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:, 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!!!

Specs for the 2015's are up on

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.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Welcome Commuter Cycles to the Soma Family

Commuter Cycles in Brunswick, Australia bills itself as a "bike shop with a difference".
"We offer tailored servicing and repairs, reliable accessories and good value replacement parts. We take great pride in our workmanship and think bright lights, panniers and mudguards are cool. At Commuter Cycles, the workshop is the shop, so you deal with the same people who look after your bike.
Better still, Commuter Cycles makes looking after your bike easy by offering courtesy bikes, opening early and closing late, and we’re conveniently located next to the Upfield bikepath and Brunswick station."
Keen shop here....  One of the shop folks rides a Grand Randonneur to work. Plus they had the sense to order multiple Soma Wolverines in September. (We are currently suffering a Wolverine drought)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Helsinki Underground Bike Shop Building red and white Soma Smoothie

Helsinki Underground Bike Shop made this warm and wonderful time-lapse video of them building up a Soma Smoothie with a number of fine red and white components.

Anton and Henri of HUG Bike Shop in Finland.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Coming Just Around the Corner: Super Market Street Sweep

The Supermarket Street Sweep is an annual bike race that benefits the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks! For the past eight years, hundreds of participants have zipped around the city to local supermarkets and brought back thousands of pounds of food to donate to this wonderful charity.

WHEN: Saturday, December 6, 2014. High Noon.

WHERE: Cupid Span's (Bow & Arrow) at Folsom and Embarcadero.

PRE-REGISTER: Eventbrite (The first 200 to sign up will receive special swag!) Or RSVP on Facebook.

CARGO RACE: Bring back the heaviest load of food from the designated grocery stores.

SPEED RACE: Buy specific food items from the designated grocery stores and get to the finish as soon as possible.

DOLLARS FOR DINNERS: Raise money for the SF Food Bank. Every $1 you raise provides 3 meals for those in need.

WHAT TO BRING: Bag, box or crate (whatever you rock to the grocery store), a lock and money to buy items (suggested $15-30, whatever is comfy, everything helps).

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

From Lust To Love: Long term review of a 48cm Soma Double Cross

Cassandra, co-founder of Spoke Haven in Madison, WI, didn't need another bike, much less another steel bike. But she had an idea for a fun winter project, something she could build from the ground up. She ended up choosing one of our Gunmetal Blue Matte Double Cross's. Choosing from a mix of new and parts-bin stuff, she ended with quite a fun commuter and light tourer.
The second thing we noticed (the first had to be the tasteful use of purple anodized parts) were the Shimano bar end shifters with Paul Thumbie mounts. ("The Paul thumbies have made me really happy. I used to nail my knees on the bar end shifters mounted on the bar ends")

Here is an excerpt: (For the full review and complete build list please go to the Spokehaven blog.)

Soma has done a fantastic job on their overall bike line up and the Double Cross is no exception. I get tons of compliments on the bike and the color of the frame. The pearly blue is extremely classy looking and the powder coat has held up incredibly well. The logos and the frame badge are also gorgeous. Color me in love with the bike and the Double Cross frame. I should note that the newest color of the bike is more of a gunmetal-ish grey, but still very beautiful.

If anyone reading this is debating between the Surly Cross Check and the Soma Double Cross, I would highly recommend considering the Soma. It does has a taller head tube on it which means it’s not as aggressive, but for the price I think it’s just a slightly nicer frame. That’s not to say I’m not down with Surly. I love them as well and would buy a dirt tourer or one of their many cool fat bikes,  but I just love the Double Cross more if doing a straight comparison. One other major plus, for me, is the fact that Soma uses vertical drop outs and not horizontal drop outs. I know why Surly uses horizontal dropouts and it makes for a more versatile frame, but they can be a pain in the ass when changing a rear flat. I also used to have issues with the wheel pulling to one side no matter how tight the rear skewer was on the Cross Check. I haven’t dealt with that what so ever on the Double Cross.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

We are Hiring

Do you have the makings of a social media maven? Soma Fabrications has a full-time social media,web content/technical support position open. We are looking for a detail oriented, problem-solving/strong bicycle industry background individual with solid customer service skills (phone and email). Our ideal candidate has blogging experience, preferably in the commuting, randonneuring, bike camping, touring and/or bicycle lifestyle sectors and mechanically proficent around different types of bicycles. You will not only Facebooking, Tweeting and Tumblin' Soma, but also working on promoting smaller brands that  Interloc Design Group (aka Merry Sales). has in its portfolio. Send resumes to mary(at)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Only the Hits

Tomorrow is my last day as the ambassador of all things Soma. It's been almost 3 years since I moved back to California and I've loved every minute of it. But now it's time for me to begin something new and time to bring in some new blood at Soma. If you're interested in joining the team, email your resume to mary (at) and let us know a little bit about yourself and your experience in the bike industry. 

Since this will be my last opprtunity, I thought I would take a moment to share some of my favorite Soma products from my time here.

The new Chrome Rush frameset epitomizes everything I love about track bikes. It's clean, simple, versatile and strong. The threaded fork, s-bend chainstays and side tacked seat stay caps allow it to run wider tires, but still gives you a pure keirin style look.

Before I started at Soma I knew I wanted to make a 650b randonneuring frameset. When I learned we were already developing one with Mike Kone from Rene Herse I was ecstatic. We've made a few improvements since the first run, and I think the new framesets look absolutely fantastic. The Grand Randonneur sets a high bar for the industry.

When we redesigned the Soma B-side I knew we needed to make something that could handle the steep, gnarly Norcal singletrack I grew up riding, and this bike does not disappoint.  By going to an hourglass head tube we made it compatible with a wider range of modern forks, and while the B-Side was one of the earliest 650b mountain frames on the market, it's still the best.

Lauching our sister company New Albion Cycles was one of the most exciting projects I've had the pleasure to be a part of. From designing the head badge, to building the first Homebrew, it's been a real education. I think the Privateer is the very best value in a steel frameset on the market today, and I'm incredibly proud to have had a hand in it's development.

The New Albion Starling is quite a looker, isn't it?

The Soma Wolverine is relatively new, but already it's been making waves in the dirt touring community.  What started out as a belt drive version of the Double Cross has evolved into a completely new beast. Call it Monstercross, Gravel Grinder, Adventure Tourist, or Nouveau Audax if you want. We just call it good fun. The first batch is already sold out, but there are more framesets in production.

One of the most exciting aspects of working at Soma is our strong relationships with our Japanese component vendors. Working with Panasonic to develop new Soma tires has been one of the most rewarding jobs I've had in the bike industry. The Cazadero mixed terrain tires started as a sketch on the back of a piece of scratch paper, and now they're hitting the gravel all over the world. That just blows my mind.

One of first brand new tire designs I worked on was a collaboration between Soma and Ocean Air Cycles. I had already ordered the New Xpress 37c tires and Rob was one of the first people to try them. When he came to visit us on his way back from the Seattle Bike Expo he showed me some of his sample bikes and we chatted about what we liked best about Panaracers tires. He loved the light weight and supple chasing the B-Line tires, and he challenged us to offer up a 700c version. Since there wasn't an existing mold for that size we convinced Panaracer to make a new one especially for this tire. Needles to say, it was a big hit.

When the first batch of Grand Randonneur frames was complete, I knew the next step would be to make the perfect tire to pair with it. We asked our people at Panasonic for the lightest, supplest chasing they could make and designed a brand new tread pattern that would be super light, but with minimal rolling resistance. After 6-7 months of discussions we arrived at the design which became the Soma Grand Randonneur tire. We decided to offer 2 versions and 3 color options. The blue lable touring version is super tough with thicker tread and reinforced sidewalls, while the green lable is the lightest 42mm tire ever made. I knew we had hit the nail on the head the moment I held them. Now there are many new randonneur tires on the market, but the Grand Randonneur is still the benchmark for high volume 650b tires.

The biggest project I took on during my time at Soma was speccing out the Soma complete bike line. I'm proud to say they are the very best stock complete bikes available today. We worked with our favorite component makers like Sugino, Tange and Suzue to put together my dream build kit, and offer it at a price that's impossible to beat. I can't wait for the 2015 bikes to arrive. They're even better than before.

In addition to bikes and tires I got to design a number of interesting small parts as well. The Soma Stainless Porteur racks were so popular we decided to expand the line with a number of other models. For the Champs Elysees mini racks we used Japanese standard mounting dimentions so they would work on forks designed to accept Nitto racks. Accordingly, many of the Soma forks now feature mini rack eyelets as well.

After working in bike shops for years, I know exactly how frustrating it is to try to mount racks to bikes without the proper braze ons. That's why I made sure the Champs Elysses racks had adjustable tabs and axle adapters so they could be use with practically any bikes. I think they look really terrific.

One of my favorite Soma products is our super affordable alloy front racks. I used to sell lots of them to people that wanted a front basket, but needed something sturdier. The new version has a longer tombstone to support a Wald basket and mounting points for zip ties to secure it.

Because Soma has such a close relationship with our component makers, we're able to come up with some off the wall product ideas and they'll make them for us. The Tanaka Decaleur was one such item. I wanted something that was sturdy enough for trail riding, but would allow me to attach my Ostrich handlebar bag without lowering my bars. The result was delightfully elegant, and I'm still using my original sample unit on my personal commuter bike. 

The most time consuming project I undertook was the Soma Champs Elysees low trail fork line. We went through many prototype samples before we arrived at a curved shape that lived up to our vision.

I've always been a single speeder at heart, and when IRD decided to introduce a mountain crankset I knew exactly what I wanted. The Mjolnir crankset combines the style of retro square taper mountain cranks with the strength of modern manufacturing techniques, for a result that's both super stiff and beautiful to look at. So far exactly 1 person has picked up on the comic book reference, but don't feel bad if you're not that nerdy. It's Mee-yool-neer. Not Majolner.

So many people asked whether the Mjolnir would work as a double that we went back to the drawing board and designed a 94mm version of the Defiant double as well. So far it's been very popular with randonneurs, tourists and even some roadies.

I'm excited to say there are a lot of really cool new products in the pipeline that will be coming out in the next year, including new compete bike models and the forthcoming Soma fatbike.

If you want to keep up with the stuff that I'm working on you can find it all at