Seven Cycles Blog

125th Anniversary

July 10th, 2014 by Seven

Back when the first signs of Spring were upon us, our friend Larry Burke, Mavic’s OEM manager, stopped in to show us the 2015 wheel line up. Larry makes a point to stop in every year, and each year he brings the same gusto to the unveiling. Each wheel is a little stiffer, a little more aero, and somehow, without fail, a little lighter than the year before. He can explain how each benefit was achieved with the greatest of ease. This year was a little different than normal, however, because Mavic is celebrating 125 years in the bike business, and to commemorate such a feat, they are launching a new brand communications center and Service Course in Los Angeles, CA, as well as producing a limited run of anniversary edition wheels, the Ksyrium 125′s.

Larry explained that Mavic wanted to showcase a few frame builders at the new communications center and invited Seven to participate. Seven has a long history with Mavic, maybe not 125 years worth, but if you thumb through all seventeen years of our brochures, you’ll notice more Mavic wheels than any other brand. Naturally, we were thrilled.

The parameters were pretty open. Mavic wanted to give us the creative freedom to make the bike a representation of our relationship with Mavic both professionally and personally, and hoped that the Ksyrium 125 wheelset would inspire us. They needed the bike in time for the event where it would sit on display until being donated to a Davis Phinney Foundation fundraiser in October. With that, Larry was off, but promised to drop off the limited edition wheels when the bike was ready to build.

Designing a show bike is as fun as it sounds. Sometimes show bikes end up being pieces of art and see little use. Some are far-fetched and end up more like concept bikes not for every day riding. Some end up being an exercise in aesthetics. But this bike was for Mavic. If there is one thing that comes to mind when we think of Mavic, it’s usability. Sure they look great and every cyclist is familiar with the striking yellow and black logo, but first and foremost, their wheels are built to be ridden. So when we designed the bike, drafted the paint scheme, and chose parts, we wanted each element to be as usable as a Mavic wheelset, and as attractive as the 2015 wheels Larry showed us.

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The result, in our eyes, is a stunning bike that is built to be ridden all day, everyday. The titanium Axiom SL frame, stem, and seat post are as ready for the road now, as they will be in fifty years. The components, Shimano Ultegra 6800, are tried and true. The limited edition, matte black, Ksyrium 125 wheels look great, but like the Ksyriums that came before, are ready to log endless miles. The paint scheme stands out because the colors are so striking. A rich glossy black, vibrant Mavic yellow, and subtle matte black accents look racy and pair harmoniously with the wheels. The complete package is a bike worthy of a 125th anniversary party for a trusted partner, and your favorite group ride. The complete bike, as shown, has a retail price of $9,395, though the Ksyrium 125′s are limited.

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We’re honored to have played a small role in Mavic’s anniversary celebration, and look forward to the next 125 years of Mavic innovation.

The Pride of Ownership

July 1st, 2014 by Seven

 

TerryBSolaSL29ChristopherW_EliumSLWe are gratified to build bikes for everyone. Every bike presents a challenge. Every bike gives us the opportunity to get better at what we do, to think about cycling in a slightly different way. When a shop owner gets him or herself a Seven, given all the choices available to them, we take particular pride in building it. These are our most demanding customers and our most passionate supporters. Above you’ll find Terry B’s (Cascade Bicycle Studio) Sola SL 29er, and here on the right, Christopher W’s (Victoria VeloTech) Elium SL.

P2S

June 26th, 2014 by Seven

“Port-LAND,” he shouted out as he walked down the train car, “Next stop, Port-LAND.” I had never heard the emphasis on the second syllable, but the conductor was quirky so it worked in this case. The Amtrak Downeaster runs from Boston’s North Station all the way to Brunswick, ME and travels through endless woods, lakes, rivers, ocean front, and cool old New England mill towns. There is even a stop in Haverhill, MA. If we had needed a fresh pair of Ksyrium’s we might have had enough time to make a dash to Mavic‘s headquarters.  Our bikes, stowed away in bike specific wheel slots in the last rail car, cost just $5 more per ticket.

Hearing the conductor, we gathered our stuff, and headed for the doors.

June 21st is the longest day of the year, and the final glimmer of sunlight faded out as we were walking in the door of our hotel. Kristin’s Campagnolo freehub is loud on the road, but in the hallway of the hotel it was deafening. The three of us caused quite a commotion. While we were checking in, a woman wanted to know where we were headed. As it turned out, she was in Maine on a bike ride too, on a quest to ride their bikes in each of the 50 states.  Her name was Pat, and when she saw our Sevens she was excited to tell us about how much she loved her Axiom.

Pat G will ride her Axiom in each of the 50 states.

Pat G and Karl B

Maine, the way life should be.

We needed carbs for the morning’s ride and found them at the Local 188 in the form of a hearty paella. From there we walked to Novare Res, home to a most incredible selection of draft beers. More carbs. Portland is a town that is hard to say good night too, but we had a big Sunday ahead, and headed back just before midnight. Larabars, tubes, and pillows were divvied up, the alarm was set, and we hit the hay.

The forecast called for a day in the 70s, and the sunlight pouring through the split in the curtains promised to deliver. We shoved off a little past 7:30. Our hotel was at the bottom of Congress St., and while we rode up it, we joked that it might be the biggest climb of the day.

The entire ride, from Portland to Salem is about 115 miles, and over the length of the trip we’d climb a total of 1,200 vertical feet. A right turn on State, and a right on Congress and we were leaving Portland via the windy and windy Casco Bay Bridge. There was a 5K road race in South Portland that morning, and the entire bridge, on the southbound side, was bumper to bumper. We sailed past and made no friends in the process.

111 miles left to go.

111 miles left to go.

The Eastern Trail, an abandoned rail bed that has been turned into a hard pack, multi-use path, runs for 65 miles from South Portland to Kittery and was the highlight of the first fifth of the ride. The twenty mile stretch on our route may as well have been a nature preserve. Ponds, streams, salt water marshes, vernal pools, and woods outlined the path from the moment we got on until we departed near the town of Wells, ME.

Eastern Trail

Salt Marsh

Endless Marsh

We headed east until we hit the coast, then south. Moving from the serenity of the Eastern Trail to the touristy beach communities is a dramatic change, but both are fun places to ride. We rode from one Olde New England town to the next, and discussed which old houses we like best.

Just one of the hundreds of colonial houses we passed.

This one was from the 1700s.

My favorite part of the route, prior to lunch, was Shore Rd., in Ogunquit. Crashing waves on the left, houses that belong in fairy tales on the right, and a freshly paved road that follows the shoreline down the middle, Maine didn’t disappoint.

Shore Rd.

One of a thousand breath taking stops along Shore Rd.

Making the transition from Maine to New Hampshire easy was the beautiful, newly refinished Memorial Bridge, and the promise of burritos once we crossed the border.

Memorial Bridge NH

You could almost smell the burritos in the air.

The bridge basically funnels traffic into Dos Amigos Burritos, and we didn’t resist the pull. Timing worked well as we were all hungry, the sun was at it’s peak, and the benches at Prescott Park were clear. Portsmouth represented the half way point of the ride, and while we weren’t setting a land speed record, we were in good shape to make it home before sunset.  We sat for a bit, watched the boats, and devoured lunch.

Three burritos please.

Three burritos please.

The remainder of the ride, into Massachusetts, featured a few miles of ocean front views. To ensure our legs stayed fresh to the finish, we pulled over in Newburyport, MA for coffee and a brownie casserole.

Cafe

Coffee break.

At least that is what I would call a brownie that was so full of walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut. It hit the spot. 25 miles later, we reached our destination point, the Old Spot in Salem, MA. As you already know, it’s hard to beat a long day in the saddle.

Three Amigos

Three Amigos

For an “easy” 117 mile route, P2S as we call it, it’s hard to top. How does your favorite century stack up?

Oh, The Places They Go!

June 16th, 2014 by Seven
Peter B., from the UK, visited us last week for a factory tour.  When he got home, he sent us some incredible pictures from the routes he’s ridden recently.  He writes:

“Thank you for showing us round the Seven production facility recently (calling it a factory doesn’t seem quite right). We both enjoyed the visit and found it very interesting.

The first picture was taken a few weeks ago at the top of Hardknott pass. It’s not a long pass, but it’s steep, around 30% in places. We had to walk a bit of it! The descent is also pretty interesting if the weather is wet, fortunately it wasn’t when we went over it.  It was on a ride called the Fred Whitton Challenge, which is 112miles and includes around 3900m of climbing, and goes over most of the steep passes in the English Lake District, many of which are 20 to 25% climbs. If you’re interested, you’ll find some information about this ride and also the Raid Pyraneen on the web.

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The others were all taken on the Raid Pyreneen, which I did last year. That goes Coast to Coast along the Spanish / French border from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The basic route is around 720km with 11,000m of climbing and the objective is to complete it in under 100 hours. Due to some passes still being snow covered from the west side, we actually did 755km and 13,100m of climbing. The first picture is the Col D’Aubisque:

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The second is the Col de Tourmalet (which was closed from the Aubisque side, so we had to go down to the valley, round the mountain and up from the far side).
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I can’t remember the name of the last one, but it’s a nice picture so I thought I’d chuck it in.  This ride goes over a lot of the big Pyraneen Passes many of which appear regularly in the Tour de France. They go up them (and down them) quite a lot faster than I did!
130622raid19

All the best,

Peter”

Editions of One: Project Pioneer

June 6th, 2014 by Seven

What are the Editions of One?

The Seven Cycles’ Editions of One bikes are special projects aimed at pushing the bounds of our creativity and ability. Like every Seven, built for the person who will ride it, each is one of a kind. Each is meant to inspire. Each is meant to celebrate the craft of bike building and the freedom cycling affords us all.

We will release three Editions of One this year.  The first, built back in March was the Ever Changing Evergeen.  The second is currently underway, and will be completed in time for an adventurous ride this weekend.  We’re calling this second Edition of One, Project Pioneer.

Project Pioneer Design Details

Eugene Christophe was leading the 1913 Tour de France when his fork broke on the descent of the Tourmalet. Prohibited from accepting outside help, he hiked 10km to the village of Ste-Marie-de-Campan with his bike on his shoulder. Once there he repaired his own fork at the forge of Mssr. Lecomte and then continued on to the finish even though the entire field passed him while he toiled and the race was lost.

The Project Pioneer bike is a tribute not only to Christophe, but to the pioneer spirit of cycling’s early decades, to the self-sufficiency that cycling fosters and to the joy of building and riding your own bicycle.

Seven built this bike in collaboration with Rapha Performance Roadwear, the Rapha Continental Team and Ride Studio Cafe for the June 7th, 2014 Pioneers Ride, designed as a tribute to the pioneers of early cycling.  Details on the ride can be found here. All are welcome!

Design Details: Paying homage to the cycling era from 1900 through 1940.

  • Frame: Carbon tubing with titanium lugs and chain stays.
  • Tubular Truss:  harkens back to bikes of this period.
  • Derailleur:  Three-speed, designed and built from scratch, in house.  Inspired by the first derailleur ever allowed in the Tour de France, the Super Champion.
  • Chain tensioner:  Customized, in house.
  • Shift lever:  Modified in house for three-speed use.
  • Gearing: 42 front; 14-18-24t cluster.
  • Handlebar:  Wide flare drop bar.
  • Stem:  Adjustable – track style, built from scratch.
  • Wheels:  Rims and hubs painted to match frameset.
  • Skewers: Modified wing nuts.
  • Paint:  Logo designs and details based on the style of the era.  Gold leaf logos – real gold leaf.  Unpainted chainstay – reminiscent of chrome plating.

The Editions of One bikes are not for sale, but some design elements can be incorporated into our standard offerings.  Each of these special bikes will remain in the Seven Cycles factory show room at the conclusion of their intended usage.  For behind the scenes action of the creation of the bike, follow our Instagram feed, Twitter page or Tumblr.

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The Bikes of Summer

June 4th, 2014 by Seven

Nick2013-11-01 08.53.34CampOutFreedomWigsCooper_AxiomSLBrassardForestTrailVaillancourtKarlShredTandem

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The Making of an Expedition Bike

May 21st, 2014 by Seven

zand snowWhen Zand told us he was packing as light as possible, we didn’t think he meant to carry a hundred pounds of bike and gear. Skis, ski boots, poles, avalanche gear, camping equipment, cooking utensils, cameras, and other odds and ends apparently add up pretty quickly. Once the trip began, Zand reported that the total outfit weighed in at almost exactly one hundred pounds. Not bad, if you’re going downhill, but something about circumnavigating the Altai Mountains suggested there would be some uphill too.

First TestEvery tube that makes up his Expat S, and every other Seven as well, is carefully selected and tailored based on the rider and how they mean to use their bike. Zand’s bike was unique because it was designed around three total extremes; the giant size of the frame, the massive amount of gear it would haul, and the intricate details required to handle the rigorous conditions of the Altai. Each Seven is unique, but to have three far out requirements made for an especially fun project.

Zand is a tall guy, and lean. His Seven stands like a mammoth next to most bikes, but the 29″ wheels make it look proportional. Normally someone will take a completed bike for a spin to check their handiwork first hand, but the saddle height on Zand’s Expat S was far above what any of us was comfortable straddling. We left the test ride to Zand himself, and the big fella made the bike look great, a perfect fit.

Selecting the tube set for this frame was a challenge.  As we said, Zand is tall and strong, but slim. If we were designing him a road bike, he might prefer the cushy road feel of smaller diameter tubes. But on an expedition bike, set to carry a huge load, a smaller diameter tubeset would likely bend and flex too much, making for an inefficient ride. To ensure this bike would ride well under weight, we used larger diameter tubes which flex less, adding to the frame’s stability.

The Long RoadDesigning a bike to fit a tall rider, and making sure it was sturdy enough to carry all of the required provisions proved to be manageable, but how could we design a bike for the unknown trail ahead?

Adjustability.

As an example, we discussed what tires he thought he’d use. The surfaces that he knew he would ride on were paved roads, unpaved roads, destroyed roads, dirt trails, and each of those covered in snow as well. Much of the route was unknown however, so we started with 40mm knobbies, but left room for a two inch tire, just in case. We chose straight gauge tubes, not that butted tubes aren’t strong, but the thick walls of a straight gauge tube will provide that much more impact resistance in the case of a crash. Descending unknown mountain roads in variable conditions suggested crashing was a possibility. Rack and fender mounts were obvious additions, as was a chain hanger to ease repairs, and the low mount disc brake that helps keep each of these areas free of frame clutter.

At this point, just 230kn to the finish, Zand’s trip, and his Expat S have seen their fair share of adventure, and challenges. But both continue to impress. Best of luck on the final push, Zand!

zand bridge

 

Ravi K’s 622 SLX

May 19th, 2014 by Seven

RkhalsaThis is Ravi’s 622 SLX. We worked with Faster in Scottsdale, AZ on the design. This photo was taken on a particularly nice day in the Southwest.

Ravi wrote us this morning to say:

Still the best ride I’ve ever had.

Thanks, Ravi. Keep making us look good.

Five Rides In

May 13th, 2014 by Seven

The log that crosses the service road, moments from the start, had stopped my progress each of the four previous rides. As had the challenge of the first hill.  I could make it to the top, but was panting and wheezing so heavily at the peak that I couldn’t partake in the jump that came soon after. Everyone else made that jump look awesome.

John Lewis launches off the first jump of the day.

The final hurdle, before crossing the street into Rock Meadow, is a line of jagged rocks that runs right through the trail and looks imposing.

Mike Salvatore clears the rock wall with the greatest of ease.

I gave only a halfhearted effort before putting a foot down. So scared I was. Throughout each of those rides, there were a number of obstacles that gave me trouble, slowed me down, or stopped me altogether.

 

I learned, or rather relearned, little things, important things, every thing, basic stuff like when you ride over rocks and roots, even small ones, your butt gets bucked off the saddle, so it’s best to hover even if you’re tired. You have to lean over the front wheel on steep climbs to avoid the wheel lifting off the ground.  If there is a rider in front of you, give them time and space to clear technical sections. On really steep downhills, it helps to get way off the back of the bike, behind your saddle, for extra control.  Pull up on the bars when you ride over a drop. No matter how thirsty you are, your water bottle is useless until you are stopped. Trees are everywhere and have surprisingly little give.

Around every corner was another reminder of a lesson I once knew.

Five rides in, however, and there have been improvements. I made it over the log. There was enough left in the tank to get an inch or two of air off the jump.

That’s me! Progress.

Brimming with confidence, I gave a wholehearted effort, and made it over the line of rocks. They didn’t seem so jagged this time. In Rock Meadow, I continued to do better, and took a huge step forward. I started relaxing on the bike. The difference is amazing. My grip on the bar loosened. I squeezed the brake levers less, which opened me up to a little rhythm through the twists and turns.

Twisting and turning.

Best of all, I could stop focusing on myself, and start paying attention to the sites and sounds of the ride, and joking with my friends. I still have a ways to go, and endless areas to improve upon, but it’s great to be on the trail to once again considering myself a mountain biker.

 

Seven at the Paris-Roubaix Challenge

May 2nd, 2014 by Seven

CF3When we walked into Cyclefit in Covent Garden, London last week, we were greeted by this filthy Axiom SL. Closer inspection revealed it had been ridden by resident physiotherapist and fit analyst Morgan Lloyd in April’s Paris-Roubaix Challenge, a ride that takes in all of the cobbled sections of the pro race along the 170km route.

Morgan hadn’t cleaned the bike. He was keeping all that dust and grime as a sort of trophy.

He reported that the bike performed superbly with no mechanicals or punctures. He also said, “I could not wish for a better bike, everything felt solid and it gave me the confidence to ride the sections hard despite it being my first time on pave. The frame absorbed some of the vibration protecting me a little from the punishing terrain and when I got my technique and line right I felt as if I was flying along! Is there a better frame for this event or a better test for a bike?! Brilliant.”

We are, of course, grateful to him for bringing us along.