When we receive a signed confirmation form for a new bike, the designer staples the pages together, slips them in a folder with all the accumulated paperwork, and clicks it off in the database as “confirmed.” That designation alerts Matt O’Keefe, the head of production, who nabs the folder and walks it back to the machining area where he files it neatly and squarely in the back of the build queue. The last spot in the queue can be found all the way to the right of the vertical file.
If thinking about your new, one-of-a-kind, hand built Seven Sola SL gets you excited, well then, you want that folder to be all the way to the left. Until it’s the very first one on the left, it won’t be started. The wait can be agonizing.
So I couldn’t believe what happened this morning. All alone in pole position, my folder finally sat on the far left.
From there, right in the sweet spot, Mike Salvatore plucked it out of the queue, then invited me into his office to show me the build sheet he was creating for my bike. I glowed.
The first task is to take the information from the confirmation form, and turn it into a build sheet that specifies every detail of the work to be done. Every single detail, big and small. Tube lengths, diameters, wall thicknesses specified to thousandths of an inch, cable stop styles and locations, where the tubes will be cut, butted, coped and many, many other pieces of information are all included on the drawing so that it can flow through the fabrication process without being held up.
Mike has drafted several thousand build sheets, but I could tell by the confident clicking of his mouse, this one was extra special.
Reading my enthusiasm, he pointed out a few details and explained why they were important. The chain stays, for example, when designed around my single 32-tooth chain ring and 2.4″ tires have to be curved to avoid running into the crank, squished to create tire clearance, angled back to avoid hitting my heels, flared to miss the 180mm rear disc rotor, and finally spread to reach the drop outs. A lot of thought goes into each chain stay, a lot of engineering. After plugging in a few more numbers, every last specification was accounted for and the fabrication of the frame could begin.
For one lucky individual, this will happen in a matter of moments.