Like most of our favorite riders, Mike Bybee brings an enthusiasm to cycling that makes other people want to ride bikes, too. So beyond the fact that he’s an accomplished bike packer, travel photographer and all around outdoors dude, he was a pleasure to collaborate with, and we think the bike we built him came out all the better for it.
Although he plans to ride his Seven on all Seven continents (yes, including Antarctica), we checked in with him for an early review only a few weeks after he had taken delivery.
Seven: Why this bike?
Mike: The Seven Sola SL is a great compromise between ultra-butted and straight tube frames. The craftsmanship is absolutely top-notch, and I knew that working with the designers and builders personally would insure that the bike would be tailored to me, not simply cobbled together to reduce discomfort.
With a goal of singletrack bike based travel and setting wheels on all seven continents, compromises have to be made. Seven Cycles did a great job at making sure the bike was as light and nimble as any dedicated dedicated all-mountain bike while still giving me the comfort, durability and carrying capacity to spend weeks on the bike without resupply.
Seven: How does it measure up to your expectations?
Mike: Seven Cycles has blown me away entirely. The bike weighs barely more than the standard spec, despite being built for exceptional ruggedness. The innovative design of the rear rack means that I’m able to carry a full load without it interfering with the brakes or relying on a convoluted series of adapters. The welds and craftsmanship are top notch, and the bike is the most agile 29er I’ve ever used – far better than the competition. It handles better than any bike I’ve ridden in its price-range, and with a fit and form that blow them all away.
Seven: Where are you going to take it?
Mike: Immediate term, it’s making its way across Arizona. Early 2015 it’ll be in Utah and New Mexico, and preparations are underway for a tour of Norway’s remote bike trails as well. Travel is being arranged for Iceland, Europe, and Australia in the coming years, with a trip to a research base in Antarctica already in the works.
For more of Mike’s amazing photos, check his blog often for updates on his off-road travels around the globe. We are hoping to post more of this thoughts on bikes and adventuring here, too.