Last spring I was looking for a new bike. I had a number of intended uses for this bike: commuter, cross racer, gran fondo and all around performer. I wasn’t looking for a plastic race bike, nor a heavy city bike. This bicycle needed to look great, take a beating and come out the other end looking just as good. It needed to perform well 365 days a year for the next 30 years. That’s a big ask.
I found the perfect bike. It was a Seven Mudhoney S. Although I thought it was perfect throughout last autumn’s cross season and a winter of commuting, I verified it this weekend at the Gorge Roubaix Gravel Grinder.
The Gravel Grinder is advertised as a 75 mile ride (30 of those on gravel roads) with 6210 feet of climbing. The ride departs gran fondo style and consists of a loop that (according to most GPS results I’ve seen) is actually 85 miles long with nearly 7,000 feet of climbing. Half of the climbing is on a single 1600 vertical foot gravel climb done twice. The paved descent between those two climbs is on buttery tarmac and the swooping curves winding along the creek made us hope it would last forever. The second climb up Easton Canyon Market Road was a grind, but felt great with the sun shining down and a perfect light wind cooling our faces. The last 20 miles of the ride included a massive gravel road descent and 10 miles of beautiful rolling hills with a strong headwind. I was lucky to be sharing the load with Mark Longman, the massive locomotive.
Throughout the day I was continually reminded of how much I loved my Seven Mudhoney. The 28 mm Continental 4-Seasons performed spectacularly both on the treacherous gravel descents and fast paved sections. The CBS-built Hed Belgium + Chris King hubbed wheelset was bomber and rolled smoothly and perfectly throughout a day where many, many large rocks were hit. The Mudhoney S’ titanium frame was solid with zero chatter or skittishness. The gravel and rocks we encountered didn’t even faze the polished titanium’s shine. The Avid BB7 disc brakes gave me a massive amount of confidence and between that and the solidity of the bike I had no fear descending rough gravel at 35 mph for extended periods of time. While others complained of numb hands and feet, I experienced none of that. I couldn’t have been happier with how my Mudhoney performed over those 85 miles.
That night I rinsed the dust off, lubed the chain, screwed on the fat PDX fenders and was ready for the rainy Seattle commute the next morning. In the fall I’ll pull my Contis, install my fat tubeless CX tires and try to win some old man Cat 3 races on this Mudhoney. I’m serious about riding this bike for the next 30 years. I’m sure it will look better than I do in 2045!