Mo Bruno Roy – Prototype Evergreen PRO

IMG_3380MMRacing is the team of Matt and Mo Bruno Roy, Matt the record-setting randonneur, and Mo the elite cyclocross racer. We have worked with them on bikes and parts for years, a good relationship that has led us through many cool bike builds.

When Mo retired from racing last year, we were anxious to see what she would do next, how she would stay involved in cycling. It didn’t take long to find out. With much of the late summer/fall race calendar free, Mo decided to have some fun, to ride her bike less for the podium and more for simple fun.

We all knew where that was headed, our Evergreen PRO, built for adventure with wide tire clearance, rack braze-ons, and a geometry she could stay comfortable on hour-after-hour over any surface. There were a series of design meetings, one of which focused exclusively on aesthetics. We also resolved to use our new Seven thru-axle fork prototype and matching Seven thru-axle dropouts, both projects we’ve been working on for a year or more. Matt and Mo wanted to run the latest SRAM hydraulic eTap 1x system, another advanced release product not yet in the market. IMG_3105On the paint side, Mo likes black. It goes with everything, and she also wanted to bring in some of the color palette from our New England woods, where this bike would see most of its miles logged. We opted for a rich, dark green over the frame’s carbon tubing, with black on the upper Ti lugs, and bare titanium for the chain stays. Staci, our paint design manager, suggested some reflective decaling along the back of the seat tube, so we added evergreen cut outs there in thick white, high-viz vinyl.

IMG_3375Here is the finished build, and we feel comfortable saying this is close to as cutting-edge a mixed-terrain, adventure bike as you can build today, with our best Ti/carbon frame, wireless shifting coupled to hydraulic disc brakes, a 1x wide range drive train for simplicity and versatility.IMG_3378

You’ll be seeing a lot more of this bike through the Fall. Count on it.

2015 Green Mountain Double Century

We had a number lunatics friends at the Green Mountain Double Century this weekend, including our own Jake Bridge, and close friends of Seven Matt Roy and John Bayley. This annual event is one of the great challenges on the New England ride calendar, the brainchild of Sandy Whittlesey. It’s the big brother of the hyper popular Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee, held each August on some of the same dirt roads.

Jake, Matt and John all finished this year, if only to prove they are better people than the rest of us.

Here is Jake’s report:

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Jake’s Rolling Self-Portrait

The most brutal day on the bike turned out to also be incredibly pleasant, laid back, at times even relaxing. The route was 210 miles, over 20,000 feet of climbing, and mostly dirt roads. Even starting at 4am, everyone knew there was no hope of meeting any reasonable deadline. We weren’t making it back for dinner. We weren’t making it back before dark. Maybe, we thought erroneously, we’d make it back by midnight. It would be foolhardy to crush any particular hill, with so many yet to come. With no deadlines, no KOM’s, no town line sprints, we settled in to enjoy the company, the roads, and a  beautiful day in Vermont’s Green Mountains. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant, sipping tea and lemonade and swapping stories while waiting for sandwiches and french fries.

Don’t get me wrong: it was plenty brutal, full of long monstrous climbs. Shortly after dark, the cue sheet warned, “terrible climb”, and we climbed, terribly, 1000 feet in the next two miles. Headlights told us where the edge of the road was. Taillights up ahead told us where the top of the climb wasn’t. The early part of the day had been marked by expansive technicolor views and jovial conversation. By the end the views had shrunk to illuminated patches of gravel and the conversations were mostly internal.

And, then, somehow, it was flat again. A few easy miles along the green river, frogs hopping out of headlight beams, and we were back where we started.

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You might have read, last week, about Matt Roy’s last attempt at the GMDC. Spoiler alert: it ended in the ER. This year went a bit better for Matt.

He says:

18217310123_6e7509ff06_zTurned out to be a good day after all. It was a last-minute decision to toe the line with the rest of the GMDC crew but I had been staring at the course profile above my desk for over a year now, pinpointing the exact spot where my hand came off the bars and I flew into the gutter. It meant that I would be tackling the course without a support car and without a team by my side but it also meant I could ride without pressure or expectations (my own, more than any one else’s). Happy with how the day went.

Here are some of Matt’s photos, which suggest, it was a good day (and night) for riding 210 miles.

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Matt and Mo Bruno Roy’s MMRacing Season Wrap

Matt and Mo do a great job of documenting the fun they have on the race course and on the road, and they’ve just posted their 2014/15 Cyclocross Season Wrap Up.

Here is a quick excerpt:

Wednesday was race day #1 and I was feeling ready to go in a competitive field. The number of single speed women had doubled from the year before and as the defending champion, I was going to have a hard race on my hands.

Bounce over to MMRacing and read it all.

Being World Champion – Mo Bruno Roy Interview

Mo Bruno Roy Red Mill kit Mudhoney PROSeven-sponsored rider and good friend Mo Bruno Roy won the Single-Speed Cyclocross World Championship in Louisville on October 25th. We wrote about it first here. We had Mo and her MM Racing teammate/husband Matt Roy in the other day to talk about the race, where she is in her career, and what she wants out of riding her bike. This is what she said:

Seven: Did you believe you could win this race going in?

MBR: I was hoping I could. I was planning to, but I didn’t realize what it would take. Single-speed racing is full of shenanigans. People hand you bourbon shots and beers while you ride, and you can take shortcuts based on your willingness to engage in the fun. At Worlds you could skip the flyover if you chugged a beer. If you were willing to throw your bike over a four foot wall and climb over after, then you could avoid running through the sand pit.

At the start this year, none of us had shoes on. We had to slide down this giant slip n’ slide and then get on the bike and start racing.

Having said all that, I raced full gas the whole time, because honestly I didn’t know what was happening. There were racers everywhere, people I knew hadn’t passed me ended up in front of me. Maybe they cut the course. Maybe they found some other way. I took the hole shot at the beginning, and Matt says I had 30 seconds at that point, but then there were all these women in front of me. My plan had been to race hard the first two laps, and then relax and have some fun, but when I realized I wasn’t in front I went 100% to the line.

Matt: Don’t forget the feats of strength the day before. The whole thing starts the day before the race. They broke everybody up into groups of 15 led by a “colonel” who took the racers all over Louisville to stuff like a 100 meter cross course, a mass start hill climb on which you could score extra points by stopping to pick up a rubber chicken. There were trivia questions. All of it scored points to qualify for the race. It was just a big bunch of strangers roving the city in search of fun.

Seven: So it’s a whacky event. How does that make you feel about being World Champion?

MBR: The thing that is so attractive to me about Single-Speed  Worlds is that there are very few rules. Ride a single-speed. Wear a costume. Don’t be a jerk. It’s just chaos, a bunch of really nice people having fun on bikes. I have taken racing seriously for a long time, and I needed to remember what it was like to have this much fun, so yes, I am totally proud of being World Champion. It also makes you appreciate the rules that govern the other elite races, that give those races structure. We complain about those a lot, but you can see what craziness takes over without that structure. I happen to be at a point in my career when I’m ready for some more craziness, so this is great for me, but I understand other people want to take it seriously. Honestly, this very well might be the highlight of my career.

Seven: This was all part of “taking it easy for the season,” but most people don’t associate World Championships, albeit whacky ones, with taking it easy. What is it you have really been trying to achieve in 2014?

MBR: World Cup racing is super hard work. You have to plan your whole life around it. There is so much expectation involved, and that ratchets down the fun level, or it changes it. You have fun, but it’s fun after you’ve finished, not right away. Sometimes it’s a long time after. So taking it easy, for me, means having fun WHILE I’m racing, actually enjoying each event, and single-speed races retain a part of the older spirit of cyclocross when events were weirder, and we were all less focused on results.

I think we need more of that spirit, and less of this sense that every race has to be pure and exclusive and elite. I have maybe been naive up until now, in thinking that bike racing was for everyone. Within the larger bike racing community we are more exclusive than I thought we were. So planning my season, I wanted to get back to a more open-minded approach to racing. I don’t think wealth should be a limiter, and that’s easy for me to say as a sponsored rider, but whether you show up on a mountain bike or need to zip tie your shifters to qualify for the single-speed race or whatever, we have to share this with as many people as we can. Honestly, if someone had suggested bike racing to me when I was a kid, there just wouldn’t have been any way, because we didn’t have any money, but cycling is really a community activity. We need to be drawing everyone into what we’re doing, and I don’t think there is any better way to do that than by making it fun, keeping it fun, and having that be our priority.

This isn’t some crusade for me to save bike racing. I’m just one person, but just like I ride a bike to work and to run errands, I can only try to be an example. As you get older, living your principles seems to become more and more important, so I’m happy with where I am and what I’m doing, and I hope it helps the communities that I live in, and either way I’m having fun, so it’s a win.

 

The Birth of Mo Pro 2.0

A few weeks ago, Mo Bruno Roy returned her original Mudhoney PRO prototype. Affectionately called the Mo Honey PRO, that bike was the test case for the bike that became the production Mudhoney PRO, the bike that customers all over the world have ridden over the last season. Mo’s original was put together with hand cut and filed lugs, and she raced it hard this season so we could know more about our basic design assumptions, and to gather experiential data for the second iteration, Mo Pro 2.0, of this race-specific machine.

During our debrief with her, and with her mechanic/husband Matt Roy, we noted a few big, necessary changes. First, Mo wanted to change her riding position. She wanted to come forward, and up a little. To do that, she needed to make some component changes, and to maintain the handling she prefers after those changes, we needed to adjust the geometry. Easy enough.

Next, she wanted more tire clearance at the chain and seat stays. The original prototype was built with tight tolerances for racing, but we learned that just a little more mud clearance would be better. That presented a unique challenge, because Mo’s frame is small. In order to get the clearance she wanted, we experimented with a single-bend, butted seat stay designed specifically for carbon bonding. That little bit of bend gave us just what we were looking for, and it represented a step forward for the super thin stays we’ve been working with for Mo’s race bikes. The complimentary chain stays required 20 separate operations in initial machining. This is serious stuff.

In the past, we’ve built bikes for Mo that could be adapted to multiple purposes. A little attention from her pro mechanic husband would convert one of her race rigs for road training. Not this bike. Mo runs a somewhat unique crank set with 34/44 chain rings, and her seat/chain stays are optimized to work only with those rings, coupled with a 32mm tire. This is as race specific as a bike gets. It’s a bike for now, for winning races.

We opted to build for cantilever brakes, too, but only because race ready, drop bar, hydraulic disc brakes aren’t quite ready yet. Again, we wanted to build her the optimal race bike for right now, not a bike with compromises for future adaptation.

The final design hurdle we chose to address was toe overlap. Conventionally, a frame this small would have some overlap, and through the years, this was always something Mo was comfortable with, even though we offered to do away with it for her. This time out, we made some adjustments to the geometry to eliminate it, and that gives her more confidence in the technical sections of the cyclocross courses this bike was meant to destroy.

A lot of work went into pre-build design on the Mo Pro 2.0, and that led to a marathon build session that lasted long into the Friday night before Mo’s first race on it, on the Saturday. Seven Production Manager Matt O’Keefe did the final machining on this one himself, before handing it off to Staci for the rock star decal treatment.

As ever, our sponsorships are aimed at exactly this sort of collaboration. We built the original bikes to prove a concept we wanted to bring into production. After building the first generation prototypes, we then designed all the fixturing we would need to do the same design for customer bikes. In turn, the fixturing informed the accuracy and evolution of the second generation bike, which taught us about new ways to manipulate thin stays for small builds. It’s this thread that connects all our design and build work and allows everything to move forward, and to be able to pursue that thread with the input and participation of pros like Mo and Matt makes bike building fun. It reminds us why we do this.

Another solid reminder came in a Christmas tin a few days later. Her feedback on the bike itself is exactly what we wanted to hear, that it combines the best of her first Seven race bike and the first generation Mo Honey PRO. That confirms that we’re listening, and without listening you can’t build great custom bikes. It doesn’t matter whether you’re building for a pro like Mo or someone who will never race a day in their lives. The process is the same. Listen to what the rider wants. Apply everything you learn to everything new you want to do. Keep building. Keep iterating. Occasionally, just occasionally, stop to eat the cookies.

Matt made a cool time lapse video of the build that you can see here. And we were also fortunate to catch the eye of the Velo News staff at our very first race. Emily Zinn did a photo gallery of the project for their site here.

 

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