Friday, March 30, 2012

Lovely Bicycle!: How We Ride

Lovely Bicycle!: How We Ride: To the delight of some and eye-rolling of others, during the first year or two of this blog I referred to riding a bike recreationally as ...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

No Excuses!

It was a little wet in San Francisco this Saturday. And it got me thinking. Probably the number one reason people stop riding in the winter is because they don't feel confident riding in wet conditions. Now I've spent a few years up in the Northwest and let me tell you, it rains quite a bit. And folks keep on trucking all winter. here's a couple good tricks to keep you upright when it's soggy out.

Step 1. Bigger tires, lower pressure.

To people who spend long hours on the bike this is not new information. But when I see people careening around corners with their leg suck out to the side it makes me wonder. It stands to reason that the more rubber you have contacting  the road, the more traction you will have. The larger the volume of the tire, the lower the pressure you can safely run without flatting. I'n my experience 32mm and larger tends to work really well. The pressure you run will obviously depend on how much weight you're hauling.

Step 2. Make your brakes work for you.

Your road calipers are super stiff and stop on a dime. Now put a little gutter juice on your rims. Do they still stop? There are two schools of though when It comes to stopping in the wet. The easiest solution of most people is to upgrade your brake pads. Ever wonder why so many people have those reddish colored brakes pads? It's cause they work really well in the wet. Way back in ancient times a guy called Scott Mathouser made brake pads with iron oxide mixed into the compound. They're softer than standard black pads and they will grab a slippery rim better without grinding road grit into your rims. The only downside is they wear out a little faster. That's a good thing. Brake pads are cheap, rebuilding your wheels is not. Yokozuna sells Mathouser pads to fit most any brake, including the original Scotty superbrake shoes.

The other school of thought is that your rims shouldn't even have a say in the matter. In the old day that meant Drum brakes or coaster brakes. You can still get both. Sturmey Archer offers them as an option on many of their hubs. These day more and more people are being won over by disc brakes. The arguments makes good sense too. You eliminate all rim wear, and allow heat from breaking to disperse far from delicate inner tubes. On extremely heavy bikes like a tandem or a loaded cargo bike it's a no brainier. Downsides, you need a frame  that is designed to accommodate them, and they can be tricky to adjust. Then again, so can a rim brake if your wheel is out of true.

Step 3. Balance your weight.

If you have to carry a lot of stuff, make sure you have a good plan for where you're going to put it. Simply piling everything into a milk crate on the back of your bike is not going to work well in extremely hilly places like San Francisco and Seattle. If you take the time to plan ahead you can usually make some simple modification and additions to your setup that will make a big differences. As I've said before, Wald baskets will fit just about any bike and are a super easy way to break up your load. Lowrider panniers if you're bike will accept them, are even better because they keep the center of gravity low. And you can always add a trailer if you're really over capacity. A good ting to keep in mind is that a bike is not like a car. A few extra things that you don't really need to take with you can make a big difference. If you aren't going to need it, leave it a home.

Step 4. Fenders. Enough said I think.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Come work at Soma

Soma Fab is looking for an assistant warehouse manager. Please be motivated, posses personal initiative and be capable of working unsupervised. You must have experience with bicycles. From $12 to 16$ an hour based on experience. Come be part of the bicycle revolution here in the bay area! Send your resume to mary (at)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

ANT Truss Frame Bicycle

ANT Truss Frame Bicycle, originally uploaded by Lovely Bicycle!.

Another amazing bike over on the Lovely Bicycles blog. Can you spot the Soma?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lubrication is Key

It's that time of year when things like keeping your bike chain lubed start to slip by the wayside. Neglect causes gunk buildup, gunk causes friction, friction causes wear, and that will eventual get you right in the wallet. So please, remember to lube your drivetrain this winter. Here's some brand new chain juice to keep your ride happy.

It's great stuff! Not to sticky, so it won't gum up your chain. You can use it to keep your pedals from squeaking. You can also use it to keep your cable housing sliding smoothly. Comes in a bottle with an applicator tip. What more could you want in life. And it's made right here in the Bay Area. American Standard Bicycle Lube; get some at your local bike shop. It's only for use on bikes, so don't get any ideas okay!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lit-Up Alley Cat III: St. Louis

This is the first year we will be sponsoring this night event. Organized by SpokeSTL

Stanyan Spy Shots

These aren't going to be available until later this month, but I thought you all might like to see the sample for the new Stanyan paint scheme.

This is probably one of the nicest paint jobs we've ever done, in my opinion. The sparkly silver compliments the chrome lugs without being overpowering. Get this thing out in the sun and it really pops!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Iggy Wheelsets

Internal gear hubs are neat. They give you all the functionality of gears with the simplicity of a single speed drivetrain. Our Iggy wheelsets use Sturmey Archer hubs and come in a variety of speeds and wheel sizes.   

From a maintenance perspective an internal  gear hub makes a lot of sense because the mechanism is sealed from the elements. It’s also allows you to fit a chain guard to protect your pants from med and grease. 

Lots of people have put them on road and track bikes to convert them into more commuter friendly city bikes. If you happen to have a single speed it’s very simple to add an internally geared wheel. They also work great on geared bikes when used with a chain tensioner.

Using a dual pulley tensioner like the Paul Melvin allows you to run a front derailleur and increase your range. 

There are now several shifter options depending on which style of bar you choose. We offer a matching front wheel in both 700c and 26" as well.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ewald 257GB Multi-fit Rack

Check out what arrived at Soma HQ today! Wald's new cargo rack.

This thing is sweet! We've talked about Wald stuff before, and this rack is one of the coolest products they've ever put out. We've seen couriers hack off the tops of Wald delivery baskets so we asked Wald if they could make a sturdier option that would fit all our bikes. And this is the result.

The clamp is adjustable to fit 25.4 to 31.8 bars. The stays are adjustable too, so you can get the platform at the right angle.

This thing measures a generous 19" wide by 13" long. The front of the basket is open it can accept large objects like long boxes. You can use bungee straps to keep them in place. The rails on the sides keep your load from slipping off when you make a turn. This rack is great for pizza boxes or if you want to attach a storage container to it. You could even attach a Wald Giant Delivery basket and have an extra sturdy setup.

Wald is one of the oldest companies still in the business, and one of the very few companies making affordable american made products. You can read about Grandpa Ewald and the history of the Wald company on their website here We will be getting a big shipment of these racks as soon as they are available, so stay tuned.

Soma San Marco

Soma San Marco built by FreeRange Cycles for the Seattle Bike Expo. Keepin it classy up in the Northwest.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Platform Pedals

Everybody who races knows you can go faster with your feet clipped in. It makes sense. You can pull up and push down at the same time. But when you’re just out for a cruise you don’t really need that kind of acceleration. So why not equip your everyday bike with a nice pair of platform pedals. You’ll get more comfort and support when you break out your favorite kicks. Here’s as few nice options.

The MKS Sylvan Touring pedals are a classic. I’ve used the same pair for years with nary a creak. And since they are designed with removable dust caps it’s a breeze to re grease the bearings.

The MKS Stream pedals are based on the same design but a bit narrower.

If you want something a little bit fancier the Touring Lite is where it’s at.

If you like a super grippy classic mountain bike style pedal the Soma Downie MTB platform pedals are tops. With sealed bearings and Cro Mo spindles, they should keep you spinning under the harshest of conditions.

For extra style points check out the Sylvan touring in Copper.

If you just prefer having something to hook your foot into a Half clip gives you the feel of a toe clip without being strapped in.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Da NAHBS Pt. 3

So much to see. We saw a lot of generators with wires going internally into the racks they were mounted on, we saw lots of Enve forks, and Iris bottle cages, extended seatmasts were everywhere, and carbon Gates drives, too. And we saw many more CX bikes than we expected to see.

Here are some more things that really caught our eye:

 Cykelmaguren Copenhagen makes city bikes, hubs and wood grips, but "brake levers" which are
beads strung across two metal clamps was what first captured my attention.

This Kirk Lee frame was done for a client who wanted an Atlas theme (He was a fan of
"Atlas Shrugged" I think). At first I thought the graphics were digitized, but everything was
handpainted. The headtube image glows and the supporting light rays and stripes
looked great.

While he's no Atlas, Don Walker (NAHBS founder)
has no problem owning this headtube.

NAHBS sophmore Demon Frameworks won an award for this incredible road frame.
Blurry pic doesn't do it justice.
Custom dropout on the Demon.

This frame set from English is missing half its fork and half its stays. The designer
says it rides just like any other bike despite missing some tubes.
He had to do some engineering to get the hubs to work for this unique design.

This Ira Ryan utility bike was amazing for more than one just its design.
If you look closely the bike and the 2-wheel trailer was equipped with
at least three Chris King headsets(see below) and three Chris King hubs. Whoa!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Da Nahbs Pt. 2

More Pics from Sacramento.

 Comotion's 29er Tandem

Victoria Cycle's Randonneuse

 Fatback Stainless Fatbike

 Sunrace Driven Rear Deraileur

 Celio's Road

Rock Lobster's SS Cross

Pereira's 650b Randonneuse

Ira Ryan Trailer Hitch

Swift Industries Ozette Bag

Saturday, March 3, 2012


The Soma Crew took a little road trip out to Sacramento to visit the 2012 #NAHMBS. Here's some of what we saw.

Don Walker's Stayer Bike

Bruce Gordon's Dingle Speed

Black Sheep's 36'er

 Muse Cycle's Integrated Rack

Vibe Cycle's Bamboo Fatbike

Rock Lobster's 26" FGFS

CoMotion's Divide 29er Belt Drive Touring