An Ultimate Travel Bike

Opportunities to collaborate with others who think deeply about the bike are extremely valuable to us, and one person we’ve worked with on and off over the entire history of Seven Cycles is Red Kite Prayer founder Patrick Brady. We’ve been searching for a project to work on together for a few seasons now, and finally we have it.

Patrick spends so much of his time flying around the world on cycling trips, and we spend an equal amount of time building bikes for exactly those sorts of far flung adventures, destination rides we’d all love to participate in, that the idea of collaborating with him to create an ultimate travel bike made a ton of sense.  As luck would have it, Patrick was enthusiastically on board.

A week ago, Patrick stopped by to catch up, meet some new faces, and begin talks on the travel bike project.  There was also time for a quick spin on an early travel bike prototype.

Patrick Brady hits the trail.
Patrick Brady hits the trail.

Those talks ended up taking hours, and all topics great and small were discussed.  The result will be a bike specifically engineered to make travel as convenient as possible, without sacrificing the bike’s performance one iota.

We’ll be releasing details as they unfurl, but a few of the parameters we will focus on are:

  • Versatility: Can we do a road event? A gravel ride? A dirt adventure?
  • Pack-ability:  How easy is it to take apart and reassemble the bike?
  • Speed:  How fast can we get on the bike after landing? How much time do we need to catch a flight?
  • Component selection:  Which parts are the most dependable, and how easy are they to repair in the field?

Stay tuned!

 

Folktales

One stubborn visa is all that keeps Zand Martin from boarding a plane to Kazakhstan, the starting point of an amazing adventure.  The wait will be over soon though, and in the anxious days leading up to the visa’s arrival, Zand has been hard at work.  For starters, the trip’s website and Facebook page have been created, and are now live!

Zand might be an outdoorsman at heart, but he is a gifted writer and storyteller, too.  When he visited us a few weeks ago, it was apparent that he was biting his tongue to prevent all of the stories from rushing out, perhaps to avoid keeping us there all day.  I doubt we would have noticed the clock, however. His stories sound like folktales.  One such story involved his inland kayak traverse of the United States a few years ago. He came to a point where he could paddle no further, so he bought a $30 bike on Craigslist, built a trailer, and pulled his kayak right through Yellowstone.  I’m sure the buses of tourists took as many pictures of him and his rig as they did the buffaloes that day.

photoTo help us grasp the scale of his latest trip, Zand unfolded all of his maps on out showroom floor.  Laying them out, it was obvious he is a map guy (I wasn’t surprised to see this blog post a few days later).  Some of the maps were what you could find on line, others were old Russian military maps and harder to acquire.  While he was talking us through the route, his enthusiasm, and smile, began to gleam.  If there weren’t bikes to make, we’d be on that trip with him.

Speaking of bikes, Zand has also been using his time to familiarize himself with his Expat S.  His bike is outfitted with drop bars, bar con shifters, mechanical disc brakes, and due to the weight of his gear and the unknown terrain ahead, a triple chain ring.  On his rack, he’ll be carrying a tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear,  a change of clothes, skis, ski boots, an avalanche probe, and camera equipment.  The goal is to carry no more than 35 pounds of gear and equipment.  To see what all of this gear looks like, when spread out and organized over a time lapse video, click here.

And so, our excitement grows for “Circling the Golden Mountains.”  As soon as the final visa arrives, Zand and his partner will be off, and we’ll be that much closer to our next folktale.

Seven on the World Cup Circuit

Proper test ride 27

We recently built new Sola 650b SLX race bikes for Mike Broderick and Mary McConneloug and had them delivered to Germany where the pro mountain biking power couple are working their way around the World Cup circuit.

Mary said:

The frames turned out beautifully!  

The care you all take with your work, the attention to detail and finesse is second to NONE!  Rob – your design, is again, masterful!  We know so many hands played a part in this project!  Thank you guys for your artful work in planning, crafting and shipping these incredible frames to Mike and I over here in Europe!!  Mike spent the majority of this past week carefully building the frames up at the SRAM headquarters in central Germany.  Having access to a real shop (and not some outdoor RV camp spot) to build the bikes up was very much appreciated.  Thanks to our awesome crew of supporting sponsors who helped with the various components – everything came together perfectly.

We feel so lucky to be backed by the best in the industry and we are honored to represent you all out in the field!

Continuing the evolution!

We got out on our first ride in the forests of Schweinfurt yesterday and instantly were both SMILING! The fit and balance of the frames are impeccable. My first impression of riding the 27.5 wheel size was the ease of acceleration.  I could feel the relation of the pedal stroke efficiently translate my power to the smaller wheel size and it seemed easier overall to push and maintain a smooth cadence. The complete bike is also a little lighter and easier to maneuver through the tight turns of the trails…

We can hardly wait to RACE our new 27.5 Solas at the World Cup in Italy this weekend!!!

Thank you all again!!!

We are truly honored to represent Seven Cycles and ever grateful for your continued support of our team.

Yours truly,

Mary and Mike

Love to Ride

Our new brochure is done, and we are maybe a little too excited about it. We are bike builders after all, not marketing people. But once a year we take on the project of reinventing the company in print. It’s an odd job for us, but as a company we always take the approach, ‘if you need something, make it.’ So we sit down at our desks and we write about our bikes and about bike building. We take pictures. We lay it all out. We pour ourselves into the task and agonize over all the little design decisions, the same way we would with a new bike.

And then the printer delivers it to us on a pallet, in boxes of 50. Imagine if Santa drove a forklift.

This year we have taken a fairly radical departure from the brochure strategy of past years. Instead of taking pictures of all the different bikes we build and trying to write something brief but captivating about each one, we decided to step back and document how and why we do the things we do. Rather than showcasing the end of our work, the bikes themselves, we thought to highlight the beginnings of our work, the methods, reasons and inspirations behind every Seven. What we used to do in 30 pages, we have expanded to 60 pages this time out. It is substantial.

We have titled the new book “Love to Ride.” There were about 20 alternate titles, none of which felt big enough, but this one, “Love to Ride,” hung in the air while we thought it over, testing it against the task at hand, until we smiled and knew it was right.

At root, we build bikes because we love to ride. Every frame that leaves our shop is aimed directly at that love. We want to give every Seven rider a bike they love to ride. That is the method. That is the reason. That is the inspiration. Everything that comes after is detail.

For the complete list of contributors, visit our credits page.

You can order your copy here..