Picked up Tuesday. Built Weds/Thurs. Ridden Saturday!!
Proper good. Def. not gravel, or road-plus, this is proper monster cross!! Very happy man!!
We have recently found a good partner to work with in New Zealand, Mark Rose of Bespoke Cycles of Hamilton, which is pretty great, because riding bikes there is a unique pleasure we can recommend highly. Anyway, this is one of the first bikes we built for our Kiwi friends, Mike’s Sola S 29er.
This is my Sola S 29, purchased through Bespoke Cycles in New Zealand, and very recently built up. I’m the first customer of theirs, and I am thoroughly pleased with this bicycle. It fits me like a glove, and the workmanship reminds me of my previous hardtail, a 1992 Merlin. I never thought I would end up owning another titanium hardtail, but the pull was too strong.
I can’t wait to get it out on the trail, and enjoy the benefits that titanium and custom geometry have to offer.
Naturally, in the circumstances, we were a little nervous. At Wallpaper* we are of the firm opinion that the Massachusetts custom builder, Seven Cycles, makes the best titanium-framed bicycles in the world. We think the understated Verve model is one of the most elegant mountain bikes in existence. We spent ages agonising over the Etruscan blue detailing we wanted for our award winner and then, having at length chosen the desired hue, we asked the manufacturers to do one more thing for us – to cut their precious bike in half. But they were absolutely delighted to do so.
In fact, Seven Cycles is one of the élite bike manufacturers that have helped support the launch of our favourite cycle accessory of the year: a beautifully engineered system, by S and S Machine, for joining two bike halves – separated for ease of transportation – back together again. It shouldn’t really work (at first, experts reckoned the frame would never be as good again once it had been sliced), but the process genuinely makes no difference to ride quality. Handy instructions on the S and S website (www.sandsmachine.com) mean that assembly and disassembly is easy for even the most mechanically challenged among us, while the carrying case that the bike fits into can be taken as hand luggage on airlines. We won’t ever be leaving home without it.
For the long-course adventure racer or someone who spends hours and days in the saddle, there’s nothing like the combination of titanium’s reputation for durability shaped specifically to meet your needs. Seven’s hallmark is customizing: Each frame is built to order, and there are no custom up-charges.
Our Verve featured custom geometry with a tubeset tuned for good drivetrain stiffness and vertical compliance, with a handful of extras such as disc brake tabs and un-posted cantilever brake bosses, and rack and fender eyelets. On trail, the Verve is supple, light and smooth—as far opposite the Scott Scale as a bike could get and still be a hardtail. The geometry was perfect, threading technical rock garden descents or rooted climbs with precision and ease. It also offers almost no-hands stability and surety on high-speed sections (not that we’re advocating taking your hands off the bar).
The Verve will cost you a bundle, but if you’re a discerning distance racer who prizes durability, it may be the ultimate ride for you.
|Frame:||Tig-welded Integrity straight gauge 3al/2.5v titanium|
|Weight:||Approximated at 22 pounds|
|Front Suspension:||Fox F80RL fork w/800mm travel|
|Component Highlights:||27 speed Shimano XT drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes; Mavic Crossmax XL tubeless wheels; Seven handlebar and stem|