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This Time of Year

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

We’re riding home with our lights on now, the sun’s narrow slant on the horizon hinting at colder days to come. Our New England autumns tend to be wet, so suddenly tires are getting wider and fenders are appearing. It’s a good thing. We enjoy this riding just as much as our summer spins. The woods are a different proposition in the dark.

Cyclocross season is on, Seveneers leaving early for mid-week races, coming in on Mondays with tall tales of the weekend’s exploits. To hear us tell it, we could easily finish 2 to 10 places higher in every race, but for that one guy who crashed in front of us, or the spectator who leaned too far over the course tape. Some, of course, are just hecklers. You don’t heckle a friend while they’re building a bike, but during a race?

Our customers are dreaming up winter commuters, or better still, they’re riding a different hemisphere than we are, tuning up for a road season we can hardly imagine, stuck in the bubble of our own climate.

Back on the shop floor, the heavy, summer air has slipped out the back door. The mornings are cool and quiet, and the late afternoon light is beautiful streaming through our tall, frosted windows. We are building as many bikes now as we did all summer, and that is good, too.

On the Road – Omnium Bike Shop

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

OtR5The way to the world is down along the river, through the tunnel and out to Logan Airport, where a jet will take you almost anywhere. It had been a little while since we’d visited the Twin Cities, but our friends at Omnium invited us to their annual Sonderkrossen party, an event to mark the switchover from track season to cyclocross, so we booked our passage and packed our bags. We even shipped a bike ahead, so we could see Minneapolis and St. Paul in the manner most befitting a cyclist. We had no idea what was in store.

 

 

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Omnium sits between a breakfast cafe and a bakery, across from a deli. As places to meet go, it’s a cyclist’s dream. It’s also the kind of shop where everyone who walks through the door is a friend. “Bill!!” They yell from behind the service counter. “Hi, Nancy!” Our East Coast frostiness melted in the honest mid-western warmth. We bought a round of coffees, and helped set up for the party.

 

 

 

 

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The party looked like this>>> There were a few Seven owners who were kind enough to share their Seven experiences with us, and the crowd was kind enough to listen while we talked about bike building as something of a religion and our factory as a sort of cathedral. This made more sense in context than it does here, or maybe it didn’t, but everyone smiled and clapped politely, and we got down off our soap box (actually a step ladder) quick, before anyone’s beer got warm.

 

 

 

 

OtR3Don’t tell anyone we took the party to the roof as the clock ticked well past closing time. We were definitely not supposed to be on the roof, so as far as you know that didn’t happen.

We got to bed late, and set our alarms for the pre-dawn Fleche ride, that leaves from yet another coffee shop, just across a bridge over the Missisippi, on the Minneapolis side. <<<<<Aaron, Omnium’s GM, organizes the Fleche, a soft roll around the cities, a chatting ride, a beautiful way to greet a Saturday morning, even when you’re dog tired from not partying on the roof.

 

 

 

 

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One of our fellow Fleche-ers was big Russ H, from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He got this bike >>>>>>> from Aaron at Omnium and came out for the Fleche in part so he could ride with us, which was, naturally, very touching. Russ turned out to be a fantastic riding companion, even if he did turn up on a more attractive bike than even we were able to muster for ourselves. That’s how you know he’s a winner.

The party, the ride, the company, it all made getting out on the road that much more fun. Meeting people, riding bikes, that’s what it’s all about. We are lucky to do what we do. It’s funny that we sometimes have to get on an airplane to be reminded.

Poorer for His Absence

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

williams_v2Sadly, Robin Williams has left the stage. The whole world has lost of one of the great entertainers of our time, but we are also sad as cyclists to have lost a passionate rider, collector, benefactor and friend. We were fortunate to build a couple of bikes for him, to interact with him the way we do with all Seven riders, as a collaborator in the bike building process. Our brief experiences with him suggested he was down-to-earth, humble and looking for the same things we were, the simple joy of cycling, some freedom from life’s cares. He appreciated the finer points of design and craftsmanship. He was a bike nerd.

And because of the way we work, we find that we almost always get more from our customers than they get from us. They teach us to build better bikes. They give us the opportunity to continue practicing our craft. Among the thousands who ride Sevens though, Williams gave us something unique. He taught us how to take ourselves less seriously. As people, and as bike builders, it is an invaluable lesson. We are all a little poorer for his absence.

 

The Bikes of Summer

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Nick2013-11-01 08.53.34CampOutFreedomWigsCooper_AxiomSLBrassardForestTrailVaillancourtKarlShredTandem

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Ravi K’s 622 SLX

Monday, May 19th, 2014

RkhalsaThis is Ravi’s 622 SLX. We worked with Faster in Scottsdale, AZ on the design. This photo was taken on a particularly nice day in the Southwest.

Ravi wrote us this morning to say:

Still the best ride I’ve ever had.

Thanks, Ravi. Keep making us look good.

More as Sculpture – Leon’s Axiom S

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Seven_Mar-18-2014Last month, together with our good friends at Velosmith, we delivered an Axiom S to professional photographer Leon Ikler. And before Tony and Andrew at the shop could work their magic on the final build, Leon took the frame away to photograph in his studio.

Leon said, “My idea was to capture the form and detail of the frame more as sculpture then just a shot of the bike from the “drive side” and I’m pleased to share my vision with you.”

Here is some of Leon’s vision:

SEVEN-Test-Shots_3.03.2014_4038(Outlined)SEVEN-Test-Shots_3.03.2014_4012SEVEN-Test-Shots_3.03.2014_3957SEVEN-Test-Shots_3.03.2014_3981

 

 

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Dan F’s Pretty Metal Warship

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

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“Pretty Metal Warship”

I have been on a quest for the perfect bicycle since 2005. I tried several. If the bike was not too stiff, it was too flexible. If it was comfortable it was heavy, and when it was light, it had twitchy handling. When the bikes handled well in the corners, they accelerated slowly, and those that were responsive to stomping on the pedals handled poorly on the descents.

I wanted it all. I wanted a geared bike with the option of running a single speed. I wanted a cyclocross race weapon that could keep up on a 60 mile group ride while giving me the stopping consistency of disc brakes. I wanted a bike that was light, stiff AND comfortable. I wanted a bike that no one else had.

DSC_0003After taking a detour through the years of carbon fiber-mania, eccentric bottom brackets and hefty 4130 steel bikes, I approached my pals at Team Active. I told Dutch and Mike of my vision for the perfect pedal machine, and they knew the only possible way to “have it all” would be a project with Seven Cycles.

This was not my first custom build. I had worked with redacted, redacted and redacted on other frames.  The difference and attention to detail was evident in the first steps of the process. The multi-page application and fit procedure covered everything from the length of the stem I rode last season to the distance between my clavicle and shoulder. Once my body measurements were taken, checked, and double-checked, Mike and I discussed my riding preferences as they related to the position on the bike. Flexibility, handling preferences and component selection were all considered. A couple of phone calls later and I was signing on the dotted line ready to start my custom build.

This is where my experience in custom frame building ends. My previous builds ended with the fit document, and 3 weeks later I had a fancy machine on my front porch.

DSC_0007The experience of Seven Cycles went beyond this traditional approach, and started with a phone conversation with Dan, their designer. This interview covered every bike I had ridden for the last 5 seasons, cyclocross course conditions in Michigan, tubing selection and ride quality. We talked about the advantages of an oversize head tube, pressfit bottom bracket and component selection options. Tire clearance, disc brake tab position, cable routing, frame angles and chain ring clearance were debated. We discussed the dropouts at length and compared the advantages of titanium over steel. The conversation put my mind at ease, and before seeing the frame, I knew it was going to be everything I was looking for.

A few days later I received the CAD sketches of my proposed frame design, along with tube length and angle measurements. Dan and I emailed back and forth, making some minor adjustments based on handling preferences, before settling on a final design that was tailored to my riding preferences and Seven Cycle’s meticulous fit methodology. The sketch was faxed to Mike at Team Active for another signature, and I was officially in the build “queue.”

The waiting was horrible. Even with the snow covered asphalt and bitterly cold temperatures, I still dreamt of riding my new bike. I had the build kit, headset and wheels staged on the work bench with all the necessary tools for the build. I googled images of similar Seven builds, and checked my build progress on the Seven site daily.

5 weeks and 3 days later the frame arrived. I was stuck home with a napping toddler when the call came, so Dutch at Team Active delivered it to my house so I could start the build. 1 x 10 SRAM drivetrain, Velocity USA hoops, Thomson cock pit, 3 New Belgium Fat Tire Ales and a Fizik saddle complimented the titanium finish nicely.

By biggest take away from working with Team Active and Seven Cycles was my role in the process. It was very much a team effort to to build a machine that exceeded my standards for performance, while maintaining an efficient and comfortable riding position.

- Dan F – Battle Creek, MI

Roxanne’s Axiom S

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

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This is Roxanne’s Axiom S. We built it with one of our favorite fitters, Jess at Two Wheel Tango. Roxanne opted for custom blue decals to match her bar tape. We like it a lot. Now we’re just waiting for a warm winter day, so she can show it off to the world.

Roxanne says:

Waiting for a ride! Brutal cold here in MI! Thanks for all your help and excellent work by your staff! She’s a beauty!

Patrick D’s Elium SL

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Patrick_Davis_EliumSLThis is Patrick’s Elium SL with Pointed Panel paint scheme, finished out with SRAM Red components, another collaboration with our friends at High Gear Cyclery in Stirling, NJ.

Patrick says:

I just wanted to send a quick thank you to the entire team that built my frame.  The process was thorough, simple and fast!! The frame is beyond all my expectations and looks simply amazing.

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!