Saturday, April 01, 2000

A history of the bikes used by Team 7-Eleven

Pay no attention to the post date - just a book keeping trick.
This page last updated 7/31/2010





A history of the bikes used by Team 7-Eleven




This is another project in progress. I'd appreciate any help any of you can provide.
I believe they rode five different bikes in their 10 year span:

1981 Schwinn


1982-83 Rossin
1984-86 Murray
1987- 88 Huffy
1989-90 Eddy Merckx


I do know that Serotta became the official supplier in 1986. (Link removed...sorry, that link used to say that Serotta became the official supplier in 1986 but Serotta has changed its website and story now to say it was 1983)





That's Raul Alcalá in the photo, he joined 7-Eleven in 1986 and the photo is from 1987 so it's either a mistake about the photo, or a mistake about the date (and a change from what they previously reported.


I also know that Serotta made both Huffys and Murrays, but there were definitely other Huffys and Murrays that were not Serottas.

This is a Serotta/Murray with Columbus tubing, so it would be 1984 or 1985 according to Ben Serotta.

Thanks to owner Phil Chin for this photo -
see his FLICKR page HERE



1981 (Team 7-Eleven/Schwinn) I guess they rode SCHWINNs, but I don't think I've ever seen a photo of one. There were seven men on the inaugural 7-Eleven-Schwinn team in 1981:
Eric Heiden - Olympic speed skater, USPro champion (the first?) and sports doctor.
Jeff Bradley,
Greg Demgen,
Tom Schuler,
Danny Van Haute who would later become Team Director for Jelly Belly
Roger Young
and Ron Hayman.

Update:













here's a photo of Tom Schuler on a 7-Eleven Schwinn!

Here's Eric Heiden at the Detroit Criterium on a bike with no decals.










Photo by Tim Potter, he has some more good shots HERE.



Blog reader Tom e-mailed me his take on Eric's unmarked bike:

I think Heiden's unlabeled bike is a Ritchey. The seat stay treatment by the seat pin clamp is identical to an early Ritchey I owned. Quite similar to Eisentraut's. Notice also the stem, which looks to be threadless. I know a guy from Palo Alto who rode junior Nats on the track (pursuit and kilo) on a Ritchey with the same stem type. He added that the fork crown top was open, i.e. the fork blades were uncovered, you could peer down into the blades. Saving weight in the70's. I've seen pics of Heiden in 7-11 kit riding a Gazelle.Regards, Tom

1982 - 1983: According to Davis Phinney (in the 2008 March-April edition of Road Bike Action), the team rode Rossin frames. Not sure if they were rebadged with another brand or not.







Ron Kiefel on a 7-Eleven Rossin! Probably 1983


1984 -1985: Murray-labeled all red bikes. Murray became the official sponsor because they'd also been named the official bike of the LA Olympics and wanted some extra exposure. They were built by Serotta with Columbus tubing.





I don't know how much mileage the "real" Murray got out of having their brand on the 7-Eleven and Olympic team bikes, but I doubt if anybody who read Winning went out to K-mart to buy one. This ad is from 1985.










1986 - Murray-labeled red bikes with the fade-out white panels and white forks. Still being built by Serotta but now with True Temper tubing - these bikes had a lot of failures because True Temper insisted on pushing the limits of thin walled tubing... Ben Serotta has said he regrets letting them push him into this choice and he wished he would have been allowed to make something like the Merckx bikes that the team got in 1989. Still riding slotted cleats and toe clips with straps. This was 7-Eleven's first year in the Tour de France.

Jeff Pierce on the left and Ron Kiefel on the right in the 1986 Tour de France. Note Jeff’s bike has aero brake levers and is missing the head tube decal.

Bob Roll in his finest, and Alexi Grewal in the 1986 Tour de France. Alexi's bike also seems to have some customizing.



1987 - Huffy labeled red and white bikes. Still Serotta, still True Temper, except by now some of the team had started to buy their own frames because of the failures. Bob Roll had a DeRosa for example - he says he just showed up at Ugo DeRosa's door one day and Ugo measured him and made him a frame for free!

1988- Huffy labeled red and white bikes. Most were made by Serotta but some riders bought thier own from other builders. They had USA flags with HUFFY on the head tubes, Huffy on the front of one fork, and TRUE TEMPER on the front of the other fork blade. Andy Hampsten won the 1988 Giro on this bike (but it was a Slawta/Landshark) and the first version of STI (8-speed) was tested on this bike.

Here's a little shrine to 7-Eleven with a 1988 Huffy Team Replica. Note True Temper decal on the toptube and Serotta on the chainstay.

Andy Hampsten’s 1988 Giro win was super impressive. People still talk about it in awe. Note lack of Serotta decal (built by Slawta). Looks like the bike above doesn't have the True Temper decal but the bike below has both True Temper AND Columbus stickers.





7-Eleven also sponsored a woman's team of course... don't have as many photos of them but here's one of the famous Inga Benedict.


Here's a couple more links:
http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/photos/giro2003/giro_hampsten.jpg
http://grahamwatson.com/dublin/misc/images/image12.jpg

1989 - Eddy Merckx red/white/green



Dag Otto Lauritzen was a fun rider to watch. This spread on his bike is from Winning Magazine 1989









1990 - Eddy Merckx red/white/green

In 1991 the team became Motorola and their Eddy Merckx bikes changed colors.






I love this catalogue sheet for 1990 Corsas - that's my frame!









From the same catalogue as above, the 1990 line also included a "Team" model that had the "7-Eleven Team sticker - I had previously thought that the sticker was only for actual team issue bikes.






Below, we have Bicycle Guide's review of the Team 7-Eleven (colors only?) Corsa Extra



















24 comments:

Tim said...

my understanding is that some of the Murray-labeled bikes were built by Rossin, but unfortunately I don't know anything about the timespan during which that was going on...

Tim said...

a slight update, two websources suggest Rossin built the Murray's for 7-11 in 83 & 84.

Diablo Scott said...

Thanks Tim - another reader e-mailed me that he recently saw Bob Roll speak at a function and Bob also said that the early Murrays were made by Rossin.

Anonymous said...

I love people who mention "websources" with no real info as to the identity or credibility of the source. The internet is a great place for rumours to chase their own tails. I suspect Rossin did build some Murrays for 7-Eleven. But it likely wasn't '83-84. According to the history section of the Serotta website, Serotta became the official supplier to 7-Eleven in 1983, not 1986 as stated here. So a correction is in order. I have pics somewhere of a gorgeous full-panto Murray Serotta with olympic rings on it that surely dates from the time of the LA Games.
I also have a pic of Eric Heiden on a Paramount riding for 7-Eleven which is identified as '82, but I haven't been able to confirm that dating. If true, it would close the gap between the Schwinns and the Serottas, leaving not a lot of room for Rossin as an official supplier - though there is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence out there that Rossin did build some bikes for 7-Eleven, and I don't doubt it's probably true.
I also think it's important to make a distinction between bikes that were supplied to the team officially - i.e. by Schwinn or Serotta - and bikes built for individual riders. Hampsten had a Slawta-built frame for the '88 Giro, but it's a big leap from there to saying "Slawta (or Landshark) built some of the 7-Eleven team bikes." A number of riders would certainly have had frames individually built for them, as Andy did, but that was common of course in the pro peloton and I think somewhat obscures the real question of who built the Murrays and Huffys for the team. The Coors Classic DVDs quite clearly show Doug Shapiro riding a Colnago when he won for 7-Eleven in '84, but it would surely be misleading to extrapolate from that to saying "Colnago built bikes for the 7-Eleven team." In other words, the Rossin question aside, those one-off bikes are something of a red herring.
It's also true that in addition to Murray road bikes for the 7-Eleven men's team, there were also Murray track bikes and team time trial bikes that could have been supplied to the team, as well as Murray-Serottas possibly supplied to the US Junior National squad.

Ed

Anonymous said...

Quick follow up: one of the bikecology catalogs from the early 80's (I think '82) supposedly mentions Rossin as the official supplier of 7-Eleven for '83. Maybe someones has those catalogs and can track this info down. Not sure how that jibes with what's on the Serotta site. Perhaps Serotta is incorrect (doubt it) or there was some overlap in the actual production and supply of frames (i.e. Serotta could have become official supplier later in 1983 or prior to the start of the '84 season. They would certainly have had to build the bikes for the '84 team sometime the previous year).

Diablo Scott said...

Ed: Excellent point on the difference between someone like Slawta or Colnago providing a custom frame for a rider or two and being a supplier of frames for the team. You're right of course, a lot of riders in that era (talking the entirety of the pro ranks) had custom frames by their favorite builders with paint and decals to match the sponsor's bike.

I don't know what Tim's "websources" were but the first-hand account of Bob Roll's story added enough authenticity for me to include it (without the specific years). I haven't seen a Rossin 7-Eleven bike and I don't even know which paint scheme they used.

Finally, my statement "I do know that Serotta became the official supplier in 1986" came from Serotta's own HISTORY page, although I see that the link is now dead. I should have copied the text and not just the URL. The new HISTORY page you describe shows a photo of Raul Alcalá next to the statement about being the Official Supplier in 1983; well Raul didn't join 7-Eleven until 1986 and that photo is obviously from the 1987 Coor's Classic so the bike is certainly not a 1983 Serotta model... makes me wonder about the claimed "official supplier" date also.

Anonymous said...

Serotta not long ago had different (earlier) photos next to that same date for the beginning of their 7-Eleven sponsorship, which is not to say it can't be incorrect. I do have a 7-Eleven Murray-Serotta replica frame, and while it's tough to corroborate with Serotta, I think the SN may date it to late '84. I agree that the Rossin-7-Eleven connection is enough in evidence that it should be mentioned somewhere, I just wish people would say where they got their info from so it can be adjudicated and followed up on. I would also like to see more info on the Trek-7-Eleven connection, which I believe may have been limited to the women's squad. I do appreciate the site, and have followed any and all discussions of the Murray-Serotta and Huffy-Serotta bikes in particular since acquiring my replica.

Ed

Scott said...

I do have a plan to add a section on the bikes of the women's team. Photos and other info are a lot harder to find obviously but certainly Trek was one of the bike sponsors.

I appreciate any submissions you may have to the project.

wool chamois said...

Great updates, Scott.

Ed

Josh said...

I actually used to ride and still own the Murray that Heiden won the '85 on... any interest in owning it?

Josh said...

It's a Serotta SLX with an SP rear triangle. I called Serotta a few years ago and he verified it... it's got Campy super record group. Like the idiot I am I stuck a Look label on it when I started using clip-less pedals (20 years ago they were reallly cool). Otherwise it's a really neat ride.

josh@chicagofoodies.com

331 Miles said...

Great information on the chronology. Related comment / question: back in '87-'88, before I was 'into cycling', I owned a Huffy 10 speed that was purchased at Target. I wish I still had it, and may have photos somewhere, but I know it was a red and white paint scheme with white bar tape. I have a vague recollection that it was labeled as 'Team Huffy' or something like that, and it was definitely a high end department store bike, for whatever that's worth. Do you have any research or info on how Huffy branded and marketed their lower end bikes versus what was sold in the bike shops? I know it's a long shot...

Diablo Scott said...

331: Thanks for the comment. I don't have any specific photos or information but I remember that Huffy marketed a lot of bikes around the time of the LA Olympics in 1984. There were some that looked like 7-Eleven's bikes and some that looked like track pursuit bikes (they are sort of a joke but highly desirable in the "vintage" bike collector population... I think most of them broke).

Scott

wool chamois said...

Scott,

Are you sure that wasn't around the time of the '88 Olympics rather than '84? Would make more sense, as Huffy wasn't involved with 7-Eleven until '87. Not saying Huffy wasn't involved somehow with the '84 Games, but not sure why they would have marketed pseudo 7-Eleven bikes as early as the LA Olympics. Also, the track and team TT bikes I've seen from '84 were Murrays.

Squadra Gear said...

We rode Rossin's in 1982. The entire team

cheers

doughboy

Diablo Scott said...

Well thanks doughboy! I'll buy some of your stuff and give you free advertising on my blog if you can send me a photo of a Rossin team bike.

(Readers - doughboy is Greg Demgen, racer for the innaugural 7-Eleven Cycling Team, and now sales rep for an athletic clothing company.)

Anonymous said...

Some years back I visited the Wheelsmith bike shop in Palo Alto, California when they were still in the town center and had a museum of sorts downstairs. At that time they had a bike on display as being the bike ridden by Davis Phinney as the first Tour de France stage winner, 1986 stage 3. The bike was badged as Huffy, but said to be a Serrota. I think I am remembering that this made the bike the first American bike to win a stage at the Tour as well as the first American. Greg LeMond won stage 13 as well as the overall, but Davis claims first as an American. As seen in person, not on the web. Anyone close to Palo Alto can head over to Wheelsmith if they still exist and see if they have the bike. Last I was there it was on El Camino Real.

Anonymous said...

i just wanted to mention that in your blog, the firts two pages of the eddy merckx special 'road test' are not readable, there's nog large version of the pages.
it would be nice to have these pages as well.

thanx
w. fleuren

Diablo Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diablo Scott said...

FIXED !!

Anonymous said...

alexi grewal bike is a vitus carbono 9 at 1986 tour the france.

Jim Roushey said...

I now own one of the original Schwinn/Seven Eleven bikes. It was supposedly ridden by Steven Pye. It is a 58 cm frame and was originally one of the maroon frames but Steve tells me it was refinished in the Seven Eleven Team color of Blue. It was blue when I bought it in 1984. It is now Opaque Blue (a Schwinn color). There is no serial number on the frame but it bears a name in the bottom bracket casting "Cinnelli". This is totally characteristic of the Schwinn Team frames. It is a 74 degree/72 degree frame so probably a crit frame. It is completely Campy SR and a beautiful machine.

Lee Levitt said...

I have a steel Colnago cyclocross frame that came from the UK. I estimate that it was built in the mid '90s.

It is definitely a Colnago -- all proper lugwork and cutouts. The canti bosses have a 60mm spread, rather than the current 80mm.

It had an older Campagnolo headset and a straight fork, identical to the steel fork on my Colnago Dream cyclocross bike.

The chainstay has a Seven Eleven logoed protector.

I'm wondering if Colnago supplied cyclocross frames to the team.

I've never seen another genuine steel Colnago cyclocross frame. I believe that Alan built some cyclocross frames that were Colnago-badged.

Best,

Lee

Diablo Scott said...

, "I have a steel Colnago cyclocross frame that came from the UK. I estimate that it was built in the mid '90s.

The chainstay has a Seven Eleven logoed protector.

I'm wondering if Colnago supplied cyclocross frames to the team."


Not likely since the team folded after the 1990 season. I don't think I've ever seen a 7-Eleven rider doing cyclocross either, but maybe.