The Long Story of the Introduction of the Balance Control System and the Mobius SL and KellCat SL Dual-Suspension Mountain Bikes

This photo was taken on the road to Lake Garda, in Italy, last year. The bike is an Evergreen Scrambler. This is a long way in both time and space from the introduction of our first new dual-suspension bike in a decade, but this is how bike design is sometimes. This story starts with a vacation.
Strictly speaking, we had been working on ideas and working through the preliminary engineering math for a new dual-suspension design for about two years, but it was a trip to the Mountain Bike World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland that catalyzed the real work behind the bike that would become the Mobius SL.
Ironically, we flew into Venice, a city where you’re not allowed to ride a bike, before making our way north to Lake Garda for a few days of riding before the races in Switzerland. The lake is surrounded by old stone architecture, sweeping green vistas, and perfect dirt roads. We spent hours crisscrossing the vineyards there, occasionally daring to point our noses up the precipitous climbs that snake away in every direction. It is always inspiring to encounter the rawness of nature via bike, and Lake Garda served up a huge does of inspiration.
The four hour drive to Lenzerheide took us past seemingly endless green pastures and more road climbing than our legs will get to in this lifetime.
In Lenzerheide, the long arch of product development began. It might seem like fun and games watching the best racers in the world doing impossible and exhilirating things in the dirt. We spent hours looking at bikes designs, suspension kinematics, prototype components, and how various suspension approaches worked and didn’t work in all kinds of terrain, traction, and trail conditions.

Seven’s new suspension platform, the Balance Control System (BCS), is a direct result of exploring every aspect of how racers and riders use their bikes in all kinds of conditions. Professional level racing is one part of the spectrum. BCS is a design platform for custom dual-suspension bikes, which lets us bring the same level of rider-specific tuning to suspension performance we bring to road feel. It incorporates the proven, workhorse, four-bar linkage system and updates the kinematics for today’s mountain biking styles, not to mention our ability to customize and tailor bikes in unique ways.

The result isn’t one bike, but a platform for creating the perfect bike for your style of riding and personal preferences.
We launched the first BCS bike, the Mobius SL at NAHBS, because who wouldn’t want to build show bikes AND release a new model for the same event? In addition to the ribbons we won for Best Road Bike and Best Gravel Bike, the Mobius SL was also a finalist for Best Mountain Bike, so as crazy as months have been leading into Spring 2019, it has all been very worth it, and we returned from Sacramento with smiles on our faces and a feeling of proud satisfaction.
All of that leads up to the second BCS dual-suspension bike, the brand new KellCat SL. KellCat is a collaboration project with pro mountain bike racer Kelly Catale, who came to use looking for the fastest cross-country, dual suspension 29er we could make.
Kelly worked with us through the first two prototypes of this bike, and after coming to understand her riding style and settling on her race geometry, we immediately set about machining the solid aluminum rockers for this bike. Like the Mobius SL, the KellCat SL is hand-crafed at the deepest level, from the dropouts through the rockers, and up through the double-butted titanium frame.
KellCat SL launches right now! Kelly will race it at Sea Otter this weekend, and we’ve put together a few different versions of her bike that you can order now if going fast on tight, technical terrain is your idea of fun.

Winning at NAHBS 2019

There were so many beautifully made bikes at NAHBS from builders of all sizes, that we were honored and humbled to walk away with the awards for Best Road Bike and Best Gravel Bike as well as being named a finalist for Best Mountain Bike.
Why did our bikes win?
For the judges, it seemed, everything came down to technology. Among the carefully made bikes at the show, the lion’s share of the titanium models were straight gauge bikes with off-the-shelf dropouts. Most had stunning paint jobs. They all looked great, but as bikes, they weren’t necessarily difficult to execute and didn’t always express an ability to customize deeply.
Our winning road bike, the Ultimate Axiom Disc, improved on the simpler builds at the show in three key ways. First, the level of tube butting was beyond many other builder’s capabilities. We butt our own tubing, in-house, based on rider profile and customize down to one-thousandth of an inch.
For the show bike, we also butted the custom Ti seatpost, chainstays and seatstays. Our XX upgrade package also modifies the standard tubeset in about a dozen ways that other builders aren’t yet able to replicate. The mix of one-inch chainstays and Moto seat stays comprise the sort of purpose-built modifications that go beyond looks, deep into technological improvements that make the bike faster, make it handle better, and improve its traction.
Finally, the bike is finished beautifully using a method, MCT (or Multimedia Color Technique), developed in-house at Seven. MCT is a layered finish system that uses bead-blasting, dry stenciling, other materials and methods, clear coat and matte finish, as well as regular wet paint and other surface effects, depending on the design.
For the gravel category we built a one-of-a-kind Evergreen PRO SL, another bike that showcased our ability to design and execute a bike deeply refined for its purpose. For this bike, a fast-riding, packed-dirt rider, we incorporated a one-inch Chopped chainstay into a classic Seven Ti/carbon frame. The blend of materials, which produces stiffness in all the right places and compliance everywhere else, is perfect for going fast off-road.
The Chopped chainstay, which had show-goers gasping for three straight days, shortens the rear of the bike, which boosts traction, acceleration, and agility. We finished that bike with another eclectic MCT design with matching wheels, headset and hubs.
Our takeaway from NAHBS is that technology matters. Show bikes need to look great, but there has to be more beneath the surface. The judges responded to our work in exactly the way we hoped they would, but riders also recognized what was going on with each bike and appreciated it.
The good news for you, our riders, is that Seven doesn’t really build show bikes. Every bike we had at NAHBS can be ordered by any rider at any time and delivered on our standard timelines.
Email us to find out more.

Seven Design Philosophy – Understanding Chainstays

Seven Cycles offers a variety of chainstay styles, each with their own unique features and benefits. Our most popular designs include our Inline stays and Chopped stays.

The popular perception is that chainstay length is one of the most important factors in bike design because stay length affects bike handling, acceleration, climbing ability, and descending stability. While it’s true that chainstay length has an important impact on all those aspects of a bike’s character, stay length is only one factor in more than 200 design parameters that go into developing an ideal bike.

Anytime we put too much emphasis on one design element at the sacrifice of others, the result is a sub-optimal riding experience.

Read THIS for a deep dive on Seven’s design philosophy for optimal chain stays.

Snowward Bound – The Four-Season Sola 2×2

We look forward to a good snowfall, especially one that sets up overnight leaving a fresh, untouched blanket in the local woods. Having just released the Four-Season Sola 2×2, we were anxious to get it out into some “conditions,” and our New England weather obliged.

We opted for 27.5″ x 3″ tires and our Seven Adventure Bar. Snow riding calls for keeping your weight back and balanced over the wheels. This was a heavy snow and the temperature was high enough that what was on the ground had a high ice content. We didn’t let that bother us, snaking in and out of familiar trails made entirely new by sagging of branches and obscuring of rocks.

The bike was flawless, a perfect match for the pristine pre-dawn. Rides like this both exhaust you and recharge your batteries at the same time.

The Four-Season Sola 2×2

Design Mission: Create the most capable four season bike possible. As cyclists we are keenly aware of the weather and the many challenges it presents. Any cyclist who lives in an area that experiences four true seasons, like our home here in Massachusetts, will want a bike capable of tackling whatever the weather throws at them.

After building about a dozen variants of a year-round bike, we packed all our experience and research into this one broad-use, high-capability bike.

For summer and fall, with 29er mountain tires, the bike is a fast and agile race-ready bike, setup for technical single-track and short, punchy climbs. In the winter and spring, with 27+ 3” tires, the bike can do anything and go anywhere, with or without studs, in snow, ice, mud, or frozen terrain.

See more photos and read all the details here.