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Sola SL

Daniel Sharp @ Grinduro

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

You want to work with people who make you look good. That’s obvious. But, even more than that, you want to work with people who make what you do look good, and in this case,  photographer/adventurer Daniel Sharp makes cycling look like just about the best thing a person could do with their remaining breaths. We never fail to read a post at his Benedicto blog and not want to ride our bikes after. Most recently Daniel was at Grinduro, doing what he does.

Photos and excerpts from his story below:


Before making the 8 hour drive to Quincy, Grinduro was just soundbytes, the color purple, poster art by Geoff Mcfetridge. The event site billed it as “Gravel Road Race + Mountain Bike-Style Enduro = one long loop of pavement and dirt” When you factor in the chance to ride new dirt roads and camping and live music, well now you’ve got yourself a new-fangled-old-school mountain bike festival. DiMinno is doing the food. OK Now we’re talking. Chris Diminno is the super talented chef masterminding the food at the Chris King Gourmet Centuries. That in itself is almost enough to drive to Quincy, CA.


We rolled out at 8:00, past the stacks of wet timber at Sierra Pacific Industries. Nothing prepares you for the feeling of riding in such a large group. I do so much solo riding, that a group like this feels special. For me, it’s the whole reason to do a ride like this. The group takes your mind off the cold, and it distracts you when the road deteriorates to rutted gravel – and ramps up steeper than you’d like. We rode out of town, -through the valley, past a trio of running horses.


It didn’t take long to warm up, since the first climb seemed to be an hour long. The first timed section came at about the 45 minute mark. I couldn’t be bothered with sprinting at this point. I tried slightly harder just because I felt guilty not pushing it a bit as a few people flew by, obviously redlining it, because: racing. Being a reformed racer, I felt conflicted– like I should rise to the occasion because I’m being timed, and at the end of the day we’re going to gather around the fire and compare times. But I feel good about the efforts I’ve done this summer, and I’ve been riding plenty. My new rule as I do more longer events is pacing myself to go as hard as I can for 8 hours, which is more like an 85 percent effort, and it doesn’t allow for any massive sprint efforts. You basically find your endurance zone and stick with it.


The Grinduro signage continued, this time it said “This climb sucks SORRY” Those that knew the route said to take it as easy as possible on this climb, since the final singletrack section was supposed to be the hardest bit. Honestly though, with sections at 12 and 13 percent grade, the only way to chill out was to walk your bike, and that makes it take forever and isn’t that much fun. My legs were feeling good, so I just shifted down to my 36 and found a rhythm. I tell myself I love climbing and when my legs feel good like this I actually do love climbing. But that much steepness and that long of a climb have a way of stealing any good vibes and just make you grateful to be done.

There is a lot more to this story. Check it out at

The Places We Go

Friday, August 21st, 2015


Because we build our bikes one-at-time, for their riders, we don’t have to manage an inventory of anything other than raw materials. That allows us to build the bikes riders want instead of trying to guess what they want or trying to convince them to buy what we have already built.

The challenges our riders have been taking on this last year really bring home to us how the way we do things allows our customers to lead us forward, to take us where they want us to go.

Mike Bybee rode from Arizona to Canada on his Sola SL bike-packing rig. Brad rode across the US, from Oregon to Virginia on his Evergreen SL, set up for loaded randonneuring. We rode in Yorkshire and on the Isle of Man. Matt Roy and David Wilcox attempted a 1000km brevet in the worst heat wave the Pacific Northwest has seen in decades. Daniel Sharp rode the Oregon Outback. Seven was at the Mt.Evans Hill Climb, in the Pyrenees and at Dirty Kanza. Sevens have been ridden through the night, through two full centuries, around Lake Michigan, through Paris and over the Paris-Roubaix cobbles.

Sometimes we shake our heads in wonder at all of it. What ends up happening is that, as much as guide Seven riders through the process of designing their bike, they guide us through the world of cycling. They show us what is possible and change our own ideas about what a bike can be.

Image: Daniel Sharp

On the Road – Mike Bybee Rides to Canada

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Mike Bybee never thinks small. His latest odyssey took him from his native Arizona north to Canada, taking in the Grand Canyon, Park City, Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Forest, Idaho, Montana and Washington along the way,  1,590 miles in total. His Sola SL and custom rack carried him and all his gear the whole way.

Mike sometimes calls himself a photographer and sometimes a blogger and sometimes a bike-packer, but what he really is, is an adventurer, a description that serves the other things he likes to do well. Other bike-packers listen to what he has to say, mostly because they recognize his passion and the size of his imagination. We are deeply grateful that he chooses to ride a Seven, because we know he will test our bike to its limits…and send us great pictures of it in action.

Here are just a few of his fine photos from this trip. Get over to his TrailChat blog for the words and even more photos.

"Heading from the North Rim into Kanab"

“Heading from the North Rim into Kanab”

"Seven Cycles Sola at Dixie National Forest. Too many trails for me to ride with the time I had. Definitely must return"

“Seven Cycles Sola at Dixie National Forest. Too many trails for me to ride with the time I had. Definitely must return”

"A mountain biker enjoying the Tidal Wave at Deer Valley in Park City, Utah"

“A mountain biker enjoying the Tidal Wave at Deer Valley in Park City, Utah”

"Start of the Deer Valley trails in Park City, Utah. This one has amazing views and is an overall easy and fast ride with great flow"

“Start of the Deer Valley trails in Park City, Utah. This one has amazing views and is an overall easy and fast ride with great flow”

"Finally got to the Salt River Pass, Wyoming on my Seven Cycles Sola. This was a really hard day - climbing up to 7,630 feet."

“Finally got to the Salt River Pass, Wyoming on my Seven Cycles Sola.
This was a really hard day – climbing up to 7,630 feet.”

On the Trail – Up to Canada, Down to Mexico with Mike Bybee

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Mike’s Sola SL

When we built this Sola SL for our friend Mike Bybee, the svengali of Trail Chat, we knew he had some big rides planned. Over the months that followed delivery of his new Seven he rode it through his native Arizona landscape, wrote a review, and worked out the kinks.

Now he’s ready to really rock. We got a note from him the other day announcing his plan to ride north to Canada, then return to Arizona and head into Mexico. Check out the Trail Chat site for live updates here, and watch this site from some select views from his epic journey as well.


Matt’s Maneha 250 – In Photos

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Last week we told the story of the inaugural Maneha 250. This week we bring you more from that event, because it was just that good.

If you were to call Matt O’Keefe, our erstwhile production manager and bike handling guru, a visual storyteller, he would likely guffaw in your face, because he’s modest, and at root, he just likes to take pictures. He’s also a hell of a bike rider, and so, when we received his trove of photos from the Maneha 250, we had to share them. Matt makes 250 miles of self-supported, off-road riding look as good as it gets. If these don’t make you want to ride your bike, then you don’t like to ride bikes.













Matt (right) with Seven bike builder Brad Smith.