Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fixed Cross

One of our better dealers, The Bicycle Business, built up this sweet cross bike using a Soma Rush fixed-gear frame. Built with our gold Late Riser bars and camo Thick & Zesty tape with camo Velocity rims and green Sugino RD Messenger Cranks. They write,
"Most of the employees here have been riding their track bikes on the dirt for a few years and we finally decided to give up our secret!"

So here's a new sport you can try in 2009! Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Silver Bullet

Perhaps you think beauty is in the details. Perhaps you may feel a run-of-the-mill blinkie detracts from the look of your Rivendell Atlantis. Still you are a practical soul and desire safety. You sir need a Silver Bullet Safety Flasher!

Mounts cleanly to the braze-ons on your seatstay or dropout or you can use the included seatstay clamp.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

B-Side Will Be Coming In "The Spring"

We have had many inquiries wondering when the B-Side 650b mountain frame will drop. To keep it cautiously nebulous, we are saying "The Spring". Here is a production prototype we have been testing. Sorry to those who felt neglected.
Changes from the concept prototype:
1. Allows for SS or geared set up with a track style dropout. Disc mount does allow removal of rear wheel w/o loosening the caliper.
2. Gusset for improved fork knob clearance.
3. Tange heat treated CrMo, instead of Pacenti Heavy Metal tubes.

Things being left the same:
1. Same Carmelized Orange with Vanilla panel paint job which we got nice comments about
2. Geometry is roughly the same. To maximize standover we are using an extreme slope so a 400mm post is recommended for longer legged riders. This is similar to what Niner does, but less extreme.
3. Jason Grove built the concept with diamond-shaped cage boss braze-ons. We liked them, so we are keeping them.

No pricing yet. Should be similar to the Juice though.

Other frame news: We are considering a new 26" XC hardtail that will having new sliding dropouts being developed by Tange and Interloc Racing Design. So that might replace the 4one5 and maybe the Groove, too.

Winterfest: SFBC Celebrates 10,000 Members

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Soma Wheelsets

Soma SoMax Track Wheelsets will soon come in pink, red, blue and amber gold. The SoMax wheelsets features our tough sealed cartridge bearing hubs (fixed-fixed) built to 31mm deep aluminum rims. We will also be producing a small run of three-speed wheels using Sturmey-Archer hubs.

IN-DEPTH COLOR COMMENTARY:(We know sometimes pictures don't tell the whole story). The red is a strong red that does match our riser and straight bars and Sugino RD Messenger cranks. The gold is an amber gold that is maybe 10% more "orangey" than Sugino RD Messengers, which in turn is 8% more "orangey" than the gold of our bars. We will eventually do the wheels in a regular gold that will be a truer match to our bars. The anodized blue and pink match our straight bars quite well. PLEASE note that anodized colors vary slightly from batch to batch, so these comments only valid to stock on hand.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Introducing the BPA-free Crystal 32 oz. Water Bottle

Every time I go to my local super market, I see this translucent wall made of bulk cases of spring water. It pains me to think that 80% of those bottles will end up in the landfills, unrecycled. It boggles the mind to think we can consume so many billions of these bottles a year just for water.

Soma wants to gives you one more opportunity to get out of the habit buying cases of plastic water bottles from the supermarket. The Crystal 32 oz. Wide Mouth bottle is for when you are off the bike, in the office, in school, or even on a hike. Use it everyday and you will see you don't need to buy palettes of water anymore. Just fill this with filtered tap water at home.

Like our bike bottle, it doesn't leach bisephenol-A or dioxins and it doesn't leave a plastic taste in your water. Available in early December.

• Doesn't leach bisephenol-A(BPA) like polycarbonate bottles
• Does not add yucky plastic flavor like standard LDPE/HDPE water bottles
• Widemouth easily accomodates ice cubes and fits most water purifiers and filters. Easy to clean, too.

• 32 oz. capacity Printed graduations lets you keep track of your hydration
• Leashed top means you won't lose it
• Colors: Translucent blue, translucent smoke grey

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, even to my friends who are bulk water bottle buyers.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Win This

Buena Vista in action

Well not exactly win like in a raffle. And not exactly "this" one pictured. A comparably-built version of the not yet released Buena Vista mixte will be on the auction block at SF Bike Coalition's Winterfest shindig on Dec. 7. So you have to bid to win it.

Follow the link to get more info on attending or volunteering at this bash.

The custom fixed gear build will be Soma'd out with Oxford bars, Leather Double Toe Straps, Shiner Wheelset Hellyer Cranks and other goodies. American Cyclery will also be donating some parts on it along with their consummate building skills. If the display bike is not your size, you can exchange it through American, though we must warn you that production models are not slated to arrive until January.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Noah's Arc Bars and Hellyer Pedals Get New Colors

The Noah's Arc Bars now come in colors. We introduced a shotpeen black earlier this year. Now we have a shiny gold, a satin pink and satin brown. These are anodized, not powdercoated.
The pink and gold of course will perfectly match with our new Hellyer Pedal colors (in red, blue, gold, pink).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Soma From Another Era

When we began Soma back in 2001, someone mentioned there was a Japanese bike brand called "Soma" back in the 70's. For a while the only web presence was a small blurb on Sheldon Brown's site. It was not until earlier this year, I stumbled upon these pictures on Velospace (submitted by wxm) that I actually laid eyes on one. It feels kind of like hearing about Bigfoot for years and then finally catching a glimpse of one. This early 80's beauty was known as the 'Cosmopolitan'. These are still the best pictures I've seen of a vintage Soma.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Soma T-Shirts

Here a finally some new tees to help you express Soma love.
The charcoal is a men's tee with a simple logo. The heather green is a soft ringspun women's tee and has a large S-O-M-A with a hot pink bike inside the 'O'. Both are available at some Soma dealers and on the Soma Fab Online Shop.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gold Sprints in Berzerkly

At the Mike's Bikes in Berkeley. 4-person head to head racing. Show up to heckle. Show up to race. Just show up. It's free. Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Macaframa S.F. Premiere This Wednesday

The long awaited Macaframa premiere is this Wednesday at the Victoria Theater. The evening begins with a race at the Ferry Building Clock Tower at 6pm, which winds down to the theater. The event is free, thanks to the sponsors. We did not sponsor officially, but are throwing down a few goodies through Pedal Revolution. C'mon down.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Additions to Soma Fab Shop - Suzue!

If you have been to the shop lately, you already know we have been diversifying our apparel selection lately... adding some interesting bits from our favorite Japanese brands... Nitto, MKS, and Sugino.

But we aren't done yet! Just added last Friday were tees from Suzue (the hub manufacturer) and caps are not far off. Speaking of Suzue we have confirmation that we are getting some of their Pro Max track hubs in this week some time. We have been waiting quite a while for these. These are the SB versions that feature silky-smooth Japanese cartridge bearings and an almost chrome-like polish. These are not "new old stock". These are new production.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bikes and Beer For The Masses

This ain't for PBR or Fat Tire Ale, but hopefully with other mainstream commercials featuring bicycles in a positive light, this Miller High Life will encourage more people to ride for health, for fun, to save money, or just to be empowered. I have a friend who for 30 years did not know how to ride a bike. This summer she took a class offered by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Just one month after the class, she bought her own bike and is really enjoying it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Colorful Additions (Just in Time For Interbike)

The Interbike Trade Show is going on right now and Soma is not showing. We have people there meeting with distributors and the usual suspects, but we haven't done the $20,000 Vegas song and dance for a few years now. One reason is we can't seem to do our product releases all at once like most companies. Our guys at Interbike will be telling our distributors we will have these "five things" coming out in the spring...then maybe at the annual Christmas dinner after a couple of pints someone will blurt out "pink pedals to match our pink toe clips!" or something and we'll end up doing those and a couple more projects. It's not necessarily prudent, but that's just the way we are and that is why I will alway have things to blog about each month.

NEW PRODUCT RELEASE: Soma Somax Track Hubs and Hellyer Track Pedals are now available in anodized colors beyond black and silver. Gold, pink, red, and blue. The pink pedal isn't designed to go with our hot pink toe clips (oh well), but they'll look "smashing, baby" with the chrome or white clips. We promise to have Somax wheels in colors in a few months.

Sunday Streets in SF

Video from Streetfilms.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Trick Lever for Fixed Gear Bikes from Dia-Compe

You may have seen this already on some blogs, but it is now officially in the U.S.
The Gran Compe Shot Lever is a novel lever design that allows the rider to brake with either hand. Official word is that it is a "sub lever" which I gather means don't expect it to be as powerful as normal levers. One warning: Do not try to pull both levers at once. It isn't designed to work that way.

Dealers: These are available at distributor Merry Sales now. We expect to get these on the Soma Store next week some time. Price will not be cheap: $69.95. In black or silver. The piece of coiled metal cable housing is included.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sopo Bikes' Rachael Spiewak

Rachael Spiewak, director of ATL's Sopo Bicycle Cooperative recently got featured on the Epidemik Coalition site. It has a nice photo with her and her Soma Rush. I like her shirt. Soma is working on t-shirts and I think that might be one of the colors we'll do. Follow the link to the article.
Check out the Sopo site, too, if for nothing else, but to check out the fluffy bike riding sheep.

Brass Honjos

We recently got a look at some pre-production brass Honjo fenders. Don't know when they will be available to U.S. distributors, but they sure look sweet. These are in the fluted style.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Soma Fabrications on Facebook

The Soma Fabrications Users Group has been set up on Facebook.

For those that ride Soma Fabrications bicycle frames or parts or just dig their steel core tire levers, we don't care.... you are welcome to join the group and meet other Soma users. You can create discussions in the forum, but of course now there is no one there, so it might be lonely. You can also be among the first to show off pictures of your Soma build.

Keep the posting wall and forum 'sucker free' and don't rock the boat and we will get along just fine. If you have something that you want Soma to respond to directly please email them, do not post here.

We don't know how often we will be on FB, so if you have questions for us, please do not ask them of FB; send an e-mail instead (somainfo[at]somafab.com).

For the curious, you can't just check it out. You need to be logged in as a Facebook member to find it. Sorry. That's how FB works.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Late Riser Bars and More!

Our introduction of the Straight Bars a couple of months back was a big hit.
We have a good feeling the Late Risers will follow suit. We offer these in more powdercoat colors than the Straight Bar. We are not offering black or silver, because there are plenty of black and silver riser bars out there--- even though they may not be perfectly suited for urban use. Unlike MTB/DH riser bars the Late Risers have less length and less backsweep. Having less sweep is more ergonomic as the width of the bar gets shorter. The wrists end up in a more natural position. That's our theory anyways.

Fixie riders will no doubt want to cut down its 540mm length to something more their liking, but this length is quite suitable for townie bikes as is. Much better for slipping through traffic than the average stock riser bar.

Also newly released is a new Soma cycling cap, our first.
Plus a new line of mini-pumps. It is so small we call it the Atom. These will fit in jersey pockets and even small seat bags. No reason to go on a ride without one.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Nice Portrait

This is from "mot_norm" (Motsu) in the Flickr community. He's a graphic designer and fellow cyclist living in Japan.
This gal is his hairstylist, Yoshiko-san! She rides a custom painted Soma Rush. Check out the alternating colors on the chain.

I think this was just a casual snap shot, but it makes for a great portrait. She's got her hairdresser's holster on. She's next to her whip. (She's color coordinated with her whip) And she's looking effortlessly chic and poised. She's beautiful. The shot's beautiful.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Bar Tape Uses Advanced Soft Touch Materials

Our distributor in the Northwest, UBP, passed this little tidbit on to us.
It seems that our Thick and Zesty Bar Tape is not only great for handlebars. There is gal in the Fluid Luminescence Circus Arts Collective whose dance performances involves oversized hula hoops. She uses our tape to wrap her hoops. Check out a pretty awesome action shot of her.

Speaking of bar tape, we are about to increase our Thick and Zesty line yet again.

• For those with sweaty palms or who like the gruff striated texture of our Camouflage tape, we are offering Thick and Zesty "Striated" in basic solid colors.

• For those who must have the latest and greatest, we introduce our most advanced tape, Thick and Zesty "Soft Touch". It features the shock absorbent EVA resin material of standard T'n'Z and bonds it to high tech soft touch polyurethane. This stuff feels great. Grippy, but not tacky. Soft and subtly velvety to the touch. It just feels... good! Available in four solid colors.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Soma Will Be At The Bicycle Film Festival

The Bicycle Film Festival kicks off today in San Francisco.

We previously announced that we will be at the BFF Street Party on Saturday showing our wares- noon -5pm, BUT that has been cancelled "due to circumstances beyond the organizers' control." Vendors have been re-located to 180 Capp St (Bottle Capp Gallery), which is where the JoyRide art exhibit is being curated. So try to drop by between programs. Vendors will be showing their stuff, but however the entertainment scheduled could not be brought indoors.

Good news: West Coast Gold Sprints is putting together Friday's After-Party. To be at Sports Basement on Bryant St. just mere blocks from the Victoria Theater. Soma will be laying down many goodies to sprint winners and folks that sign up for SFBC tonight. And if you've been to a WCGS event, you know they put on an exciting event. Click on image for details.

Anyways this is about art and film, not parties and vendor booths.
Individual film program tickets start at $10. Festival passes are $30.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hellyer Crank Photos

The new Hellyer Cranks are available soon.
Shops can place their orders next week
with their distributor. Right now they only come in
46t, though we have more people saying 47t is becoming
the new "standard" locally. What is the most common in
your neck of the woods? If we do 2 aftermarket sizes
of the new drilled ring, what sizes should they be?
If we do colors, which would play well in your
tribe (please...when we say 'tribe' we don't mean
just you). Thanks.

Monday, June 30, 2008

S.F. Chronicle Publishes Bike Commuter Article in the "Style" Section

In an article by Amy Moon, The Chronicle(SFGate.com on the web) covers the current minor exodus from car commuting to biking and even walking.

What caught our eye was one of the pictures published in the print edition was one of Cheryl Brinkman with our (now hers) Soma Mixte prototype(built up by American Cyclery).

<<Cheryl Brinkman also became an almost daily bike commuter in the past year. She lives in the lower Haight and commutes 2 miles to her job as a product manager at McKesson Corp., in the Financial District. About her wardrobe, Brinkman said, "I've altered it for the better and only one thing that I don't wear now that I bike so much is long full skirts."

"My main thing is getting to work not feeling like I just had a workout," said author Judy B. (her full, legal name), who lives in the Fillmore and commutes to her job as a legal assistant in the Financial District. "If I'm kind of going along, rushing to make red lights, and realize I'm breaking a sweat, I go whoa, slow down," she said. "San Francisco has ideal biking weather because the coolness is a perfect balance to the heat I generate riding my bike at a reasonable pace."

Graduate student Lisa Foster refuses to let the peddling keep her from wearing her pumps, as she wrote in an issue of the San Francisco Bike Coalition's Tube Times.

"I really think bikes are made for people who wear heels," she said. "You don't have to walk in them. It's so much better." (That makes a lot of sense actually.)

While it's impossible to know exactly how many new cyclists are on the streets, bike-store employees and bike-rack attendants at BART stations say that the numbers have jumped as dramatically as gasoline prices over the past six months or so.>>

Today was a great morning to commute...not too hot, not too cold or windy...and the sea breeze is cleaning out most of the wild fire tainted air of last week.

For the rest of the article, go here.

Geometry for the Buena Vista mixte frame is up on main website now. Keep visiting the blog to find out when production models will go on sale. We have pushed back the release date a bit. Sorry to those who were patiently or anxiously waiting.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Quake City Rumble, SF, July 3-6, 2008

July 3-6 marks the fifth running of the Quake City Rumble in San Francisco. This year the top male and top female get roundtrip tickets and entry into the North American Cycle Courier Championships in Chicago. This will surely bring out some intense competition.

All proceeds from the race itself go to San Francisco Bike Messenger Association Broken Bones fund established to help local messengers with medical bills after an accident.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Next Month: The Soma Nomaoi Horse Festival

We are always stoked when someone tells us there is another meaning tied to the simple word soma. When we started Soma Fabrications, we were told there had been a Japanese bicycle brand in the 1970's with the name Soma. It meant "running horse".

Last year we found out more info regarding soma in Japan. Soma is a city in the Fukushima Prefecture. The 1034-year old Soma Nomaoi Horse Festival or "Wild Horse Chase" takes place every July there. In this historical event, 600 mounted samurai in traditional Japanese armor, with long swords at their side and ancestral banners streaming from their backs, parade across open fields. There are also various competitions like one to capture a flag shot out into the field by fireworks, wrangling "wild" horses, and straight out racing.

No Helmets Required:

Unlike bicycle races, helmets are not used during the competive events since they are ornamental and not very secure and can trip a horse, if they fall off during an event. But they do compete wearing these very cool ancestal banners. Who thinks these would make awesome safety flags on the daily commute? (Images from Charminda and Samurai Dave. Find out more here and here. Want video? Go here.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

New Double Cross....Vodka

From thedieline.com.

Double Cross is a brand new "luxury vodka" from Slovakia. We were not just impressed with the name, but the killer bottle design. They also have an interesting logo/coat of arms with double cross bars. We were playing with a similar logo for our new Double Cross frame graphics, but dropped the idea. They got their inspiration from an ancient Slovak coat of arms. We got our inspiration from "V for Vendetta".

Double Cross Vodka is due to hit bars in late summer... to coincide with the launch of our Double Cross DC(disc & canti) frame.

Just kidding about that "coincide" thing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Soma 'Velodrama' Track Bars and 'Straight' Bars

New schwag for your perusal.
If your shop hasn't heard about these, send them over here or ask them to give their distributor a call.
They are available now in small quantities. The Velodrama is a 31.8mm CrMo Track Bar. It is the same bar as the one IRD will be releasing as the SuperDrome CrMo, but they let us borrow their design for colors they didn't plan to do....powdercoat pink and white.

We also have new aluminum straight bars in polished anodized colors. (5 degrees, 500mm long, we are planning to do zero degrees in the future, but this is what we's got now.) Besides anodized we will also have one in white, which will look nice on our Rush frame.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Product Updates

- We will be introducing a new Pearl White version of our racy Smoothie frame. ETA: First week of June. (New shipment of Deep Sea Blue Smoothies has just arrived. Sorry that they've been scarce for so long.)

- We would also like to officially announce we are developing a heavy duty touring frame.
1. Flat crown fork with double eyelets at the dropouts. Low rider pannier mounts, too.
2. Thicker butted tubing than our Double Cross frames. Heat treated front triangle.
3. Spoke holder, pump peg, three set of bottle bosses.
4. No disc brake mount... keepin' it traditional
5. 54's and smaller will be made for 26" tires.
6. Name and color not chosen yet.
7. We have no official release date

We pretty much have decided all the specs and geometry, but if you guys wanna desktop coach us, please feel free to post comments.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Soma Mixte Frame

This idea for doing a mixte crossed our conference table almost a year ago. Time sure flies.
And hopefully in 3 or 4 months, the first production will be here.

For most of you, we don't have to explain ourselves of why a mixte is desirable these days. For those who are going a "mix-what", here's the Sheldon Brown glossary entry:

"A style of lady's frame in which the "top tube" consists of a pair of small diameter tubes running more-or-less straight from the upper head lug, past the seat tube, and on to the rear fork ends. A mixte frame thus has 3 sets of rear stays, instead of the usual two. A variant on the mixte uses a single, full sized top tube running from the upper head tube to the seat tube, but retains the middle set of stays. A lady's type bike that lacks the middle pair of stays is not a mixte....
In French, "mixte" would be pronounced "MEExt", but normal U.S. bicycle industry pronunciation is 'MIX-ty'."

Though Sheldon and others may see the mixte as a ladies' bike, it was
actually designed to be uni-sex. 'Mixte' suggests 'mixed' use. And we have been seeing all types of folks tooling around on vintage mixtes rescued from garage sales or eBay. A mixte can make an excellent commuter and light tourer. You can load stuff on the top of your rear rack and not worry about how to get your leg over the load, because you can mount from the front of the seat.

Enter the Buena Vista:

While we wanted to replicate a thoroughly traditional mixte, we wanted to change two things.
1. Make this compatible with readily available modern components.
2. Give it a sport touring geometry instead of lazy comfort bike set up. If the owner puts drop bars on this, we want him to be able to crank on this.

A more genteel set up is still possible with the right bar and stem. This will be a frame and fork only and we imagine this will be a fun project build for many of you.

- Four sizes - X-Small, Small, Medium, Large
- The Small to Large will fit 700c tires with 57mm reach brakes
- The X-Small will fit 26" tires with 73mm reach (Rivendell Silver side pull/Dia-Compe Mod 750 center pull) brakes
- Both will fit 650b tires with appropriate swaps to brakes and wheel
- Eyelets for fenders and racks of course
- Compatible with road hubs or mountain hubs
- Primary decals will be on top of clearcoat and thus removable
- Tange Infinity double butted CrMo tubes

First batch will be 'Bacardi White'. Second run color is up in the air (maybe black or a dark color). Any opinions?

UPDATE 9-01-08: We have pushed back the release date of the mixte. Sorry to those who have been waiting patiently through the summer. We are looking at January 2009 release date now. The frame will be viewable at Interbike at the Bicycle Technologies Int'l (BTI) booth.
UPDATE 2-10-08: We hope to get a ship date this month. We apologize for the wait. We want these here more than you do honestly. Will let you know when we know for sure. Pictures of the prototype are up on our Flickr site.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Found this on the hkfixed + RODAFIXA blog, which I thought was worth sharing.
An April Fool's joke from Brooklyn Machine Works. By the way, Soma will be releasing limited runs of colored straight and riser bars. They'll be shorter than standard mountain bars, but not quite this short. We are also trying to get for the Soma Store Nitto's stainless steel versions of their riser bar.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Mixpression 9

Our Tokyo connection, San-Esu will be displaying Soma stuff at this annual Tokyo Messenger event. Drop by to say 'hi' if you make it there.