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Alex’s 622 SLX and the Mt. Evans Hill Climb

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

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This is Alex and her new 622 SLX, which, as you can see, is made for climbing, right down to its Queen-of-the-Mountains paint scheme. All the titanium is painted Dianthus, one of our new colors for this season. We built it with Mark Brone at Brone’s Bike Shop in Fountain City, WI. We finished it just in time for Alex to take to Colorado for two weeks, culminating in the Mt. Evans Hill Climb. Here is her quick report from the trip:

Hi Seven,

I would just like to give you a feed back about my new bike.

We have returned from our trip to Colorado and the bike is amazing!

 I was curious how this “custom made” is going to turn out and if I was going to notice any difference in the fit/feel. I have several bikes that are all “fine”, so it had to be better than “fine” to stand out.

And it…did!! Amazing, how comfortable it is. Not just a smooth ride, but I have never had any aches or pains (with climbing I got used to a uncomfortable “straining” feel in my lower back). I thought that the strain/pressure in my lower back is simply “a deal” for me in climbing position, not avoidable.

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We first did the Independence Pass, then Loveland Pass (both from the harder sides, both about 12,000 ft elevation). A big surprise: I was not even thinking about any discomfort (other then the thin air…) and later on realized that I had no discomfort of any kind on that bike! Great!!

Our main event, at the end of the trip, was Bob Cook Road Bike race on Mt. Evans, to 14,140 ft elevation and about 7,000 ft of climbing in 28 miles. I was doubtful if I would make it to the top, but I did it! It took me 5 and a half hours (my husband did in 3hrs 22 min, riding conservatively as we did not know what to expect), but who cares? The weather was great (just luck), I felt perfectly fine going my relaxed tempo, so I kept going. It was an amazing feel to go through that finish line on over 14,000 ft height. Wow!!!

I am so happy that I was able to take my new bike on that trip. It would not be the same without it, so thank you for making the best effort at the end to make it happen!

Alex

Nick’s 622 SLX

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

This is Nick’s 622 SLX. We built it with our friends at the Red Bicycle Studio in Red Bank, NJ. Nick took our Lug Deluxe paint scheme and went a step further. We think it came out great, and the matching white and red pedals are a nice touch.

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Going Fast

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

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In the last few weeks, we’ve talked about Going Up, the process of designing a climbing bike, and Going Far, the things that go into a long distance bike, which might be a century bike, a touring bike or might be a full-blown randonneuring machine. This week we turn our attention to race bikes.

The bike industry has traditionally worked backwards from race bikes to fill shop floors with race look-alikes for everyday riders who will never turn a crank in anger. What is good for the pros, so the logic goes, must be good for you, too, and for some very small number of non-pro riders, that could be true.

As with all our bikes, we start with the purpose of the bike and work forward. Going fast requires being able to sit in a comfortable, aerodynamic position, to be able to handle your bike in tight spaces, and to get good power transfer through the rear triangle.

As custom builders, getting to that perfect position is a given. We can replicate exact saddle and grip positions from a bike fitting. We can dial in handling by adjusting headtube angle and fork rake to produce the exact characteristics the rider wants. We can adjust the stiffness of the rear triangle by selecting specific diameter chainstays, up to and including the 1″ stays we call “race stays.”

Our 622 SLX rivals all of today’s carbon race machines for weight and stiffness, but it incorporates more road feel and better comfort than those bike through its unique combination of laser-cut titanium lugs and filament-wound carbon tubing. Our all-Ti Axioms make great criterium bikes for their ability to absorb the heavy impacts of racing on imperfect pavement and the way they come through the occasional crash.

The technology of race bikes evolves quickly, and adapting to new component standards can be a challenge, but with a custom bike these things can be considered during the design phase to leave you with as many upgrade options as possible.

The thing is, bikes aren’t fast. Riders are fast. The best way for the rider to Go Fast is to design a bike around them that fits them perfectly, handles the way they want it to and transfers as much of their power as possible.

 

 

John’s 622 SLX

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Here’s a 622 SLX we built with our friends at Bean’s Bikes in Berwyn, PA. This Ti/carbon machine is finished with our Lug Deluxe paint scheme with a special “rattlesnake” finish on the carbon that shows a different color depending on the light and the angle you’re looking from. The decals are a custom Glitter Gold outline.

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A Holistic Approach

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Axiom_TraceEvery new bike purchase is, in a very real way, a design challenge, engineering the best possible solution for the type of riding you want to do. How you address that challenge can vary wildly, from choosing an off-the-shelf bike that already does most of what you want it to do, to building a fully custom bike.

When we think of a new bike at Seven, we start our own design process with material choice. What frame material makes the most sense? Steel has a unique ride feel, bright and lively, comfortable. In the hands of a good builder, steel can be light, too. Titanium can be lighter still, and just as comfortable. It won’t corrode, will survive better in a crash, can be repaired. In a word, it is durable. And finally carbon fiber, which is even lighter (in most cases) and stiffer. It dampens vibration well, but is not generally as durable as titanium or steel, nor as naturally comfortable.

John Lewis' Axiom SL towards DSC_0016We think it’s important to start at the beginning, with frame material, rather than jump forward to decisions based on component spec or features. The riders we talk with every day know what they want their bike to do. Why not choose the material that does those things best, rather than settling for a bike retro-fitted to do them.

As an example, many carbon fiber road bikes have some sort of impact dampening system built in, something to take the edge off, either an elastomer insert or a suspension pivot. What this suggests is that the base frame material wasn’t the best choice for the purpose, a more compliant material like steel or titanium made more sense.

622-slx-mainWe also know that it is possible to get benefit from multiple frame materials, which is why we build mixed material bikes like our 622 SLX. Here again, we try to take a holistic approach, matching the materials to the purpose from the beginning of the design, instead of engineering ways to overcome a material’s weaknesses. The 622 SLX uses frame material to incorporate the stiffness and lightness of carbon fiber with the compliance and structural strength of titanium. It looks pretty good, too.

When you take a holistic approach to bike design, you work forward from the frame material’s capabilities, rather than working backwards from its limitations. This is what we try to do, with every bike.