Thursday, August 13, 2015

More Bikes For Tall People

We've been offering our Soma ES road sport frame in a super large 66cm size for many years now. Last year we started offering a 66cm in our Double Cross Disc and our Buena Vista mixte frame in a 62cm. We may only sell 10 per year of each, but still love offering this option, because there are frustratingly few choices for taller persons.

In 2016, we will expand their choices by offering a 66cm size in our Smoothie road race frame and our Saga touring frame. Spread the word.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Amazing Race: 9th Annual Bicycle Balloon Race

Gravel, schmavel! Here's a race that will really take your breath away. The event is part of the Warren County Farmer's Fair and Hot Air Balloon Festival. The premise is fairly simple. Bicyclists and balloonists pair up to compete against other teams. Participating pilots launch with a bike and bicyclist. After flying for a predetermined distance or amount of time, the pilot will land and let the bicyclist out, who then must cycle back to the Fairgrounds. The team who returns to the Fairgrounds first wins a cash prize. This year the proceeds went to Adopt a Soldier Platoon.

Meesh (riding her new Soma Wolverine) and Tracy (the balloon pilot) were able to raise over $5000 for the charity. Congrats on a job well done!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Where Are Them Wolverines At?!!"

One of Joe Bike's favorite Wolverine builds so far. With Genavalle shifter and three racks.
How's everyone's summer going. I know some of you were hoping to be smiling and perched one of these tasty pumpkin orange beauties --- maybe with dirt drops and monster cross tires or a belt drive and panniers. We apologize for that.

We are doing our best to supply demand. We did get two shipments in this month and hopefully by next week we will have sent out 200 of these to shops and distributors. We have suspended our sales on our online shop until we catch up with backorders, which hopefully will be achieved with our mid-August container. For those still waiting, thank you for your patience!

Updated version with split seatstay.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Best Bike For A Century

If you've done your share of centuries, you know you get all types of bikes at these events – carbon race bikes, recumbents, hybrids, fixed gears, even cruisers – which goes to show that as long as you are comfortable on the bike, it does not matter what type of bike you use. In long distance riding, everyone seems to be a little different, both physically and mentally. You need something that fits, and something that does what you want it to do, too. Some want to sprint, some want to use a steady cadence, and some change their minds all the time and just ride according to how they feel. If you are fit enough and motivated enough to ride one of Soma Rush track bikes with deep drop bars on a double century, more power to you!

But if you are interested in finishing those 100 miles reasonably fast and also feeling fresh enough at the end to enjoy the after-event festivities, the best bike for centuries from our line is the ES model, because it offers the best balance of benefits for long distance road events. The ES is our "road sport" or "audax"(as the Brits call it) model. It also falls into the recently coined "Endurance Road" category.

COMFORT with EFFICIENCY: It is double butted chromoly steel instead of carbon or aluminum. Carbon at our pricepoint is likely to be overly stiff. Comparably priced aluminum transmits a lot of road vibrations which fatigue the muscles. A quality steel bike smooths out road vibrations. A good  endurance road carbon bike can do a decent job at that, too, but the price tag for one of those will be much higher.
The ES also fits medium width tires. Most road bikes (even entry level) barely fit 26c wide tires, which is lame, since wider tires offer more cushion and shock absorption and handle rougher roads better. Centuries and fondos are not usually on the smoothest tarmac.  The ES fits up to 700x32c tires, which is a size most folks in the know says offer noticeable comfort without compromising rolling efficiency. Cyclocross bikes like our Double Cross can also fit wider tires, but have a taller bottom bracket height, so the ES edges it out in the stability and road handling department.

STABILITY with SPEED: The ES geometry is optimized for non-competitive long distance rides. A bike with race geometry may excel at maneuvering around the competition, but its quick steering makes it more difficult to go in a straight line without more course correction from the rider. (i.e. more difficult to ride in a relaxed manner). The ES has a medium length chainstay and wheelbase for sporty, but not twitchy handling. Still quite fun on a windey descent or drag racing for the county line.

COMFORT + EFFICIENCY + STABILITY + SPEED = A rider who can ride longer, with less fuss and fatigue and with more enjoyment.

The ES comes in sizes 46 to 66cm. Steel fork is optional. A complete bike with SRAM Apex and hill-friendly 11-32t cassette is also available to shops in limited sizes.

Useful Links
12 Scenic Century Rides
Centuries and Endurance Rides in California
Training for a Century

Steve Wagner's 2010 ES with fenders.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Librarian Quits Her Job to Ride Her Soma Saga Across America

Laurie Chipps says her goal for the trip was: "to encourage others to do what inspires them most, whether the smallest change or a similarly big adventure, not just to be envious. If you put your mind to something and follow through, you can make anything happen."

"I do want a career change, possibly empowering people to go on trips of their own or race bikes," Chipps said. "I'm hoping there are a lot of jobs in the outdoor adventure or tourism industry there. And if I can't find a job, Chicago will always be here."

Chipps has saved money for a year and gave away almost all of her furniture. Her last day of librarian duties was April 10, and this week she turned in her apartment keys.
She is currently on Day 53 of her ride near Pueblo, CO (where the sunset below was captured). We wish her the best.

She is  riding along the Adventure Cycling Association's Transamerica route
She is blogging about her experiences here.
The full interview with Laurie can be found on DNAInfo

Photos: Laurie Chipps

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Adventure Cyclist Review the Saga Disc!

Patrick O’Grady checks in on one of his favorite touring rigs as Soma adds stepped-up stoppers to create the Saga Disc. See his full review in the May 2015 issue of Adventure Cyclist magazine.

This was a pretty unusual build with 46-30t IRD Defiant Cranks and SunXCD derailleurs.

Monday, May 4, 2015

RIDER PROFILE: Norma Herrera of the Calfornia Bicycle Coalition

Norma is a proud new owner of a Grand Randonneur. She is currently getting ready the California Coast Climate Ride. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, specifically East L.A. And has lived in Oakland, CA for two and a half years.  

What kind of riding do you do? If you have one, what is your favorite ride route?

I've been car-free since 2010 and don't like waiting for public transit so bicycling is my #1 way of getting around. 

I also really enjoy night-time group rides, though I haven't been doing too many here in Oakland. Believe it or not, L.A. has a huge bike culture and those people are some of my best friends. 

I need to do more bike camping. My old bike (a late-80's single-speed conversion Bianchi) didn't really allow for too many camping trips. I'm excited to get some racks on my Grand Rando...I anticipate a lot of bike camping this season.

My favorite ride route is actually my commute to work. I get to ride alongside the water by Jack London Square and it's always really calm and quiet. Great way to start a work day. I also like to ride the Iron Horse Trail.

What kind of bikes have you had before or still have? If you have a ton, just share the most memorable.

My aforementioned Bianchi has been my only regular bike for five years. It was actually given to me by a really good friend, so it's not my size but it has done me really well.

However, my most memorable bike is this thing: 

Meet GOAT, a 70's Schwinn cruiser cut-up, flipped and welded onto a unicycle wheel. If you've never built a freak bike, I highly recommend it.

What made you choose a Grand Randonneur and/or how do you like it so far?

It's by far one of the prettiest bikes I've seen and one of the few that comes in my size. So far, I'm loving how easy it is to ride...going from a SS to gears is one of the most life-changing experiences I've ever had! And having a bike that can handle dirt and gravel is amazing. 
Norma's got her 49cm Grand Randonneur  built with Soma Three-Speed Bars.

What you excited about doing, trying or going in 2015?

I'm definitely excited about the Climate Ride in a couple of weeks (you can donate to my cause here.) It's the first time I'm doing a multi-day, hundreds of miles tour and it's especially exciting, because I'm doing it on behalf of my organization, the California Bicycle Coalition.

I'm also excited about working in bike advocacy and all the exciting things we're getting done. More people on bikes = positive change in our society. 

Is there an activity, hobby or cause that you are involved in now that you would like to share?

For the time being, my biggest cause is getting more people on bikes. I volunteer for all sorts of events when I can (Save the Bay clean-ups and Sunday Streets are two of my favorites) I also am starting to work on a huge build project for Burning Man, which is very exciting. 

What's on heavy rotation on your MP3 player/streaming service?

Lykke Li, Hot Chip,  and Sia.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hand-painting Crane Suzu Bells

Handpainting Demo of Crane Bicycle Bells from somafab on Vimeo.

As you know art isn't easy. Though some artists sure make it look easy.
Here is Nami, the artist who hand paints those exquisite Crane Suzu bells showing us how she does it. These bells come in 10 different classic Japanese design. Available in bike shops all over and on our SomaFab Store. My personal favorite is the Japanese maple.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Gator Bar Can Swallow the Junebug Bar!

We are introducing a fun new dirt drop/alt bar called the Gator. It's wide. It's alternative. Offer extra leverage. Lots of room in the grip area. And the 190mm grip area tapers from 23.8mm to 22.2mm, so it can take mountain grips and flat bar levers. Will take aero levers, too.


- 6061 butted aluminum
- Width: 655mm at ends, center-to-center
- Width: 505mm at front of drops, center-to-center
- Width of flats on top: 340mm
- Center: 31.8mm
- Drops flare out at 20° angle
- Weight: 400g
- No cable grooves
- Shotpeen finish
- Black or silver

The Gator's reach and bends are similar to the Junebug bar (and its 26.0mm cousin, the Portola). There is a a little more flare in the drops.
Not sure how to convey its exact "drop", since we usually run these bars with the drops angled, so it depends on where you position your hands and what angle you set the drops in. We expect some folks would maybe trim the drops down if they don't need all that space, but if you wanna run grip shifters, this is your ticket.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Juice and B-Side Gets A Gates Belt-Drive Option

The Juice (29er) and B-Side (27.5er) hardtails are now available with a split Tange Sliding Dropout for compatibility with belt-drive systems. Build them SS or with Rohloff (or other internal geared) hubs. Colors are the same. The only other design difference is with the drive-side chainstay which has a flat plate to make sure there is clearance for 2.4" tires and the thick Gates front cog.

The standard models are still be available. The belt-drive ones are only available in small quantities this year.

Stock we have now have a split in the dropout for the belt.
Future 2015 production will have a split in the seatstay.

Modified chainstay: Looks different, but quite stiff.
Passes Gates/Rohloff frame stiffness test.