We spend all our time building custom bikes and talking about custom bikes and trying to tell the story of custom bike building. So it’s sort of mind blowing when you work with a customer who fully documents the process from their own perspective, and you get to read it and it opens your eyes to what it is you really do.
A recent Expat S build, for Dan H, gave us this opportunity. Dan has an excellent, personal cycling blog, and he starts right from the beginning on this project, narrowing down his choices and ideas. Then he orders his Seven and does a deep dive on the details. Then we detour into naming the bike, a process that is equal parts goofy charm and intimate portrait of how bicycle riders bask in the culture of riding bikes. That part was pretty inspiring. At last, Dan comes to visit while we are building his bike, and then we deliver it to him.
You can read for yourself that Dan is quite a character, a passionate cyclist, a big thinker. Getting to know our riders is one of the very best parts of doing things the way we do. That Dan is local to Seven and comes to us through the excellent Ride Studio Cafe is great, but we have had this sort of experience with riders from Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Germany, Spain, the UK, Texas, California, and Ohio, too.
This is Greg’s 622 SLX in Gloss Black with Superhero Blue accents and purple hubs. It has a custom Ti seatpost. Our good friends at Ride Studio Cafe turned this one out, and it’s gorgeous.Greg said:
So, I’ve had the bike out four times: Sunday coffee ride, Rippers opener, Ripper B52, and Monsters Spinster ride this past Saturday. The ride quality, handling, acceleration and all around feel is spot on. Numerous PR’s on areas I’ve ridden a number of times in the past, I PR’ed the col-de-lex and was one second off from a second PR just two days apart. The Spinster ride had almost 3K feet of climbing over 48 miles and I was easily in the mix. When I put the power to the pedals, especially up hill I can clearly feel the bike respond making it so much more rewarding to continue the effort. My Specialized doesn’t have anything special on the Seven in fact you can’t even put them in the same room together. I wasn’t necessarily expecting anything stupendous coming from what I had but, WOW, this Seven just keeps giving! After just 4 rides I know this bike is heads and tales above anything out there, if a reference is needed please don’t hesitate to give my name out.
Our good friends, just up the road at the Ride Studio Cafe, have developed a tradition. When the first snow flies, they flock together and ride. In the cold weeks at the beginning of winter, their social media feed comes alive with messages parsing the forecast, weighing the likelihood of snow. The first flakes seldom fall in measurable inches. The season usually eases us in with a charming threadbare blanket.
Your forget what this is like, the downy, white floating down, your tires crunching over the white crust, everyone peering around at each other, smiling. The snow gets caught in your hair and sometimes in your eyelashes and on the tip of your nose. Traction, you find, is not too challenging. You go slowly, but not so slowly that a broad grin doesn’t affix itself and linger.
There is a real value in this tradition, we think. Winter can be chastening for cyclists. Many will hang their bike in the rafters and pull it down again in the spring. This seems a shame, though we understand that colder temperatures aren’t for everyone.
The bike is an ideal way to see the beauty that is all around us. The bike will take us places our feet might be more reluctant to go. We can cover more ground on two wheels.
And all the places we’ve ridden during the year are changed. The leaves are down and the winter birds flit from naked branch to naked branch. Browns hue into the picture, the tall grasses gone rusty as their roots burrow for warmth.
The best way to ride through a New England winter is to begin at the beginning, and then go on from there. The first snow, like a season starting over, just outside our doors.
This is Chris’s Evergreen S, another beautiful bike turned out by our friends at Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington, MA. This one features a custom vinyl decal scheme in red and see-through titanium.
Roger is a friend, one of the fine people at Ride Studio Cafe who sells our bikes, but much more than that, a regular collaborator and a guy who thinks about bikes too much (which is exactly enough).
This is the second bike we’ve built for Roger. The first one, an Evergreen SL, challenged our paint team with the incorporation of real coffee grounds into the finish, as well as a modified five dollar bill inside the fork leg (photos of that bike below).
For this new bike, an Axiom, Roger wanted our master painter, Staci, to create a realistic turquoise effect on the frame on top of a deep mango color that matched Chris King components of the same hue.
That first challenging build/paint here: