres: Mavic Quest, 29×2.4in

FINISHING KIT

  • Brakes: SRAM Guide, 180/160mm rotors
  • Bars: Renthal flat bars, 750mm
  • Stem: Renthal Duo, 50mm
  • Grips: Hope, lock-on
  • Seatpost: Easton EA30, 31.6mm
  • Saddle: Selle San Marco
  • Headset: Hope
  • Pedals: N/A

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.








Singular Buzzard review

Singular describes its Buzzard as a Swift (its cross-country frame) “with a shot of adrenalin and a couple of healthy measures of Dutch courage” but it’s pretty much a completely new bike with very different geometry. Has it got the recipe right for technical raving?

  • Highs: Resilient ride with precise, slow speed handling
  • Lows: Short front end cramps climbing capability and fast and loose descending style
  • Buy if: You want the smoothness of 29er wheels in an almost trials-style hop and pop format

Frame and equipment: tight butt

The Buzzard gets off to a good start with a wide splayed plate bridge behind the bottom bracket and a curved seat tube to give room for the chunkiest conventional boots available, such as the monster Maxxis High Roller 29×2.4in if you want maximum air cushioning.

Using a thin plate rather than tubular chainstay to give maximum tyre clearance isn’t a new idea but it’s simply effective:

Using a thin plate rather than tubular chainstay to give maximum clearance isn’t a new idea but it’s simply effective

While you don’t get the Swift’s eccentric bottom bracket for tensioning the chain, or a bolt-thru axle, you do get chainguide mounts (as well as pragmatic rather than pretty touches, such as folded metal cable guides, which keep the price down). The chromoly steel main tubes are upsized for strength over the Swift, and to take a tapered fork of up to 140mm travel, the Buzzard is fronted by a straight 44mm head tube. Combined with the shorter, more easily flicked round rear end, fat rubber capabilty and rearward shifted weight distribution for instant wheelies it’s potentially looking good for more technical trail taming.

Ride and handling: stunted front

What Singular has done with the front end definitely puts that techy potential in jeopardy. Rather than extending it to give a longer front centre and a decent reach with the shorter stem needed to make sense of the slack, long fork handling the designers have actually shortened it. Not just a bit either, but by 22mm compared with the Swift, which also makes almost 30mm shorter than many other comparable medium frames. Add the rear shifted rider position and the cramped feel immediately makes you think ‘fit a basket’ not ‘blast it’ up climbs or down descents.

At 570mm the effective top tube of the buzzard is very short relative to some of its peers, which has a dramatic effect on handling balance:

At 570mm the effective top tube of the Buzzard is very short relative to some of its peers, which has a dramatic effect on handling balance

Even with a super slack head angle, the short front end is prone to tuck in and slither rather than let you properly get weight behind it and drive it hard.

In its defence getting out of the saddle and working your weight around definitely helps and it’ll pick its way down really steep, tight turning slopes with precision as long as you force your weight back.

It’s worth working round the geometry if you can as the tubeset definitely has the trademark resilient feel and natural spring of steel when you start clobbering through rocks and roots. That tight back end also kicks well as long as you can keep the front wheel down and avoid kneeing the shifters.

Singular doesn’t have distributors in the US or Australia but will ship worldwide – see www.singularcycles.com/faq for details.

Specifications as tested:

  • Size: M (also available in L, XL)
  • Weight: 12.41kg / 27.3lb
  • Frame: Double butted 4130 steel
  • Fork: MRP Loop, 140mm
  • Shock: N/A
  • Max Tyre Size: 2.5in

TRANSMISSION

  • Chainset: Shimano Zee
  • Shifters: Shimano Zee
  • Derailleurs: Shimano Zee (R)
  • Chain: Shimano SLX
  • Bottom Bracket: Mortop Ceramic
  • Cassette: Shimano SLX

WHEELS

  • Front: Mavic CrossMax XL rim and hub
  • Rear: Mavic CrossMax XL rim and hub
  • Tyres: Mavic Quest, 29×2.4in

FINISHING KIT

  • Brakes: SRAM Guide, 180/160mm rotors
  • Bars: Renthal flat bars, 750mm
  • Stem: Renthal Duo, 50mm
  • Grips: Hope, lock-on
  • Seatpost: Easton EA30, 31.6mm
  • Saddle: Selle San Marco
  • Headset: Hope
  • Pedals: N/A

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.








Rudy Project Windmax helmet review

First released in 2012, the Windmax continues to sit on top of Rudy Project’s range – as well as Peter Sagan’s head. The Windmax is a versatile lid, offering both elite-level road and mountain bike features in a comfortable and airy package.

With a total of 21 vents, including a massive central front port, the Windmax directs air through the helmet well, keeping you cool and dry.

It’s available in two sizes – small/medium (54-58cm) and large (59-61cm) – and we found the fit comparable to other European helmets, such as those from Met, Kask and Lazer.

Our Australian safety standards-approved medium sample weighed 278g – it’s claimed that the global models are a little lighter, at 220g. While not the lightest on the market, it’s a respectable weight, especially given the exterior hard-shell that extends well into the helmet, giving us confidence in the long-term durability and safety of this lid.

The plastic retention dial doesn't feel as solid as some others, but the rubber coated dial is simple to use whilst riding:

The large dial is easy to adjust while on the move

The plastic retention buckle provides a rubber-coated dial that’s easy to adjust while you’re riding or with gloves on. The plastic construction may not feel as solid as others, but we never experienced any issues with it during our testing. The height adjustable retention strap is fixed half way along the helmet, which pushes your head forward in the helmet for a snug fit, but never caused discomfort.?

A perk of this side-mounted retention system is that it leaves plenty of space for women to tuck a ponytail through. Plus it feels just a little more airy at the back of your head.

A generous pad sits directly over the chinstrap buckle for additional comfort :

Comfy pad for under the chin

The helmet’s straps are super thin and don’t retain moisture, while the basic chin buckle is covered by a comfortable and wicking pad. A simple plastic guide helps with strap adjustment under the ears – it’s easy to adjust, sits flat and remains in place well.

Our Hi-Vis yellow sample offers a good level of visibility, and the fibre polymer reinforcing inserts provide an additional level of reflectivity along with the claimed structural support.

In addition to the summer pad set, the windmax includes a bug stopping internal pad set – something that we found was perfect for cooler months too :

The bug-stopping mesh pad set is great, but does reduce the cooling effect on really hot days

The Windmax includes two different pad sets: a bug-protecting mesh-based set that also gives a little winter protection, and a more breathable summer set. Despite being attached with simple Velcro, switching between the pad sets is a tedious task – the summer set comprises nine individual pieces! Although this does mean you can personalise the fit, especially with a choice of thicknesses for the temple pads.

Outside of Australia, the Windmax includes two snap-in visors that use the holes at the brim of the helmet – they’re omitted in Australia due to strict standards. One visor offers a more squared profile for mountain biking, while the other is far shorter and pointed. It’s designed for use on the road and claims to provide an aerodynamic advantage. A microfibre pouch is also included for storage and transporting.

While we were just a little disappointed to find that it’s not the helmet giving Sagan his no-handed wheelie ability, the Windmax no doubt has plenty to offer and is well worth trying on. Just be aware that the inclusion of two visors and multiple pad sets adds to the high price.

For those in Australia, despite the lack of visors, this is still a super lid made even better by the direct-buy pricing.








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.