Clifford's Seven Axiom XX

Best Ever 75th Birthday Present

Posted by Philip Cavell


Sometimes, not always, the best presents are the ones you buy yourself. You know what you really want, you have waited – in my case – perhaps too long. Like the Open MIND California, it is visually innocuous, a bike that all but the most discerning will not even notice. In these days of bike thefts, sometimes accompanied by threats of violence, that is a definite plus. Parked at one of my favourite cafes, the Village Store and Kitchen at Stoke Row, it was totally ignored in favour of a Trek/ Specialiazed (can’t remember which) 10 speed alloy bike in resplendent red.

Phil, who guided me to a Serotta Concours back in mid noughties, knew I wanted another titanium bike that would always ride with the same feel year after year. Working on the basis that I seldom go off road, he decided on an Axiom XX; there was never any question of a lesser Axiom in Phil’s mind, just as there was no question of a wheelset less than the Bontrager RSL 37. Did I need a really fast wheelset? Probably not. Do I regret the choice? Not a bit of it.


Phil – and Jules – are meticulous in their design. The frame design had to be adjusted by 1 mm because I insisted on internal cabling through the fork to the dynamo on my second wheelset (from HUNT). My only “red line” was that the Seven had to be equipped with SRAM RED even if that meant a long wait. In the end, it didn’t; I believe the parts had been set aside as they arrived. The rep from Ku Cycle exhibiting at Cyclefit as part of Rouleur 2021 dismissed RED as a waste of money compared with FORCE. OK, when Demi Vollering rides FORCE I might change. Meanwhile, it is super smooth with a range that is so wide that I sometimes wonder what the smaller chainring is for; and this from a rider who has been known to seek the lowest ratio on Ultegra 11 speed when the road rises just a little as fatigue sets in.

Impressions of an old man who regularly rides 200 km in a day, in pursuit of the Audax Randonneur round the year awards he did not have the courage to do while still working: having become accustomed to the Axiom, I find it comfortable, sometimes fast, always reassuring. And, so far, it does not attract admiring glances other than from discerning cyclists.

More on the bike: for autumn and winter Audax rides, the front wheel has been swapped for a HUNT dynamo wheel. The rear axle has been replaced with Tailfin’s axle to support the Carbon Aeropack.

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Axiom side view

About the author

Philip Cavell, Co-founder

Co-founder, bike fitter and bike designer, author. Phil rides a Seven Axiom XX custom titanium bike and an Airnimal Joey folding bike. He wrote The Midlife Cyclist and enjoys walking his dog, reading, politics and the outdoors. Phil's specialism is working with clients who have complex and frequently chronic issues. Phil is most at home working in a collegiate, multi-disciplinary team, to help clients resolve intricate issues.

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