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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Photo by Mel Saldonido
We met Vincent on Facebook after he shared some beautiful photos of his Smoothie build.

Tell us a little about yourself:

My name is Vincent Lo, AKA VLO. Somehow the whole VLO thing got me into the VELO things. I have Midwest/Southern roots, and lived in San Francisco for about 6 years. Currently, I am living in Orange County, California.

What kind of riding do you do ? 

If you have one, what is your favorite ride route?: On the weekdays, I commute to work about 30 miles a day, 15 miles each way. On the weekends, I will ride with my local bike shop on some club rides or with some friends on more remote rides. I love riding in the city/metropolitan areas like LA, where there are a lot of cars and obstacles that you have to be aware of and dodge to make it to your destination. Keeps me focused and my senses heightened.

What types of bikes have you owned or still have? 

 I currently have 5 ridable bikes, and probably another 5 frames and parts that I have yet to build up. Top 3 are 2014 SOMA Smoothie Shimano 105, 1987 Panasonic DX-5000 Shimano 600, 2010 Mercier Kilo WT. I have a high-end carbon bike too, but my true passion is in steel bikes. My favorite is the SOMA Smoothie because it's fun to ride, comfortable, and handsome. 

Details: H+Son TB14 on White Industries T11 wrapped with Veloflex Master 25,
Shimano 105 5600 group, Brooks B17 saddle and handlebar tape. Photo by Vince Lo
[click on image because its worth the zoom]

What made you choose a Smoothie and why did you custom build it as you did?

What started out as building a low cost, do-it-all, everyday commuter from random parts and take-off's from my other builds, this SOMA Smoothie quickly became a pet project after seeing how beautiful and well built the frame was. I couldn't let it be any ordinary commuter anymore (i.e. one that I would ride everyday, to and from work, lock up at poles, get beat up and scraped, and risk it getting stolen). While keeping the “do-it-all” attitude, it be came a capable, agile boy racer that would tear through urban streets and tackle the highest mountains. The build pays homage to the city of SF, from which the SOMA brand originates from, and my first destination in my California life. Like the city, which has an eclectic design and architecture fusing Victorian and modern eras, this bike combines the look of the golden years of cycling with modern amenities and comfort.

 So you are a graphic designer and you obviously do some photography.
What are some of the more interesting creative projects (professional or personal) that you are working on?

By day, I am a graphic designer for a "black business bag" company, and by night, I take on cool random freelance projects (many of which I cannot mention at the moment). I am also trying to start my brand of cycling jerseys and accessories, which I am calling VELOPRIME.

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

Still seeking the big adventure in 2015. Last year we did the 4-day hike on the Inca Trail in Peru. We'll see if we can top that this year.

Is there an activity, hobby or cause that you are involved in now that you would like to share?
Sneakers. It's a bad addiction. I have a continuously growing collection of retro runners, Air Jordan's, Air Max, Dunks, all that good stuff. If money isn't spent on bikes, it's on shoes.

See more of Vince's photos here

What's on heavy rotation on your music player? Are MP3's still around?? I just stream stuff: AH.fm, Groove Salad, Dubstep Beyond... and Taylor Swift. I can't start my day without Taylor Swift. Don't judge :D

What food or drink would you miss after the zombie apocalypse? Mexican Coke and burritos de lengua [Editor: Coca-Cola from Mexico contains real sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. Available at many Hispanic grocery stores.]

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bike Pack Testing Trip on the Soma B-Side

Bikepacking in the Southwest from Greenwater on Vimeo.

From 2014: Bedrock Bags testing some new bag designs in the Cedar Mesa area.
So damn beautiful out there. (The orange bike is our B-Side 27.5" hardtail)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Plan Out Your Dream Bike Build

Thanks, Jeff for sending a photo of his Soma Double Cross project.

In the middle of January, some of us are already thinking about spring riding. Some of us might be contemplating building a new bike with parts in the garage or more fun yet --- new parts you've been painstakingly collecting over the winter. Since we sell mainly frames, we know that a high amount of Soma are project bikes. We found this article in an Australian website pretty helpful. Check it out before you start your next project. "How to Handle A Custom Bike Build"

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

FREE SHIPPING on Soma Bikes!

Our partner shop American Cyclery picked up a bunch of 2015 Soma complete bikes and are offering FREE SHIPPING (UPS Ground within the lower 48 states) now thru December 31st.  You will need to put "Soma Complete Free Shipping" when checking out to get the shipping fee waived!!! http://americancyclery.com/collections/soma-bicycles

Specs for the 2015's are up on www.somafab.com.

The Double Cross Complete for 2015 (not offered in 2014) comes with bar end shifters, Sugino XD crank, SunXCD rear derailleurs, and big 700x38c Kenda tires.  Steerer tubes are cut extra long and bar tape comes uninstalled to give shops more opportunity to fine-tune the builds. Polycarbonate BMX "test" pedals come with each bike.

The ES Complete comes with Sugino Alpina cranks, SRAM Apex shifters/derailleurs, and Soma HwyOne Bars.
Handy and practical SRAM 11-32t 10-speed cassette, because 11-25t on a non-racing bike doesn't make sense.

The 2015 Buena Vista complete comes with the awesome Sycip Wonder Bars. SunXCD rear derailleur and indexed
9-speed thumbshifters,

This is the first time we are offering the Soma Grandonnuer as a complete.
The Double Cross Disc complete comes with Avid BB-7 disc brakes, SRAM Apex, and our
popular HwyOne compact bend road bars.