Seven Cycles Blog » Mountain Bikes

Archive for the ‘Mountain Bikes’ Category

The Pride of Ownership

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

 

TerryBSolaSL29ChristopherW_EliumSLWe are gratified to build bikes for everyone. Every bike presents a challenge. Every bike gives us the opportunity to get better at what we do, to think about cycling in a slightly different way. When a shop owner gets him or herself a Seven, given all the choices available to them, we take particular pride in building it. These are our most demanding customers and our most passionate supporters. Above you’ll find Terry B’s (Cascade Bicycle Studio) Sola SL 29er, and here on the right, Christopher W’s (Victoria VeloTech) Elium SL.

The Bikes of Summer

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Nick2013-11-01 08.53.34CampOutFreedomWigsCooper_AxiomSLBrassardForestTrailVaillancourtKarlShredTandem

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Five Rides In

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

The log that crosses the service road, moments from the start, had stopped my progress each of the four previous rides. As had the challenge of the first hill.  I could make it to the top, but was panting and wheezing so heavily at the peak that I couldn’t partake in the jump that came soon after. Everyone else made that jump look awesome.

John Lewis launches off the first jump of the day.

The final hurdle, before crossing the street into Rock Meadow, is a line of jagged rocks that runs right through the trail and looks imposing.

Mike Salvatore clears the rock wall with the greatest of ease.

I gave only a halfhearted effort before putting a foot down. So scared I was. Throughout each of those rides, there were a number of obstacles that gave me trouble, slowed me down, or stopped me altogether.

 

I learned, or rather relearned, little things, important things, every thing, basic stuff like when you ride over rocks and roots, even small ones, your butt gets bucked off the saddle, so it’s best to hover even if you’re tired. You have to lean over the front wheel on steep climbs to avoid the wheel lifting off the ground.  If there is a rider in front of you, give them time and space to clear technical sections. On really steep downhills, it helps to get way off the back of the bike, behind your saddle, for extra control.  Pull up on the bars when you ride over a drop. No matter how thirsty you are, your water bottle is useless until you are stopped. Trees are everywhere and have surprisingly little give.

Around every corner was another reminder of a lesson I once knew.

Five rides in, however, and there have been improvements. I made it over the log. There was enough left in the tank to get an inch or two of air off the jump.

That’s me! Progress.

Brimming with confidence, I gave a wholehearted effort, and made it over the line of rocks. They didn’t seem so jagged this time. In Rock Meadow, I continued to do better, and took a huge step forward. I started relaxing on the bike. The difference is amazing. My grip on the bar loosened. I squeezed the brake levers less, which opened me up to a little rhythm through the twists and turns.

Twisting and turning.

Best of all, I could stop focusing on myself, and start paying attention to the sites and sounds of the ride, and joking with my friends. I still have a ways to go, and endless areas to improve upon, but it’s great to be on the trail to once again considering myself a mountain biker.

 

My Hillary Step

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

At the end of the parking lot, past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park soccer fields and beyond the gate, a narrow dirt path divides in two.  One goes right, around the hill, and through a grassy field before disappearing from view.  Locals prefer starting the ride on the trail to the left.  A short steep ascent of the ridge takes you to the best trails in the quickest fashion.  This particular trail is rocky, but passable for experienced riders, at least until the very top.  If there was a Hillary Step at the Tyler Mill Recreation Area, this would surely be it.

The crux is narrow, and no more than a short patch of trail, but it features exposed roots and bedrock shiny from years of use, that refuse to give tires any purchase.  The approach is steep already, but this section is perfectly vertical and requires the front wheel to be lifted up and over.  A single tree on the left won’t allow for more than one bike through at a time, but does provide something to hold onto should you veer too far left, and over the edge.  Above the trail is too wooded to offer an alternative route.  There is no line to choose, no new approach, you either have what it takes that day or you don’t.

Adding to the difficulty is the complete lack of rhythm and increased heart rate that comes from starting off a ride with an immediate, technical climb.  Of course, this is all just background noise and may not occur to you at that moment, but what does, is that everyone behind will be forced to walk up should you spin out, effectively plugging the trail.  The pressure is high.  Sometimes no one makes it.  The few that do are rewarded with a flawless trip to the summit, and a moment to bask in their own sweet glory, as they watch the rest struggle to achieve the same.  The only solace in getting caught behind the bottleneck is listening to the good-natured heckling of the poor soul who had to put a foot down, and knowing you won’t have to face the same shame.  Not this time at least.

I haven’t ridden at Tyler Mill since I lived at home many years ago, but that step has taunted me ever since.

This spring I plan to bring my bike back home, and give it another try.  I may not have the unabashed courage I had as a kid, but I will have a bike that fits perfectly and was designed to excel on the very trails I described to the design team, trails just like Tyler Mill.  I’ll have loads of new technology to help as well, but the biggest help of all, might be the twenty-year-old monkey on my back, prodding me all the way up.

Wish me luck.

Sola SL 140124

 

David K’s Sola Pro

Monday, April 7th, 2014

We received an email over the weekend from David K, who gave us an early review of his new bike.

 

He writes, “So, the day came in my life (I am 41 years old) when I started to think about yet another new bike. I bought my first mountain bike in 1986 and have had roughly 15 different mountain bikes. With each new bike comes anticipation that certain things will be differently better than the last bike. Hopefully it will corner better, track better, downhill with more confidence, be a little bit better at each task than the last bike. Some bikes live up to the expectation better than others. I started to look online for my new dream bike. I decided I would go with a titanium hard tail 29er. I saw a lot of companies out there making high quality cycles. I researched and researched, and researched some more and then came across Seven. I remembered that there was a local dealer right by me. I never gave much thought to Seven. I didn’t know a thing about them. All I knew at this point is that they build custom bikes. I liked that idea a lot. I went to my dealer and upon further inspection realized that these guys really know what they are doing. I started reading review after review and decided I was going to do it.

 

 
It was a high price to pay but, not much more, and custom! I was on the fence because I had never bought a bike I hadn’t ridden. I had to take a massive leap of faith and just go for it.  I scheduled my fit and came back a few days later.  I was blown away with the amount of information that I provided about what kind of riding experience I was looking for in a bike.  The bike fit process was amazing as well. Measuring everything twice and checking angles over and over and then re tweaking and measuring again and checking comfort levels along the way.

 

 
Then, the 8 week wait started. I tried to keep it out of my mind. “It will be here when it gets here” I tell myself daily. I research parts and read up on past Seven customer’s reviews. I can’t wait. I felt like a 7 year old boy waiting for Santa to bring me my very first bike.  The bike shop called and it was finally here. I opened the box and then saw what was a true work of machined art. The bike was all I had hoped for. The attention to detail and craftsmanship was beautiful. I could hardly believe my eyes.

Kevitch

Then I rushed home and started the build. Once everything was finished, I dropped her out of the stand and took a look.  Everything looked right. I was afraid to get on just in case something wasn’t going to fit right. I threw a leg over and hopped on.  It felt RIGHT. It disappeared under me. It was part of me. I couldn’t dream of a better fit. Then I rode around the neighborhood to get everything dialed in.  The cornering was magical. I had read someone saying their Seven was “telepathic” and thought how right they were. I had never ridden a bike that felt like this. I couldn’t quit smiling. I knew I had found my soul mate.

 

 
Before I wrote a review or even gave Seven my feedback, I wanted to ride her for a month. So the rides started. Each one as enjoyable as the last. I didn’t want the rides to end. I wanted to keep ridding. I didn’t have any adjustment period or any need to dial in the bike. It was perfect from the first pedal stroke. I messed with stem height and ended right back where it was at the start, where my fitter said it was supposed to be. This “Sola pro” had many characteristics that I wasn’t used to. It sucked up bumps but was still stiff at the bb. It tracked absolutely straight as an arrow. It dampened the chatter beautifully. It downhilled like it was built to do just that. Never feeling sketchy or uneasy in the corners. Always feeling great and wanting more.  The ride quality that this bike has is unlike any other bike I have ever ridden.

 

 

 

If you can get your equipment to “disappear” from the experience, then it’s doing its job. If it disappears, then it’s working perfectly. If nothing is going wrong then you don’t notice the gear, what ever it may be.  This bike does just that.

 

Thanks Seven for making my biking dream a reality.

 

David K”

 

Thanks David, we’re happy to hear it!  Thanks also to the team at Millcreek Bicycles in Salt Lake for designing the bike.

Seven at Worlds XTerra 2013

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

IMG_0359We received this picture from Romaric Delepine, XTerra World Champion in the 35-39 bracket. He rode his Seven Sola SLX to 21st overall at the recent Championships in Maui. He was the 2nd amateur to cross the line in what was a fantastic performance on a fantastic day.

This is just another example of the amazing and unexpected things people do on our bikes, and we couldn’t feel happier to be along for the ride.

Romaric says:

Hi! Just back in France after 3 weeks in Maui and an amazing result! Thanks for you help. You can be proud of your bike!

In the Queue

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Maple and Pine

 

The Little Tennessee River gets backed up at the Fontana Dam forming an emerald green reservoir that has been on my mind since the beginning of summer. Along the shoreline, long leaf pine needles blanket the forty miles of single track that meander through a North Carolina State Recreation Area named Tsali.  It was there that I fell in love with mountain biking on a chilly October day, much like today, seventeen years ago.

 

Tsali was my first experience leaning into banked corners, involuntarily launching over whoop-de-do’s, and trail riding from sun up to until sun down.  Whipping through the woods amidst the peace and quiet of the natural world turned out to be my definition of fun.  That trip to North Carolina was just the start. From there I rode everywhere I could; the Smokies, the Blue Ridge, Pisgah, Monongahela, the Appalachians, the Sawtooths, Yellowstone, the Tetons, the Colorado Rockies, the Metacomet Ridge, and even Dooley’s Run right in my parents’ backyard.  No matter the location, the thrill was the same.  I was hooked.

 

After college graduation, I took a summer job leading mountain bike trips out west, and ended up staying for the year.  I can’t recall if I put pressure on myself, or felt it elsewhere, but when the year came to a close, I determined it was time to follow a more traditional post graduation path. I packed up, headed home, went back to school, and got a job.  I’m sure everyone has experienced it, but in the blink of an eye thirteen years flew by without me so much as throwing a leg over a mountain bike.  Within that time frame I gave “my” mountain bike back to my father, and picked up road biking on the side.

 

For all intents and purposes, I am no longer a mountain biker.  V-brakes have been replaced with discs.  Triple chain rings, flat bars, and bar ends are all gone.  26” wheels look out of place in the sea of 650′s and 29ers.  Judy Butter is no longer the answer to stiction.  My full finger gloves are too small.  People say “shred” instead of “ride.”  I haven’t seen a Grateful Dead sticker on a bike in years.  Mountain biking, it seems, has passed me by.

 

It took a road ride last April, in Greenwich, Connecticut to rekindle my interest in getting back on the trail.  Darren, who works at Signature Cycles and was leading the road ride that morning, was guiding us through winding hills and beautiful country side, but for the first time in a long time, my mind was in the woods.  I don’t recall how, but the topic of Tsali came up.  As chance would have it, Darren had been there too, and had equally fond memories.  We shared stories and fawned over the trails, the pine needles, and that glorious lake.  Somewhere on the silky smooth roads of Greenwich, I decided that it was time go off road once again.

 

Perhaps it’s fitting that seventeen days into October, just seventeen years after my trip to Tsali that started it all, the design for my first Seven mountain bike sits in the queue (behind all of yours), ready to build.

 

I cannot wait.

 

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Seven on the World Cup Circuit

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Proper test ride 27

We recently built new Sola 650b SLX race bikes for Mike Broderick and Mary McConneloug and had them delivered to Germany where the pro mountain biking power couple are working their way around the World Cup circuit.

Mary said:

The frames turned out beautifully!  

The care you all take with your work, the attention to detail and finesse is second to NONE!  Rob – your design, is again, masterful!  We know so many hands played a part in this project!  Thank you guys for your artful work in planning, crafting and shipping these incredible frames to Mike and I over here in Europe!!  Mike spent the majority of this past week carefully building the frames up at the SRAM headquarters in central Germany.  Having access to a real shop (and not some outdoor RV camp spot) to build the bikes up was very much appreciated.  Thanks to our awesome crew of supporting sponsors who helped with the various components – everything came together perfectly.

We feel so lucky to be backed by the best in the industry and we are honored to represent you all out in the field!

Continuing the evolution!

We got out on our first ride in the forests of Schweinfurt yesterday and instantly were both SMILING! The fit and balance of the frames are impeccable. My first impression of riding the 27.5 wheel size was the ease of acceleration.  I could feel the relation of the pedal stroke efficiently translate my power to the smaller wheel size and it seemed easier overall to push and maintain a smooth cadence. The complete bike is also a little lighter and easier to maneuver through the tight turns of the trails…

We can hardly wait to RACE our new 27.5 Solas at the World Cup in Italy this weekend!!!

Thank you all again!!!

We are truly honored to represent Seven Cycles and ever grateful for your continued support of our team.

Yours truly,

Mary and Mike

The Friday Morning Local

Friday, May 17th, 2013

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Seven’s McConneloug Wins Pan American Championship

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Team+work!!!Last week, Seven-sponsored mountain bike racer Mary McConneloug took the overall title in the elite women’s field at the  2013 Pan American Continental Championships. The race was held in the high mountain valley basin in the small town of Tafi de Valle, Argentina.  Both Mary and teammate/husband Michael Broderick, who also competed, arrived 10 days early to acclimate to the higher altitude and prepare for the challenge as best as they could.

This is Mary’s 4th Continental Champion Title in the past 10 years riding a custom Seven.

Mary reported to us after her win saying:

“My IMX 29er was incredible once again… and especially fast as she lost a bit of weight (over a pound) when we installed SRAMs XX1 components…  It was surely a team effort!  THANK YOU all at Seven Cycles for your commitment to building the best bikes on the market!  We are honored to represent!”

For pictures check out their blog.

Congratulations to Mike and Mary for another amazing win. We are proud to have you as representatives of the Seven Cycles team.