For decades the conventional wisdom has held that certain steel tube sets, whether Reynolds or Columbus or True Temper, held magical, mystical properties that gave riders the exact ride feel and performance they were looking for. And while that may be true for some very specific riders, each of the legendary steel tube sets, whether Reynolds 853 or Columbus SL, is exactly that, just one tube set with a very specific diameter and wall thickness. Sometimes there is a choice of a second down tube, but that is the extent of the customizability of the tube choice. If you happened to be the perfect size match for the tube set, you were in luck, but if you were smaller, the frame you received might be far too stiff, or if you were larger, far too compliant.
At Seven, we have always built our frames from tubing specific to each rider. We take into account rider size, riding style, preferred road feel and general riding conditions. We may select a top tube or seat tube from one of the big steel tube set makers if it’s appropriate, or we may take raw steel tubing and butt it by hand, here in our factory, to craft the exact ride a customer is looking for. We butt and bend all our steel chain and seat stays in house. When the bike is custom, one size never fits all, and one tube set is never appropriate to every design.
This is the reality of building in steel, if you want a custom bike, one tuned for both performance and comfort. There is nothing wrong with the tube sets of legend, but it is true that each set is only a limited solution for a small subset of riders. When you get into custom bike building, we feel it is important to think more deeply about your materials, to see how they can best be applied in any design and to push back against convention, whenever necessary.
More about the Limited Edition Giro bike we created with our friends at Cascade Bicycle Studio here.