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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.

 

 

Wheel Test – Paris-Roubaix Pacenti Luxe Disc Wheels

Friday, April 17th, 2015

???????????????????????????????We’ve been looking for good go-to disc wheel for mixed-terrain riding. It’s a category with a number of entrants, but few products that really hit the mark. So we connected with Justin Spinelli at Luxe Wheelworks and Kirk Pacenti at Pacenti Cycle Design for a set of Pacenti’s own rims laced to White Industries hubs with Sapim bladed spokes.

They proved very durable and, at 24 hole front and rear, they manage to strike the right balance between weight and strength for us. Certainly we were impressed with them over the 54km of cobblestones at the Paris-Roubaix Challenge last weekend, not to mention the 14 hour mixed-terrain odyssey we did around Paris a few days before. We did both these rides without a broken spoke, dent or even a flat tire.

???????????????????????????????We rode them with Challenge Paris-Roubaix 27mm tires, similar to what the pros ride, to really put them through their paces. Justin had promised us that we’d have no problems, that they’d be bulletproof, but the cobbles of northern France have crushed all sorts of wheels (and spirits). We were impressed enough with them that they’ll become the default wheel for our Evergreen line in the coming months.

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.

 

 

Zachary’s Evergreen SL

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

We built this Evergreen SL for Zachary with our good friends at the Downtube Bicycle Works in Albany, NY. Zachary is a strong, young rider, who takes his bike long distances over variable terrain to visit family and friends. Being able to pack gear was very important to him, as was the ability to do extended stretches without stopping to resupply. Note the third water bottle.

Some photos, and kind words, below:

I know it’s been a few months here since I got my new bike but I just wanted to send you both a brief update and some photos.

The evergreen rides like a dream. In stark contrast to the (name of bike removed), my other trusty steed, I am just floating up the hills effortlessly (not to dis the (other bike), it’s my tank when I need it). The bike does feel solid and familiar but is so much more agile and maneuverable.  I have since been riding very comfortably.

After the first long ride (Sdy to Cooperstown) I am hooked. I have since been enjoying weekly winter rides through the hills of Pennsylvania. I’ll be attempting a complete Brevet series (randonneuring) this spring as well. Attached is a photo of the bike and the hills around Cooperstown, NY as well as a photo of my recent ride from my home in the Pocono plateau of Pennsylvania up north to Binghamton, NY.

Thank you both for helping to build my dream bike. I am very excited to see where in New York State and Pennsylvania it will take me this upcoming summer, as well as the years and hopefully decades of riding it will bring me thereafter.

Cheers!

Zachary 

 

 

Travel Specific Frame Details

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

We’ve written a little about the design mission behind Patrick Brady’s ultimate travel bike, to recap and over simplify, it’s going to be a coupled bike that is capable of tackling road rides, off-road adventures, and rides that haven’t been dreamt up yet. This will be Patrick’s dedicated travel bike, so it has to be adaptable to whatever surfaces he rides on and still fit into an S&S case.

Packing a bike in a box, 26″ x 26″ x 10″, is an interesting project. Bikes are oddly shaped machines, and are far better off being pedaled to where they are going than being shipped. Adding S&S couplers to the bike is a huge help when packing, but more can be done, and that is exactly what Patrick and our design team focused on, once his fit was complete.

Patrick's Cad Drawing

Patrick’s Cad Drawing

The plan was to design a frame that would take up as little room in the S&S case as possible without sacrificing the bike’s performance, then build the bike with components that were easy on, easy off. Starting with the frame, we made the following design choices:

  1. Top tube slope:  A smaller frame, in general, fits in a case more easily than a large one. To make Patrick’s frame as compact as possible, we sloped the top tube ten degrees. This aggressive slope will leave more space in the case for other essentials without compromising performance or the number of water bottles he can use.
  2. Cable stops at Head Tube:  Handlebars can be one of the trickiest pieces of the bike to pack. They are oddly shaped no matter how you position them, and the cables and housing sprouting off in all directions only adds to the struggle. Having a handlebar that isn’t attached to the frame, rear brake, or the derailleurs is a real advantage when packing a bike. By using slotted cable stops in lieu of barrel adjusters, and a set of DaVinci cable splitters, the handlebar can be freed from the bike with relative ease. While we would normally recommend barrel adjusters for on the fly derailleur adjustment, in this case they don’t allow for an easy way to detach the cables from the frame. Slotted cable stops eliminate this problem, and in-line cable adjusters will take care of any derailleur tweaks, so that is how we will outfit Patrick’s bike.

    photo 3

    Cable stops, not barrel adjusters at the head tube.

  3. Disc mount:  Most Seven road bikes that are equipped with disc brakes and also don’t have rack or fender mounts, have the rear brake caliper mounted on the back of the seat stay, above the drop out. The logic behind this location is that the brake is perched on the outside of the frame making it easy to work on when needed, and allows for a traditional cable routing path, along the top tube and down the seat stay. In a cramped case, where every inch counts, we think the “low mount” disc brake location makes the most sense. Welded on top of the chain stay, the low mount positions the brake caliper within the frame’s rear triangle, not only protecting it from getting dinged in travel, but also freeing up more space in the case.

    photo 1

    Low mount disc caliper location.

  4. Cable stops for Disc Brakes:  When riders choose to run disc brakes, they often choose zip tie guides as the means to affix the housing to the frame. This set up allows for both mechanical and hydraulic brakes to be used, and leaves the option open to use either throughout the lifetime of the bike. We felt the serviceability of mechanical disc brakes made the most sense for Patrick’s travel bike today, and for many years to come. Once we came upon that decision, we could then make the switch to slotted cable stops, again adding to serviceability, and ease of assembly.

    Cable stops from lever to caliper.

    Cable stops from lever to caliper.

Once we begin building the bike, we’ll discuss some of the ideas behind Patrick’s component selection.