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Seven Cycles

 

Mission
Our mission at Seven Cycles is to enhance your cycling experience through the optimum fit, function, performance, and comfort of your bicycle. We've built our business on understanding what you really want and value in a bicycle and delivering precisely that, accompanied by a level of service unparalleled in the industry.

Every Seven employs the latest advances in materials technology and carefully considered, highly functional design innovations. And each Seven is backed by the experience and commitment of craftspeople, engineers, and professionals whose passion for excellence is matched only by their passion for cycling.

History
Seven Cycles was incorporated in January 1997 and shipped its first bicycle frame in early April of the same year. The company was initially based in Topsfield, Mass., then moved to its current location in Watertown, Mass. in February of 1998. With collective industry experience of 250 years, founder and president Rob Vandermark and the Seven team have been working with titanium since its introduction into the cycling industry. Rob himself pioneered so much of that technology that some say he created a revolution.

Seven Cycles had its beginnings in a small core group of committed employees and has grown nearly 9 times in size to 35 employees. They have built a company whose reputation for quality, craftsmanship, and service has resulted in a growing national and international market. Staff includes designers, engineers, welders, machinists, and finishers, along with marketing, sales, and general and administrative staff. To date, sales and revenue have consistently exceeded all projections, and the company has posted a profit every year since the start of their second year of operation. Seven has grown to be the largest exclusively custom frame builder in the world.

Physical Plant
Seven operates in 15,000 square feet of industrial space in Watertown, Mass. Approximately 9,000 square feet are dedicated to manufacturing, 4,000 square feet to office space, and the remainder to a break room, lockers, commuter bike parking, and a meeting area.

Products
Seven Cycles manufactures high-end bicycle frames from butted and straight-gauge domestically-sourced seamless 3-2.5 titanium, high-modulus carbon fiber, filament-wound carbon fiber, and the world's finest steels. Seven offers a wide variety of frame styles—road, touring, triathlon, criterium, track, cyclocross, mountain, suspension, and tandems—in the customer's choice of stock or custom geometry. Business is split approximately as 75% road/25% mountain. The company also manufactures a custom titanium stem and mountain bike handlebar, and offers an exclusive carbon fiber road fork, as well aluminum handlebars, stems, and seat posts. All of Seven's frames come with a lifetime warranty against defects in manufacturing and materials.

Customization
One of Seven's competitive advantages is in the manufacture of fully customized bicycle frames and accessories. While Seven does offer stock frames in more than 200 sizes, each are still built-to-order and a full 95 percent of the bicycle frames that Seven ships are completely custom. Customized elements include frame size, frame geometry, tubing diameters and wall thickness, and countless options such as cable routing, water bottle mounts, paint color and decal color. Every custom option is available at no additional charge and the number of combinations is virtually infinite.

Each frame's tube set, which is as important as the frame's geometry to ride quality, is chosen specifically for the rider. Seven handpicks each frame's tube set to get just the right combination of tube diameter and wall thickness to suit the rider's weight, riding style, intended use, age, and riding terrain. Specifications for titanium tubes are determined and generated within Seven's manufacturing plant. For its steel frames, Seven chooses among tubes built by several manufacturers to increase our range of options and enable us to be as rider-specific as possible. (Most manufacturers offer tubes built by a single manufacturer.)

Seven's Custom Kit™, found in the back of each brochure, is a detailed questionnaire that asks the cyclist more than one hundred questions. The cyclist, in conjunction with an authorized Seven retailer, provides body measurements, current bike measurements and riding style, as well as identifies what they like and dislike about riding their current bike, from handling characteristics to back or neck pain. From this information and from conversations with the customer and their bike retailer, Seven develops custom geometry and a custom tube set so that the design of the frame is fine-tuned specifically for the cyclist.

Manufacturing Philosophy
Each frame is handcrafted one at a time, and built to order. Seven's meticulous machinists strive for 100 percent accuracy in every part they work on. Each frame undergoes five alignment checks on a solid granite surface plate throughout the welding process. Once aligned, the frame enters final machining, where it's reamed, faced and chased to the tightest tolerances in the industry. Each frame is shipped with a quality assurance card that is signed by the machinist, fabricator, welder, brazer, finisher, and painter who created it.

Seven Cycles aims to set the industry benchmark for quality and its continuous advancement. Our designers consistently strive to make the products lighter, more durable, and better performing. They cut costs and maximize profit by constantly improving the efficiency of the production process—never by cutting corners.

Sales Channels
In the United States, Seven sells its frames through authorized Seven retailers—typically independent bicycle retailers with the capability to serve high-end clientele. Since Seven sells only frames and a limited selection of high-end components, the customer works with the shop to pick out parts and to have the bike built up to their component specifications.

Seven currently works with nearly 200 authorized retailers in the United States, with California, New York, and Boston as the strongest markets. Seven is also represented internationally through approximately thirty distributors--who in turn sell to bike shops. The U.K. and Asia have been important markets, as have steadily expanding markets in Germany, France, and Belgium.

Promotional Efforts
Seven Cycles' clients are roughly divided into three groups:

  • Professional males age 35-55 who want quality and have disposable income to spend on perhaps the last bike they'll ever own
  • Younger males age 25-34 of median income who want the latest, most innovative, and best quality products—and the image to go with it
  • Women, who typically have a hard time finding a bike that fits them properly and in general are more likely to be willing to pay for quality, provided they perceive a commensurate value
Seven's success has been attained on a minimal advertising and public relations budget. The company has earned international repute on the strength of word-of-mouth and through advertising and reviews. The majority of the promotional budget has been consumer-directed via ads in cycling publications.

To gain exposure among potential customers, Seven sponsors a select group of top-ranked professional cyclists, including three-time U.S. National Champion and Olympian, Mary McConneloug. In addition, Seven displays products at various cycling events and races, and generously supports cycling advocacy groups and initiatives. To reach retailers, the most important avenue is the annual Interbike trade show, which attracts some 20,000 participants, including retailers, cycling industry media, and other cycling-related companies. Seven is represented also at the annual industry trade shows in Europe and Japan.

Image
Through the impeccable design of Seven Cycles frames, accessories, and even team clothing, as well as through the image it seeks to project through all promotional materials, Seven Cycles is synonymous with unparalleled quality, precision workmanship, design innovation, consummate strength and durability, and comprehensive, handcrafted customization. And, of course, the ultimate riding experience for each Seven customer.

Where did the name come from?
At its conception, Seven's founders sought a name that would be as timeless, ageless and positive as the products they would create. Finally, "Seven" was chosen because it is a time-honored number that holds positive connotations and no specific attachments to other objects. We chose a word, like a product, for which we could set the standard.

Work environment: About the People
Seven Cycles is an employee-centered company, made up of 38 people, most of whom are under the age of 35. Matt Phillips of Mountain Bike magazine, in his list of favorites, dubbed staff at Seven "the best, most obsessed bunch of bike geeks on the planet." This dedication comes from Seven's environment of mutual respect.

The people of Seven are part of a team, not a hierarchy. Individuals are committed to the company because they care about and are proud of the products they produce, and their input is respected and encouraged. Each staff person is awarded the ability to have a final say on quality, and at any point in the production process, they are encouraged to decide if a product meets Seven's exacting quality standards.

 

 

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