We were honored to be asked to present at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s recent Moving Together Conference, on a panel with New Balance and the Springfield manufacturer of new subway trains for metro-Boston. The panel was titled: Made in Massachusetts, focusing, you guessed it, on transportation sector companies that actually make things here in our home state.
First, it is important for us to recognize what an honor this is. New Balance is a top five global sports brand. That the Mass DOT sees an equivalency to what we do is humbling, and we were touched by an element of respect that comes from doing what we do for nearly two decades.
This was a great opportunity for us to interact with various cycling advocacy groups and transportation planners. While we were there, ostensibly, to talk about how it’s possible to manufacture quality, competitive products here in Massachusetts, a lot of the discussion was focused on the evolution of cycling infrastructure, the gains we’ve made and the progress still in front of us.
Seven only plays a small part in all of that effort, so it was inspiring to hear about all the good work being done by MassBike, the Livable Streets Alliance, People for Bikes and so many other groups trying to make cycling safer, easier and more popular. What struck us, as it always does, was the inter-connectedness of all these groups, and the level of cooperation it takes to bring even simple projects to fruition. There are vital people in every community doing this important work, and it was nice to spend some time with them, and have an opportunity to tell them about what we do here at Seven.
It’s overwhelming, Spring in New England. The flood of riding possibilities that come with better weather leave you wondering what to do first, how much to do, which direction to ride. It’s like a starving person confronted with a Vegas buffet.
And in a minute, it’s summer. The riding becomes regular, more regimented. You know where you’re riding, when, and who you’ll ride with. You start to feel fit, maybe you even are. It’s hard to tell. Everyone else is getting fit, too.
Then the heat sets in. You pay more attention to your water bottles, spend more time, off the bike, making yourself drink water. If you set goals, you begin to know whether you achieved any of them, even if they only amount to riding more with friends.
Although it’s still warm here, the factory’s big tilting windows channeling in whatever air is available, we can feel the change to Fall coming. Conversations leave the road, turn to cyclocross, mixed-terrain, Fall mountain biking. Someone says the words “fat bike.”
If Spring is a beginning, then Fall is one, too. We start to dream about cool temperatures, wondering how much faster and farther we might go. There is an urgency, too, in Fall. Winter is coming. We will ride straight through it, but certain places and certain ways of riding will be less possible. Fall is the time to cram in the good stuff, the things we missed during the Summer’s high heat.
A red morning sky tells sailors that bad weather lies ahead. Project RedSky is our way of making all the bad weather days rideable, no, not just rideable, maximally rideable, lovable, to turn those rainy, snowy, off days into your favorite days to be out on the bike.
Here’s how we did it:
- Lightweight: A typical RedSky builds up at 1.5 to 2.0 lbs lighter than an equivalent disc brake bike. The bike is the same weight as any lightweight road bike; the mid-reach brake calipers are only about 30 grams heavier than most lightweight short reach brakes. The bike pictured tips the scales at 16.2 lbs with the MSO 32c tires; without pedals.
- Tire Choices: From a 23c road slick to a 33c knobby and everything in between, the RedSky is even more versatile than a true cyclocross bike. On 33c tires, clearance is limited, but tire option versatility will be appreciated in some riding conditions. True tire clearance depends on measured tire width, rim width, and brake caliper choice. Perhaps most importantly, the RedSky can also fit studded tires.
- All Weather: Designed to fit fenders with up to 28c tires.
- High Performance: This design sacrifices nothing compared to any performance road bike. It’s fast, agile, and accelerates with the best of bikes.
- Optimal Handling: Seven’s 5E fork allows for matching the fork rake to the frame geometry so there’s no compromise to the bike’s front end handling.
- Hidden Fender Mounts: At dropouts and chainstay bridge. The mounts are there when you want them, but hidden when you don’t.
- Travel Bike: Simple brake system makes for fast, easy, and lightweight bike travel.
Overall, the Redsky provides you most of the benefits of an Evergreen — a versatile mixed-terrain disc brake bike — while being as light as a pure performance road bike. Designed specifically for harsh environments, the RedSky loves the rain, sleet, and even snow and ice. Boston sees an average of 80 rain days a year; why miss that many days of riding?
The RedSky will make everyday a riding day.
What defines RedSky is its versatility. No other rim brake bike offers the same breadth of tire choices, rack and fender options, lighting possibilities. We’ll show you, in the coming days, just a few of the ways you can build your Seven RedSky.
This is Keith’s Evergreen S, built out for him by our friends at Redbeard Bikes in Brooklyn. We got these photos and a nice little write up from Ilya at Redbeard:
What’s in a commuter?
Keith was looking for a bike that could be everything — daily commuter through Brooklyn and Manhattan, upstate dirt crusher — a bike that would look good, and ride even better.
The Evergreen was the best platform for this super-build.
The first bike we built for Keith, a couple years ago, was a custom painted Parlee. Titanium frames are magic, so we didn’t need any paint on the Evergreen. The Chris King Turquoise kit gives the bike just the right amount of zing. To give the bike a well rounded personality, we laced the hubs to Hed Belgium Plus rims. The wheels can take a 25mm race tire, or a 35mm plushy deluxe (the Compass Bon Jon Pass will be nice). The Evergreen’s personality changes right with the tires.
We dialed the geometry for stability, we dialed the acceleration to 11. This was the note we received from Keith after his first ride:
“Rode in today and damn man…the best way to describe the ride is it floats on the road.”
Next up, Keith puts the bike through its paces in the Berkshires. Can’t wait.
This is Harald’s Cafe Racer S, built with our good friends at Wheat Ridge Cyclery in Wheat Ridge, CO.
There is a lot going on here, including a belt-drive Shimano Alfine 11 drive train, a custom, Ti cockpit, handbuilt wheels with dynamo front hub, disc brakes and matching Brooks saddle and grips. This is a serious commuter/touring machine.
See more Cafe Racer builds here and here.