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Featured Option

Picking Tubes

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

There is a practical side to picking the tubes for a custom bike frame, and there is an aesthetic side. There is a science, and there is a craft. What we think will match the rider’s preferred ride feel, sometimes doesn’t match the rider’s stated desire for “fat tubes,” which can be very stiff. As with all things custom design and build-related, finding the right balancing points make all the difference. The key to success, then, is having enough options to create a balance. We have a whole wall of different-sized tubing, steel and titanium and carbon, multiple diameters and wall thicknesses, and then in many cases we butt those tubes to further refine the bike’s ride feel.

But backing up, we take a lot into consideration when picking the tubes for a rider’s new bike. Some of it is formula, knowing what has worked for rider’s of a given size for a given style of riding. But then you have to consider their aesthetic preferences too, how aggressively they want the frame to handle, how comfortable they want to be. You make little adjustments to the tube spec, based on experience. This is the craft part.

Matt O., our production manager, says, only half-jokingly, that when he specs tubes for a bike, he looks at the rider’s profile and asks how that rider is different from him in size and/or in the way they want their bike to feel. Then he adjusts from what he would build for himself.

There are also factors like racks and fenders to consider. Will the supporting tubes take additional weight and strain. We adjust for that.

We say that every Seven is different. Every one is unique, and that is pretty literally true. There are so many levels of customization that goes into each bike. The tube set is just one of them, but it’s a valuable one. It’s part of what makes the difference between any old bike, and your bike.

The Overlooked Awesome, Part IV

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Photo by Pamela Blaylock in Ireland.

The Overlooked Awesome is about all of the great things you can get out of a custom bike beyond the perfect fit. Check out installments I, II and III.

Part IV is about handling. There are a number of ways to affect the handling of a bike. Headtube angle, bottom bracket drop, fork rake, chainstay length, front center, they all interact to produce the bike’s handling characteristics, and we build bikes that span from agile and aggressive to stable and solid. This is a massive value for riders who can’t find a stock bike that handles the way they like. With a stock bike, all of the variables mentioned above are fixed. To change the handling, you only have a few options, like lengthening or shortening the stem. The result may be better handling, but that improvement doesn’t come without shifting your balance on the bike.

A bike handles best when the rider is balanced over the two wheels.

Because we can work from the frame materials up to the component choices, we can give you very specific handling characteristics. For example, our road bikes are spec’d with our own Seven 5E fork. The 5E is unique among high-performance forks. Designed by Seven completely from the ground up, it comes in rakes ranging for 36mm to 58mm—more than any other fork—to ensure optimum frame-fork integration and handling. Most stock bikes come with one fork option, which means you’re stuck with the handling the builder decided was good for you, not the handling you prefer.

Being able to descend confidently, corner authoritatively, or simply take your hand off the bars to adjust clothing, can make a huge difference to your ability to enjoy riding your bike. Beyond fit, this is just one more way a custom Seven can be a better choice.

 

The Overlooked Awesome, Part III

Monday, February 23rd, 2015