Seven Cycles Blog » Cross Bikes

Cross Bikes

2015 Dusk to Dawn Ride

Monday, July 6th, 2015

June’s Dusk to Dawn Ride was another inaugural event for Overland Base Camp, the more organized incarnation of our own Rob V‘s obsession with dirt and mixed-terrain riding. D2D indulges Rob’s penchant for late night adventures, serving up 85 miles of crazy trail sections linked by pavement. A bonfire at the turnaround gave riders an opportunity to refuel.

Out of the Night - video image - Rob Vandermark

This style of riding demands a lot (including a SPOT tracker and enough battery to power lights through most of a night on the trail), not just physically, but also mentally. All your concentration is riveted on a patch of light ahead of your front tire, and staying upright depends on reading the line quickly.

This edition of D2D was plagued by downpours, but all the riders finished safely and happily, if not completely exhausted.

Some photos below:

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Mesmerized by the Dusk to Dawn Fire - photo - Rob VandermarkOn the Bridge of Dusk to Dawn - photo - Rob VandermarkThe Rain Returns at the Dusk to Dawn Ride - photo Rob VandermarkThinking About Beginning the Next Leg of the Dusk to Dawn - photo - Rob VandermarkDrying Feet and Shoes at the Dusk to Dawn Ride - photo - Rob Vandermark

Horses for All Courses

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

JohnShredThree of us showed up for this morning’s shop ride on three different bikes (while others…ahem…chose to sleep). It’s only 10 miles, but all on twisty, rooted, rocky single-track, one of those cool stretches of uninterrupted dirt that seems so improbable so close to the city, but it’s a gift we avail of ourselves year round, year-after-year.

It was just the regular Thursday morning dirt commute, but here’s where it gets interesting. One of us rode a mountain bike with 2.3s. One of us road an Evergreen with 40c tires, and the third road a cross bike with 32s. None of us was out of our league, and none of us seemed to have too much bike. Were there differences in how we performed over the varied terrain? Sure. The mountain bike was fastest through rock gardens and over roots. The other two bikes were faster on packed climbs. But it all evened out, and we all had fun.

This was one of those cool, unintentional experiments that yielded reinforcement for an idea we’ve been nursing for a long time, that the common conceptions about the “right” bike to ride in a given situation are probably not more than reasonable suggestions, and that really, you just have to ride what you love.NeilNMatty Don’t get trapped by expectations. Be led by fun.

This Is Why We Do This

Friday, June 5th, 2015

WhyWeDo1It was Thursday morning. We’d met at the usual spot and rolled West, crisscrossing some trails, then turned south on the road towards more trails, and eventually to Seven.

Mike said, “This is why we do what we do. This right here.” By this point, we’d been to the coffee shop down the street from the shop and were all riding one-handed up the hill to work. The sun shone. It was cool, and we’d done 15 or 20  miles of road and trail in a lazy, pre-work ramble.

We like what we do all day, building bikes, talking riders through their designs, figuring out component compatibility, researching the new cycling trends, but none of it means much without riding.

WhyWeDo2Riding feeds bike-building, and riding the bikes we build tightens the feedback loop, so that we are so closely engaged with what we’re doing that the riding and building seem to be part of the same process. In some ways, they are. But the riding is why we do what we do, the nurturing of that feeling of freedom and adventure, and the hope that we can spread it to as many people as we can.

Going to the Woods

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

7050643843_401b3e8d9c_zWe’ve already talked about Going Up, Going Far and Going Fast.  Going to the Woods is another thing we like to do, riding the jeep tracks and trails that crisscross our New England forests. We design bikes to go there in a few different ways.

Two crucial variables for any woods-oriented bikes are traction and speed. How will we keep the wheels on the ground, and how fast do we want them to move? Suspension is an option with our classic NE hardtail mountain bikes, the Solas and 622M SLX. They’re built to be fast over chattery, heavily-rooted ground and to climb the short, steep pitches we find all over. The Ti chainstays on these bikes act as de facto suspension systems, effectively keep the rear tire planted on the ground and rolling forward. For dirt road bikes, we can narrow the tires and build around a rigid fork, which will speed things up on less technical terrain.

b9325f7471c811e19e4a12313813ffc0_7Another key question is, how much ground are we trying to cover? Are typical rides of approximately the same length, as with a cross country race bike, or do they vary wildly, with marathon trail sessions coming as often as possible. Those two bikes differ geometrically, one built for agility and speed, the other for comfort and stability. We can build them as traditional trail bikes, or with rack mounts for bike-packing. Geometries can get more relaxed or more aggressive.

We also send our Evergreens and Expats to the trees. The Evergreens are designed to tackle mixed-terrain, some road, some dirt. The Expats are touring bikes. As with the other types of bikes we design, finding the balance points is key to delivering the right bike. Going to the Woods can add as many or more different variables than the bikes we’ve discussed in previous pieces, so working through all the basic questions is integral to the process.

 

 

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