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

Seven Cycles Blog


January 28th, 2016 by Seven

MattDecalIt doesn’t matter whether you are riding a bike or building one. You will go faster if you work smarter, rather than just harder.

For example, you’re in the middle of a long climb. Your legs are screaming at you. All you think you can do is bear the pain and keep working, but then you realize you have a death grip on the bars, and you haven’t once dropped a gear and stood out of the saddle. Suddenly, you’re moving up the hill a little better and with less discomfort.

Bike building can be like this, too. Our work environment, like any road, can be fluid and changeable depending on what new products we’ve introduced or what new “standards” the industry has chosen to adopt. Like the rider on the hill, we can fall into the habit of just working harder, or we can pick our heads up and find better ways to do things. Sometimes, it’s a matter of rearranging a department, so that its easier to move from machine to machine. Sometimes, it’s about adding new fixtures to the existing machines to save set up time during the build process.

Just like on the bike, there is clearly a time to put your head down and work as hard as you can, but the big gains, and the hardest to come by, are almost always from working smarter.

The Treeline in Its Natural Habitat

January 22nd, 2016 by Seven

This is Ted’s Treeline SL, blasted decals, 1x drivetrain, sitting on authentic New Hampshire snow. This is the bike in its natural habitat. IMG_6261IMG_6262

The Value of Experience

January 20th, 2016 by Seven

IMG_1957We sat in a circle in the showroom, low morning sun teeming through the tall windows, discussing our readiness for the coming season. We meet here regularly to talk about how things are going, where the bike industry is going, how we will address all the changes that come in endless waves, all the things that make building bikes fun and challenging and sometimes maddening.

January is a funny time for us. The end-of-year rush has subsided. Those bikes are delivered. And we are turning our attention to building the bikes that people will want to ride when the warm weather comes again. Now is the time to start. So there is a busy quietness about January. It can be tempting to go easy, but experience tells us that hard work in January makes the rest of the year much easier.

As we sat discussing our prospects for 2016, it occurred to us that we were all one year wiser. What is the value of that experience? It can be hard to quantify. We are 19 years into our bike-building adventure, and each successive year brings new challenges. Simultaneously, we have a lot of problem solving behind us, a lot of engineering, a lot of craft. We have been in business through a few up and down cycles in the national and global economy. Emerging trends look more and more like things we’ve seen before.

And so, it feels good to sit there in the sun in the morning light and be able to say that we are in good shape. Leadtimes are short. The shop is staffed with experienced and passionate bike builders in every department. We have been the grateful recipients of recent media exposure both local and global. We have a committed set of retail partners who want to help us build great bikes, and every day we’re getting phone calls and emails from riders who are excited to build their own best bike.

It could be that the value of experience is the calm certainty that it’s going to be a great year, and that just how great is entirely up to us.

Tom’s Scarlet Expat SL

January 15th, 2016 by Seven

Tom loves this bike. Even if he didn’t tell us so in so many words, he wrote this about it:

Scarlet Seven is a fully custom touring bicycle assembled by Ride Studio Cafe, Lexington MA. Scarlet was born on 27 September 2015. Scarlet has a Seven Cycles titanium Expat SL frame and a steel Waterford Uni-fork. Scarlet has Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes and Di2 gear shifting with 36:46 chain rings and 11:32 cassette. Scarlet also has a Schmidt SON Deluxe SL Disc dynamo electric hub, a Schmidt Edelux II headlight and Busch & Muller Toplight Line Plus taillight. Scarlet has a Tubus Tara front rack and a Tubus Cosmo rear rack on which Ortieb Front-Roller Classic and Back-Roller Classic panniers ride. Scarlet is a great bike for touring.

Tom also takes great photos. Here are just a few:

20151115. Scarlet Seven at Arnold Arboretum, Boston MA.

20151004. Scarlet Seven in front of Minuteman Statue in Lexington MA.

The Local News

January 12th, 2016 by Seven

WCVBWe were on the local news last night, part of a series called “Made in Mass,” features on companies that still make things in Massachusetts. The piece ran just short of two minutes and didn’t say a whole lot that cyclists who are familiar with our work didn’t already know. We were glad to be featured, though it is a little frightening that simply making things makes you newsworthy now.

It was also very cool to engage with the reporter’s curiosity about how we do what we do, and the response from friends and family has been overwhelming. It reminded us of when we were kids, perhaps not coincidentally the time when our bikes first became central to our lives, the way being on TV was still some act of magic.

For another cool peek at what we do, check out this video, made by our friend Ryota at Simworks, Japan.