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Where are all the Seven Owners?(21 posts)

Where are all the Seven Owners?MeDotOrg
Apr 24, 2001 8:31 PM
A couple of weekends ago I was waiting for a green light when a woman on a Seven Odonata Ti cruised up next to me.

"You're riding my dream bike" I said (despite the fact it was probably a 48 cm frame).

She said "It's my dream bike, too." She started talking "comfort, fit, wonderful ride..."

My Bianchi just sat there getting uglier and heavier...I couldn't take it anymore. I had to leave. Blew her away going up the next hill.

Anyway, I was looking at the Road Bike Reviews here, and there doesn't seem to be any review of Seven Odonatas or Axioms. Whazzup with that? I mean we got Treks and Litespeeds and Serottas and Colnagos aplenty, but no Sevens? Do I have to fill out a financial prospectus to look at the reviews?

Will some of the less financially challenged let us in on the Titanium/Carbon lifestyle?
re: Where are all the Seven Owners?dustin73
Apr 24, 2001 10:57 PM
wow, another bike i've never heard of...could you kinda tell me about them?
re: Where are all the Seven Owners?Jofa
Apr 25, 2001 3:43 AM
I'm sure somebody on the board knows the intimate details about this... but, as I understand, Seven was formed when 7 builders from Merlin left to start building their own ultra frames; I think it was when Merlin and Litespeed merged a few years ago? They have a web presence:

Generally held to be the pinnacle of ti art. I was looking over one in my LBS and the build quality, particularly weld penetration, just seemed perfect- making even the Litespeeds look, dare I say it, scrappy. Sure somebody'll say Moots about now. It's all crazy money anyway...
re: Where are all the Seven Owners?uwgrl
Apr 25, 2001 12:54 AM
The people who make seven bikes originally worked with the Litespeed Folks...they specialize in high end bikes and do all the work by hand...lots of custom stuff.
re: Where are all the Seven Owners?Larry Meade
Apr 25, 2001 4:35 AM
They did not work for Litespeed. They worked for Merlin. Two of them are Rob Vandermark and Matt O'Keefe. I'm not sure, but I think they left about the time Merlin was bought by a larger sports company the first time. If you look on older Merlin left chainstays, about 96 or before, you will see Rob's (or Tom Kellogg's) name there. They started Seven well before the Litespeed/Merlin consolidation which just happened within the last year. Sevens are very much like the Merlins in that they use the two pass method of welding which produces a cleaner looking weld. Litespeed uses a single pass weld which doesn't look as clean but is in no way inferior. There are some who believe that the two pass method actually can weaken the area by overheating it. The jury is still out on that. I have ridden Merlins, built by the crew that is now at Seven and Litespeeds. I currently own litespeeds as they make a frame that fits my needs better than Merlin did. Even better than the custom Merlin I had built. Generally speaking, Seven is more of a status symbol than Litespeed. Litespeed goes more for performance specific frames. They make a frame to cover about any rider style that you can think of. They are both great companies and make great frames.
custom MerlinET
Apr 25, 2001 8:03 AM
Why didn't the custom Merlin fit your needs? Was it the frame? Did they miss on the fit? Limitations on how much they'll change things like TT length or seat tube angle? Was your Litespeed a custom? Thanks.
custom MerlinLarry Meade
Apr 25, 2001 9:45 AM
I am a 180-200 lbs sprinter. I like a real stiff frame and they didn't build it stiff enough. The whole reason I went custom was to get a stiff enough frame. When I had it built I specified my weight and desire for a crit style stiff frame as crits are pretty much my specialty. All other dimensions were fine after they built it a second time. They had messed up when they welded in the top tube and it sloped down toward the front. It was pretty conventional with 56cm ST, 56.5 TT, 73 degree seat tube, 73.5 head tube. Once I started looking for a replacement, I found that a Litespeed Ultimate 57cm has the exact same seat tube angle and top tube as my custom Merlin did. I bought one in 99 and absolutely love the ride. I then bought a 2001 when I got a once in a lifetime deal on a Record 10 kit. So now I am a confirmed Litespeed fan having one DuraAce Ultimate and one Campy Record 10 Ultimate.
Apr 30, 2001 11:25 PM
Sorry, I didn't mean to post incorrect information.
Apr 25, 2001 4:02 AM
Seven Cycles
Seven cycles has some testimonials on their website about each of their frames. Obviously they're all going to be good reviews, but it might be a place to start.
Coming from New Englang myself, we don't even see a ton of these frames around. A lot of Merlin and Litespeed like most areas of the country probably, but let me tell you, these bikes are not inexpensive. I know of about a dozen people who have these who have actually paid for them. the others I all think of are on the sponsored race team.
I own a Seven mountain bike, couldn't afford a Seven road bikeLargo
Apr 25, 2001 4:32 AM
As well. Had to go custom steel, oh well........
Seven was formed when Rob Vandermark split from Merlin, and started Seven, as in they work Seven days a week.
Merlin was still independent when Rob left, and had yet to be gobbled up by the behemoth that is Litespeed.
Can't comment on the ride quality of the Odonata, but my Sola is amazing. Used to ride Bontrager mtbs, and the fit of the Sola, and blend of supllness where its needed, and stiffness, is spot on.
I'm still not entirely sure on the bonus's of Ti road bikes as compared to a good steel bike, but they sure are sweet.
I think i'll get an Axiom when i am through with school.
Later all
not where the sevens are builtMass Biker
Apr 25, 2001 5:32 AM
Know a bunch of guys who work at Seven - they ride/race what they build and the bikes are simply amazing - definitely high $$/wow factor, and the quality is unquestionable.

One interesting anecdote - I saw way more Sevens when I was out in the (SF) Bay Area than I've have seen here in Boston (which is where Seven is based). Good to see that the Silicon economy is helping out the 'ol Taxachusetts GDP. - MB
re: Where are all the Seven Owners?bdd
Apr 25, 2001 6:15 AM
I think most Seven owners are wholely above reading and writing on this post to be quite honest. And yes, Seven was formed well before the Merlin-Litespeed gig. I think you will find any Seven a much better quality than any Litespeed. More expensive? Depends on the model. Worth it? That's up to you. question.
re: Where are all the Seven Owners?Larry Meade
Apr 25, 2001 9:52 AM
"I think you will find any Seven a much better quality than any Litespeed."

Please quantify this statement.

re: Where are all the Seven Owners?bike_junkie
Apr 25, 2001 6:42 AM
First off, there aren't that many Seven roadbike owners compared to everything else out there, so you won't see many reviews period. Seven started out with the emphasis on mtb frames as that was Vandermarks specialty. The name came from the Seven original employees that broke off from Merlin about the time Saucony purchased Merlin and their customer service went to heck. Merlins now done by Litespeed look great and are not re-badged Litespeeds in any way.

Hype aside, nothing is magical about a Seven. They are nice frames, but no better than Ti from Moots or Serotta. You can't judge a frame by pretty welds, either, which these all will have. IMO, the elegant tapered stays of Serotta look nicer than the constant-diameter Seven stays, the 3D-XL dropouts are nicer than the boring Seven plate dropouts, and the Serotta tapered/butted Colorado Concept tubes look cool and give a stiff BB area. I shopped both companies, and although Seven has quicker/friendlier responses to e-mails, Serotta has nicer touches on their frames and tons of finish options.

Yes, I'm biased since I own a Serotta, but I get tired of people hyping Sevens, there is nothing magical about them.

Sevens are fine frames, but shop all the companies before you commit, there are tons of great frames out there. Give hi-end Litespeeds, Merlin, Ibis, Moots, Spectrum and Serotta a look as well. And customs from Carl Strong are not to be overlooked.

Good Luck.
My point was...MeDotOrg
Apr 25, 2001 7:41 AM
...not to put the knock on Litespeed, VaMoots, Serotta, or Colnago (or Sachs or Steelman or Strong, for that matter) . I just thought it was interesting that there is not a single review of a Seven Odonata or Axiom on this site.

I don't think there is an "objective" way to argue the merits of a Seven over other bikes. It just happens to make my heart beat faster. I've heard the argument that 2-pass welding looks better, but makes the weld less stable. That may very well be, although I have not heard of many exploding 2-pass bikes.

I know that Serotta is working on a Ti/Carbon bike. Maybe that will become my next object de lust. Is the Ti/Carbon really better than a pure Ti or pure Carbon bike? How does the bonding between the TI and Carbon hold up over time? Sh*t if I know.

Is there really $2k worth of difference between a Odonata and a Airborne? Probably not. This isn't about logic. It's about how much you're willing to pay to be up on the perfection curve.

We live in a society where mass-production rules over almost everything. The idea that an artisan, a craftsman, can produce something better than a machine just resonates in a deep place with me. If I had the dough, I'd be happy to "waste" my money on a custom $5k bike. I wouldn't think twice about it.
My point was...Lazy
Apr 25, 2001 7:46 AM
I'm with you on that one. How a bike looks, and the feeling you get when looking at it are pretty important factors for me. Obviously a bike that is a piece of crap but looks nice won't fit the bill, but asthetics (or, the artwork factor) are a very important part of a bike purchase.
My point was...MrCelloBoy
Apr 25, 2001 9:01 AM
My sweet stoker and I test rode a Seven 007 Tandem last month and loved it! We also rode a Calfee Tetra Tetra Tandem and loved IT too!
The Calfee ends up being over a grand less $$. Case closed!
I understand that Craig Calfee uses Ti dropouts on the Carbon Fiber frames because the cold/heat expansion/contraction coefficients are more similar than with other metals. Sounds good to me!
My stoker also rides a Merlin (2000) Echo soft-tail with Spox wheels and LOVES it!
She gets insulted when I talk about Litespeeds being anywhere near a good as Merlins...
Right here...Seven owner
Apr 25, 2001 8:55 AM
I recently purchased a Seven Axiom Ti. Initially I was set on getting a steel bike, because I didn't think Ti was worth the $, but I test-rode a Seven "just to see". I was hooked after 20 minutes on it, and didn't want a steel bike anymore. I've only ridden about 500 miles on it, but so far I love it. The "feel" is fantastic and so is the fit. I can't really explain the "feel", but it's very different from steel bikes I have ridden, and very good. Maybe all Ti bikes feel that way, I don't know. It's stiff in the bottom bracket for my 165 pounds and feels good standing and climbing, and it's totally comfortable. I really like the wound-up fork too. It seems very stiff, handles very well, but doesn't feel harsh at all on the bumps. Basically better in every way than my last Reynold's 853 frame & Profile fork.

The people at Seven do a really thorough job of customizing the bike to your tastes with a detailed questionaire, phone interview, and fit. I really can't complain about anything except the price.

FYI I got a 6 on handling, 3 on vertical stiffness, and 9 on drivetrain stiffness, and it really did turn out just how I wanted it to be.

The shop where I bought it recommended the Axiom over the Odonata. They said the Odonata was a little to flexy in the rear, though I never rode one. I don't think you need the carbon for comfort anyway, it's comfortable without it.

I can't speak for all the other Ti bikes out there, but I do love my Seven. And I'm sure that someday, my credit card will be paid off...
re: Where are all the Seven Owners?AnotherSevenOwner
Apr 25, 2001 10:45 AM
I also own a Seven Ti Axiom. I've had it about a year and a half and am coming up on 8,000 miles (I ride a fair amount, but I also have a job). I like it plenty. But here's the bottom line for me. The frame's great, but probably only marginally better than my friend's GT or my buddy's Kestral or that-guy-who-dropped-me-this-weekend's unknown-because-he-was-going-so-fast-past-me-while-I-was-puking-up-lung-chunks make and model bike. And definitely not better than the Litespeed owned by another friend who routinely crushes me. Don't get me wrong. I love my bike. And the fetish value of a Seven is very high. When I got it, I wanted to ride more and ride better. And I have improved. So there's a quantifiable benefit. But as for whether the stiffness I asked for makes a real difference, or whether the longer top tube makes a real difference, I couldn't really tell you. I mean I'm sure I'd notice the difference if you put me on another bike, but as for whether it would be better or worse, I think it'd be hard to say. And here's the downside (other than cost -- although I got mine at a very significant discount), you may have a really nice bike, but unless you're the strongest person around, you will consistently be dropped by people with less expensive bikes. Ouch. Makes you want to scrub the decals off.
The "Nah-Nah" factorMeDotOrg
Apr 25, 2001 12:52 PM
That's the one negative I can see about owning an expensive bike. (Other than the fear of a crash or theft). It may make you a little faster, but you're marked like the sheriff in a town full of gunslingers. Everyone is out to put a notch in their belt.

And if I'm honest with myself, I smile a little more when I pass someone on a bike that cost a couple of $k more than mine.

Oh well. Rich tax. Seriously, I'm glad you guys like your bikes. More power to ya! Enjoy!
re: Where are all the Seven Owners?Ken56
Apr 25, 2001 12:53 PM
I agree with the other Seven owners, it isn't the bike, it's the rider. I've had my Seven Axiom Ti (with Record 9 speed) for two years now and am very pleased with it. I wouild certainly not knock anyone's else's choice of bike and I wouldn't say that mine is better than any other. All that I can say about it is that I like it and it works for me. I went with it because I wanted a custom frame in Ti and the bike shops that I was working with didn't have any other suggestions at the time. I would also echo the other Seven owner in saying that I wanted to get better and faster and ride more, and I felt that the Seven would be able to help me meet my goals. I'm getting there.