A Visit to Seven Cycles

A Visit to Seven Cycles

Last week, I traveled to Boston for the first time in 15 or 16 years. As Robot noted, we’d also planned to ride together but due to an injury to his hand, that didn’t happen. Still, the trip wasn’t a wash. The purpose of the trip was to visit Seven Cycles and sit down with Rob Vandermark and some of his staff to talk over a collaboration between Seven and RKP. This will be an unusual step for us and I look forward to revealing it later this summer.

Naturally, part of my visit included a tour of Seven’s shop floor, which has grown significantly since I last saw it. It’s an impressive place.

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This rack contains carbon fiber tubes of varying diameters and composition for use in bikes like the 622 SLX.

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These are raw titanium tubes that have yet to be cut into shorter sections for use in frames. I had to remind myself that this stuff is usually being used for hydraulic lines in aircraft.

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These bins contain titanium dropouts and disc brake tabs.

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Need to shape a tube into a curve? Bending titanium isn’t easy; the bar extended well out of the frame.

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This box contains all the tubes for a frame as well as the folder with all the customer’s bike’s information. Interestingly, each bike is tracked according to the customer’s name, not a production number. It gives Seven’s workforce a greater sense of accountability and registers that this bike is for an individual. 

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This is the main triangle of a frame that has been coped or mitered and is ready to be tacked.

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This is one of Seven’s flat tables. There’s a certain irony to a tool that does nothing other than sit there, but has a profound impact on whether or not a bike is built correctly.

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These are completed welds that haven’t been cleaned up. The heat-affected zone is tiny and the discoloration is absolutely minimal. The small disc on the down tube is for a Di2 port.

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I find CNC machines endlessly fascinating. The control unit is as mysterious to me as the cockpit of a plane.

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There’s no real secret to the satin finish of a Seven frame. It requires a lot of old-fashioned elbow grease.

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Not much to say here. A completed frame ready to ship.

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Not all bikes at Seven are by Seven. The employees ride lots of different bikes. I didn’t notice the skateboards until after I’d taken this photo, though.

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No matter how beat, it’s still a Laser.

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Among bike makers, there’s always a collector. And what they collect can vary, but a collection of rear derailleurs is pretty cool. 

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You don’t see these around too often. 

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Still gorgeous 25 years later.

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Faceplates for ti stems.

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These are mitered tube sections that will be bonded to carbon tubes for Seven’s popular Elium model.

 

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12 comments

  1. Pat O'Brien

    A Seven bike is about the only sane reason I can think of for working one more year instead of retiring.

  2. MQ

    I know plenty of tools that do nothing other than sit there, come visit my office for a plethora! In this case I’m not sure if it’s irony or hypocrisy that reading RKP at work is technically just sitting idle as well.

  3. John Kopp

    Love your photos of the shop floor! It gives a good perspective of the builders quality of work and attention to detail. I got a tour of the Trek factory about 30 years ago, and enjoyed that.

  4. Full Monte

    I have a Seven Cycles glossy brochure, which is actually a magazine, on my coffee table. Beautifully shot, art directed. Bike porn right out in the open. And a Seven partnership with RKP you say? I may go blind.

  5. Cyril

    I live right around the corner, but have never stopped in. Thanks for the view inside. Still riding my Somerville IF hoping Seven never moves, giving me time to save up for a Seven one day.

  6. August Cole

    Great to see the skateboards there. Where there’s boards, there’s creativity. Same could be said with bikes too. A collaboration between RKP and Seven has a lot of potential to produce some great rides. There’s so much choice for a bike buyer, yet it’s harder to understand what we really want from our bikes.

  7. Pingback: Meet Us in Deerfield (D2R2) | RKP

  8. J. Tyler Klassen

    Love the really well written captions and the interesting photographs. Totally envious of your work. Thanks for being place to go to read, and see, interesting well journalism about bicycling.

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