Interview by Clive Forth
Having seen the likes of Steve Peat and Justin Leov rocking a number 7 logo throughout the year I was intrigued as to what I would find from what was rumoured to be an exciting new brand born out of an established and highly competent team of individuals.
As I strolled through the grand halls at the enormous Eurobike show just a couple of weeks ago I came across the sleek black minimalist stand to be greeted by friendly and familiar faces Matt Yeo from Decade Europe and Tavish Capewell, product designer at Royal Racing. These guys are two of the team behind 7IDP – Intelligent Design Protection – which is a new mountain bike protective kit company formed by the same core group behind Royal Racing.
There was a great buzz on the stand and the guys were eager to show off their hard work, so I took some time to chat to two of the main men over a coffee.
Beverages in hand Matt kicked off by telling me that the founding members and key players behind Royal Racing had come together and formed the new company just 18 months ago, along with a couple of silent partners Royal’s co-founders Nick Bayliss and Steve Peat called upon Matt Yeo, Martin Lloyd-Evans and Tavish Capewell to complete the line up, thus creating 7IDP.
At this point Tav joined in the conversation, speaking with such passion you could tell he had sunk his heart and soul (as well as his elbows and knees) into these pads, a rider’s perspective (and frustrations that many of us share) came to light as we sipped cappuccino.
Clive Forth: So what was the main inspiration and why did you want to get into the world of protection?
Tavish Capewell: We’d been discussing the subject while out riding for some while, me and the guys all shared similar frustrations with the fit and feel of what was on offer to the general public. The main problem being the fastenings and the lack of breathability. I had also noted that fewer and fewer riders were wearing protection, we were also aware that there are many products in the market that do not meet CE EN 1621 standards for safety and this is something that concerns us.
CF: Yes I can relate to the fit issues, my wide pads offer the coverage but are too hot and heavy for the climbs, I can’t even squeeze them into my pack so I often end up on back-country rides without padding.
Tav: Exactly, where I live near Whistler in Canada we see this all the time, there is also the major issue of fabric and hard shell pad combos gripping and moving on the leg when you do hit the deck. The majority of hard pads are held on by velcro straps and these act like a tourniquet cutting off blood flow, they can also move around as the tension is uneven around the leg and it’s something that used to annoy me.
CF: The elbow pad is always an issue for me, under the regulations in many Euro events you need to wear these and no matter which ones I’ve used they just end up as forearm guards in the first few kms.
Tav: The movement in the arms like the movement of the knee and calf present similar challenges, we have designed our systems in such a way that this slippage is eliminated. The riders have been doing extensive testing and feeding back information to us, both myself and Nick have been hitting the trails too, we want to get the best fit and form we can. The result of all the hard work is that we have produced lightweight, breathable armour that surpasses CE testing. Let me show you the range and talk you through it.