Oh life... you're so cruel.

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So as I mentioned in an earlier entry, my beloved bike has suffered a fatal injury - the bottom bracket cracked, and the bottom bracket is an integral part of the frame. Any problems with the bottom bracket, and it's a "no ride" situation. And, since my bike is carbon fiber, it cannot be repaired - it has to be replaced. There's a chance my frame will be covered under warranty, and I hope it is, because I simply cannot afford to replace the frame - there's no possible way I could beg, borrow, or steal enough money to cover the replacement cost. :-(

Here's what a cracked bottom bracket looks like:

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Carbon fiber - so light, but so fragile. It's got me absolutely sick.

The shop that's looking at the frame and working with the manufacturer to get it covered under warranty was kind enough (or should I say evil enough) to lend me a bike to use while mine is out of commission. Normally, I'd be grateful and ecstatic to receive such a generous offer, but the shop lent me a bike that is so awesome, and so much farther out of my league that I'm now genuinely even more upset that I ever had the opportunity to ride such an incredible machine.

The bike is a custom-made Seven Cycles bicycle. These beauties are handmade by true craftsmen; the attention to detail is unbelievable, the ride is indescribable, and the look is absolutely drop-dead sexy. As the bike sits here in the living room, I can't stop looking at it - it's so gorgeous, but the beauty is more than skin deep - there are some serious brains behind this fabulous figure.

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Look at that beauty. So elegant - a combination of titanium and carbon fiber - it's truly marvelous. The roads around here, as you're well aware, are barely passable. They literally beat you into submission - the expansion joints feel like canyons, and potholes abound. Stop paying attention for a second and you'll likely be slammed back into reality when your bike pounds into a crater-sized road imperfection. Whenever I'm on my "regular bike," I dread the roads - I can't wait to get out and into the country, where the roads are smooth(er) so that I can focus on riding without worrying that I'll be bounced off my bike or jarred into a crash.

Well, believe it or not, but the loaner bike handles every single road imperfection with absolute aplomb. I put 80-some miles on the bike this weekend, and it made every road feel like a brand new stretch of perfect pavement. I was shocked - I couldn't believe that our crummy roads could feel so nice.

I was able to maintain speed without worrying that I'd hear a "snap" or a "pop" or some other unsettling sound. Seven's engineers are pure geniuses, and I don't pretend to know the first thing about road bike geometry or tuning, but I'm confident that if Bentley built bicycles, they wouldn't be able to hold a candle to Seven's stuff.

It's crazy to think that I'm so excited over a loaner bike that doesn't fit me properly and that is completely out of my price range, but it really has been a "ride changing" experience. If I had a Seven ID8, I wouldn't have to spend hours trying to map "smooth rides" - I could just go out and pile on the miles. It would be glorious.

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Look at the attention to detail - not only is their logo perfectly machined into the rear stay, those welds (on titanium no less) are impeccable. I took 100+ photos of the bike - a bike that's not even mine! I won't bore you with them, but wow - this thing is amazing in every respect.

Part of the secret to the ID8's awesome ride is its ingenious integration of carbon fiber in some key areas - namely the seat tube and seat stays. From what I understand, these aren't high stress areas, but they carry a tremendous benefit when it comes to damping and cushioning. Combine the carbon fiber in those areas with a slightly longer chainstay, and it makes for a truly magical ride. I did 70-miles on Sunday alone and for the first time ever, I didn't feel "beat up" after the ride. Yes, my legs were a little tired, as I averaged 20.7 mph on the ride, but the rest of my body was feeling fresh.

Here's a shot of the carbon seat stays:

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That's some seriously cool-looking carbon. Here's a shot of it on the seat tube:

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It's so slick! The sum of the little details all add-up to one seriously awesome bike. Awesome to the power of incredible. I'm not normally at a loss for words, but this bike has really impressed me - I wish I'd never ridden it, because now I know what a "real" performance bike should feel like.

The ID8 does have one minor kink in its otherwise perfect body - this particular frame doesn't seem to climb or accelerate as well as my current bike does. What does that mean? Well, on my bike, when I really crank on it to accelerate or climb a serious hill, it goes. There's no "softness" or "cush" - it just goes. With the ID8, I found myself struggling a bit with acceleration and climbing steep hills. Part of it could be the gearing (this ID8 demo bike had a terrible gearing configuration), but part of it I suspect is a result of the emphasis on the super smooth ride. It's a minor, minor complaint - barely worth noting - but I couldn't continue to gush. :-)

I'm guessing that if I were to ever be able to obtain a Seven, and it were indeed custom made for me, I'd be able to have them build-in a little better acceleration and climbing responsiveness. Sigh, and that's why life is so cruel. I'll only be able to dream and wonder what it might be like.

Here are some final pictures of this wonderful machine - I'm dreading the minute when the shop calls to either give me bad news (that I have to return the bike) or really bad news (that my frame can't be warrantied). Sigh...

Look at that beefy bottom bracket - no shot it'll ever crack!

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And the frontend - so strong, yet so forgiving. The fork absorbs road imperfections without sacrificing handling and agility. The head tube? Forget about it - bulletproof.

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Look at those welds - pure magic.

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I've never wished more in my life that Santa really did exist! So amazing, and I'm truly envious of anyone that's lucky enough to own one of these magnificent machines. Until you've had a chance to ride one, it's understandable as to why you might not be able to fathom why I'm so giddy about the Seven ID8. It's truly a masterpiece, and my hat is off to everyone at Seven. Keep on doing what you're doing!

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