Winning at NAHBS 2019

There were so many beautifully made bikes at NAHBS from builders of all sizes, that we were honored and humbled to walk away with the awards for Best Road Bike and Best Gravel Bike as well as being named a finalist for Best Mountain Bike.
Why did our bikes win?
For the judges, it seemed, everything came down to technology. Among the carefully made bikes at the show, the lion’s share of the titanium models were straight gauge bikes with off-the-shelf dropouts. Most had stunning paint jobs. They all looked great, but as bikes, they weren’t necessarily difficult to execute and didn’t always express an ability to customize deeply.
Our winning road bike, the Ultimate Axiom Disc, improved on the simpler builds at the show in three key ways. First, the level of tube butting was beyond many other builder’s capabilities. We butt our own tubing, in-house, based on rider profile and customize down to one-thousandth of an inch.
For the show bike, we also butted the custom Ti seatpost, chainstays and seatstays. Our XX upgrade package also modifies the standard tubeset in about a dozen ways that other builders aren’t yet able to replicate. The mix of one-inch chainstays and Moto seat stays comprise the sort of purpose-built modifications that go beyond looks, deep into technological improvements that make the bike faster, make it handle better, and improve its traction.
Finally, the bike is finished beautifully using a method, MCT (or Multimedia Color Technique), developed in-house at Seven. MCT is a layered finish system that uses bead-blasting, dry stenciling, other materials and methods, clear coat and matte finish, as well as regular wet paint and other surface effects, depending on the design.
For the gravel category we built a one-of-a-kind Evergreen PRO SL, another bike that showcased our ability to design and execute a bike deeply refined for its purpose. For this bike, a fast-riding, packed-dirt rider, we incorporated a one-inch Chopped chainstay into a classic Seven Ti/carbon frame. The blend of materials, which produces stiffness in all the right places and compliance everywhere else, is perfect for going fast off-road.
The Chopped chainstay, which had show-goers gasping for three straight days, shortens the rear of the bike, which boosts traction, acceleration, and agility. We finished that bike with another eclectic MCT design with matching wheels, headset and hubs.
Our takeaway from NAHBS is that technology matters. Show bikes need to look great, but there has to be more beneath the surface. The judges responded to our work in exactly the way we hoped they would, but riders also recognized what was going on with each bike and appreciated it.
The good news for you, our riders, is that Seven doesn’t really build show bikes. Every bike we had at NAHBS can be ordered by any rider at any time and delivered on our standard timelines.
Email us to find out more.

What is Performance?

We use the term a lot, and it’s one of those that lends itself to broad interpretation. Everyone reading it will project their own ideas onto it, and that’s a good thing. It suggests that no matter what you want from a new bike, we can deliver it.

The trick is figuring out what performance means for the individual rider before designing and building their bike. If you’re not careful,  you can get your head stuck in the bubble of bike industry media, marketing, and hype. In the bubble, everyone just wants to go faster, forever and always. And while it’s probably fair to say that almost no one who turns the pedals wants to go more slowly, that may not be why they’re getting a new bike.

What we hear from our riders runs a wide gamut, from comfort to endurance, from better handling to better features, from the ability to travel to greater versatility on-road and off. One person’s watts are another person’s panniers, or tire clearance, or root level versatility.

The good news for those of us who design bikes is that figuring out what the rider is really looking for, beyond speed, is also the process of designing, that is to say, in asking questions to discover our customer’s priorities, we are also collaborating with them to design their new bike.

 

Omar B at the Etape du Tour – Axiom SL

We had a nice note from Omar B, who has just been in France for the Etape du Tour, on his Axiom SL. This year’s route, based on Tour Stage 10, took the riders around Lake Annecy and packed in more than 4,000 meters of climbing. But, one thing we noticed in the photos Omar sent was the big smile on his face. Regardless of how fast you’re going (and he looks pretty fast), that’s the right look.

Omar said:

Just finished my first Etape du Tour ( de France) on 8 July on my Seven Axiom Sl. Bike did great. A big thanks for a great bike.

The Seven Ultimate Axiom Disc

This is the Seven Ultimate Axiom Disc, a project bike we developed as part of this season’s focus on technology, innovation, and leveraging the experience of building more than 30,000 custom bikes. For this particular project, the design goal was build the fastest, lightest, no-compromise road disc bike we could. As a result, this bike introduces a slew of new features that are available in our mainline products starting immediately.

Here is a quick look at just a few of those features:

One-Inch Fixed Chainstays  – Larger diameter tubes, with thinner tube walls, increase both bending and torsional stiffness by 32% over our 7/8″ stays. We hold the weight down by custom butting the tube stock in house. Read more here.

Asymmetric Fastback Dropouts – 75% stiffer than the most popular titanium thru-axle disc brake dropout on the market. These custom asymmetric  dropouts save 60 grams of weight over our conventional disc brake dropout system. Read more here.

3D Traction Seat Stays – With 3DT, we’ve been able to improve rear tire traction without reducing frame stiffness. We achieve these traction improvements through a combination of more aggressive bend profile, bending in multiple planes (3D), and a new tube butting process. What you get is a seat stay with a more dramatic shape that dissipates multi-directional force, and minimizes weight. Read more here.

Synergetic Chainstays – When you introduce asymmetry into a frame design, you have to restore balance. Our Synergetic Chainstays serve this function. Their unique design allows clearance for full-sized chainrings and 28c tires. They let us run a sub-41cm chainstay with a 160 mm disc rotor. Read more here.

Active Race Design Geometry – ARD geometry is a combination of race-specific elements that provide quick handling and telepathic transfer of rider input to your tire contact patches. We achieve this through a combination of frame geometry modifications including a compact wheelbase, short chainstays, high bottom bracket, steeper head tube angle, tighter front center, more compact front triangle for faster reaction time, improved front end torsional stiffness, and a bike that’s easier to throw around in a shoulder-to-shoulder pack of riders. Read more here.

All Out Speed Kit – Where Seven’s Active Race Design geometry option is a comprehensive set of geometric adjustments, the All Out Speed Kit modification is a set of design features that improve race performance and placing. Our most popular titanium AOS Kit includes our One-Inch Fixed Chainstays, an oversized down tube, a T47 bottom bracket, a Max Power Seat Post, Slipstream Di2 Internal Wiring, and a 44mm head tube. Read more here.

Direct Mount Derailleur Hanger – This is the industry’s first titanium direct mount hanger for Shimano rear derailleurs. About three times stiffer than a typical aluminum hanger, and tough as nails.​​​​​​​

Col’s Axiom SL

This is Col’s Axiom SL, delivered by our good friend Steve Hogg at Pedal Pushers in Australia:

Col wrote us this nice note:

Dear Seven Artisans,

I had dreamed about a Titanium Seven for years and was able to realise that dream late in 2017. I have now had sufficient time on the bike to fully appreciate it and love it more every time I climb aboard.

Aesthetically, it is the epitome of style – a bit industrial, a bit old school and cool as hell!

Dynamically, the ride is like nothing I have ridden before! It is deceptively quick, stiff enough to be responsive, yet comfortable. It handles like it is on rails and I have so much more confidence descending as a result.

I wanted to thank you for the bike, let you know how much joy it is bringing me and assure you that I will recommend your frames to anyone looking for something far better than the “run of the mill” carbon junk!!

Kindest Regards,

Col Smith