The Places We Go

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Because we build our bikes one-at-time, for their riders, we don’t have to manage an inventory of anything other than raw materials. That allows us to build the bikes riders want instead of trying to guess what they want or trying to convince them to buy what we have already built.

The challenges our riders have been taking on this last year really bring home to us how the way we do things allows our customers to lead us forward, to take us where they want us to go.

Mike Bybee rode from Arizona to Canada on his Sola SL bike-packing rig. Brad rode across the US, from Oregon to Virginia on his Evergreen SL, set up for loaded randonneuring. We rode in Yorkshire and on the Isle of Man. Matt Roy and David Wilcox attempted a 1000km brevet in the worst heat wave the Pacific Northwest has seen in decades. Daniel Sharp rode the Oregon Outback. Seven was at the Mt.Evans Hill Climb, in the Pyrenees and at Dirty Kanza. Sevens have been ridden through the night, through two full centuries, around Lake Michigan, through Paris and over the Paris-Roubaix cobbles.

Sometimes we shake our heads in wonder at all of it. What ends up happening is that, as much as guide Seven riders through the process of designing their bike, they guide us through the world of cycling. They show us what is possible and change our own ideas about what a bike can be.

Image: Daniel Sharp

Ken’s Evergreen SL

17758114924_a8a868661d_zThis is Ken’s Evergreen SL, another great build from Bob at Wheel Werks in Crystal Lake, IL. It’s hard to tell how well the bike came out, because Ken more or less immediately put it through hell (see his comment below), and he sent pictures with it still covered in mud from one of the more intense editions of the Dirty Kanza in recent memory. We love it.

Ken says:

The bike is great, couldn’t be happier. Two days after I picked it up I did a 300k and if performed perfectly in terms of fit and performance. Also did Dirty Kanza 200 a few weeks later, same thing (rider, not so good…19hrs, 59 minutes).

See more of Ken’s photos here.

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Where Does Performance Really Come From?

bxs_CDThere is this idea that, to perform really well, a bike has to be hyper-stiff, and/or the rider has to get into a maximally aerodynamic position, as if either of these characteristics, alone, yields speed.

In the last few weeks we’ve received dozens of photos of Seven riders taking on challenges like the Trans Am Bike Race, 600k brevets, the Green Mountain Double Century and Dirty Kanza. As a percentage, Seven is disproportionately represented at these events, which is to say, you see a lot more of our bikes at events that require maximum performance from racers and riders. And why is that?

Torsional rigidty, drivetrain stiffness and aerodynamics can all be good things, but in our experience they have to be balanced against fit and comfort. If the rider isn’t comfortable in his or her “aero” position, it won’t be possible to generate big power. If a rider isn’t comfortable on the bike, it will be exponentially more difficult to cover big distance.

When the chips are down and things like fit and comfort come to the fore, a custom Seven shines, because we seek those balances in all our designs. Peak performance, and peak fun, too, don’t come from shorthand answers to design questions. They come from thoughtful design, carefully chosen materials and a rider-specific approach.

In Season

Brassard_variationThe bike industry does not circle the sun and measure its progress in years, but rather plants its fields, like a farmer, and thinks of time in seasons. And we are in the thick of that season now, building bikes with a drive and focus similar to our riders, out in the world, making use of the summer sunlight to get more time on the bike.

In season, we have to be very careful not to work too much (we always fail at this) and to make sure we are taking the time to ride our own bikes and to stay in touch with why we do what we do (we always succeed at this).

But now a month has passed since our last post…here are just a few of the things we’ve been working on.

matt roy's 622 slx

A 622 SLX with SRAM’s new Red integrated hydraulic brakes for our good friend Matt Roy. This one left the shop floor and headed straight for the Green Mountain Double Century, where Matt rode it to victory, along with his Ride Studio Cafe Endurance Team, in a time just over 17 hours. For an encore, Matt took it on a post-grad (Ph.D.!!) trip from Portland, OR to Boulder, CO. Just a quick spin then…

 

 

 

And, this is John Bayley’s Axiom SL super randonneur, also with SRAM Red hydro and a john-bayleys-axiom-slvery special paint job. John rode it to a third place finish at Dirty Kanza. This bike will also feature in an upcoming ad in Rouleur. Keep an eye out for it.

 

Terri G’s Sola SL – Back Country Explorer

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This is Terri’s Sola SL. When she called us, she was excited to build a new bike for this weekend’s Dirty Kanza, but also as a do-everything back country explorer. With a flat bar, disc brakes and a rigid fork, this bike is super versatile. We worked on it with our good friends at Richardson Bike Mart in Richardson, TX. After the inaugural 200 miles she’ll put on it in Kansas, she knows just what’s coming next.

Terri says:

My bigger plan is to put bigger tires and frame bags on it and head out to do some bike-packing. First up, Montana on the Great Divide route in July. 

Best bike ever.  Thanks so much!