Omar B at the Etape du Tour – Axiom SL

We had a nice note from Omar B, who has just been in France for the Etape du Tour, on his Axiom SL. This year’s route, based on Tour Stage 10, took the riders around Lake Annecy and packed in more than 4,000 meters of climbing. But, one thing we noticed in the photos Omar sent was the big smile on his face. Regardless of how fast you’re going (and he looks pretty fast), that’s the right look.

Omar said:

Just finished my first Etape du Tour ( de France) on 8 July on my Seven Axiom Sl. Bike did great. A big thanks for a great bike.

Col’s Axiom SL

This is Col’s Axiom SL, delivered by our good friend Steve Hogg at Pedal Pushers in Australia:

Col wrote us this nice note:

Dear Seven Artisans,

I had dreamed about a Titanium Seven for years and was able to realise that dream late in 2017. I have now had sufficient time on the bike to fully appreciate it and love it more every time I climb aboard.

Aesthetically, it is the epitome of style – a bit industrial, a bit old school and cool as hell!

Dynamically, the ride is like nothing I have ridden before! It is deceptively quick, stiff enough to be responsive, yet comfortable. It handles like it is on rails and I have so much more confidence descending as a result.

I wanted to thank you for the bike, let you know how much joy it is bringing me and assure you that I will recommend your frames to anyone looking for something far better than the “run of the mill” carbon junk!!

Kindest Regards,

Col Smith

Who is John Young?

It’s a devil’s bargain, really. When you look at John Young, you notice his stature. He is a little person, born 50 years ago with dwarfism. This is, of course, only a very small part of who he is. A local teacher, and an avid triathlete, John came to the conclusion at some point that he would and could do bigger things with his life than anyone’s first glance at him might have suggested were possible. To us, the main thrust of John’s work and message is that he is an athlete first, a guy pushing his own boundaries before he thinks about inspiring other people to push theirs.

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But that’s what he does. He has a lot of fans, both within the LP community and outside of it. This is the devil’s bargain part, wanting to move past people’s preconceived notions of himself to become just another athlete, and also recognize, that in doing so, he can be an inspiration for other little people.

How do you shake off one narrow definition of yourself and also allow that definition to stand, as an example for others?

johnyoungThe answer we get from observing John is that you just go about the work. You train. You prepare. You race. You take care of your end of the bargain, and then let other people draw what they will from it. Just doing it, if you’ll excuse the borrowed phrase, is how to answer those who would judge you AND to inspire those who have endured those same judgements.

He finished his first Ironman on October 1st of this year.

We were proud to build John a bike, but he was going to achieve what he has achieved whether we were involved or not. He did not need a custom bike. A custom bike just made him faster and more comfortable than he was going to be.

He is, after all, an athlete.

Images: 1) Mindy Randall 2) Brunswick/Schiffman

Night and Day – Made to Fit vs. Built to Fit

Both these bikes belong to Kate. The top one was purchased second hand and made to fit through a series of what we might term “compromises.” You can see that extra spacers have been added under the stem, and the stem itself rises at a steep angle to achieve a handlebar position that works for Kate.

dsc_0001After riding the bike above for a few years, Kate decided to see what we could do for her with a new bike design. We took body measurements. We interviewed her to find out what she liked/didn’t like about her existing bike. We designed a frame that would support her ideal riding position while retaining proportionality, flexibility for future changes to her position AND delivering spot on handling.

Some of this is visible in the photo below of her new bike.

dsc_0002What you can’t see here is the tube set selection we made and how it differs from her original bike, which was stiffer in front and plusher in the rear than she wanted it to be. We reversed that combination by giving her increased drivetrain stiffness and a more comfortable front end. Because we can both select tube diameters and wall thicknesses, and then butt the tubing to give an even more specific comfort profile, we have a massive advantage over every other framebuilder working today.

The other thing you can’t see is the way this bike will handle. When we design a bike we aim to balance the rider evenly over the two wheels. This balance leads to greater comfort, but also to better handling. By designing the frame, via headtube angle and fork rake, to give a very specific relation between rider and ground, we can be sure that every bike we build handles exactly like the rider wants it to, which might be super stable or more twitchy and aggressive, but most of the time in the sweet spot right in between.

Kate’s original bike was a Seven, but it was second hand, i.e. not built for, so in almost every regard it was like any stock bike a rider might get. Those bikes can usually be made to fit by moving the saddle or the stem length, but not without compromising comfort, handling, and ultimately performance. That is why so many of our riders report a night-and-day difference between what they were riding and their new Seven.

By taking control of the frame’s geometry and materials, we are able to build a bike that fits, handles well, and feels good to ride all day. The secret is working forward from the rider, not backward from the bike.