Seven Cycles Blog

Seven in Flanders

April 14th, 2014 by Seven

phil_cobblesThis is Phil Cavell from Cyclefit in London. Phil is on our 622 SLX on the cobbles in Flanders, and this picture was taken on a trip to Belgium in advance of this year’s Tour of Flanders.

Phil, and his partner Julian Wall, do the fits for all of Trek Factory Racing, the team of this year’s Flanders winner, Fabian Cancellara. So, safe to say Phil knows of what he speaks, when he’s speaking about bikes.

He wrote a review of his experience on this bike for the Cyclefit site.

Here are a couple choice quotes from that review:

“Look closely at the dropouts or welds, or brake-bridge. Rob Vandermark has made Seven his life’s work and project. It is his entry into The Great Ledger. This is not a product or model or something stamped out of a mould in China. It is a mission that he judges himself upon every day.”

and…

“The ride is flawless and so it should be. Taut, responsive, nuanced and brimming with undertones of distinction.”

Find the rest here, and thanks Phil for bringing us along on your Flandrien escapade, for putting us through our paces, and also for making us look so good.

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Photo Friday – Evergreen SL in New Zealand

April 11th, 2014 by Seven

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This bike, this country.

The Ever Changing Evergreen

April 10th, 2014 by Seven

The Evergreen is a bit of a chameleon by nature, adapting and changing to best suit the terrain it’s tackling. Day or night, loaded or unloaded, technical or rolling, with a few pre-ride modifications the Evergreen can be perfectly suited to handle it all. Below is a photo essay that demonstrates how a few modifications can transform the bike from a road worthy rig, to a loaded expedition bike.

Exhibit A:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Fast road rides.  Keep up with any pure road bike and still be able to roll in the woods
How:  Schwalbe One tires.  Full on road performance – and I’d still ride these on any mountain trail.

Evergreen Road

Exhibit B:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Mostly paved conditions with some dirt road sections.
How:  Ruffy Tuffy 28c slick tire.  As an aside, this tire and the Roll-y Pol-y are some of our favorite off road tires.

Evergreen Paved and Dirt

Exhibit C:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Fast wet or dry conditions in mixed terrain; more paved than dirt.  Cyclocross style; fast handling for tight terrain.  Works great with 45mm fenders for those fun wet rides.
How:  Clement MSO 32  knobby with center ridge

Evergreen Fast Wet

 

Exhibit D:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Fast dry conditions in mixed terrain; equal parts paved and dirt
How:  Clement LAS 33c filetread tires

Evergreen Fast MixedExhibit E:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Mixed terrain exploration; wet conditions; more dirt than paved
How:  Clement MSO 40c tires

Evergreen Mixed Explore

Exhibit F:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Night riding mixed terrain exploration; wet conditions; more dirt than paved
How:  Son28 generator hub, Edelux II headlight, Clement MSO 40c tires

Evergreen Night Mixed

Exhibit G:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  All day – and night – riding in all conditions and all terrain; worldwide travel.
How:  BTC couplersPDX City fenders,  Revelate Viscacha saddle bag, Revelate Mountain Feedbag, Ortlieb Ultimate 6 handlebar bag, Son28 generator hub, Edelux II headlight, Clement MSO 40c tires

Evergreen Night and Day

This photo essay might make for a fun flip book.

David K’s Sola Pro

April 7th, 2014 by Seven

We received an email over the weekend from David K, who gave us an early review of his new bike.

 

He writes, “So, the day came in my life (I am 41 years old) when I started to think about yet another new bike. I bought my first mountain bike in 1986 and have had roughly 15 different mountain bikes. With each new bike comes anticipation that certain things will be differently better than the last bike. Hopefully it will corner better, track better, downhill with more confidence, be a little bit better at each task than the last bike. Some bikes live up to the expectation better than others. I started to look online for my new dream bike. I decided I would go with a titanium hard tail 29er. I saw a lot of companies out there making high quality cycles. I researched and researched, and researched some more and then came across Seven. I remembered that there was a local dealer right by me. I never gave much thought to Seven. I didn’t know a thing about them. All I knew at this point is that they build custom bikes. I liked that idea a lot. I went to my dealer and upon further inspection realized that these guys really know what they are doing. I started reading review after review and decided I was going to do it.

 

 
It was a high price to pay but, not much more, and custom! I was on the fence because I had never bought a bike I hadn’t ridden. I had to take a massive leap of faith and just go for it.  I scheduled my fit and came back a few days later.  I was blown away with the amount of information that I provided about what kind of riding experience I was looking for in a bike.  The bike fit process was amazing as well. Measuring everything twice and checking angles over and over and then re tweaking and measuring again and checking comfort levels along the way.

 

 
Then, the 8 week wait started. I tried to keep it out of my mind. “It will be here when it gets here” I tell myself daily. I research parts and read up on past Seven customer’s reviews. I can’t wait. I felt like a 7 year old boy waiting for Santa to bring me my very first bike.  The bike shop called and it was finally here. I opened the box and then saw what was a true work of machined art. The bike was all I had hoped for. The attention to detail and craftsmanship was beautiful. I could hardly believe my eyes.

Kevitch

Then I rushed home and started the build. Once everything was finished, I dropped her out of the stand and took a look.  Everything looked right. I was afraid to get on just in case something wasn’t going to fit right. I threw a leg over and hopped on.  It felt RIGHT. It disappeared under me. It was part of me. I couldn’t dream of a better fit. Then I rode around the neighborhood to get everything dialed in.  The cornering was magical. I had read someone saying their Seven was “telepathic” and thought how right they were. I had never ridden a bike that felt like this. I couldn’t quit smiling. I knew I had found my soul mate.

 

 
Before I wrote a review or even gave Seven my feedback, I wanted to ride her for a month. So the rides started. Each one as enjoyable as the last. I didn’t want the rides to end. I wanted to keep ridding. I didn’t have any adjustment period or any need to dial in the bike. It was perfect from the first pedal stroke. I messed with stem height and ended right back where it was at the start, where my fitter said it was supposed to be. This “Sola pro” had many characteristics that I wasn’t used to. It sucked up bumps but was still stiff at the bb. It tracked absolutely straight as an arrow. It dampened the chatter beautifully. It downhilled like it was built to do just that. Never feeling sketchy or uneasy in the corners. Always feeling great and wanting more.  The ride quality that this bike has is unlike any other bike I have ever ridden.

 

 

 

If you can get your equipment to “disappear” from the experience, then it’s doing its job. If it disappears, then it’s working perfectly. If nothing is going wrong then you don’t notice the gear, what ever it may be.  This bike does just that.

 

Thanks Seven for making my biking dream a reality.

 

David K”

 

Thanks David, we’re happy to hear it!  Thanks also to the team at Millcreek Bicycles in Salt Lake for designing the bike.

Some Deserved Time Off

April 4th, 2014 by Seven

When Seven began, back in 1997, Rob Vandermark‘s vacation days started to accrue at the rate of about a day a month. When the first year of operation came to a close, he had twelve days saved up.  Seven had a busy year in 1998, including a move from Topsfield to Watertown, so there was no time for a vacation, and those twelve vacation days were added to the original twelve to make twenty four. The company was growing steadily, in numbers and in employees. There was so much to do.

Twenty four became thirty six, and this pattern continued, year after year. The vacation days kept adding up. No one knows for sure, but a reasonable estimate to the number of days accrued would be one hundred ninety six.

A few weeks ago, for the first time in Rob’s seventeen years at Seven Cycles, he asked for time off. We were puzzled. Was there an event we didn’t know about? A presentation somewhere? Was he off to work on a secret new project? No one was sure, though as it turns out, the answer was quite simple. Rob wanted to take a vacation.

When you take one vacation in seventeen years, everyone wants to know where  you are going? In Rob’s case, the answer was a cycling trip to New Zealand. As the trip grew near, Rob became almost giddy. He outfitted his coupled Evergreen SL specifically for the journey with: a generator front hub and powerful headlight, full fender coverage in case the going gets wet, reflective decals for high visibility, wide tires with some tread in case the pavement came to an end. We won’t know all of the details of the trip until he gets back, but we know his bike is ready for anything, and that his vacation is well deserved.

RV's RV

RV’s RV

Have fun Rob. We’ll hold down the fort.

Eilidh B’s Evergreen SLX

March 31st, 2014 by Seven

Eilidh recently received her Evergreen SLX, and says, “I wanted to drop you a line as I can’t tell you how happy I am with my gorgeous new Evergreen. I have always loved to cycle but hurt my hip/back a couple of years ago and have never been able to cycle strongly or comfortably since. About a year ago I therefore started looking at custom bikes. In addition I am a keen mountain biker and like to cycle off road so cycling on the gravel roads around Boston is very appealing. Finally, I’m a materials scientist and appreciate careful engineering and materials selection

…. and that all came together in the absolutely amazing Seven Evergreen.”

Eilidh B Evergreen SLX

“The frame is a beautiful work of art, everything is just right from the shape of the geometry to little details such as the chain stays. It just gleamed when I bought it, although it is pretty dirty now after a few rides in our Carlisle MA slush, sand and muddy pot holes. It flies along and is stable and comfortable at the same time. I am sure it will be excellent off road when the snow and mud disappear. The best thing is the fit which is just right.”

Here’s to hoping that snow and mud will disappear!  Thanks to Eilidh for the great write up, and to Patria Lanfranchi at the Ride Studio Cafe for delivering such a cool bike.

 

Hardly an Update on Karl’s Sola SL

March 28th, 2014 by Seven

The first bike I ever built was a Trek 800 mountain bike at Alpha-Lo Bicycles in Wallingford, CT when I was in 6th grade. I had applied to work at the bike shop weeks earlier, even though I had few skills in the realm of sales, merchandising, or mechanics, and yet they hired me anyway. Chalk it up to the sweetheart of an owner, and my obvious love for his store.

I worked on the weekends, and though I doubt I provided $20 of value, that’s what I was paid. Keeping the shop presentable was my number one priority, which sounds lame, but I couldn’t get enough of it. I took great pride in shifting the bikes to the big ring, pulling products to the front of the shelves, and vacuuming the floor. When the shop was clean, George, Aaron, and Matt all pitched in to help me learn the basics of bike mechanics.

The shop wasn’t enormous, but it felt like we hand an endless array of entry level mountain bikes to assemble. Building these bikes would become my second responsibility. At the time, I could operate a quick release and fix a flat, but that was the extent of my skills. I was a clean slate. The learning curve was steep, and I wasn’t the quickest learner, but the shop guys were incredible teachers, celebrating victories when I had them, and understanding when I failed. They’d gather round to inspect, coach, joke, mock, and help whenever I was stuck. They’d pull up stools and watch, or shout out advice from afar.

Life was good. What I learned at that shop wasn’t a mastery of bike mechanics, something I’m still searching for, but a love of the bike build and the fanfare that goes with it.

photo 3

At Seven Cycles, we have a bike stand and work shop just beyond our bike commuter lot. Low on bells and whistles, but high on character, it has all of the essential tools to transform a frame into a complete bike, a well worn work bench, recycling bins, a vice, shelves, rags, a drawer of miscellaneous parts, and stools. Whenever a bike is being built, whether it be a new bike for a magazine review, or someone’s old beat up commuter, people gather. Opinions are voiced, jokes cracked. The stools fill with spectators. Assistance is provided, wanted or not. Should the build happen after work, the crowd grows along with the laughter.

photo 1

The technology has changed, as have the tools, but the fanfare of a bike build today is no different than it was when I was a kid. I wouldn’t want it any other way, and I can’t think of a better place to build my new Sola.

 

Raymond Z’s 622 SLX

March 26th, 2014 by Seven

Raymond says, “Greetings from Reno, NV!  My Seven 622 SLX is the best bike I have ever ridden! She climbs up the steep hills of Reno and Lake Tahoe and is snappy on flat roads.  Pictured is my Seven 622 SLX Ultegra Di2 in ‘Swimming Pool Blue’ decals and my Boston Terrier ‘Goliath.’”

622 SLX

Thanks to Raymond for the kind words, and to Paul Williams at Perfect Fit for making it happen!

Folktales

March 21st, 2014 by Seven

One stubborn visa is all that keeps Zand Martin from boarding a plane to Kazakhstan, the starting point of an amazing adventure.  The wait will be over soon though, and in the anxious days leading up to the visa’s arrival, Zand has been hard at work.  For starters, the trip’s website and Facebook page have been created, and are now live!

Zand might be an outdoorsman at heart, but he is a gifted writer and storyteller, too.  When he visited us a few weeks ago, it was apparent that he was biting his tongue to prevent all of the stories from rushing out, perhaps to avoid keeping us there all day.  I doubt we would have noticed the clock, however. His stories sound like folktales.  One such story involved his inland kayak traverse of the United States a few years ago. He came to a point where he could paddle no further, so he bought a $30 bike on Craigslist, built a trailer, and pulled his kayak right through Yellowstone.  I’m sure the buses of tourists took as many pictures of him and his rig as they did the buffaloes that day.

photoTo help us grasp the scale of his latest trip, Zand unfolded all of his maps on out showroom floor.  Laying them out, it was obvious he is a map guy (I wasn’t surprised to see this blog post a few days later).  Some of the maps were what you could find on line, others were old Russian military maps and harder to acquire.  While he was talking us through the route, his enthusiasm, and smile, began to gleam.  If there weren’t bikes to make, we’d be on that trip with him.

Speaking of bikes, Zand has also been using his time to familiarize himself with his Expat S.  His bike is outfitted with drop bars, bar con shifters, mechanical disc brakes, and due to the weight of his gear and the unknown terrain ahead, a triple chain ring.  On his rack, he’ll be carrying a tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear,  a change of clothes, skis, ski boots, an avalanche probe, and camera equipment.  The goal is to carry no more than 35 pounds of gear and equipment.  To see what all of this gear looks like, when spread out and organized over a time lapse video, click here.

And so, our excitement grows for “Circling the Golden Mountains.”  As soon as the final visa arrives, Zand and his partner will be off, and we’ll be that much closer to our next folktale.

More as Sculpture – Leon’s Axiom S

March 19th, 2014 by Seven

Seven_Mar-18-2014Last month, together with our good friends at Velosmith, we delivered an Axiom S to professional photographer Leon Ikler. And before Tony and Andrew at the shop could work their magic on the final build, Leon took the frame away to photograph in his studio.

Leon said, “My idea was to capture the form and detail of the frame more as sculpture then just a shot of the bike from the “drive side” and I’m pleased to share my vision with you.”

Here is some of Leon’s vision:

SEVEN-Test-Shots_3.03.2014_4038(Outlined)SEVEN-Test-Shots_3.03.2014_4012SEVEN-Test-Shots_3.03.2014_3957SEVEN-Test-Shots_3.03.2014_3981

 

 

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