Seven Cycles Factory Tour
My tour of the Seven Cycles factory
Since 2005, I have been fitting people on bikes, and for the last six years have been doing it professionally at my studio in West Chester, Pennsylvania. To date, I’ve been retrofitting riders to their own bikes, because if your bike is in the ballpark in terms of ideal size or geometry, there’s enough adjustability with the various parts (stem, handlebars, saddles, etc.) to achieve a great body-bike position. But what if we could enlist expert frame builders to build you a new bike frame based on the foundation we have created. A bike frame that is engineered with your body-bike position in mind.
I refuse to fit my clients in a cookie-cutter fashion. My perspective on bike fit is that every rider is different, therefore it makes no sense to put each rider in a box. My own personal injuries and discomforts were never solved with conventional bike fitting methods, and that’s how my methodology started. And so the procedure I use for fitting riders to machines is based on a balancing act between understanding the human body, and understanding the bike. My goal with every bike fit is to find the most stable and symmetrical position possible for each individual. I use my eyes, ears, and experience as the modes of decision making, rather than computer modules, algorithms, and excessive gadgetry. I love gadgets, but there’s a fine line between where quality is lost for the sake of speeding up the process. The topic of slowing things down and focusing on quality was the first of many Seven Cycles principles which resonated with me while touring their factory in Watertown, Massachusetts last weekend.
Slowing Things Down
The Seven Cycles headquarters and factory are small, but not surprisingly so. Seven is about building hand-crafted bikes of the highest quality, rather than cranking-out a huge volume at the risk of lost quality. As Caleb Diebolt of Seven told me, the tooling in the factory could be updated with high-tech digital machines, but instead they continue to utilize 30+ year old tried-and-true analog machines. As I can relate, there’s something to be said for slowing the process to maintain the quality of a hand-built bike frame. Seven has this method down to a science, and still produces a very reasonable turn-around on bike builds. It also can’t be understated that Seven has over 250 years of combined frame building experience among its crafts people, more than any other in the world.
Precision And Art
The two words that were undeniable throughout my tour of the Seven factory. Each Seven employee I encountered was meticulously doing their part in the building process. The pride and passion for their craft and work could be felt. From cutting down raw titanium, steel, and carbon tubes, to applying the custom paint and decals, each bike left its respective station with a small piece of that builder’s heart. Checking, re-checking, and checking again all the way to placing the final product in the box for shipping. This is why every Seven frame comes with a special tag, signed by the individuals who built your piece of art. Seven Cycles are far from your stock bike.
As a bike fitter, it’s my job to focus on the body-on-bike aspect of your cycling experience–how your body is positioned in relation to the saddle, handlebars, and pedals. While at Seven, I learned more than ever about what is possible when we engineer the bike-on-the-road side of things, using your perfect body position as the foundation to craft a bike that feels amazing, and handles with telepathic precision. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see the expressions on the faces of riders whom I’ve fitted pedal their custom Seven for the first time, experiencing the complete body-bike-road fit integration that comes with my new relationship with Seven Cycles!
Special thanks to Caleb Diebolt, Roger Cadman, John Lewis, and Neil Doshi for their time walking me through the factory tour and providing the full Seven Cycles experience.
Ok… now who wants the best bike they will ever own?
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