American Custom Bicycles in Steel, Titanium and Ti/carbon mix
The King is Matt Roy, an important member of Seven’s family. Something of a polymath, Matt has a PhD in Immunology, works as a pro-level mechanic and is a standout endurance racer. Matt broke his hip in a criterium crash in 2006, and, told he would likely walk with a cane for the rest of his life, decided instead to set a bunch of long-distance cycling records. Saying it like that makes it seem simple, and in many ways it was, but Matt is a driven, methodical and measured person. Getting from the operating room, where the ball of his femur was reattached, to Kittery, Maine, where he celebrated the cross-state speed record (380 miles, 22,000 feet of climbing in 22hrs 24mins), required sixteen-and-a-half months of physical therapy and a singular focus. Matt’s easy-going demeanor belies his seriousness. You need help with a mechanical problem? Matt is happy to help. You want to go for a great ride? Matt knows where, when and how. You need a tool, a part, a piece of advice? Matt’s your guy.
One thing that seems to mark endurance riders as a species is a dry sense of humor. There is something about being on the bike all day, all night, and sometimes into the next day that forges this character trait. Maybe it’s a survival skill. To endure, to go really, really far, you have to be able to smile while your heart is breaking. You have to be able to grin and bear it, and Matt has one of those smiles.
It’s a good example for us, as we work at making the best custom bicycles we can. When things get hard and you’re not sure quite how you’re going to finish what you started, attitude becomes extremely important.
For us, Matt is also a close collaborator as we design his bikes, as well as the cyclocross race bikes we build for his wife, pro racer Mo Bruno Roy. Matt brings his mechanic’s eye to all the details of integrating our custom frames with the very latest component technology. He pushes us to do more, and helps us see the path to get there.
In French, Roy means ‘king,’ though Matt would probably never mention that. The King rides an Evergreen PRO and an Evergreen SL. Matt has been riding the PRO for years. The newest Seven in his stable is a special edition TransAt Evergreen SL. It’s an exciting project that’s driving our next generation of mixed-terrain and gravel bike designs.
Matt’s Evergreen PRO has a number of cool prototype features that we were excited to try, things that make the types of events he rides easier. Matt rides with a Quarq power meter which uses a magnet to detect his cadence, so we welded a custom housing for the magnet into his bottom bracket. His bike has an ENVE disc fork that we modified with fender mounts, machining the mounts and then wrapping and bonding them to the carbon fork before painting them like new.
He has a custom rack he can use to carry supplies for longer, self-supported rides, but the mounts for the rack are hidden, welding into the seat stays, so that when he isn’t running the rack, the bike maintains a cleaner look. He rides with a generator front hub, and the mount for that is integrated into the head tube, fork-steerer stack. And finally, he has some prototype black vinyl decals that are highly reflective, all the better for nighttime travel.
Autopilot is switched off the moment your front wheel leaves the asphalt and touches the grass. Or dirt. Or gravel. Or snow. And with it, a genuine, toothy, involuntary smile unfurls. You may have experienced this yourself. We certainly have. There is something innately fun when your road ride goes off-road. Legs churn like always, but your eyes and arms become fully engaged. Spotting obstacles, picking a line, and maneuvering the bike all happen in an instant. Behind the bars, the action feels as fast as a video game.
We developed a new line of bikes in an attempt to better conquer the challenges of an off road adventure and broaden that smile by at least a few teeth. We call the new bikes Evergreens. Designed to excel off road and on, in good conditions and poor, these bikes have a variety of specific features to the non-specific trail ahead. As an example, mixed terrain bikes, more so than road or cross bikes, require grit management. Disc brakes, located far away from the muck, provide predictable braking and continue to work should your rim pick up a dent or two on the journey. Wide tires kick up more crud than usual, making fender mounts, and ample tire clearance a must.
Should your rides continue past sundown, the wiring to your headlight can be routed internally. Rack mounts are also available should you need to lug enough stuff to make multi-day trips more manageable. Other design parameters, such as on-the-bike comfort, frame geometry, and build-out componentry, are all up for discussion, infinitely customizable.