The M7C Kanan Disc

The Malibu Seven Canyon Classic is Saturday. After a lengthy two weeks battling influenza and bronchitis, my body is as ready as it is going to be. Thankfully, my improved health allowed me to complete a solid training bout last weekend, which included 4500 feet of climbing over 47 miles on Sunday. Now I am resting. Saturday will be fun.

The fun starts with the purpose-built M7C Kanan. I kept the details quiet for weeks, ensuring that I could actually complete my desired build kit by Saturday. I made several changes as recently as Wednesday before the M7C Kanan was photographed. The M7C Kanan features parts and accessories from Challenge, Elite, HED, K-Edge, Lizard Skins, Selle Italia, Shimano, Stages, Thomson, TRP and Whisky Parts Co. Each component was deliberately chosen to conquer all seven canyons.


Stages Power Meter

Dura-Ace 9000 + Stages Power Meter

Crank + Power Meter
The drivetrain is Dura-Ace 9000 with two exceptions. An Ultegra GS rear derailleur wraps the chain around an 11-32 Ultegra cassette. I departed from my preferred 170 mm, standard 53/39T crankset. I chose 172.5 mm crank arms including Stages Power and 50/34T chainrings. When training, my legs and lungs told me that my 36 x 29 climbing gear was insufficient. A ride such as M7C demands low gears, really low. The 11-32 cassette will help me maintain a steady cadence up the climbs. Up the many steep segments, I will benefit from the added leverage of the longer crank arms, especially when my cadence is a slow grind. The traditional compact setup and dinner plate-size cassette provide a gear range comparable to that of a triple drivetrain. My 2 x 11 combination (and SRAM’s WiFLi) shifts better, has fewer redundant gear ratios and weighs less than a 3 x 10 road setup. If you want to enjoy climbing, then I recommend a compact crankset and a mid-cage rear derailleur.


Disc Brakes

HY/RD Front Caliper paired with a Shimano XTR Rotor + Whisky Parts Co Fork

Front Fork / Disc
I do not enjoy climbing. I tolerate it. I enjoy descending, which is why I climb. I have slowed down going downhill in recent years, but I still like to go fast. Being speedy from top to bottom requires good speed modulators (i.e. brakes). Fast entry speed into a turn translates to fast exit speed. I replaced the standard Kanan fork with a Whisky Parts Co. No. 7 fork to mount a disc brake. A HY/RD front caliper paired with a Shimano XTR Centerlock rotor will allow me to brake late before entering a turn. The added stopping power gives me more confidence - confidence that, ironically, helps me go faster. A TRP R920 rear brake caliper matches the silver HY/RD caliper up front.

Recently, I spent a morning with Ashton Johnson, our experienced fit specialist and master mechanic, reevaluating my bike fit because I upgraded to all new touchpoints - pedals, shoes, saddle, handlebar and brake/shift levers. I wanted a more aggressive riding position so AJ recommended several significant changes. I love my new fit. It feels natural in race situations, but it is too aggressive for M7C. So for the M7C Kanan, I shortened my stem 10 mm and increased my handlebar stack 15 mm. These seemingly small changes dramatically improve my comfort on the bike.


Shifter Profile

Dura-Ace 9000 Shifters + Thomson Handlebar / Stem

Handlebar / Shifters Profile
Highlighting the M7C Kanan’s red racing stripes is red Lizard Skins DSP 2.5 tape. Lizard Skins DSP tape continues to be a popular choice among Franco customers. Its texture and cushion feel good. I chose the 2.5 mm version (also 1.8 mm and 3.2 mm options) and wrapped it around a 42 cm Thomson Cyclocross handlebar. Although it is a ‘cross handlebar, its features are great for long rides. The top section is oversized and round to better spread weight across your hands. It is also wide because the transition to the drops is abrupt. The width allows for different hand positions. I prefer placing my hands on the top section when I climb. I can sit more comfortably and breathe better with an open chest. The handlebar drop is modest (133 mm for size 42 cm) and shorter than the 140 mm drop of Thomson’s Road bar. The 78.5 mm reach is short so the transition to the Dura-Ace ST-9000 levers is smooth.

HED Ardennes Plus

HED Ardennes Plus with Shimano-Compatible Center Lock Hubs

Wheel selection was simple. HED. The Ardennes Plus and new Jet FR wheelsets continue to be my favorites for new bikes. HED offers a disc version of the Ardennes Plus with Shimano-compatible Center Lock hubs. HED makes a disc-only Plus rim, which looks like its Stinger 3 FR carbon tubular. My focus on style compelled me to match the black front rim with a black rear rim including a black braking surface. Available in 28- and 32-hole drilling, the HED Belgium Black rim is a C2 rim with machined brake tracks and wear indicators, but is entirely anodized black. I have been riding Challenge tires dating back to my original Balcom. Their supple casings and file treads are traditional. Wider tires are better tires so I installed 25 mm Challenge Strada tires. When installed, the tires measure 27 mm wide. The frame, wheels and tires make the M7C Kanan the most vertically compliant carbon bike that I have ridden.



Own The M7C Kanan Disc
The M7C Kanan will be for sale March 15, the day of M7C, for one day only. The price will drop 10 cents for each foot of elevation gain as I ride the course. After I reach the second summit of Latigo Canyon, the new price will be more than $200 less. The starting price is $7299 and is for the M7C Kanan as ridden including the Stages Power Meter and accessories. Prospective buyers can follow me using Garmin Connect and see mile-by-mile updates. The Garmin Connect link will be shared Saturday morning via Facebook. Bids will be accepted real-time at hello@francobicycles.com and prior to the event in a format similar to a silent auction. If there are no bids until I cross the finish line, then one deserving customer will save $1228.70 according to Strava. Only one M7C Kanan will be sold at the reduced price, either my size 51 cm complete bike or the winner's size with size-specific components. The highest bidder will be the new owner of a purpose-built gran fondo slayer. 

Happy bidding!



What do you envision for your next bike? How will you use it? Where and when will you ride it? Before assembling your Franco, it is important to define the purpose of this new bike. My team and I are ready to help you conquer your canyons. We have made it easy with our “Trade-Up Program” and “Ride Now, Pay Later” financing options. We love talking about bikes almost as much as we love riding them. So call us at 818.865.8226 and Let’s Get Started.