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Seven: Odonata Steel or Alaris?(24 posts)

Seven: Odonata Steel or Alaris?deet
Oct 6, 2003 6:54 PM
Okay, so I've been hooked on road riding after purchasing a used CAAD3 Team Saeco w/full D-Ace 16 months ago. I've now decided that I'm in this for the long haul and want to upgrade to a more comfortable ride. I've done my research (much thanks to this forum) and spent an hour with sales today at the LBS. I originally wanted Ti (over CF) and am convinced that SEVEN is the solution to providing a custom fit on a bike to last me for years to come. I'm looking at the Alaris (Axiom is just out of realistic reach) but like what I hear about the Odonata Steel with CF inserts. I think I'd also like to consider Campy Chorus 10 spd as well. Profile: 36 yrs old, a few lower back issues but in good shape, no aspirations of racing (yet), want smoother ride that the C'dale mentioned above but not dead (CF), want to catch the guy that I can't on the group rides (yeh, I know, train harder). I know I need to ride them both, and I will, but would like to get some initial input from the forum. Go to it.....
re: Seven: Odonata Steel or Alaris?lyleseven
Oct 6, 2003 8:57 PM
You didn't mention how much you weigh. Generally, they recommend the Alaris for big guys, like over 200. I own two Sevens, the Axiom in Ti and Steel, as well as a couple of custom steel built bikes. I can tell you that both are fantastic. The Axiom, I believe, is only $500 more than the Alaris, but you may want to reconsider by compromising on the components. Nothing wrong with the Alaris either. I can't help on the Steel Odonata, but it can accommodate larger riders as well. In my opinion, any Seven you buy, because of the way they customize the frame will be a great bike. Chorus 10 spd is terrific stuff, even in a triple. Hard to tell the difference between Chorus and Record. You should try to get 2003 Chorus because it is going up in price for 2004 due to additon of some carbon fiber to that line, plus the weakiness of the dollar against the Euro.
re: Seven: Odonata Steel or Alaris?deet
Oct 6, 2003 9:17 PM
Thanks for the reply, and good point....I'm a fairly big rider at 6'2" and 195 lbs.
re: Seven: Odonata Steel or Alaris?BigFatSal
Oct 6, 2003 9:26 PM
Well, Seven makes some beautiful bikes. I think seeing well-crafted welds is an aspect that makes a bike seem like a piece of sculpture - kinetic art... Appreciating fine welding is something I miss on my carbon fiber frame. And Seven offers an excellent customizing service so the bike really fits the rider.

That said, I love my Look KG381. Aesthetically, the carbon tubes are blended seamlessly into the aluminum lugs giving it an amazingly sleek flow to it's lines. And the ride quality is outstanding. It's the furthest thing from "dead" feeling. It's lively and springy, like it's ready to jump when I say go. Some carbon frames do have a dead feel, but it's inaccurate to lump all carbon frames into that category. Mine is very lively, soaks up road shock, is light and stealthy.

I've got a titanium MTB which I love. Frankly, I think that if you pick a nice bike, that really fits you, and you love how it looks then you'll be fine(afterall, if you don't like how it looks then you're probably not gonna feel as good - or as fast - on it, as you would on a bike that you think has biitchin' good looks).

Sure the bike absolutely makes a difference. But the true difference is the engine, the mental attitude of the engine, and the physical match/fit between man (or woman) and machine.
Sure you need a custom bike?pmf1
Oct 7, 2003 5:50 AM
Most people do not need a custom bike. Unless you are a woman (bike geometry is aimed at men) or have weird body proportions, you probably don't either.

I'll probably get flamed for this, but I think Seven is a really over rated manufacturer. They fosted an image of a little custom shop in Boston pumping out carefully crafted wonders one at a time. Shops selling them give you an impression that the bike they build for you will be unique, when in reality, it will probably have about the same geometry as your Cannondale. Their bikes are expensive for what they are.

If you want a steel bike, there are a ton of bikes around that are far cheaper and just as good as anything Seven makes. There are lots of offerings out there in 853 steel. You could probably get a ti bike for what a Seven steel bike costs.

I've been riding bikes for some time and personally prefer carbon fiber bikes. I've had aluminium, titanium, steel and carbon bikes. To me, carbon feels plush, not dead, but I suppose that's a matter of opinion. If the only carbon bike you've tried is a Trek, then try another.

The bike you have is no slouch and you may even want to wait another year to buy something. Personally, I think it takes a couple of years to come to discover what you really want. Now is a good time to find something on close-out and get a great deal.
You and lyle7 should have an animated discussionFez
Oct 7, 2003 7:41 AM
on Seven.

Sure Sevens are expensive. But last time I checked, IF Ti and Serotta Legend Ti cost more.

Although I agree the company has tried to craft the image you describe, I also think the Seven dealers and Seven owners are just as responsible for reinforcing it.

Most of the Sevens I see on the road have looked pretty nice, but that could be attributable to the company being relatively young. I have seen quite a few old and weathered Serottas out there, but that company has been cranking out bikes for much longer. Nevertheless, that's a good sign - it indicates the owners are actually riding them.
Seven...small custom factorylyleseven
Oct 7, 2003 8:14 PM
Okay, I am biased towards Seven. But, by way of background, I have had a number of bikes before Seven. What is very important if you buy any custom bike is how the bike shop measures and fits you. My LBS did a fantastic job in that department and communicated with Seven during the ordering process to make sure we were all on the same page. I disagree that most mass production bikes fit most riders. My fitting for a Seven was different than any mass produced bike I owned and different than the custom steel bikes I purchased. I looked into Serottas (a great bike!) but they did not offer the degree of customization that Seven provided. My final product was not the same geometry as what I could have purchased from Trek, Cannondale, etc. I have also been to the factory and it is small and it is a hands on, mucho quality control process. These men and women are really into what they are doing. It makes you want to apply for a job there! I didn't get the Seven just because it looked great and had fantastic welds. I rode a carbon fiber and a Seven for a week (alternating frequently) to compare both provided by my LBS. I had my heart set on a custom carbon fiber, but at the end of the week I went with the Seven. The carbon fiber looked cooler, and climbed slightly better but on the descents and over the bumps the Seven was convincingly the winner and had a better road feel.
I love steel bikes also and that is why after less than a year of owning the Ti Axiom, I had to have the steel Axiom. If you are in the 200 lbs range you will love the Steel Odonata as well. If given the chance to do it over again, I might spend a few bucks more and get the Odonata steel.
Bicyling magazine called the Seven Axiom or Alta as the best bike around, for whatever that is worth. I didn't even know that when I bought my first Seven My conclusion is that the Seven is underrated and they don't hve the resources to advertise like the big guys. If you haven't ridden one (and more than around the block) you really can't talk about them with any real concept of what they are.
Your geometry...Fez
Oct 8, 2003 5:10 AM
Glad you like your Seven. You indicated that you don't agree most stock bikes fit most riders. I assume you are one of those that do not fit.

What is so different about your custom geometry than Seven's stock geometry? Or anyone elses' stock geo? What special needs did you have? And how was Seven able to customize your bike more than Serotta?
Oh gimme a break.pmf1
Oct 8, 2003 5:42 AM
Its a bike. And unless you are dragging your knuckles around on the ground (or are a woman), any off the rack bike can be made to fit as well. Perhaps you didn't get the same level of service when you bought an off the rack bike before.

Personally, I don't consider Seven to be a small outfit. You're buying into that image. I see them all over the place here in DC. There are a great many builders that I'd consider to be true artists of frame making. None of them are readily available at your LBS or have half page ads in this month's Atlantic Monthly either. For example:

http://www.hujsak.com/

http://www.richardsachs.com/

http://www.zinncycles.com/

If I were considering a custom bike, Seven wouldn't even make my list. Its true, I've never test ridden one. I'm curious though. If the big deal about these things are the custom geometry, how come the one you test rode was so great? It wasn't custom. In fact, it was probably the same geometry as your other bikes.
Oh gimme a break.lyleseven
Oct 8, 2003 2:42 PM
You haven't ridden one, and you have all of these preconceived ideas about what a Seven is about?? Give me a break! Okay, I actually rode two Sevens of different geometry before ordering mine and spoke to some Seven owner. One belonged to the shop owner with about the same height, weight, as myself. Another was the standard geometry Seven available as a demo. I inquired about Serottas and what they could do to custom the tubes. I was told the geometry could be customized and there were rear triangle options, and top tube slope. Seven customizes the geometry, such as head tube angle, seatpost angle, top tube slope, chain stay thickness,etc. They also customize the size of the tubes, thickness,etc., depending upon what type of riding you mostly do and what your expectations may be. They can beef up the lower end of the bike for more stiffness, etc. with tube modification. I've been to the factory to see how they modify the tubes when they fill an order. Compared to the large companies, Seven is tiny. Sure, there are smaller builders. I have no problem at all with them as I bought two custom steel bikes from Mikkelsen, a one man operation. And, hey, Serotta is a great bike, don't get me wrong.
As far as "its a bike", you probably would test drive a Yugo and a Ferrari and say, "its just a car"! Sorry, but im ny opinion, Seven is heads above whatever comes in second. I'm touring the factories in Italy next summer and am anxious to compare their whole build process.
In your long cycling career, how many bikes have you owned?pmf1
Oct 9, 2003 5:07 AM
I've owned quite a few and the difference in geometry has never been very large.

As far as "its a bike", think about it. Its some titanium or steel tubes welded together. Seven can do this better than anyone else? They know magic angles no one else is aware of? Their welders can melt metal in ways others haven't figured out? They're the Keebler elves of the bike business? I doubt it.

Given the number of them I see around here, there is no way its a small factory. I don't think you know what a small operation is. They must be churning out thousands of these a year. If I can find one sitting in my LBS, then its not a real unique piece of merchandise. It must be a profitable one, judging by how the LBS that carries them in my area pushes them.

I'm sure they're nice bikes. But any nicer than a lot of other bikes out there? I really doubt it. They're just over-priced titanium bikes sold to people who for the most part don't need custom geometry and are fooled into thinking that Seven does something (God knows what), that other manufacturers don't. Given the ads I see in places like the Atlantic Monthly (yeah, they advertise ... I see you're quiet on that point now) and their presence in LBS, the profit margin must be significant. I see a lot of them around here, and all I usually think when I see someone riding one is: foolish poser.

You'll never convince me you're anything but that, so give it up.
You last line sums it up................Len J
Oct 9, 2003 6:48 AM
"You'll never convince me you're anything but that, so give it up."

What an open minded attitude.

So anyone who rides a custom titanium bike is a "foolish Poser". LOL.

My granddad used to tell me that the best thing to do with a foolish argument is to let it speak for itself. My responding to this post shows that I never learned that lesson.

Re custom:

There are many more reasons to go custom than simply basic ability to fit a bike. Let me give you a few:

1.) To fit on a stock bike the way I want to fit I need mucho spacers and a riser stem. Because I have found that for me, after 20 years of riding, that I am more efficient & can ride longer when the bars are less than 2cm below my saddle, I desire a "fit" that accomidates this. With Threadless stems, this is only possible on stock frames, if I have what I consider an ugly front end. With a custom I can get a longer seat tube than top tube, I can get a slightly sloping top tube, I can get a headtube extension, I can get the look and fit I want. I don't do this so everyone else will like my bike, I do it so I will....foolish poser, I don't think so.

2.) I ride long distances in all kinds of weather. I wanted titanium for it's ease of maintenance, I also wanted a certain type of ride. So my bike has a stiffer BB coupled with longer chainstays that gives me a degree of long distance comfort coupled with a stiff and responsive (and efficient) rigid drivetrain. Find that on a stock bike. Oh yeah I guess that makes me a foolish poser.

3.) I wanted a pump peg. On most stock frames that is a custom option. Foolish poser again.

4.) If I wanted to do light credit card touring & wanted to have the option to put a rack on the bike, with a custom I could have eyelets put on. Most stock bikes don't come with this option.

5.) If I wanted the option to put larger tires on the bike, I could have had this done on a custom frame. My choices would have been severly limited if I didn't look custom. Oh yeah but that would make me a foolish poser wouldn't it.

6.) Put all of the above or any of the above together (As well as custom paint options) and I think there are many reasons to get a custom bike.

As to the cost, what the hell do you care? I have something like $10,000 tied up in 3 bikes (Over $5,000 in one, oh yeah that makes me a foolish poser, I keep forgetting). Sounds like a lot until I think about how much a used car costs, or a 1 week vacation with my wife every year or a golf membership, or a motorcycle, or any number of other possible recreational uses of my money. Neither my wife or any of my children have not gotten what they need because I spent this money & you know what, I got a bike that I have always wanted. I take great pleasure in it & I don't care that anyone can tell it is a great bike, I ride it more because I love riding it. It is exactly the bike that I wanted perfectly suited to the kind of riding I do & they way I want to fit on a bike. But I guess that malkes me both a fool & a Poser.

If so, then cal me..........

Foolish Poser
Len
You last line sums it up................Len J
Oct 9, 2003 6:50 AM
"You'll never convince me you're anything but that, so give it up."

What an open minded attitude.

So anyone who rides a custom titanium bike is a "foolish Poser". LOL.

My granddad used to tell me that the best thing to do with a foolish argument is to let it speak for itself. My responding to this post shows that I never learned that lesson.

Re custom:

There are many more reasons to go custom than simply basic ability to fit a bike. Let me give you a few:

1.) To fit on a stock bike the way I want to fit I need mucho spacers and a riser stem. Because I have found that for me, after 20 years of riding, that I am more efficient & can ride longer when the bars are less than 2cm below my saddle, I desire a "fit" that accomidates this. With Threadless stems, this is only possible on stock frames, if I have what I consider an ugly front end. With a custom I can get a longer seat tube than top tube, I can get a slightly sloping top tube, I can get a headtube extension, I can get the look and fit I want. I don't do this so everyone else will like my bike, I do it so I will....foolish poser, I don't think so.

2.) I ride long distances in all kinds of weather. I wanted titanium for it's ease of maintenance, I also wanted a certain type of ride. So my bike has a stiffer BB coupled with longer chainstays that gives me a degree of long distance comfort coupled with a stiff and responsive (and efficient) rigid drivetrain. Find that on a stock bike. Oh yeah I guess that makes me a foolish poser.

3.) I wanted a pump peg. On most stock frames that is a custom option. Foolish poser again.

4.) If I wanted to do light credit card touring & wanted to have the option to put a rack on the bike, with a custom I could have eyelets put on. Most stock bikes don't come with this option.

5.) If I wanted the option to put larger tires on the bike, I could have had this done on a custom frame. My choices would have been severly limited if I didn't look custom. Oh yeah but that would make me a foolish poser wouldn't it.

6.) Put all of the above or any of the above together (As well as custom paint options) and I think there are many reasons to get a custom bike.

As to the cost, what the hell do you care? I have something like $10,000 tied up in 3 bikes (Over $5,000 in one, oh yeah that makes me a foolish poser, I keep forgetting). Sounds like a lot until I think about how much a used car costs, or a 1 week vacation with my wife every year or a golf membership, or a motorcycle, or any number of other possible recreational uses of my money. Neither my wife or any of my children have not gotten what they need because I spent this money & you know what, I got a bike that I have always wanted. I take great pleasure in it & I don't care that anyone can tell it is a great bike, I ride it more because I love riding it. It is exactly the bike that I wanted perfectly suited to the kind of riding I do & the way I want to fit on a bike. But I guess that malkes me both a fool & a Poser.

If so, then call me..........

Foolish Poser
Len
Amen...lyleseven
Oct 9, 2003 7:47 AM
I like that, Len, let's start a "foolish poser" club! All I can say to your comments is "ditto"!
I'm still not convincedpmf1
Oct 9, 2003 9:16 AM
You still don't tell me exactly WHY Sevens are such magical machines. You've been to the factory ... so what did you learn aside from seeing some guys welding tubes together?

Do you really need custom geometry? Well, do you? I don't, but perhaps you do. But is anything they do really any different than what Serotta (for example) can build? I remember their catalogue used to have this long propoganda piece on why 3/2.5 tubing was so much better than 6/4 tubing. They left out the part that they couldn't work it as a reason they didn't use it.

I'm not questioning that its a good bike, just that they're pretty pricey for what they are. They are successful at building an image that you've bought into.

I considered buying one a few years back. I had a titanium bike in the late 1980's and wanted a new one. I ended up buying a close-out 1999 Litespeed Ultimate frame and fork (Reynolds Ouza Pro) in early 2000 for $1600. It was half the price of what the Seven was going for and its been a good bike. Its not custom, nor is it built by Keebler elves. Its just a titanium bike. I presently have two other carbon bikes -- neither of them are custom either.

Make fun of Litespeed all you want, I don't care, nor do I post messages on here saying its the greatest bike ever made. Its a good bike like most are in this price range.

I frankly can't see going into a bike store and plopping down that much cash for a bike that appears to me to be pretty mediocre. They're made of ordinary titanium tubes welded together. Even my Litespeed has more exotic tubing than that (not the reason I bought it though -- it was a good deal). Guess its the Keebler Elf touch I'll never know.
I'm still not convincedlyleseven
Oct 9, 2003 3:05 PM
Nothing wrong with a Litespeed- damn good bike, but sure not a small custom boutique builder and a hell of a lot bigger than Seven! But to call Seven mediocre is a bit of a reach. I certainly didn't pay twice as much as you did for your Litespeed for my Ti Axiom. Had you paid full retail, as I did for the Seven, you would be very close in price. When you compare tubing quality, remember Mercedes and Geo Prisms are both made out of the same kind of metal also...If all you want is to get from point A to point B buy any bike. But as some great writer once said, "life isn't just about the destination, it's how you get there..."
At my age, I am sure more than you....lyleseven
Oct 9, 2003 7:44 AM
I presently own 6 bikes; couldn't tell you the total number because it goes back a good number of years and there have been so many. I've seen their ads. I also read Bicycling Magazines article calling it the best bike. Who is foolish here...the guy who has been to their factory and ridden a number of their bikes or a guy who has done neither!? All I sense here from you is a seething sense of jealousy...go ride your Huffy.....
Lyle, a serious inquiry for you...Fez
Oct 9, 2003 11:16 AM
I asked this in an above post, but it went unanswered:

1) What is so different about your custom geometry as compared to Seven's stock geometry? Or anyone elses' stock geo? (Don't compare it to Trek, because they have low standover and short headtubes for a given nominal frame size).

2) What special needs did you have? And how was Seven able to customize your bike to those needs more than Serotta?
Lyle, a serious inquiry for you...lyleseven
Oct 9, 2003 2:53 PM
Fez, it has been awhile since I bought the first Seven, but I do recall that one of my issues is that where I ride I do a lot of climbing and I wanted a stiff bottom bracket triangle without making the ride harsh. Seven can build that need into the lower end of the bike depending on your weight and other sizing factors, Serotta offers different rear triangles to chose from, but no individual tube tuning to fit a specific rider. This doesn't mean that Serotta's choices may not fit one's needs or my needs, but the options with Seven were more specific to my needs. Another issue I had, even with one custom builder, was that to best accommodate my cockpit needs especially reach to the bars was with an extended head tube. I didn't want a great disparity between my seat height and handlebar height. And, I didn't want just an extended unsightly head tube with spacers, etc., but rather a head tube which would blend into the aesthetics of the overall bike. Clearly, I needed a longer head tube. Seven did this by raising the front of the top tube, adjusting the top tube slope for adequate standover height, adjusting the seat stay angle, all of which amounted to a virtually perfect fit and a dynamite appearance. Seven's standard geometry choices didn't fit this need, by the way. Serotta's choices were fewer although they do have their Colorado Concept Tube which offers some choices in tubes. I do not believe the choices vary from a pre-selected sizes, but you could check and see. The tube selection was the most important factor for my needs in terms of beefing up the lower end and I was extremely pleased with Seven's individual tailoring. I also felt that the bike shop that carried Seven had a better understanding of what they did for the fit than the Serotta dealer who was more into a pick and chose approach to the fit. But, don't take this as any bash of Serotta. i think they have a great line of bikes and they pioneered the fitting process for custom bikes.
If that is what you believe about Serotta,........Len J
Oct 9, 2003 3:34 PM
you were severly misinformed.

Call Kelly at Serotta (Who does the final design on all bikes) sometime, and get him into a conversation about how specificially they can tune a ride or a fit & I think you will find that hey have many more tuning combinations that even seven. They actually offer more individual tube tuning option than Seven.

Whoever told you that they only have a limited number of fixed rear triangles was full of it. I rode both a serotta ti & a seven ti, talked directly with the bike designers at both and came away convinced that while Seven has a much clearer method of communicating the choices available to tune the ride (The stiffness scale, the comfort scale etc) Serotta had, hands down a greater ability to actually tune the ride than anyone in the TI business.

In addition, all of the adjustment you needed to get the front end up can be done by anyone who customizes bikes.

As I looked at the choices the pluses & Minuses were as follows:

Seven:

Pluses:

Concise fitting choices.
Institutional communication of final specs.
Experience with TI.
Beautiful Unfinished/Polished Ti Bike

Minuses:

Limited tuning capability.
Limited Paint capability.
Wound up fork

Serotta:

Pluses

Tuning capability for somone who can clearly ask for what they want.
Paint Selection.
Ride. (Unique Ti Ride no matter how tuned, it possesses a unique, steel like ride)
F2 Fork
Lines.

Minuses

Fitter & person communicating with the factory dependant. If you don't have a good fitter who can communicate with Kelly what you want, you may not get what you think, but if you do Or you take the time to yourself.....it can be great.

Obviously some of this is my oponion. But the tube tuning capability is fact, not oponion.

Seven is a great bike BTW. I just choose a Serotta because it fit what I wanted better.

Len
If that is what you believe about Serotta,........lyleseven
Oct 9, 2003 5:46 PM
Len, the operative words here for Serotta are "for someone who can clearly ask for what they want". My experience with Serotta was less than ideal, then, because they clearly led me to believe there was a limit on the number of variables on tube selection. Maybe if I had gone further they would have brought these options up. They didn't, and it wasn't because I didn't ask. My experience with Seven was incredibly good in the communication department between me, the LBS and Seven. Also, Serotta didn't offer the rider weight increment tube sizing that Seven did. Serotta never talked to me about vertical compliance or drive train rigidity, all very important to me if buying a Ti bike. On the head tube adjustment, many customizers can do that, but Seven bent over backwards to make sure everything fell into place to my liking before going ahead. As far as paint capability, that may be true for the Ti bikes, but not for their steel line. You can virtually get any color you want with Seven, but you have to ask. As for the ride, my Ti Seven rides very similar to my steel bike, but slightly plusher.
Again, Serotta is a great bike, no argument there. I am curious about your negative comment on the Woundup Fork. I am a larger rider and switched to one even on my steel bike because it gave me more responsive handling than my Reynolds. Any feedback on that item?
I agree with most of what you said...........Len J
Oct 10, 2003 3:36 AM
while serotta has better capability, the translation of that capability to the consumer is not done as well as Seven. Serotta relys on it's trained fitters to handle the translation, obviously the serotta person you went to was not very well trained.

Serotta does offer "weight increment tubed sizing".

My serotta fitter "bent over backward to make sure everything fell into place".

I wanted a combination of Painted and polished TI.

Re the Wound up fork. I have two personal complaints. I think they ride harsh (relative to other high end forks) and I think they are ugly (recognizing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder). This is my oponion, if it works for you great. One of the great things about cycling is that we can all make different equipement choices yet still enjoy it equally.

Glad you are happy with your bike. In the end you are the only one you have to please.

Len
Amen...lyleseven
Oct 10, 2003 7:32 AM
In my opinion niggling as to whether Serotta or Seven is better, is like arguing about the superiority of a Ferrari or Lamborghini. They both rock! As far as the Wound up fork goes, I swithced to it because I liked the retro look, but more importantly, as a bigger rider, I wanted something less flexy and more responsive. I never notice any harshness, probably because I am over 200 lbs. Which fork do you have on the Serotta?
165 lbs here.............Len J
Oct 10, 2003 12:09 PM
and love the F2 fork.

35 more pounds makes the difference between a comfortable fork for you & a harsh fork for me.

You're right about the Comparison......who'd a thunk that I'd ever have the best of anything, let alone something as great as this bike.

We be lucky!

Len