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Cover Model

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

The surprise wasn’t finding the latest issue of Bicycling Magazine in the mail, that’s like clockwork, but to find a Seven on the cover has everyone at the Seven factory abuzz.

Bicycling Magazine

On the cover!

If you look hard enough on page 63, you can make out the blurred lines of our Head of Production Matt O’Keefe and his wife Suzi’s Seven Sola 007 SL tandem.  Suzi, #547, stands in front of it.

Suzi and her tandem.

Suzi and her tandem.

But the surprises kept coming!  Our own Brad Smith, and his chiseled legs, can be found on page 65 standing in the Green River during the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee.

photo 3

Brad tests the water.

 

Thanks to Bicycling Magazine for making our day.

125th Anniversary

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Back when the first signs of Spring were upon us, our friend Larry Burke, Mavic’s OEM manager, stopped in to show us the 2015 wheel line up. Larry makes a point to stop in every year, and each year he brings the same gusto to the unveiling. Each wheel is a little stiffer, a little more aero, and somehow, without fail, a little lighter than the year before. He can explain how each benefit was achieved with the greatest of ease. This year was a little different than normal, however, because Mavic is celebrating 125 years in the bike business, and to commemorate such a feat, they are launching a new brand communications center and Service Course in Los Angeles, CA, as well as producing a limited run of anniversary edition wheels, the Ksyrium 125′s.

Larry explained that Mavic wanted to showcase a few frame builders at the new communications center and invited Seven to participate. Seven has a long history with Mavic, maybe not 125 years worth, but if you thumb through all seventeen years of our brochures, you’ll notice more Mavic wheels than any other brand. Naturally, we were thrilled.

The parameters were pretty open. Mavic wanted to give us the creative freedom to make the bike a representation of our relationship with Mavic both professionally and personally, and hoped that the Ksyrium 125 wheelset would inspire us. They needed the bike in time for the event where it would sit on display until being donated to a Davis Phinney Foundation fundraiser in October. With that, Larry was off, but promised to drop off the limited edition wheels when the bike was ready to build.

Designing a show bike is as fun as it sounds. Sometimes show bikes end up being pieces of art and see little use. Some are far-fetched and end up more like concept bikes not for every day riding. Some end up being an exercise in aesthetics. But this bike was for Mavic. If there is one thing that comes to mind when we think of Mavic, it’s usability. Sure they look great and every cyclist is familiar with the striking yellow and black logo, but first and foremost, their wheels are built to be ridden. So when we designed the bike, drafted the paint scheme, and chose parts, we wanted each element to be as usable as a Mavic wheelset, and as attractive as the 2015 wheels Larry showed us.

Mavic Bike Side DSC_0003

The result, in our eyes, is a stunning bike that is built to be ridden all day, everyday. The titanium Axiom SL frame, stem, and seat post are as ready for the road now, as they will be in fifty years. The components, Shimano Ultegra 6800, are tried and true. The limited edition, matte black, Ksyrium 125 wheels look great, but like the Ksyriums that came before, are ready to log endless miles. The paint scheme stands out because the colors are so striking. A rich glossy black, vibrant Mavic yellow, and subtle matte black accents look racy and pair harmoniously with the wheels. The complete package is a bike worthy of a 125th anniversary party for a trusted partner, and your favorite group ride. The complete bike, as shown, has a retail price of $9,395, though the Ksyrium 125′s are limited.

photo 3 photo 1 photo 2

We’re honored to have played a small role in Mavic’s anniversary celebration, and look forward to the next 125 years of Mavic innovation.

P2S

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

“Port-LAND,” he shouted out as he walked down the train car, “Next stop, Port-LAND.” I had never heard the emphasis on the second syllable, but the conductor was quirky so it worked in this case. The Amtrak Downeaster runs from Boston’s North Station all the way to Brunswick, ME and travels through endless woods, lakes, rivers, ocean front, and cool old New England mill towns. There is even a stop in Haverhill, MA. If we had needed a fresh pair of Ksyrium’s we might have had enough time to make a dash to Mavic‘s headquarters.  Our bikes, stowed away in bike specific wheel slots in the last rail car, cost just $5 more per ticket.

Hearing the conductor, we gathered our stuff, and headed for the doors.

June 21st is the longest day of the year, and the final glimmer of sunlight faded out as we were walking in the door of our hotel. Kristin’s Campagnolo freehub is loud on the road, but in the hallway of the hotel it was deafening. The three of us caused quite a commotion. While we were checking in, a woman wanted to know where we were headed. As it turned out, she was in Maine on a bike ride too, on a quest to ride their bikes in each of the 50 states.  Her name was Pat, and when she saw our Sevens she was excited to tell us about how much she loved her Axiom.

Pat G will ride her Axiom in each of the 50 states.

Pat G and Karl B

Maine, the way life should be.

We needed carbs for the morning’s ride and found them at the Local 188 in the form of a hearty paella. From there we walked to Novare Res, home to a most incredible selection of draft beers. More carbs. Portland is a town that is hard to say good night too, but we had a big Sunday ahead, and headed back just before midnight. Larabars, tubes, and pillows were divvied up, the alarm was set, and we hit the hay.

The forecast called for a day in the 70s, and the sunlight pouring through the split in the curtains promised to deliver. We shoved off a little past 7:30. Our hotel was at the bottom of Congress St., and while we rode up it, we joked that it might be the biggest climb of the day.

The entire ride, from Portland to Salem is about 115 miles, and over the length of the trip we’d climb a total of 1,200 vertical feet. A right turn on State, and a right on Congress and we were leaving Portland via the windy and windy Casco Bay Bridge. There was a 5K road race in South Portland that morning, and the entire bridge, on the southbound side, was bumper to bumper. We sailed past and made no friends in the process.

111 miles left to go.

111 miles left to go.

The Eastern Trail, an abandoned rail bed that has been turned into a hard pack, multi-use path, runs for 65 miles from South Portland to Kittery and was the highlight of the first fifth of the ride. The twenty mile stretch on our route may as well have been a nature preserve. Ponds, streams, salt water marshes, vernal pools, and woods outlined the path from the moment we got on until we departed near the town of Wells, ME.

Eastern Trail

Salt Marsh

Endless Marsh

We headed east until we hit the coast, then south. Moving from the serenity of the Eastern Trail to the touristy beach communities is a dramatic change, but both are fun places to ride. We rode from one Olde New England town to the next, and discussed which old houses we like best.

Just one of the hundreds of colonial houses we passed.

This one was from the 1700s.

My favorite part of the route, prior to lunch, was Shore Rd., in Ogunquit. Crashing waves on the left, houses that belong in fairy tales on the right, and a freshly paved road that follows the shoreline down the middle, Maine didn’t disappoint.

Shore Rd.

One of a thousand breath taking stops along Shore Rd.

Making the transition from Maine to New Hampshire easy was the beautiful, newly refinished Memorial Bridge, and the promise of burritos once we crossed the border.

Memorial Bridge NH

You could almost smell the burritos in the air.

The bridge basically funnels traffic into Dos Amigos Burritos, and we didn’t resist the pull. Timing worked well as we were all hungry, the sun was at it’s peak, and the benches at Prescott Park were clear. Portsmouth represented the half way point of the ride, and while we weren’t setting a land speed record, we were in good shape to make it home before sunset.  We sat for a bit, watched the boats, and devoured lunch.

Three burritos please.

Three burritos please.

The remainder of the ride, into Massachusetts, featured a few miles of ocean front views. To ensure our legs stayed fresh to the finish, we pulled over in Newburyport, MA for coffee and a brownie casserole.

Cafe

Coffee break.

At least that is what I would call a brownie that was so full of walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut. It hit the spot. 25 miles later, we reached our destination point, the Old Spot in Salem, MA. As you already know, it’s hard to beat a long day in the saddle.

Three Amigos

Three Amigos

For an “easy” 117 mile route, P2S as we call it, it’s hard to top. How does your favorite century stack up?

Oh, The Places They Go!

Monday, June 16th, 2014
Peter B., from the UK, visited us last week for a factory tour.  When he got home, he sent us some incredible pictures from the routes he’s ridden recently.  He writes:

“Thank you for showing us round the Seven production facility recently (calling it a factory doesn’t seem quite right). We both enjoyed the visit and found it very interesting.

The first picture was taken a few weeks ago at the top of Hardknott pass. It’s not a long pass, but it’s steep, around 30% in places. We had to walk a bit of it! The descent is also pretty interesting if the weather is wet, fortunately it wasn’t when we went over it.  It was on a ride called the Fred Whitton Challenge, which is 112miles and includes around 3900m of climbing, and goes over most of the steep passes in the English Lake District, many of which are 20 to 25% climbs. If you’re interested, you’ll find some information about this ride and also the Raid Pyraneen on the web.

140516fred023j

The others were all taken on the Raid Pyreneen, which I did last year. That goes Coast to Coast along the Spanish / French border from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The basic route is around 720km with 11,000m of climbing and the objective is to complete it in under 100 hours. Due to some passes still being snow covered from the west side, we actually did 755km and 13,100m of climbing. The first picture is the Col D’Aubisque:

130622raid09
The second is the Col de Tourmalet (which was closed from the Aubisque side, so we had to go down to the valley, round the mountain and up from the far side).
130622raid14
I can’t remember the name of the last one, but it’s a nice picture so I thought I’d chuck it in.  This ride goes over a lot of the big Pyraneen Passes many of which appear regularly in the Tour de France. They go up them (and down them) quite a lot faster than I did!
130622raid19

All the best,

Peter”

Editions of One: Project Pioneer

Friday, June 6th, 2014

What are the Editions of One?

The Seven Cycles’ Editions of One bikes are special projects aimed at pushing the bounds of our creativity and ability. Like every Seven, built for the person who will ride it, each is one of a kind. Each is meant to inspire. Each is meant to celebrate the craft of bike building and the freedom cycling affords us all.

We will release three Editions of One this year.  The first, built back in March was the Ever Changing Evergeen.  The second is currently underway, and will be completed in time for an adventurous ride this weekend.  We’re calling this second Edition of One, Project Pioneer.

Project Pioneer Design Details

Eugene Christophe was leading the 1913 Tour de France when his fork broke on the descent of the Tourmalet. Prohibited from accepting outside help, he hiked 10km to the village of Ste-Marie-de-Campan with his bike on his shoulder. Once there he repaired his own fork at the forge of Mssr. Lecomte and then continued on to the finish even though the entire field passed him while he toiled and the race was lost.

The Project Pioneer bike is a tribute not only to Christophe, but to the pioneer spirit of cycling’s early decades, to the self-sufficiency that cycling fosters and to the joy of building and riding your own bicycle.

Seven built this bike in collaboration with Rapha Performance Roadwear, the Rapha Continental Team and Ride Studio Cafe for the June 7th, 2014 Pioneers Ride, designed as a tribute to the pioneers of early cycling.  Details on the ride can be found here. All are welcome!

Design Details: Paying homage to the cycling era from 1900 through 1940.

  • Frame: Carbon tubing with titanium lugs and chain stays.
  • Tubular Truss:  harkens back to bikes of this period.
  • Derailleur:  Three-speed, designed and built from scratch, in house.  Inspired by the first derailleur ever allowed in the Tour de France, the Super Champion.
  • Chain tensioner:  Customized, in house.
  • Shift lever:  Modified in house for three-speed use.
  • Gearing: 42 front; 14-18-24t cluster.
  • Handlebar:  Wide flare drop bar.
  • Stem:  Adjustable – track style, built from scratch.
  • Wheels:  Rims and hubs painted to match frameset.
  • Skewers: Modified wing nuts.
  • Paint:  Logo designs and details based on the style of the era.  Gold leaf logos – real gold leaf.  Unpainted chainstay – reminiscent of chrome plating.

The Editions of One bikes are not for sale, but some design elements can be incorporated into our standard offerings.  Each of these special bikes will remain in the Seven Cycles factory show room at the conclusion of their intended usage.  For behind the scenes action of the creation of the bike, follow our Instagram feed, Twitter page or Tumblr.

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My Hillary Step

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

At the end of the parking lot, past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park soccer fields and beyond the gate, a narrow dirt path divides in two.  One goes right, around the hill, and through a grassy field before disappearing from view.  Locals prefer starting the ride on the trail to the left.  A short steep ascent of the ridge takes you to the best trails in the quickest fashion.  This particular trail is rocky, but passable for experienced riders, at least until the very top.  If there was a Hillary Step at the Tyler Mill Recreation Area, this would surely be it.

The crux is narrow, and no more than a short patch of trail, but it features exposed roots and bedrock shiny from years of use, that refuse to give tires any purchase.  The approach is steep already, but this section is perfectly vertical and requires the front wheel to be lifted up and over.  A single tree on the left won’t allow for more than one bike through at a time, but does provide something to hold onto should you veer too far left, and over the edge.  Above the trail is too wooded to offer an alternative route.  There is no line to choose, no new approach, you either have what it takes that day or you don’t.

Adding to the difficulty is the complete lack of rhythm and increased heart rate that comes from starting off a ride with an immediate, technical climb.  Of course, this is all just background noise and may not occur to you at that moment, but what does, is that everyone behind will be forced to walk up should you spin out, effectively plugging the trail.  The pressure is high.  Sometimes no one makes it.  The few that do are rewarded with a flawless trip to the summit, and a moment to bask in their own sweet glory, as they watch the rest struggle to achieve the same.  The only solace in getting caught behind the bottleneck is listening to the good-natured heckling of the poor soul who had to put a foot down, and knowing you won’t have to face the same shame.  Not this time at least.

I haven’t ridden at Tyler Mill since I lived at home many years ago, but that step has taunted me ever since.

This spring I plan to bring my bike back home, and give it another try.  I may not have the unabashed courage I had as a kid, but I will have a bike that fits perfectly and was designed to excel on the very trails I described to the design team, trails just like Tyler Mill.  I’ll have loads of new technology to help as well, but the biggest help of all, might be the twenty-year-old monkey on my back, prodding me all the way up.

Wish me luck.

Sola SL 140124

 

The Ever Changing Evergreen

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

The Evergreen is a bit of a chameleon by nature, adapting and changing to best suit the terrain it’s tackling. Day or night, loaded or unloaded, technical or rolling, with a few pre-ride modifications the Evergreen can be perfectly suited to handle it all. Below is a photo essay that demonstrates how a few modifications can transform the bike from a road worthy rig, to a loaded expedition bike.

Exhibit A:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Fast road rides.  Keep up with any pure road bike and still be able to roll in the woods
How:  Schwalbe One tires.  Full on road performance – and I’d still ride these on any mountain trail.

Evergreen Road

Exhibit B:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Mostly paved conditions with some dirt road sections.
How:  Ruffy Tuffy 28c slick tire.  As an aside, this tire and the Roll-y Pol-y are some of our favorite off road tires.

Evergreen Paved and Dirt

Exhibit C:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Fast wet or dry conditions in mixed terrain; more paved than dirt.  Cyclocross style; fast handling for tight terrain.  Works great with 45mm fenders for those fun wet rides.
How:  Clement MSO 32  knobby with center ridge

Evergreen Fast Wet

 

Exhibit D:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Fast dry conditions in mixed terrain; equal parts paved and dirt
How:  Clement LAS 33c filetread tires

Evergreen Fast MixedExhibit E:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Mixed terrain exploration; wet conditions; more dirt than paved
How:  Clement MSO 40c tires

Evergreen Mixed Explore

Exhibit F:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  Night riding mixed terrain exploration; wet conditions; more dirt than paved
How:  Son28 generator hub, Edelux II headlight, Clement MSO 40c tires

Evergreen Night Mixed

Exhibit G:

Model:  Seven Cycles Evergreen SL
Purpose:  All day – and night – riding in all conditions and all terrain; worldwide travel.
How:  BTC couplersPDX City fenders,  Revelate Viscacha saddle bag, Revelate Mountain Feedbag, Ortlieb Ultimate 6 handlebar bag, Son28 generator hub, Edelux II headlight, Clement MSO 40c tires

Evergreen Night and Day

This photo essay might make for a fun flip book.

David K’s Sola Pro

Monday, April 7th, 2014

We received an email over the weekend from David K, who gave us an early review of his new bike.

 

He writes, “So, the day came in my life (I am 41 years old) when I started to think about yet another new bike. I bought my first mountain bike in 1986 and have had roughly 15 different mountain bikes. With each new bike comes anticipation that certain things will be differently better than the last bike. Hopefully it will corner better, track better, downhill with more confidence, be a little bit better at each task than the last bike. Some bikes live up to the expectation better than others. I started to look online for my new dream bike. I decided I would go with a titanium hard tail 29er. I saw a lot of companies out there making high quality cycles. I researched and researched, and researched some more and then came across Seven. I remembered that there was a local dealer right by me. I never gave much thought to Seven. I didn’t know a thing about them. All I knew at this point is that they build custom bikes. I liked that idea a lot. I went to my dealer and upon further inspection realized that these guys really know what they are doing. I started reading review after review and decided I was going to do it.

 

 
It was a high price to pay but, not much more, and custom! I was on the fence because I had never bought a bike I hadn’t ridden. I had to take a massive leap of faith and just go for it.  I scheduled my fit and came back a few days later.  I was blown away with the amount of information that I provided about what kind of riding experience I was looking for in a bike.  The bike fit process was amazing as well. Measuring everything twice and checking angles over and over and then re tweaking and measuring again and checking comfort levels along the way.

 

 
Then, the 8 week wait started. I tried to keep it out of my mind. “It will be here when it gets here” I tell myself daily. I research parts and read up on past Seven customer’s reviews. I can’t wait. I felt like a 7 year old boy waiting for Santa to bring me my very first bike.  The bike shop called and it was finally here. I opened the box and then saw what was a true work of machined art. The bike was all I had hoped for. The attention to detail and craftsmanship was beautiful. I could hardly believe my eyes.

Kevitch

Then I rushed home and started the build. Once everything was finished, I dropped her out of the stand and took a look.  Everything looked right. I was afraid to get on just in case something wasn’t going to fit right. I threw a leg over and hopped on.  It felt RIGHT. It disappeared under me. It was part of me. I couldn’t dream of a better fit. Then I rode around the neighborhood to get everything dialed in.  The cornering was magical. I had read someone saying their Seven was “telepathic” and thought how right they were. I had never ridden a bike that felt like this. I couldn’t quit smiling. I knew I had found my soul mate.

 

 
Before I wrote a review or even gave Seven my feedback, I wanted to ride her for a month. So the rides started. Each one as enjoyable as the last. I didn’t want the rides to end. I wanted to keep ridding. I didn’t have any adjustment period or any need to dial in the bike. It was perfect from the first pedal stroke. I messed with stem height and ended right back where it was at the start, where my fitter said it was supposed to be. This “Sola pro” had many characteristics that I wasn’t used to. It sucked up bumps but was still stiff at the bb. It tracked absolutely straight as an arrow. It dampened the chatter beautifully. It downhilled like it was built to do just that. Never feeling sketchy or uneasy in the corners. Always feeling great and wanting more.  The ride quality that this bike has is unlike any other bike I have ever ridden.

 

 

 

If you can get your equipment to “disappear” from the experience, then it’s doing its job. If it disappears, then it’s working perfectly. If nothing is going wrong then you don’t notice the gear, what ever it may be.  This bike does just that.

 

Thanks Seven for making my biking dream a reality.

 

David K”

 

Thanks David, we’re happy to hear it!  Thanks also to the team at Millcreek Bicycles in Salt Lake for designing the bike.

Eilidh B’s Evergreen SLX

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Eilidh recently received her Evergreen SLX, and says, “I wanted to drop you a line as I can’t tell you how happy I am with my gorgeous new Evergreen. I have always loved to cycle but hurt my hip/back a couple of years ago and have never been able to cycle strongly or comfortably since. About a year ago I therefore started looking at custom bikes. In addition I am a keen mountain biker and like to cycle off road so cycling on the gravel roads around Boston is very appealing. Finally, I’m a materials scientist and appreciate careful engineering and materials selection

…. and that all came together in the absolutely amazing Seven Evergreen.”

Eilidh B Evergreen SLX

“The frame is a beautiful work of art, everything is just right from the shape of the geometry to little details such as the chain stays. It just gleamed when I bought it, although it is pretty dirty now after a few rides in our Carlisle MA slush, sand and muddy pot holes. It flies along and is stable and comfortable at the same time. I am sure it will be excellent off road when the snow and mud disappear. The best thing is the fit which is just right.”

Here’s to hoping that snow and mud will disappear!  Thanks to Eilidh for the great write up, and to Patria Lanfranchi at the Ride Studio Cafe for delivering such a cool bike.

 

Hardly an Update on Karl’s Sola SL

Friday, March 28th, 2014

The first bike I ever built was a Trek 800 mountain bike at Alpha-Lo Bicycles in Wallingford, CT when I was in 6th grade. I had applied to work at the bike shop weeks earlier, even though I had few skills in the realm of sales, merchandising, or mechanics, and yet they hired me anyway. Chalk it up to the sweetheart of an owner, and my obvious love for his store.

I worked on the weekends, and though I doubt I provided $20 of value, that’s what I was paid. Keeping the shop presentable was my number one priority, which sounds lame, but I couldn’t get enough of it. I took great pride in shifting the bikes to the big ring, pulling products to the front of the shelves, and vacuuming the floor. When the shop was clean, George, Aaron, and Matt all pitched in to help me learn the basics of bike mechanics.

The shop wasn’t enormous, but it felt like we hand an endless array of entry level mountain bikes to assemble. Building these bikes would become my second responsibility. At the time, I could operate a quick release and fix a flat, but that was the extent of my skills. I was a clean slate. The learning curve was steep, and I wasn’t the quickest learner, but the shop guys were incredible teachers, celebrating victories when I had them, and understanding when I failed. They’d gather round to inspect, coach, joke, mock, and help whenever I was stuck. They’d pull up stools and watch, or shout out advice from afar.

Life was good. What I learned at that shop wasn’t a mastery of bike mechanics, something I’m still searching for, but a love of the bike build and the fanfare that goes with it.

photo 3

At Seven Cycles, we have a bike stand and work shop just beyond our bike commuter lot. Low on bells and whistles, but high on character, it has all of the essential tools to transform a frame into a complete bike, a well worn work bench, recycling bins, a vice, shelves, rags, a drawer of miscellaneous parts, and stools. Whenever a bike is being built, whether it be a new bike for a magazine review, or someone’s old beat up commuter, people gather. Opinions are voiced, jokes cracked. The stools fill with spectators. Assistance is provided, wanted or not. Should the build happen after work, the crowd grows along with the laughter.

photo 1

The technology has changed, as have the tools, but the fanfare of a bike build today is no different than it was when I was a kid. I wouldn’t want it any other way, and I can’t think of a better place to build my new Sola.