Introducing Project RedSky

red-sky-axiom-sl-sideA red morning sky tells sailors that bad weather lies ahead. Project RedSky is our way of making all the bad weather days rideable, no, not just rideable, maximally rideable, lovable, to turn those rainy, snowy, off days into your favorite days to be out on the bike.

Here’s how we did it:

  • Lightweight:  A typical RedSky builds up at 1.5 to 2.0 lbs lighter than an equivalent disc brake bike.  The bike is the same weight as any lightweight road bike; the mid-reach brake calipers are only about 30 grams heavier than most lightweight short reach brakes.  The bike pictured tips the scales at 16.2 lbs with the MSO 32c tires; without pedals.
  • Tire Choices:  From a 23c road slick to a 33c knobby and everything in between, the RedSky is even more versatile than a true cyclocross bike.  On 33c tires, clearance is limited, but tire option versatility will be appreciated in some riding conditions.  True tire clearance depends on measured tire width, rim width, and brake caliper choice.  Perhaps most importantly, the RedSky can also fit studded tires.
  • All Weather:  Designed to fit fenders with up to 28c tires.
  • High Performance:  This design sacrifices nothing compared to any performance road bike.  It’s fast, agile, and accelerates with the best of bikes.
  • Optimal Handling:  Seven’s 5E fork allows for matching the fork rake to the frame geometry so there’s no compromise to the bike’s front end handling.
  • Hidden Fender Mounts:  At dropouts and chainstay bridge.  The mounts are there when you want them, but hidden when you don’t.
  • Travel Bike:  Simple brake system makes for fast, easy, and lightweight bike travel.

red-sky-axiom-sl-down-seat-clusterOverall, the Redsky provides you most of the benefits of an Evergreen — a versatile mixed-terrain disc brake bike — while being as light as a pure performance road bike. Designed specifically for harsh environments, the RedSky loves the rain, sleet, and even snow and ice.  Boston sees an average of 80 rain days a year; why miss that many days of riding?

The RedSky will make everyday a riding day.

What defines RedSky is its versatility. No other rim brake bike offers the same breadth of tire choices, rack and fender options, lighting possibilities.  We’ll show you, in the coming days, just a few of the ways you can build your Seven RedSky.

The Ames’ Tandem

Every bike build is a challenge, a good one, and a tandem build is more than double the challenge. Add in custom front and rear racks, generator front and rear hubs, and clearance for fenders, and you have the sort of project we dream about. We built this very special Axiom SL 007 SL with our friends at Spin City Cycles in Decatur, IL. We had a nice note from the Ames’ after they picked it up:

File written with CompuPic(R) - Photodex Corporation (http://www.photodex.com)

Seven,

I thought I would write and let you know we picked up the bike yesterday, and it looks great!  I’m looking forward to it.  I’m including a few built up pictures for fun.

Thanks for everything,

Kevin

File written with CompuPic(R) - Photodex Corporation (http://www.photodex.com)

One Bike (to Rule Them All)

There is a difference between a fad and a trend. A fad is an idea that pops up, becomes popular and then disappears after folks figure out it’s not as great as it first seemed. A trend is a gradual change in the way things are done. It can be hard to distinguish fads from trends. We struggle with this all the time. As builders of our own bikes, we can’t just be concerned with whether something is popular at the moment, we have to think through how to produce it, whether the resulting product is more valuable to our riders than the ones we already make, and whether developing the fixturing will be worthwhile over a period of years.

Recent seasons have  produced some interesting trends, for example the growing interest in mixed-terrain (or “gravel”) bikes and on the mountain side of things, the emergence of the 650b (or 27.5) wheel size. These are both good trends for us, because, as custom builders, we already have all the capabilities we need to produce them. What looks like fragmentation in the market, the splintering of categories, actually looks to us like a convergence of our skills with what the market wants.

So, while other bike companies scramble to bring new products to market and add pages to their brochures to cover the latest trends, we’re actually seeing a lot of our products merging together as riders get better and better at knowing exactly what they want from their bike and their riding.

Of course, we’re still building straight ahead road and mountain bikes, but we’re also building an awful lot of bikes that blur the lines between pure road and pure mountain, as riders seek one bike to meet a lot of different needs. These can be road-oriented bikes (read: drop bars) with medium-reach road calipers to fit wider tires and/or fenders, so the resulting bike can spend some time off pavement and also work as an effective commuter in bad weather, or they can be more trail oriented bikes with cyclocross forks, wide tire clearance and disc brakes. Some will take flat bars, like a traditional mountain bikes, and some will have commuter type bars, flat or sweeping, but with multiple hand positions.

We are building these One Bikes out of our Axioms, our Expats, our Evergreens and our Solas.

Over and over we see riders working on that single solution , and the bikes that come out are not only some of the most everyday useful we have produced, but also some of the most ingeniously multi-functional. They take advantage of all the things we are able to add to a frame design, all the component compatibility, to do more cool stuff on two wheels. Watch this space for two upcoming projects that will feature exactly this sort of do-everything bike.

 

Picking Tubes

There is a practical side to picking the tubes for a custom bike frame, and there is an aesthetic side. There is a science, and there is a craft. What we think will match the rider’s preferred ride feel, sometimes doesn’t match the rider’s stated desire for “fat tubes,” which can be very stiff. As with all things custom design and build-related, finding the right balancing points make all the difference. The key to success, then, is having enough options to create a balance. We have a whole wall of different-sized tubing, steel and titanium and carbon, multiple diameters and wall thicknesses, and then in many cases we butt those tubes to further refine the bike’s ride feel.

But backing up, we take a lot into consideration when picking the tubes for a rider’s new bike. Some of it is formula, knowing what has worked for rider’s of a given size for a given style of riding. But then you have to consider their aesthetic preferences too, how aggressively they want the frame to handle, how comfortable they want to be. You make little adjustments to the tube spec, based on experience. This is the craft part.

Matt O., our production manager, says, only half-jokingly, that when he specs tubes for a bike, he looks at the rider’s profile and asks how that rider is different from him in size and/or in the way they want their bike to feel. Then he adjusts from what he would build for himself.

There are also factors like racks and fenders to consider. Will the supporting tubes take additional weight and strain. We adjust for that.

We say that every Seven is different. Every one is unique, and that is pretty literally true. There are so many levels of customization that goes into each bike. The tube set is just one of them, but it’s a valuable one. It’s part of what makes the difference between any old bike, and your bike.

The Overlooked Awesome, Part II

Belt-Drive Compatibility

The Overlooked Awesome is an attempt to highlight all the things, beyond geometry, that a custom bike can deliver. In Part I, we talked about the rider-specific tubeset. Here, in Part II, we want to highlight options.

Every rider comes to a new bike purchase with a set of features in mind. Maybe they’re looking for a disc-brake road bike with fender mounts for rain/winter commuting. Maybe they want an old school cyclocross race bike in their team colors. Maybe they want a bike they can do some light touring on, but can also use for a weekly group ride with friends. Or, a mountain bike with rack mounts that lets them ride single-track during the week, and go bike-packing on weekends.

Low-Mount Disc Brake Tab

All those different purposes can be addressed with specific features, whether part of the frame design, an add-on, or aesthetic, as with paint or custom decals.

For bikes that straddle categories, it can be hard to find a production offering that meets all your criteria. Seven doesn’t force you to make compromises. We build what you want.

142 x 12 Thru Axle Rocker Drop-Out

We can build a frame with cable routing for multiple brake types. We can paint your bike any color you want or order a screen printed custom decal. We can add rack and fender mounts to any frame, build a rack for the specific panniers you want to use, adapt the rear triangle to  take wider tires. We offer multiple headtube sizes, bottom bracket shells and seat post diameters. When it comes to options, the choices are infinite, and most of them are no additional charge.

Your bike should fit perfectly. That should go without saying. But more than that, your bike should deliver the set of features you want, without compromise because your best ideas produce your best riding, the most fun, your peak performance, and the comfort you want when you’re out on the road or trail.

That’s what we want to give you.

Read more about our 5 Elements of Customization, check out our paint gallery, or see some common frame options.