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An Inspiring Evening

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

We are excited to invite you to a special event at 7:00 this Friday evening, August 22nd, at the Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington, MA. Headlining the night is Patrick Brady, renowned blogger and founder of Red Kite Prayer, author, cyclist, and our long time friend, who will be on hand to read from his new book, “Why We Ride.” If you have ever wondered the same, you’ll find yourself engulfed in this book in no time. The only thing preventing you from turning the pages is the overwhelming inspiration to get out and ride.

why we ride

There will be plenty of time to mingle and share stories of your own, so please join us!

Patrick has also been busy collaborating with us on a travel bike, in fact a new series of bikes designed from the ground up to make transport as easy as possible. He travels around the globe, and the added expense of bringing a full-sized bike on a plane adds up. Together, we set out to develop the ultimate travel bike. Four of these bikes will debut at the event as well, including Patrick’s very own, a bike he’ll be riding for the Franklin Land Trust’s Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee (D2R2) this Saturday.

We’d love to see you, and introduce you to our good friend. Food, drinks, and story telling will all be provided. Additional details can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/events/278740662331944/
For sneak peaks of Patrick’s new travel bike, follow us on Instagram, (http://instagram.com/seven_cycles) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/@sevencycles).

Case Study

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Spread out in the corner of the baggage claim, the challenge of bike assembly is never more apparent. Hundreds of eyes watch as you unzip the case to see how your bike fared in transit. “What is it?” travelers ask as they see what looks to be a bike in ruins. Your case, small enough to avoid the airline’s bike fees of up to $400 round trip, is just big enough to hold your S&S coupled Seven after some minor disassembly. Just hours ago, and in the calm of your workshop, you packed the bike like a three dimensional jig saw puzzle.  But now, in the wide open airport, curious eyes upon you, building your bike back up is all that stands in the way of you and your adventure.

How long will it take?

One of the main objectives of our collaboration with Patrick Brady, founder of Red Kite Prayer, is to create a bike that is as fast to break down and build up, without sacrificing performance, as possible. There are three main facets, other than the pressure of people watching, that can affect the speed of breaking down and building up of a coupled bike:

  • Case: Not only do cases come in different sizes, but they also come in different materials. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each.
  • Frame and Fork: The size and shape of the frame and fork can simplify packing. By designing your frame to fit you, and a travel case, Seven can ensure the best fit, on both fronts.
  • Components: Cables, brakes, bars, and a variety of other components will have to be removed or adjusted before the bike can be packed into a case.  Selecting parts based on ease of installation can save hours. We’ll discuss components that have proven to be quick to assemble, and a snap to adjust.

Let’s look at the easiest of decisions first, the case.  In determining which case to get, we look at a variety of topics, including bike protection, ease of packing, ease of toting, and how easy the case is to manage after the bike is removed.  There are three styles to choose from:

  • Hard cases:  The most durable option, hard cases do the very best job of protecting your bike. S&S Machining, the same folks who make the couplers for our travel frames, offers hard cases that have a handle on the edge or on the side, that come with two wheels or four, and an array of other options. Many of these options are useful, but especially for transporting the cumbersome case in and out of the airport. Another unforeseen benefit is that they tend to stay a little cleaner than the soft cases. The only drawbacks to the hard cases are that they are heavier, more expensive, and more difficult to pack. The walls of the hard cases are, well, hard and require you to be creative in order to get all of your bike’s contents in the case as they won’t give an inch.

    The S&S Butterfly Latch Hard Case

    The S&S Butterfly Latch Hard Case

  • Soft cases: More or less just a heavy duty bag, soft cases are the lightest, most affordable, break down the smallest after use, and are easiest to pack.  However, they offer very little protection for your frame, and do not keep their shape during transit, exposing your bike to just as many dangers in the bag as out. Great for packing your bike in the trunk of your car, these cases are more or less just a convenient way to tote everything together, but not a great option for airlines.
  • Hybrid cases: These cases are made of rugged nylon, and have reinforced corners to give the case structure and help protect its contents. They are less expensive than the hard case, but are also less clunky. They are more expensive than the soft case, but far more rugged. One major advantage to the hybrid case is that the walls are flexible which makes packing something as oddly shaped as a bike a little easier. Dirt has a way of sticking to the nylon material so the bag loses it’s new feel after a trip or two, but really, there isn’t much to nit pick here.

    The S&S Co-Motion Hybrid Case

    The S&S Co-Motion Hybrid Case

Each material has it merits, but we feel the Hybrid case offers the right blend of frame protection, value, and ease of packing. We’ll address the frame and fork, as well as component options soon.

As always, if you have any questions about travel bikes, this collaboration with Patrick Brady, or anything else for that matter, feel free to call us at 617-923-7774 or email us at info@sevencycles.com. Thanks for reading.

An Ultimate Travel Bike

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Opportunities to collaborate with others who think deeply about the bike are extremely valuable to us, and one person we’ve worked with on and off over the entire history of Seven Cycles is Red Kite Prayer founder Patrick Brady. We’ve been searching for a project to work on together for a few seasons now, and finally we have it.

Patrick spends so much of his time flying around the world on cycling trips, and we spend an equal amount of time building bikes for exactly those sorts of far flung adventures, destination rides we’d all love to participate in, that the idea of collaborating with him to create an ultimate travel bike made a ton of sense.  As luck would have it, Patrick was enthusiastically on board.

A week ago, Patrick stopped by to catch up, meet some new faces, and begin talks on the travel bike project.  There was also time for a quick spin on an early travel bike prototype.

Patrick Brady hits the trail.

Patrick Brady hits the trail.

Those talks ended up taking hours, and all topics great and small were discussed.  The result will be a bike specifically engineered to make travel as convenient as possible, without sacrificing the bike’s performance one iota.

We’ll be releasing details as they unfurl, but a few of the parameters we will focus on are:

  • Versatility: Can we do a road event? A gravel ride? A dirt adventure?
  • Pack-ability:  How easy is it to take apart and reassemble the bike?
  • Speed:  How fast can we get on the bike after landing? How much time do we need to catch a flight?
  • Component selection:  Which parts are the most dependable, and how easy are they to repair in the field?

Stay tuned!

 

Photo Friday – Evergreen SL in New Zealand

Friday, April 11th, 2014

tumblr_n3ub78dH6V1twf1uno1_1280

This bike, this country.

Folktales

Friday, March 21st, 2014

One stubborn visa is all that keeps Zand Martin from boarding a plane to Kazakhstan, the starting point of an amazing adventure.  The wait will be over soon though, and in the anxious days leading up to the visa’s arrival, Zand has been hard at work.  For starters, the trip’s website and Facebook page have been created, and are now live!

Zand might be an outdoorsman at heart, but he is a gifted writer and storyteller, too.  When he visited us a few weeks ago, it was apparent that he was biting his tongue to prevent all of the stories from rushing out, perhaps to avoid keeping us there all day.  I doubt we would have noticed the clock, however. His stories sound like folktales.  One such story involved his inland kayak traverse of the United States a few years ago. He came to a point where he could paddle no further, so he bought a $30 bike on Craigslist, built a trailer, and pulled his kayak right through Yellowstone.  I’m sure the buses of tourists took as many pictures of him and his rig as they did the buffaloes that day.

photoTo help us grasp the scale of his latest trip, Zand unfolded all of his maps on out showroom floor.  Laying them out, it was obvious he is a map guy (I wasn’t surprised to see this blog post a few days later).  Some of the maps were what you could find on line, others were old Russian military maps and harder to acquire.  While he was talking us through the route, his enthusiasm, and smile, began to gleam.  If there weren’t bikes to make, we’d be on that trip with him.

Speaking of bikes, Zand has also been using his time to familiarize himself with his Expat S.  His bike is outfitted with drop bars, bar con shifters, mechanical disc brakes, and due to the weight of his gear and the unknown terrain ahead, a triple chain ring.  On his rack, he’ll be carrying a tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear,  a change of clothes, skis, ski boots, an avalanche probe, and camera equipment.  The goal is to carry no more than 35 pounds of gear and equipment.  To see what all of this gear looks like, when spread out and organized over a time lapse video, click here.

And so, our excitement grows for “Circling the Golden Mountains.”  As soon as the final visa arrives, Zand and his partner will be off, and we’ll be that much closer to our next folktale.

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

Love to Ride

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Our new brochure is done, and we are maybe a little too excited about it. We are bike builders after all, not marketing people. But once a year we take on the project of reinventing the company in print. It’s an odd job for us, but as a company we always take the approach, ‘if you need something, make it.’ So we sit down at our desks and we write about our bikes and about bike building. We take pictures. We lay it all out. We pour ourselves into the task and agonize over all the little design decisions, the same way we would with a new bike.

And then the printer delivers it to us on a pallet, in boxes of 50. Imagine if Santa drove a forklift.

This year we have taken a fairly radical departure from the brochure strategy of past years. Instead of taking pictures of all the different bikes we build and trying to write something brief but captivating about each one, we decided to step back and document how and why we do the things we do. Rather than showcasing the end of our work, the bikes themselves, we thought to highlight the beginnings of our work, the methods, reasons and inspirations behind every Seven. What we used to do in 30 pages, we have expanded to 60 pages this time out. It is substantial.

We have titled the new book “Love to Ride.” There were about 20 alternate titles, none of which felt big enough, but this one, “Love to Ride,” hung in the air while we thought it over, testing it against the task at hand, until we smiled and knew it was right.

At root, we build bikes because we love to ride. Every frame that leaves our shop is aimed directly at that love. We want to give every Seven rider a bike they love to ride. That is the method. That is the reason. That is the inspiration. Everything that comes after is detail.

For the complete list of contributors, visit our credits page.

You can order your copy here.

The “New” Look of Seven: Paint

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

How do you control the look of your product line when your whole business is predicated on letting riders customize every aspect of the bikes you build for them?

For good and obvious reasons, Seven Cycles has come to be associated with the bare titanium frame aesthetic.  In the ‘90s, when we started building custom titanium frames for people, this was very much the current look. And even now, for many people, the classic look of hand-polished Ti is where bike style begins and ends.  It has been a good look and a good association for us, even though it belies the depth of customization available from our paint team.

Today, we are painting approximately 30% of our customer frames, with schemes ranging from the standard paneled look to the exotic and unique.

As a custom builder–and painter–it can be very hard to have any control over your frame aesthetic and people’s perception of you.  We paint what people ask us to paint.  Much of that is influenced by the schemes we display on our website, but our customers’ influence bends and shapes our own ideas, so that the whole thing becomes a big collaboration, a good one.

The challenge is evolving the look of your bikes to make sure you’re always contemporary.  To that end, we’ve replaced 10 of our 20 stock colors and have revised the paint gallery on our web site to display some of the more cutting edge work we’ve done over the last year.

The hope is that by giving our customers some new choices and infusing the process with more ideas, we can take the next step in the collaboration and, together, define the new look of Seven Cycles.

Seven’s Latest Cross Bike: Mo-Honey

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Photos Courtesy of Matt O'Keefe; Collage Courtesy of Matt Roy

We recently unveiled our latest cross bike – lovingly and tongue-in-cheekingly dubbed the “Mo-Honey”; stay tuned for the actual name.   Seven racer Mo Bruno Roy is currently testing the pre-production bike and providing feedback on ride characteristics.

This cross project came together out of three distinct and disparate projects.  Initially the venture started surreptitiously two years ago in part as a product of the Seven Cycles Collaborative.  The design also evolved from specific aspects of our Elium SLX line, and the project even includes some of the best elements of the A6 carbon frame platform.  We chose to create this bike because of our track record with the carbon tube design and ride performance on the Elium SLX, knowing we’d be able to make our lightest bike yet, while maintaining the durability for which Seven carbon frames are known.

As with the Elium line, the titanium lugs enable us to easily accommodate any frame geometry, tube size, ride characteristics, and frame options.  Mo’s cross frame is a testament to this – her bike includes many of the custom aspects and features available on any other Seven model.

Recently, this bike was accused of being our “most artistic frame” yet.  We definitely agree.  This new model is the lightest, most technically sophisticated, and visually stimulating frame we have in our line.

The frame price is $4,995; this includes full customization.  All the tubes are carbon except the chainstays and bottom brackets, which are titanium.

In addition to the cross bikes, first production road bikes will be available mid-November.  Contact us for more details.

Thanks to Matt Roy of MM Racing for putting together this photo collage the bike with photos by Seven’s Matt O’Keefe.

Keep your eyes out for Mo on the race course and other rides on some stealthy looking Seven road bikes.

Mo Bruno Roy Race Bike Prototype

Friday, July 1st, 2011

We just wrapped up a meeting about the upcoming cyclocross season with Matt Roy and Mo Bruno of MM Racing.  Along with all the usual sponsorship work:  race schedule, expectations, logistics, products, etc., we also began discussions about a new ‘cross project bike.  Word got out about this new ‘cross bike design earlier this week at one of our team meetings; by accident we mentioned the project publicly.  Oops.

The bike concept is something that’s been in the works since early this year; well, in fact, this project found its conception in one of the dead ends of the Seven Collaborative project – remember that – from a year ago.  The bike design is finally coming to the prototype stage and we all agreed that Mo would be the perfect racer to ride and race the first pre-production bike.

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