American Custom Bicycles in Steel, Titanium and Ti/carbon mix

Project KellCross

At Seven, the evolution of the purpose-built gravel bike started a long time before these bikes appeared in the market. For decades, cyclocross bikes WERE gravel bikes, the only way to get a bigger tire into a road bike for adventures that involved dirt. And riders who weren’t interested in racing came to use to get that gravel-ready road bike, so we built our cyclocross models with more road endurance geometries, making them more fun to ride over longer distances.

Eventually, we even gave those bikes a name, Evergreen, and riders everywhere recognized immediately that we could make the bike they’d been dreaming of.

The KellCross project is interesting because it takes the two distinct categories, cyclocross and gravel, and sticks them back together in one bike through a balanced design that produces a best-of-both-worlds ride. The genesis of this bike is another collaboration with Seven Pro Kelly Catale who has just wrapped up a phenomenal mountain bike racing season and wanted a bike to race cyclocross AND longer gravel events.

Here’s how we approached this project:

  1. What are the key challenges of both riding technical cyclocross courses and long, gravel races? For both, traction and tire flexibility, i.e. the ability to swap tires dependent on conditions, can be the difference between success and failure.
  2. What are the key differences? Top cyclocross racers want quick handling bikes they can maneuver through tight corners, whereas gravel riders, taking on longer, less technical events want more stability from their bikes. Additionally, cyclocross bikes typically have more level top tubes, so they can be shouldered for carrying up stairs and over obstacles, while gravel bikes might have a more sloping top tube to create a smoother ride and better stand-over clearance.

The key word in almost every bike design is balance. Few bikes make sense when they’re optimized for one attribute at the expense of all others, so coming up with a bike that is both CX race and gravel capable is right in our wheelhouse (excuse the pun).

We addressed the initial challenges of traction and tire use flexibility with a combination of our Moto seat stays and a Dropped drive-side chainstay. The Moto stays improve omni-directional traction by absorbing shock at a wide range of compression angles. That keeps the rear wheel on the ground and driving the bike forward. The Dropped drive-side gives us a shorter overall stay and resolves some clearance conflicts near the bottom bracket shell, which means the bike has more room to shed mud during a ‘cross race, or to take a larger tire for gravel events. Bigger tires means more control.

Resolving the handling and geometric differences between the two modes of riding comes down to balancing three factors: 1) The rider’s fit. How much stand-over do they need vs. ability to shoulder the bike? 2) The rider’s preferred handling characteristics. Do we weight more towards agility or more towards stability?, and 3) The bike’s primary purpose. More ‘cross or more gravel?

This is where Seven’s deep customization gets at the optimal design, because every bike we build is adapted to the person who will ride it. We are able to get at the millimeters and half degrees of the geometry that unlock the rider’s best experience.

Because our devotion to custom doesn’t stop at the frame, we can build your KellCross SL in myriad ways. Here are two sample builds to get you going, but as always, nearly every build configuration is possible.

The KellCross SL – Cyclocross Race Package

If you think you’re more likely to use your KellCross SL as a ‘cross racer, then this is the package for you. Virtually mudproof, lightweight, and made to last.

  • Frame: Evergreen SL (Double-Butted Titanium)
    • Frame Upgrades – Dropped chainstay & Moto seatstays
  • SRAM Force AXS 1x drive train:
    • SRAM Force AXS shifters/hydraulic flat mount brakes
    • SRAM Force AXS 48/35t
    • SRAM Force AXS 10-33t cassette
  • Seven Alloy Gravel Bar and Stem
  • Seven Ti seatpost
  • Chris King headset
  • Industry Nine AR25
  • Continental Cyclo X-King 700x32 tires
  • Fizik Antares R3 - k:ium rails saddle
  • Frame Price - $4,085
  • Frameset Price - $4,650
  • Complete Bike Price - $9,449

Upgrades and substitutions on these bikes are available as part of the normal order process. Ask us during your design interview.

The KellCross SL – Gravel Package

If you think you’re more likely to use your KellCross SL as a gravel grinder racer, then this is the package for you. Wider gearing, more bombproof, and a touch more comfortable.

  • Frame: Evergreen SL (Double-Butted Titanium)
    • Frame Upgrades – Dropped chainstay & Moto seatstays
  • Shimano Ultegra 8070 Di2 drive train:
    • Shimano Ultegra shifters/hydraulic flat mount brakes
    • Shimano Ultegra 50/34t
    • Shimano Ultegra 11-34 cassette
    • Shimano Ultegra clutch rear derailleur
  • Seven Alloy Gravel Bar and Stem
  • Seven Ti seatpost
  • Chris King headset
  • Chris King/HED Belgium wheelset
  • Donnelly Sports X'Plor MSO Tire - 700 x 40 tires
  • Fizik Antares R3 - k:ium rails saddle
  • Frame Price - $4,085
  • Frameset Price - $4,650
  • Complete Bike Price - $8,895

Upgrades and substitutions on these bikes are available as part of the normal order process. Ask us during your design interview.