Titanium Pioneer – Stanley Abkowitz

We didn’t know Stanley Abkowitz, though he lived locally. Few of our neighbors, in fact, could have had as enormous an impact on what we do as Mr. Abkowitz.

Working at the Watertown Arsenal in the 1950’s, just across the road from the Seven factory, he invented the 6Al-4V alloy of titanium that we use in many of our dropouts. Later he would write the seminal Titanium in Industry, and devote nearly six decades to advanced metallurgy.

We are sorry not to have known him, and are grateful for his life’s work. He recently passed away at the age of 90.

 

 

The Numbers

As you can imagine, at a company whose name is Seven, numbers play an immeasurable part in everything we do. The name Seven, just to get this out of the way first, is a product of our desire to build bikes to be ridden on the seven continents, a lucky number, a prime number, and even as a word, a symmetrical combination of letters that looks good on a down tube.

The 622
The 622

Taking a step backwards to six, the first number in the name of our category defining 622 SLX, we find carbon, the sixth element in the periodic table. Carbon fiber is the defining element of the 622 line of bikes. It brings elemental lightness to those bikes. High frequency vibration, radiating up from the road or trail, disappear between the fibers.

Now jump forward to twenty-two in that same table, titanium, the metal that launched our bike building careers. Five times the strength of steel at the same weight, titanium moves with a rider like nothing else. It flexes and returns microscopically, soaking up the lower frequency jolts that push beyond carbon fibers range. Titanium smooths the ride, keeps your tires connected, spares your muscles. It won’t rust. It holds a shine like little else.

A Long History of Photo-Taking
A Long History of Photo-Taking

Nineteen is another prime number. Nineteen is the number of years Seven has been building and delivering bikes. Our second full decade is there on the horizon. And, with apologies, we are primed to do our best work. This year’s R&D effort will produce a slew of new products, new bikes, new forks, new frame components. We have already begun planning limited editions for our anniversary, already begun gathering the ideas that have been developing over those decades.

There are so many more numbers, too. Too many to call out, the lengths and angles of every rider-specific frame we’ve designed, more than 30,000 of them, the number of bike and component companies we’ve partnered with, the hundreds of bike builders we’ve been fortunate enough to train and learn from in return, and of course, all the riders, many of them with two, three and more bikes they asked us to build for them, maybe the most important number of all.

Fran’s Ti Axiom (16yrs later)

People send us pictures of their bikes. This is common. Usually it’s a month or two after they’ve picked it up from their shop. They’ve ridden it a bit, and they write in to tell us they love it. It’s nice.

Fran has taken a slightly unconventional approach to this sort of note, as you’ll see below. We actually delivered his Ti Axiom in 1999. IMAG0422Hello,

I’ve been meaning to write this for some time…years really.

My bike was built in the 2000/2001 time frame. I remember speaking to someone on the phone back when I ordered the bike and the comment I made was that I’m looking for the best all around bike that I’ll never need to replace. You guys delivered!

A bad knee is what got me on a bike and I hadn’t been riding long when I got my 7. I was in my late 30’s when I took delivery. As an adult I had been on 2 steel and 1 aluminum frames prior to the 7. I still remember taking it out on the road the first time and thinking OMG how is this possible…it’s just a bike! What a beast!

IMAG0428I used to ride a lot in those days. Whether taking a leisurely ride, a testosterone ride, climbing, a century(or more) or whatever the bike has always been a pleasure to pedal. I’d take it to my LBS and people would just stare. My wife would get sick of hearing me talk about the bike.

I’m now 53. Last time I had need to bring the bike to the LBS people still stared though more to comment on the “old technology”. After many surgeries the knee has interfered, or

I’ve allowed it to interfere, with many things including riding. I recently had a sunny weekend at the Cape and had the presence of mind to dust off the bike and take it with me. First ride in a very long while and all I could think was OMG how is this possible…it’s just a bike! It’s still a beast!

So again…thanks…you delivered.

Sincerely,
Fran
Axiom s/n 5509I17 (still referred to by my wife as “The Mistress”)

Vanessa’s Axiom S

AgdonAxiomS

This is Vanessa’s Axiom S, built with our friends at DaDa Sports in the Philippines. It’s a small bike, but the proportions came out really well.

Vanessa says:

Took my baby for a short ride out for the first time today. I was smiling for the whole time. Rides like a dream!

Vanessa

Manila, Philippines

On the Road – Bob Kruger Grinds Oregon Gravel

When you finish a bike, put it in a box, put that box on a truck and send it out into the world, you never know what kind of adventures it’s going to find. We built Bob Kruger a Mudhoney S last year with our good friends at Cascade Bicycle Studio in Seattle, and, like so many of the cyclists we admire, he put it to good use as a cyclocross race bike, a bad weather commuter and finally, as a mixed-terrain explorer.

Bob’s gorgeous photos and prose from the Gorge Roubaix Gravel Grinder below:

Mudhoney1

Last spring I was looking for a new bike. I had a number of intended uses for this bike: commuter, cross racer, gran fondo and all around performer. I wasn’t looking for a plastic race bike, nor a heavy city bike. This bicycle needed to look great, take a beating and come out the other end looking just as good. It needed to perform well 365 days a year for the next 30 years. That’s a big ask.

I found the perfect bike. It was a Seven Mudhoney S. Although I thought it was perfect throughout last autumn’s cross season and a winter of commuting, I verified it this weekend at the Gorge Roubaix Gravel Grinder.

IMG_5164

Throughout the day I was continually reminded of how much I loved my Seven Mudhoney. The 28 mm Continental 4-Seasons performed spectacularly both on the treacherous gravel descents and fast paved sections. The CBS-built Hed Belgium + Chris King hubbed wheelset was bomber and rolled smoothly and perfectly throughout a day where many, many large rocks were hit. The Mudhoney S’ titanium frame was solid with zero chatter or skittishness. The gravel and rocks we encountered didn’t even faze the polished titanium’s shine. The Avid BB7 disc brakes gave me a massive amount of confidence and between that and the solidity of the bike I had no fear descending rough gravel at 35 mph for extended periods of time. While others complained of numb hands and feet, I experienced none of that. I couldn’t have been happier with how my Mudhoney performed over those 85 miles.

IMG_5158

That night I rinsed the dust off, lubed the chain, screwed on the fat PDX fenders and was ready for the rainy Seattle commute the next morning. In the fall I’ll pull my Contis, install my fat tubeless CX tires and try to win some old man Cat 3 races on this Mudhoney. I’m serious about riding this bike for the next 30 years. I’m sure it will look better than I do in 2045!

Bob Kruger is an Environmental Scientist who grew up in Skagit Valley, Washington and currently resides in Seattle. All of his energy is focused into family, friends, work, travel and being active outdoors, in that order and often together. His outdoor passions include cycling, skiing, golf and being on the water.

See more on this ride here. There is also a great video from the event here.