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.

Wheel Test – Paris-Roubaix Pacenti Luxe Disc Wheels

???????????????????????????????We’ve been looking for good go-to disc wheel for mixed-terrain riding. It’s a category with a number of entrants, but few products that really hit the mark. So we connected with Justin Spinelli at Luxe Wheelworks and Kirk Pacenti at Pacenti Cycle Design for a set of Pacenti’s own rims laced to White Industries hubs with Sapim bladed spokes.

They proved very durable and, at 24 hole front and rear, they manage to strike the right balance between weight and strength for us. Certainly we were impressed with them over the 54km of cobblestones at the Paris-Roubaix Challenge last weekend, not to mention the 14 hour mixed-terrain odyssey we did around Paris a few days before. We did both these rides without a broken spoke, dent or even a flat tire.

???????????????????????????????We rode them with Challenge Paris-Roubaix 27mm tires, similar to what the pros ride, to really put them through their paces. Justin had promised us that we’d have no problems, that they’d be bulletproof, but the cobbles of northern France have crushed all sorts of wheels (and spirits). We were impressed enough with them that they’ll become the default wheel for our Evergreen line in the coming months.

Race Stays for Race Days

With road season on the horizon here in the Northern Hemisphere (they’re already racing Down Under), we are turning more of our attention to the growing list of road bikes on our build schedule. For riders who like to go fast, the go-to material of the last decade has been carbon fiber, and the reason given most is its inherent stiffness. Many of the race bikes we build incorporate carbon fiber in some way, either in the rear triangle, as in our Elium SL, or more extensively, as with our 622 SLX. Those frames can be lighter than a double-butted Ti frame, though much of that difference gets lost once the bike is completely built. Light wheels and/or components make a bigger difference to overall bike weight than the frame.

All of those bikes, the Elium SL, the 622 SLX and the double-butted Axiom SL, have titanium chain stays. We think they make for a smoother, more durable bike than carbon stays, but we have wanted to be able to make them stiffer for some time.

Now we are offering 1″ chain stays that will fit a tire as large as 28mm. These stays are more than 50% stiffer than a 7/8″ stay. That’s a big jump for a small gain in diameter. We are thinking of them as race stays for race days, for our riders who want all the stiffness and power transfer they can get out of their drivetrain, but also want the comfort and durability of a metal bike.

On the Road: Evergreening Sedona – The Bike in Detail

Bike riding is fun, and exploring the world by bike is another order of fun, however…when you’re taking on desert terrain, bike packing, being prepared is a serious business. For our week in and around Sedona, we outfitted our Evergreen SLs with a slew of specialized componentry and accessories. The double-butted Ti frames themselves are ideal for this kind of trip, super-durable but also comfortably compliant, so they serve as the perfect platform for this kind of trip.

1. S&S Couplers – The frame’s S&S couplers allow it to be broken down and packed into a travel case that does not incur additional baggage handling fees from the major commercial airlines.

2. Mechanical disc brakes – The mechanical (i.e. cable actuated) disc brakes can incorporate cable splitters, which make packing and re-assembly easier.

3 . Prototype light mount at fork race w/ Schmidt Edelux II generator headlight.

4. Light and Motion Gobe bar mount lights (x2) – More light = better. ¬†And they’re 100% waterproof.

5. Third water bottle – More water = better…especially in the desert.

6. Porcelain Rocket saddle bag – Expanding saddle storage for tools and parts. You never know what you’ll need, except that sometimes you do.

7. Drivetrain – 44/26 front chainrings coupled to 12/32 rear cassette for long days climbing technical terrain.

8. Son 28 generator disc hub – For battery-free lighting.

9. Clement MSO X’Plor 40mm tires – Big for comfort and traction.

10. Camera, Garmin 1000 & Garmin 810 – Hands free movies and pictures, plus navigation, plus back up navigation.

11. Prototype rear compression rack w/ compression bags – This versatile rack is collapsible for easy packing, and features a Ti “web” ideal for strapping bags and other equipment to. Not yet available for purchase, this is the first iteration in what we foresee being a long design cycle. Sea to Summit Compression Bag (x2) – Adaptable storage for all your desert exploration needs.

12. Ortlieb handlebar bag – Food and other necessaries, at your fingertips.

Email us to learn more about the Sedona Evergreens and Seven’s other travel bike options.

 

 

 

On the Road: Evergreening Sedona

Looking Down on Sedona

As New Englanders who had ridden in the desert Southwest only a few times, I can confess that none of the plans we made prior to flying into Flagstaff were going to happen. You hit the ground in Arizona and quickly realize that nothing books or the internet could tell you would be sufficient prep for the reality of the landscape, the beauty and the wildness of the place.

Cactus Spines & Tires, Natural Enemies

For example, we thought the 65 miles from Flagstaff to Sedona would be a relatively easy roll, the prelude to a much larger adventure, but the pasture land that stretches between was hard going, rough and rutted, each step the cattle had taken in the drought parched soil was baked solid, and we wondered at the firmness of our fillings before we’d made any progress at all. Given the ground we’d hoped to cover over our week there, we approached Sedona a little discouraged and over-awed. Then came the descent into town. We came around a wide bend, our heads down, churning away at the pedals, just trying to get there, and then suddenly, there it was, Sedona. We almost cried. This is what we came to see.

A Bit Lost

Back at Seven, in the office, we had thought through this trip, a chance to field test our Evergreens, to see how the bikes worked as a platforms for bike packing, and to ride terrain we would never encounter in New England. And in as much as we took our bikes and packed supplies and traveled through the landscape it was a good experiment. But none of that was in our heads once we’d arrived in Sedona and begun working our way through the rideable trails spider webbing out from town.

We just couldn’t look in any direction and not find beauty. Towering red stone spires and hulking sedimentary plateaus vaulted skyward in every direction. At some point, we gave up on stopping to take pictures, we just took pictures when we stopped instead. The trails made for some great technical riding. Our Evergreens clung to the packed sand and clay. It was, as hoped, like nothing we’d ridden before and nothing we could hope to get to back home.

Coyote-less Camping is Good Camping

The camping brought us into contact with wildlife we didn’t expect, but probably should have. We had not seen mule deer before, great lumbering animals, twice the size of our white-tailed deer back home. Though docile enough, the sheer size of the mule deer made them intimidating. We also encountered a small pack of coyote, which we normally only see alone in New England. These were bigger than ours, too. Luckily, they didn’t come into camp, and eating and sleeping was good under the stars. We’ve been riding bikes a long time, all kinds of bikes, in all sorts of places, and we’ve seen some dramatic landscapes, but it’s safe to say Sedona and its surroundings completely blew our minds. The trip was one of those eye-opening, fall-in-love-with-the-world sort of experiences that made us particularly grateful we’ve been able to make a life for ourselves that includes cycling through deserts as part of our “jobs.”