Introducing KellCruis SL

Well, it’s not really supposed to go like this, or maybe you hope it does, but you think you probably have more time than you end up having.
But we built a new race bike last week, and then before we could post about it being done, it won a race.

Kelly Catale did it again at Orchard Cross Cyclocross Race

Introducing the KellCruis SL, a radical departure from your everyday cyclocross racer. What we’ve done here is take our Mudhoney CX platform and pushed it forward to its logical conclusion, something entirely new, akin to the way our Scrambler bikes took the gravel category forward.

This is part of the Seven Racing Optimized EXotica series, or ROX. These are bikes that might exist as a single unit for a special rider (in this case Kelly Catale), or as a new model in our line. The name “Cruis” is a bastardization of “Kruis,” which is Dutch for “cross.”

What will jump out at you is, of course, the curved top tube. To us, it’s reminiscent of the cafe racer motorcycle profile. The bend is located for optimal shouldering during running sections of CX courses.
The significant but less obvious benefits of the curvature are:


1. It allows us to shorten the seat stays and seat tube, which saves weight.

2. The smaller rear triangle is stiffer and so gives better power transfer.

3. The added seat post exposure helps the bike absorb ruts and bumps, i.e. it gives better vertical compliance.

4. The bike’s center of gravity is lower, which makes it easier to body around tight corners.

5. Pushing up hill you can lean into the bend rather than pushing along the top tube.

6. Lifting the bike over barriers is more ergonomically efficient.


What is less noticeable in photos is the new asymmetric rear end, which pushes the absolute limits on weight and stiffness.

First, the prototype dropout pair is 48 grams vs. 100 grams. That’s 2 ounces we remove by reducing the amount of 6/4 titanium plating we need to support axles and brake mounts.

Second, we use 1″ chainstays, again, to maximize power transfer. The driveside stay is dropped also, to shorten the rear end and improve traction.

Third, the seatstays are both asymmetric AND offset (offsymmetric?). This is a logical outcome of reducing the dropouts to their optimal size, and it has the knock on benefits of making the bike lighter (seatstay tubing is lighter than dropout plating) and also stiffer (larger diameter tubing is stiffer than narrow plating).

There is not one symmetric aspect of the rear of this bike, but it remains perfectly balanced and aligned.

ROX

We are going to have a new race bike to show soon. We’ve been working on it under cover darkness, all sworn to secrecy, each of us contributing what we can to make it something special.

We anticipate it being polarizing, some people getting one look and hating it, others loving it. We’re ok with that.

One of the great joys of doing what we do is pushing boundaries and making something new.

Unlike many bike builders, we don’t have to prepare engineering drawings (although we do), and then send them out for someone else to fabricate. We design, prototype, refine, and build right here.

Seven’s R&D program is a bit like an iceberg. To most, only a little is visible, but there is so much going on beneath the surface. We do a lot of math. We test a lot of material. We do 3D modeling and printing of parts and fixtures.

Most weeks we are working straight through the weekend on these projects, taking advantage of the quiet time to dig deeper into the bike building puzzles we’ve devised for ourselves.

It’s probably obvious by now that we’re dying to share more with you, but wait a little. It’s coming.

#racingoptimizedexotica #ROX

Before We Were Us, But Were Already Starting to Be Us

Our own Rob Vandermark posted this photo the other day, which reminded all of us whipper-snappers here at Seven just how deep our roots go in this wild and crazy bike business.

Most of this part is stolen from Rob’s post:

It’s a photo from the November 1991 issue of Mountain Bike Action, John Tomac and Ned Overend ready to race at the Mammoth World Cup.

When the core Seven team was still at Merlin Metalworks they built both of the bikes in this photo, and for a few years before and after this when Tomac and Overend were at the tops of their forms.

In 1991 alone, the year of this photo: Tomac was XC World Champion, US National DH Champion, took second at DH Worlds, and was World Cup CX Champion. Even now it’s hard to comprehend: World champion at cross country AND silver at downhill worlds.

Overend was US National Champion and took bronze in the Worlds cross county race.

These champions would have won on tricycles but at Merlin Rob and the team there did everything possible to build them the most cutting edge bikes of the era. Both bikes had carbon fiber tubing with titanium lugs. That’s where the similarities ended.

Both bikes took entirely different approaches to design and fabrication. Each was tailored to the companies that we were working with; Overend was with Specialized, Tomac with Raleigh.

We are humbled to have played a part in designing and building these iconic bikes during the wild west days of early mountain biking — nearly 30 year’s ago.

In so many real ways, this was Seven before we even existed, building rider-specific bikes, deeply custom, one-at-a-time, because it’s just a better way to do things.

The Top Step Again

She’s spoiling us now. First place at the 120 mile UnPAved gravel race.
Another race weekend, another podium for Kelly Catale and this one is particularly gratifying because it showcases EXACTLY what the KellCross is all about, the versatility to race cyclocross AND to race gravel on the same bike.

Here’s a feature on the race from the local paper (with Kelly as the main interview).

Here’s the bike (again).