What is Performance?

We use the term a lot, and it’s one of those that lends itself to broad interpretation. Everyone reading it will project their own ideas onto it, and that’s a good thing. It suggests that no matter what you want from a new bike, we can deliver it.

The trick is figuring out what performance means for the individual rider before designing and building their bike. If you’re not careful,  you can get your head stuck in the bubble of bike industry media, marketing, and hype. In the bubble, everyone just wants to go faster, forever and always. And while it’s probably fair to say that almost no one who turns the pedals wants to go more slowly, that may not be why they’re getting a new bike.

What we hear from our riders runs a wide gamut, from comfort to endurance, from better handling to better features, from the ability to travel to greater versatility on-road and off. One person’s watts are another person’s panniers, or tire clearance, or root level versatility.

The good news for those of us who design bikes is that figuring out what the rider is really looking for, beyond speed, is also the process of designing, that is to say, in asking questions to discover our customer’s priorities, we are also collaborating with them to design their new bike.

 

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