The Overlooked Awesome, Part IV

Photo by Pamela Blaylock in Ireland.

The Overlooked Awesome is about all of the great things you can get out of a custom bike beyond the perfect fit. Check out installments I, II and III.

Part IV is about handling. There are a number of ways to affect the handling of a bike. Headtube angle, bottom bracket drop, fork rake, chainstay length, front center, they all interact to produce the bike’s handling characteristics, and we build bikes that span from agile and aggressive to stable and solid. This is a massive value for riders who can’t find a stock bike that handles the way they like. With a stock bike, all of the variables mentioned above are fixed. To change the handling, you only have a few options, like lengthening or shortening the stem. The result may be better handling, but that improvement doesn’t come without shifting your balance on the bike.

A bike handles best when the rider is balanced over the two wheels.

Because we can work from the frame materials up to the component choices, we can give you very specific handling characteristics. For example, our road bikes are spec’d with our own Seven 5E fork. The 5E is unique among high-performance forks. Designed by Seven completely from the ground up, it comes in rakes ranging for 36mm to 58mm—more than any other fork—to ensure optimum frame-fork integration and handling. Most stock bikes come with one fork option, which means you’re stuck with the handling the builder decided was good for you, not the handling you prefer.

Being able to descend confidently, corner authoritatively, or simply take your hand off the bars to adjust clothing, can make a huge difference to your ability to enjoy riding your bike. Beyond fit, this is just one more way a custom Seven can be a better choice.

 

The Overlooked Awesome, Part III

In the last installment of The Overlooked Awesome we talked about options, paint being just one of them. But paint deserves more than that. As one of the most powerful ways to personalize your bike, paint (and custom decals) can motivate and inspire. Cursory research suggest a good looking bike will motivate you to ride more and will spark more stop light conversations than an off the shelf bike.

We became known for our polished Ti bikes, and that was an aesthetic that served (and continues to serve) us well. It’s classic. But as custom builders we are always looking for new ways to add more value to the process of building a bike just for you, and paint has become a big part of that. Each year, we paint more bikes than the year before.

We offer a lot of stock paint options, each of which can be personalized with different color choices. There are 23 stock colors in our palette and another 23 in our legacy color archive. We offer 17 different stock paint schemes as well. By the time you pick your colors, your scheme, and your decal, you can see the opportunity to create something special is strong. We can also mix custom colors for you, and we provide color matching services if you know what you want but are having trouble identifying it.

It’s probably not a great idea to talk too much about beautiful paint though. It’s better to just show some of what’s possible.

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.

Packing a Travel Bike

We built an Axiom S with S&S couplers for Mark Slavonia with our friends at City Cycle in San Francisco. This was Mark’s third Seven, and he uses it for EVERYTHING, including a lot of travel riding. We’ve talked about packing travel bikes before, in terms of the features and benefits of the various cases, and we’ve reviewed some of the frame and component choices that make the most sense for travel bikes, but ultimately, your success and enjoyment of bike travel will come down to how easy it is for you to pack and unpack your bike.

Mark wrote up his own bike packing guide and shared it with us. He also weighs in on the merits of the various coupling systems and the cases available. It’s well worth a read.

He says, “My travel bike is  a Seven Axiom with optional S&S couplings.  It weighs 18 lbs, 2 oz. with a 60 cm frame.  The oversized titanium tubing and the stainless steel couplings make it pretty stiff overall, especially for a titanium bike.  I’d use this bike for any ride or race and I never feel compromised by it.”

Thanks to Mark for allowing us to share.

Hulking Chain Stays.

You may have noticed in a recent post about Craig Gaulzetti’s new Axiom SL, that he wanted a race bike.  Craig raced as a youngster while growing up in Belgium, and has never gotten over the thrill of a stiff, speed first, comfort second-if-at-all race bike.  He wanted to recreate the same excitement with his very first Seven, and we were excited to take on the challenge.

Walking around our production floor, the most memorable site is the towering wall of titanium tubing located in the machining area.

photo 3
A section of the titanium tubing wall.

Hundreds of twenty foot tall tubes tower over everything in sight.  Organized by diameter, these tubes will determine how a bike will feel on the road.  To over simplify, a narrow tube will bend and flex over bumps and potholes resulting in a plush ride, but all that flex means the bike won’t explode forward when you stomp on the pedals.  A large tube responds oppositely, bouncing over bumps like a poorly performing suspension, but will take off like a rocket when you mash your pedals.  Most people want bikes that fall somewhere between those two extremes.  No matter how you want your bike to feel on the road, choosing the appropriate tube set is our specialty.

To ensure Craig’s bike was going to bring him back to his racing heyday, some of our most massive tubes were selected, including the Louisville Slugger-esque 1 3/4″ down tube, a 44mm head tube, and a 1 1/2″ top tube.  For most of us, these tubes would yield a bike so harsh, we’d want off.  But Craig was looking for that feeling exactly, so when it came time to select his chain stays, we reached past the traditional 7/8″ tubes, and chose our most hulking, 1″ tube stock.  An additional eighth of an inch in diameter sounds minor, but in both looks and performance, the difference is obvious.  We felt these stays would add the extra boost Craig was after, and his early reports confirm that they have done the trick.

reverie-chainstays-thumb

For Craig’s Axiom SL, the 1″ chain stays made sense: the design mission, the size and power output of the rider, and the overall aesthetic were a perfect match.  Though they worked wonderfully for Craig, the one inch stays aren’t for everyone.  More often than not, they are too stout, too heavy, or too limiting in component choices to use.   These large chain stays crowd the bottom bracket junction, leaving only enough room for slick, narrow tires, and are therefore only available on our road bikes.  They are so large and stout, that we do not curve them as you’ll see on all of our 7/8″ stays (as I incorrectly pointed out in my response to Brian S. back in September), they get just a small tire clearance crimp but are otherwise perfectly straight.

If you are interested in discussing whether or not our one inch chain stays are right for you, give us a call!