Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Are Track Brakes Cool?.....

Or are they an abomination? Or maybe a cool abomination?
These are track brakes made to install onto track bikes not equipped with brake mounting holes. Made by Dia-Compe, the BRS-101 track brakes actually are standard reach-- offering 43mm to 57mm of reach....though because the actual placement of the caliper itself is somewhat flexible, that brake pad reach number loses some of its relevance. Just nice that there is wider range than available on a short reach road brake.

I can't in my right mind see these as awesome additions to anybody's whip. They will undoubtedly spoil a track bike's pristeen looks. You not only have the brake caliper, but additional mounting plates and hardware.

BUT if you have a brakeless track bike and your boss says "no brakes! no job!", you have three options: get these brakes , get a new bike, or quit your job. In the interest of giving the working cyclist in that unenviable position an option, the SomaFab Shop will pick up a few of these.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Keirin Calendar

Keirin fans and bike geeks pay attention!
We just brought over the Pacific the official 2008 Keirin Racing Calendar!

This is a full color 14.5" x 22.5" wall calendar. That is huge for a calendar to Americans, but it's kind of common in Asia. Printed on glossy poster paper. ONLY 20 of these are available.
Features up close and personal photos of the best and the brightest Keirin racers in Japan. Each month gets its own page. Only Japanese holidays are highlighted in red, but heck you don't buy a calendar like this to find out when Yom Kippur is, do ya?

These will be up on the SomaFab Shop next week. Price to be set then. Since it is coming out so late, we cannot guarantee before Christmas arrival on these.

Second Generation Delanceys Are In

We finally have a handful of 2nd generation Delanceys going out to shops and distributors.
These new frames have a slightly higher bottom bracket. We did not have any pedal strike issues with these frames, but comments from forum dwellers made us reconsider. They also have a taller headtube. (See, we listen.)

How Do You Tell the Difference Between The Two
We chose to make the 2nd gen frames the same 'Seaweed' color as the first, so we needed to devise a way for dealers and customers to easily tell which geometry they had without cracking out the tape measure. We simply changed the font of the name. Newer frames have an Old West / Circus-type font.

Hopefully this will help when you stumble upon a used one a few years down the line, too.
BUT if it has been re-painted (see here for a pimpin' example) we can't help you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chain Guards - You Likey?

Been thinking about chain guards. With the resurgence of interest in commuter bikes and townies, it seems chain guards aren't as taboo as they once were. The handbuilt bike show featured many minimalistic custom chainguards. Not everyone wants to roll up their pant legs each time they ride a bike. So--- is it going to become "OK" to sport chain guards/chain covers on your Double Cross?

A Japanese associate of our recently turned us on to an existing two-piece chainguard which would be adaptable to most bikes with a front derailleur. Not as elegant as a one-piece, but I don't know of an aftermarket one-piece that works with bikes with a front derailleur.

Let us know if you think this is a product you'd buy or NOT buy -- and please explain why. We may bring them in for our Soma dealers or put them on our web store if there is enough interest.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hellyer Park Selected to Host 2008 Masters Track National Championships

Since the velodrome's name was the inspiration for our new track-specific pedals and cranks, we thought it the least we could do is recipricate is to promote our local oval with a blurb.

The Master Nationals will be held next September.
The event will be conducted over six days instead of the previous five-day format. This will give each age group a day during the schedule for rest and sightseeing, and will also shorten the duration of most racing sessions.

The dates for the event were chosen to avoid conflicts with the Olympics and the World Masters Road Championships.

Hellyer Park Velodrome is located in San Jose which is roughly 50 miles south of San Francisco. The weather is usually awesome in September. The track surface is concrete, 335m per lap, and has a maximum banking of 22 degrees in the turns and 13 degrees in the straights. The transitions are smooth and the turns are round-which makes the track very similar to the Major Taylor and T-Town tracks. The blue band is on the banked surface and this provides added safety. There is a brand new asphalt apron around the inside of the track and a separate warm-up circle that can be used during racing. There is a new 50’ by 100’ concrete pad in the infield for trainers, rollers, and tent canopies, and the remainder of the infield is newly-sodded grass. All of the walkways around the track and connecting to the parking lots are also new asphalt. There are grandstands on the home stretch and backstretch areas. MORE INFO

Monday, December 10, 2007

Canadian Outdoor Retailer Bans Nalgene Bottles

We stumbled upon this article in the New York Times. The popular Nalgene polycarbonate bottles that has become a symbol of environmental responsibility ("Refill, not Landfill") has been removed from the shelves of Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada’s leading outdoor gear retailer, over concerns about BPA used in its manufacture. TO ARTICLE
We want to stress that our own Crystal PolyPROPYLENE bottles contain no BPA. What do you think? Should Soma make a jumbo size camping bottle out of polypropylene? It won't fit your bottle cage, but you can bring it to the office or school.