Bikes of the Bunch: Delta 7 Ascend

by CyclingTips


Delta 7 creates some fascinating bikes you may or may not have seen before. They never cease to attract attention. At the Tour Down Under we came across one of these bikes which belongs to former Orica-AIS rider Jessie MacLean.

Delta 7 came on to the bike-building scene in 2007 with its “IsoTruss” open lattice tube design, made from carbon fibre and intertwined with Kevlar string IsoTruss tubes joined by carbon fibre lugs. The main tubing is a cage-like, open tubular lattice that uses the inherent strength of reinforcing pyramids and triangles.

The frames are handmade and each take 300 hours to make (we’ve found that has come down significantly in recent years). If damaged, individual sections of tubing can be repaired.

The patented IsoTruss was developed at Brigham Young University under the direction of Civil Engineering professor David W. Jensen. Delta 7 in based in Payson, Utah where the Ascend frame is produced in limited numbers.

So, most importantly, how does it ride? Jessie told us, “It’s the stiffest frame I’ve ever ridden. After being on Scott Bikes for the past few years (with GreenEdge) which got really beat up while training and racing, when I get back on this it just zips away from me. It accelerates and handles really well.”

The Delta 7 Ascend is by no means new, but when it came onto the scene in 2007 they sponsored a small team in the States called Verduci-Breakaway, which Jessie was a part of.

“My teammate Theresa Cliff-Ryan was multiple time in-line skating world champion, she won 29 gold medals, and her sponsor followed her into cycling when she said that she wanted to get into the sport. It was just a team basically with me and her. It was really good. We got some really good results.

“Gary, Theresa’s husband was our DS and could sell ice to Eskimos. He’s a really good talker and somehow managed to get the sponsorship with them.

“We got a lot of wins on these bikes. The crit scene was really big in the States and we won Sommerville and numerous others. Tour of America’s Dairyland … it helped us win a fair few races.”

With the weaved tube design you’d expect it to be difficult to keep clean. Jessie explained, “It’s annoying to keep clean but if you use a high pressure airhose (I wouldn’t use water so much) that gets most of the dust out. After a ride I would just hose it straight away or use a dust brush. Or Marty [Jessie’s fiancee] would get a little cloth out and clean away…being the perfectionist he is!”

You might be asking how much the bike weighs. The point of the frame is its strength and efficient design, not weight, but it’s still quite light at ~900g. I didn’t have a scale to weigh this particular bike, but I’m guessing it was somewhere in the low 7kg mark.

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The seatpost is the extra material you can see inside the seat-tube.
The seatpost is the extra material you can see inside the seat-tube.

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The bottle cages are attached to the frame by these braces shown here, but since the original ones broke these don't look nearly as nice as the original solution
The bottle cages are attached to the frame by these braces shown here, but since the original ones broke these don’t look nearly as nice as the original solution

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