I am going to be real honest here, there is a lot of personal bias in my thoughts on this bike. I worked with Adam, one of the Why Cycles owners years ago and he has turned into a great friend along with being a former co-worker. With that being said, having worked with him during the start up at his first bike company, I was able to witness first hand how he designs bikes and I was able to see what drives him which is what had me intrigued by his newest company making all ti bikes. Adam simply builds the bikes he wants to ride personally and because he truly loves this sport like many of us, he is able to get other people stoked on his bikes pretty easily. I personally have never been a carbon guy and always had a soft spot for both ti, and even more so, hardtails that lean more toward the "send it" category than the XC racer category which is where I really feel this bike delivers. Despite my personal bias, I did pay for this frame, it was not a freebie to try and butter me up for a good review.
Details are what separate the good from great
Naturally as a wheel builder I tend to obsess over details more than most but I truly believe details are what separate the good products from the truly great. Why Cycles seems to really get that here. From the aesthetic side they nail it with subtle but rad, etched graphics and even quotes etched on the inside of the chain stay. They also have a beautifully machined head tube to go with their graphic work on the frame.
From the mechanical side, they have a really well thought out set of sliding drop outs that allow you to run your bike as a single speed or even just use them to make little tweaks to the chain stay length to adjust how the bike handles. They even added a way to separate the drive side seat stay to allow the ability to run a belt drive set up. One little bit of attention to detail I really loved when unboxing the frame is all the bolts on the sliders, couplers, and thru axle were already greased from the factory. I know this is a small detail but it tells a lot about how much thought they put into how the frame functions after years of abuse. As a mechanic I love it because many do not take the time to pull these on a new bike and grease them and then a few years down the road you are dealing with seized bolts, especially for those of us who ride in nasty weather.
This bike was pretty much built for me. I always have loved the direct feedback you get from a hardtail and didn't mind sacrificing a little big hit capability to get it. The S7 is a nice blend of stability for the chunky/high speed stuff but still quick enough handling to make the bike feel playful in tight corners. Like most ti bikes the frame rides nice and smooth and despite my 230lbs of wanna be track sprinter fury flailing about on top, it seems to be plenty stiff laterally. The plus tire size really works well for hardtails that think they are trail bikes. The extra volume bridges the gap between suspension a bit while also giving you a bit more traction with the meaty tires. I am riding the Maxxis Rekons and find them a nice mix of traction and reasonable rolling resistance. I will likely throw something a bit more aggressive like the Minions on if I am able to make it to the resorts this spring like I hope to. Yes, hard tails can have lift days too.
I was pretty fortunate to have a lot of rad people help me get this bike together on the cheap despite it being a pretty nice build. I was able to grab a used XO/XX1 groupo and bar/stem from my friend and former co-worker Greg which is always a solid option despite his claim that 11 speed is "old shit".
Brakes are the Magura MT4's. Great stopping power, fairly light, super consistent and priced really well for how great they work. Not much more to ask for here.
The fork is the DVO Diamond, I am far from an expert on suspension but I am really excited to get more miles on this fork. Mostly because of their OTT or Off the Top system. I like to run my forks fairly stiff which is probably a hold out from my rigid single speed days, so I am really excited to see how well this lives up to the hype. In short it is supposed to let you adjust how responsive the fork is to small bumps without loosing mid stroke support. If you want an in depth review on the fork though I would search around as I am far from the person to ask about nuances here. So far the fork feels great to me, for what its worth, but to be fair it is very early into its life.
Wheels...well, ironically these are the last piece of the puzzle for me. I REALLY want to run purple Project 321 hubs with their new magnetic driver but I happened to get this all together as they were moving their entire machine shop and company to Oregon from California so I am waiting on the hubs to get back into stock. Rims will ultimately be Spank's 395+ rims. I wanted to give a 35mm internal width rim a go and Spank rims have always held up great for others I have built them for. Pretty excited to mix it up a bit there from my usual Velocity go-to's even though the Velocity's are still working fantastic on other bikes.
Currently I am running some stock wheels off a Diamond Back that my friend and favorite triathlete, Michael Weiss let me borrow. They are working well for stock wheels but I am excited to drop a bit more weight from the bike and get onto those 216 P.O.E hubs from Project 321!
I will be sure to update this as things evolve and I get more time on the bike. It will be good to get out of the velodrome for a bit and remember how to turn right!
TL;DR version The bike is rad and makes you want to go get lost in the woods for a few days. But probably not the ideal choice if your life is chasing XC podiums, unless that podium is for the rider who drinks the most beer per lap of course...
Why Cycles S7 Specs can be found by clicking HERE
You can reach out to the Why Cycles crew through these channels:
Phone or Text: 801-698-3678
Obsession, or passion? Who am I to judge? Either way I simply love building wheels for those who appreciate quality!