As you may or may not have heard, Soma is working on a 650b randonneuring frame called the Grand Randonneur. We've very close to announcing the final specs for that project, so to those of you waiting for more details, thanks for your patience. We want to make sure we nail down all the little details.
In the meantime, I thought I'd let you in on another project we've got cooking.
We've gotten numerous requests, to make a low trail conversion fork that would fit some of our other models (trust me on the emails, I've read a lot of them). So after lot's of discussion and many drawings we have the first samples of the upcoming Champs Elysees fork. There will be 2 versions, one designed around 700c w/ canti brakes and one designed around 700c w/ 57mm calipers (it'll be good for 650b conversion too). I won't get into the whole trail debate here; if you search on Google Groups I'm sure you'll find more opinions than you could ever digest. But for those who care, they'll be 65mm offset, they'll have 2 sets of dropout eyelets, mid blade eyelets and hourglass eyelets for Nitto Mini racks. 350mm steer tubes like the rest of our steel forks, and chrome plated so they'll look sweet with any color frame.
I switched this bike over from the 45mm Classic Curve fork and I've had a few days to get used to it now. At first it felt pretty squirrely without a front load, but after taking it out for a longer ride I'm feeling more confident. After loading it up with a front rack and a bar bag and filling it with the usual daily commute cargo it feel completely natural (thanks to Zugster for making these awesome minimal Rando bags for us!). It definitely feels more 'neutral' compared to the higher trail configuration, especially at slower speeds. Cornering is a breeze, even no handed. If you're wondering what rack that is on the front, it's one of the new stainless rando racks which will also bear the Champs Elysees name. I've had the rear on my bike for a while and just swapped the Nitto M-12 out for the front version. These racks will feature the same adjustable axle mounting tabs as the Soma Porteur racks for bikes that lack the correct braze ons.
So that's all for now. Hang tight and we'll have more details on the GR frame very soon. I'll leave you with this. Enjoy!
(This is the V.2 prototype, so there are still a few small changes we're making on the production version)