When Bill and I started talking about ordering our first custom bike in late December, we decided it HAD to be a cyclocross bike. We decided the best way to communicate the Seven order process to our customers was to order one custom built for me. After settling an a steel Mudhoney; I spoke with John, our Seven account manager, and we got rolling.
The fist step in for me was to fill out Seven’s Custom Kit. The custom kit is part body measurements, part bike measurements, and all wishlist. The custom kit is very comprehensive, covering over 100 different data points. Seven’s fit gurus use this as a basis for getting to know you as a rider. They look at your current bike, flexibility, body measurements, riding habits, comfort and performance expectations, and riding habits to start imagining the right bike for you. Right around Christmas I received a call from Dan, a member of Seven’s Performance Design Group. He asked me more questions about what I liked from my bike, what kind of riding habits I had, all sorts of things. We went over cable placement, what kind of fork I wanted, and accessory mounts. I told Dan I wanted a cross bike with very responsive handling for fast group road rides, but at the same time be flexible enough for commuting or some light touring. We also went over what kind of stiffness and compliance characteristics I wanted from my new mudhoney. I prefer stiff bikes, and having selected steel, I wasn’t convinced it was going to be very stiff. Dan assured me that they’d deliver.
One of the things I wanted to try on this bike was disc brakes. I have had many bikes with discs before, but rode them much on the road. My experience with discs in the mountain bike arena would translate well on a performance CX bike. Because of the disc brake selection we had to pick a good disc fork. We selected an ENVE cross disc fork and had it painted to match the bike. Since ENVE’s fork had a tapered steerer tube, Seven selected an oversized headtube to accommodate it. We added an oversize BB30 bottom bracket to match.
Next was paint. Oh boy. We wanted something that would match our kits, and look good doing it. Having browsed through Seven’s stock paint schemes, we found the “antsy” theme attractive. Keeping with the Belgian theme, we asked that the black/yellow/red stripes be added to the dropout area. I couldn’t exactly imagine how it would look, but when they sent over the paint template, I knew they NAILED it.
Dan sent over specs of the proposed bike just after the new year. On January 8th, I confirmed the fit on our Retul Muve fit bike and gave Seven the go-ahead to put my frame into production. I was excited, but prepared for a long wait. Almost immediately, John let me know my frame was in production! WOW!
On January 30th, I got the email I’d been waiting for, my bike was ready to ship. Every time the Fed-Ex driver came, I’d run to the door looking for the box. When it FINALLY came (a whole 4 days later), I tore the box open like a 6 year old at Christmas. When I opened the first flap, I immediately smelled JP Weigle’s Frame Saver. Seven had sprayed a rust inhibitor into the frame, a sign that their craftsmen had taken time to protect my bike not only in shipping, but for years to come. Once we carefully got it out of the box, all productivity at Belgianwerkx ceased. We spent the next hour of so admiring the carefully laid welds, the perfectly position braze-ons, and the outstanding paint job. My favorite detail on my Mudhoney is the carefully masked chainstay bridge. It’s an almost invisible part of a complete bike, and I never expected so much attention be given to a seemingly unimportant area. To me, that little bit of white paint shows the pride my painter had in his work.
Now that Seven had delivered such an awesome frameset, it was my turn. The initial plan of reasonable value-driven build was thrown out the window the moment I held my new bike. This was going to be the coolest bike we could build. Parts came from a variety of manufacturers. I laced my own wheels with the new Industry Nine torch hubs and HED Belgium rims (fitting!). I ordered a SISL2 crank from Cannondale, a headset from Chris King, chainrings from Praxis, post and stem from ENVE, a saddle from Fizik, tires from Clement, and bars from PRO. Avid’s BB7 SL would provide stopping power and a new Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 grouppo would transmit power to the road.
I took it on it’s first test ride, just up and down the block right after I wrapped the bars. I have never been on a bike that felt that great before. It handled fast, but was stable. It was stiff, but comfortable. It was quick, but predictable. It was perfect. It was mine.
All photos credit of Moroder Photography.