Behind the brand: Stephan Seitz, MTB Product Manager
It takes a lot of different people to bring a MERIDA from an idea to bike that you can ride, but there is one thread that links all of us – our love of bikes. IN this series, we like to go behind the scenes to meet the people behind the brand, and this time it’s the turn of Stephan Seitz, our MTB Product Manager.
As he explains, his job is a multifaceted one: “My main task is to be the hub of many aspects of creating our MTB range from the development to the final product in the shop. On the product side, that means seeing trends, identifying new frame projects and specifying the components of the models. Besides that, we are in close contact with our marketing, service, production and distributors to coordinate what’s going on in the MERIDA MTB world.”
While all of this helps keep him busy, there are plenty of fun elements when he’s not chasing down numbers in giant spreadsheets. Unsurprisingly, he says that his favourite part of the job is getting to test the products, whether that is fine tuning suspension valving with manufacturers or dialling in the final geometry of MERIDA bikes. As he says: “You get lots of bike time and increase your knowledge while doing so – it doesn't get any better than that.”
Obviously, as the person responsible for our MTB range, Stephan is a keen rider of all kinds of mountain bike but with an emphasis on trail and enduro riding.
“On local trails, I prefer steep and twisty trails on the short travel trail bike, but you definitely also find me doing some lift-assisted bikepark laps. Alpenbikepark Chur is very high up on the list. It’s run by a local club, has long tracks, a good variation of jumps and rough terrain and although it is in Switzerland, they open already in April!”
His weapon of choice for enduro adventures is this aluminium-framed ONE-SIXTY prototype, originally used for endurance tests of our P-FLEX flexstay design, but that has lived on as Stephan’s personal testbed. That explains the wild spec, which includes hybrid ‘Shigura’ brakes which combine Shimano levers and Magura disc callipers. Tyres and rims are also constantly being changed so they can be tested for performance and durability. He adds: “Experimenting with the handlebar rise is interesting as well since it has such a huge impact on the riding position and geometry.”
His favourite trip on this machine was racing at the MERIDA Ex Enduro in Exmoor, UK. As well as being Stephan’s first bike launch – of the ONE-SIXTY – he really enjoyed the atmosphere and trails, plus an introduction to British cuisine, saying it was: “such a great event, I will definitely come back this year again for blind racing and eating scotch eggs for lunch.”
While the ONE-SIXTY gets the most use, Stephan can also be found on his eONE-SIXTY for winter rides plus a SCULTURA ENDURANCE for commutes. Of course, he is riding plenty of other new MERIDA bikes – he just can’t tell you about them yet!
To keep up to date with Stephan, you can follow him on Instagram here.