From Watertown with Love
To this day I don’t know why they took me under their wings, but I was grateful for the opportunity. The shop owner, and the two mechanics showed me the ropes, one component at a time, each imparting their wisdom on a sixth grader who loved bikes but had no prior skills. I doubt they knew that their words were received as life long gospel.
The mechanics worked with me until I could build a new, partially assembled bike out of a box, which at the time were mostly entry level, rigid, mountain bikes. On rare occasion, and after hours, we’d work on their personal bikes. They each had burnt orange Specialized Rockhopper Comps, equipped with original, grey, Manitou suspension forks. Those bikes were nothing short of everything I lived for, and when we worked on them I listened intently. Thanks to their instruction, patience, and humor, I learned to love bike mechanics.
The most important lesson I learned was that every bike that entered the shop should be treated as if it belonged to a loved one. They didn’t word it as such, but the care that each component received, new or used, spoke volumes to my receptive mind. I was thinking about those days this morning while I clasped, in my burly hands, a gleaming Seven Cycles Cafe Racer S frame. This frame is a far cry from the bikes I used to build. For staters, it is designed specifically to fit one person in size and function, making it truly one of a kind. The titanium tubes were purchased, prepped, machined, welded, finished, packed and shipped by people I know and love, namely the finest craftswomen and craftsmen in the business. It was designed and fabricated in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Seven’s tell tale seat and chain stays curve from front to back ensuring a plush ride and the get up and go that stretches a smile from ear to ear. Zip tie guides, welded in place, will hold the rear hydro line securely in place. Rear rack and fender mounts are perched on the seat stays, pre-threaded with stainless bolts.
The rear disc mount is complex and intricate, requiring a good deal of welding. This particular frame is adorned with bright red decals, which must be faster than other colors, and will look harmonious with its red headset. A small baggie of zip ties and instructions hangs from the bridge.
I inspected each tube, each weld, not to critique, but to appreciate. Having seen the welds of thousands of Sevens, I am amazed how each one still feels special. The same can be said of this frame, the weld puddles are big, juicy, and even. A “stack of dimes,” some say. Seven has as much confidence in their welders as they do in their welding process, and prove it by leaving the welds naked. No sanding, no bead blasting, no polishing, just the handiwork of the welder on display for all to see. Art soon to be in motion.
The frame is now in the stand, and I’ll be building it up over the next few days as the final parts trickle in. Clear to me is that Seven built this frame just as I will, for a loved one.