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.


LotusLightCommunity said...

I had two somas back in the 70's. One was a beautiful black Soma sport. I toured Oregon in 1981 with it. Unfortunately I had a house fire in 98 that destroyed a whole album of pictures. It was a great bike for it's time considering the components that were available back then.

Robert Hess

LakeBluff said...

Still riding a Soma Cosmopolitan -- purchased in April '79. It's held up very well. My kids give me a hard time about its age... and mine.

Chris said...

I actually have a 1981 Black Soma Competition that I ride daily. I scored it in like new condition from once ridden in Columbus Ohio. Its a joy to ride, its a very fast and nimble bike.

heres a pic of it when I got it,


as it is now

I am planning to repaint the bike, and reinstall the original Shimano 600 kit, modified to run modern 10 speed gearing.

Bob Zinn said...

I too had a light blue Soma Sport that I purchased in 1979. This bike weighs in at about 26 pounds without the kickstand, reflectors, and replacing tires with lighter tubes and tread. Most people would not think this bike had much potential, but here are personal acomplishments that I had on this bike:
1983 - First Place finish in the Shippensburg University (Men's Stock).

1983 - Second Place finish in Westminster, Maryland (Men's Stock).

1983 - 80th place a the Dr. Pepper Classic (180+ riders) The race route went on and off the boardwalk in 1.5 mile loop. The rear wheel popped two spokes from the impact hitting the sidewalk coming off the ramps. Despite the sharp and dangerous turns my average speed exceeded 25 miles per hour.

1984 - First Place finish in the Shippensburg University (Men's Stock).

1984 - 5th in the Pennsylvania State Championship race at Fort Letterkenny, PA (Men's Stock). Note other riders were making fun of my sport touring bike at the start of the race. I walked away with a trophy. Technically I blew this race in the last 400 meters.

1984 - Second Place finish in Westminster, Maryland (Men's Stock)

1984 - Second Place - Kapona Classic - Harrisburg, PA (Men's Stock)

1995 - 205 mile bike ride over eight mountains in Pennsylvania in a single day. Bike was modified slightly.

Read more about that trip (

Oakleaf Mold said...

Pretty sure that there is a beat up old red one of these up in my mom's attic that i rode in high school and into college 1983+

Hooch said...

I have an early 1980s SOMA Sport

Kevin said...

I just saved an old Soma:

Cancunday said...

Pics of my 1977 Soma taken yesterday:

Love those chromed forks!

LizaJ said...

I have one (Soma Cosmopolitan Mixte, paid $130) I've used since 1977 (age 23!) Can I change the handlebars to comfort handlebars? is it possible? What kind would fit? I just started getting shoulder pain after rides.

Anonymous said...

I recently acquired one of these bikes, all original but had been maintained and well stored. Put on a new set of schwalbe tires and it rides like a dream. Thinking of getting rid of my 2008 Lemond, as I enjoy riding this just as much.