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Axiom S

Going Fast

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Craig Gaulzetti axiom SL side - DSC_0006

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.

 

 

Summer’s Options

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

It isn’t summer yet, just April’s end, but there are buds on the trees, the sun rises higher in the sky every day, and we can begin to see all the riding options summer will give us. Our New England trails are drying out. The sunrise is early enough to get out on the road on a Saturday before the cars have woken up. The options are nice to have, though they sometimes necessitate more than one bike.

Flat bars or drop? Skinny tires or fat? One seat or two? In summer, it almost doesn’t matter what you choose.

FreedomWigs

ForestTrail

Nick

KarlShred

Tandem

One Bike (to Rule Them All)

Monday, March 16th, 2015

There is a difference between a fad and a trend. A fad is an idea that pops up, becomes popular and then disappears after folks figure out it’s not as great as it first seemed. A trend is a gradual change in the way things are done. It can be hard to distinguish fads from trends. We struggle with this all the time. As builders of our own bikes, we can’t just be concerned with whether something is popular at the moment, we have to think through how to produce it, whether the resulting product is more valuable to our riders than the ones we already make, and whether developing the fixturing will be worthwhile over a period of years.

Recent seasons have  produced some interesting trends, for example the growing interest in mixed-terrain (or “gravel”) bikes and on the mountain side of things, the emergence of the 650b (or 27.5) wheel size. These are both good trends for us, because, as custom builders, we already have all the capabilities we need to produce them. What looks like fragmentation in the market, the splintering of categories, actually looks to us like a convergence of our skills with what the market wants.

So, while other bike companies scramble to bring new products to market and add pages to their brochures to cover the latest trends, we’re actually seeing a lot of our products merging together as riders get better and better at knowing exactly what they want from their bike and their riding.

Of course, we’re still building straight ahead road and mountain bikes, but we’re also building an awful lot of bikes that blur the lines between pure road and pure mountain, as riders seek one bike to meet a lot of different needs. These can be road-oriented bikes (read: drop bars) with medium-reach road calipers to fit wider tires and/or fenders, so the resulting bike can spend some time off pavement and also work as an effective commuter in bad weather, or they can be more trail oriented bikes with cyclocross forks, wide tire clearance and disc brakes. Some will take flat bars, like a traditional mountain bikes, and some will have commuter type bars, flat or sweeping, but with multiple hand positions.

We are building these One Bikes out of our Axioms, our Expats, our Evergreens and our Solas.

Over and over we see riders working on that single solution , and the bikes that come out are not only some of the most everyday useful we have produced, but also some of the most ingeniously multi-functional. They take advantage of all the things we are able to add to a frame design, all the component compatibility, to do more cool stuff on two wheels. Watch this space for two upcoming projects that will feature exactly this sort of do-everything bike.

 

The Anatomy of a Race Bike

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Craig Gaulzetti axiom SL side - DSC_0006When our own Craig Gaulzetti built himself a new road bike, he knew just what he wanted. This is his Axiom SL race machine with oversized headtube/tapered fork, long stem (painted to match), short chainstays, 1″ in diameter, and an aggressive race geometry.

As a rule, we don’t pay much attention to the the professional cyclists competing at the ProTour level. We don’t believe what happens at that level is particularly relevant to even the most serious cycling enthusiast, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t love and build race bikes every single day. We build a lot of race bikes here at Seven.  To us, when built specifically for the individual, this type of bike is the most efficient, fun and amazing form of transportation on the road.  Our race bikes are built with none of the compromises inherent in large scale batch manufacturing. Our processes allow us to build a perfect bike for the intended rider each and every time.  We take into account over 100 distinct data points and call upon our collective experience of having designed and built over 30,000 custom bikes with every bike we build.

A race bike is, in many ways, the ultimate sporting good. With a moderate amount of fitness, anyone can ride it for hours without pain or discomfort. The skill set required to operate a racing bike is, despite what a lot of magazines might tell you, rather minimal. Crochet or SCUBA diving or tennis or skateboarding all require far greater diligence, coordination and skill. As a tool, it can bring the casual user fitness and fun or the professional victories and wealth.

In a world where even the best cyclists in the world are racing on machines designed first and foremost as commodities, we try to do more with our bikes. Each and every one is purpose-built for the needs and desires of the person who will ride it.

 

 

What Comes Around

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

The circle is a powerful symbol and a strong shape. Our friends at Circles Japan commissioned this paint scheme, dubbed, aptly enough,  “the circle,” for a run of road and cyclocross bikes we did with them. Shinya Tanaka, Circles’ owner and big-thinker, loves the idea of iterative learning and improvement, of putting back into his cycling community all the good things he takes out. We iterated this scheme in five different colourways for him.