Wednesday, December 22, 2010
First a dainty piece of bicycle history pie about Benotto Bicycles. Started in Italy by the Benotto family, they moved to Mexico in the 80's (it's rumored romance sparked the move ooo-la-la). Benotto Handlebar Tape was THE handlebar tape to have on your bike in the 70's and 80's. It's plastic, light, shiny and comes in 14 colors!!! Get it if you are into the vintage look, get it if you want something sleeker looking than cork, get thee to our store!
Benotto Tape in Blue..love that logo
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
It is with great pleasure we are releasing an updated version of the racing bars that Olympic cyclist and cycling engineer Jack Lauterwasser hand-made in the 1930's. We received a few requests a couple of years ago to reproduce this bar design. We learned the originals were much sought after by collectors. With its unusual design, we knew right away if we wanted to do this right, we would need to find one of the original bars. So we plunked down a few hundred bucks to some stranger on the internet and soon it arrived(complete with an antique bike attached no less....seller would not sell the bar separately).
We tried to keep the design fairly close to the original with modern touches to make the bar more practical. Grip OD was changed to 22.2 to fit MTB grips and the drops were lengthened to accommadate levers. The stem clamp was widened to 25.4mm (Sorry 26.0mm fans - get a shim). There were suggestions to make it narrow like a modern drop bar, but that altered the look too much.
Width is 48cm (same as our sample). Drop is 90mm. This is the first bar we are producing in both aluminum and steel. Steel version will take bar end shifters and is a little stiffer of course.
How do they ride? Well this no upright townie bar. If you compare it to a Nitto Moustache bar, it has more drop, a more forward position, and narrower. It is very comfortable to get out of the seat and mash on the pedals with this bar. Definitely more comfortable than a full-on drop bar. You can also move your hands forward to get into a more aero position when desired. We recommend a short stem to preserve the original look, but do what you want. Handling is very stable on bikes with hybrid/CX geometry.
Threw these on a friend's commuter bike for kicks.
Above: Original versions of the Lauterwasser Below: Original bar on an old Raleigh. Most
old set-ups we've seen is with a tall quill stem with super short extension. This seems to
give the most clean look, but please don't just go by looks. Figure out what works best for
your riding and your bicycle's geometry. Most likely it doesn't quite match a 1930's race bike.
(Picture courtesy of Haight Ashbury)
Now how do you pronounce the name? You don't want show off this fine bar to your buddies and murder the name when you explain it. Lauterwasser is German, so you can pronounce it "lot-ta-vossa"; however Jack Lauterwasser was born in London, England and he pronounced his name like a Cockney would ("lorda-was-suh"). An apt American pronounciation could be "lot-ter-wasser", but the others are more fun to use.
In 1928 Jack won a silver medal in the 160km road race event at the Amsterdam Olympics. He rode to and from Amsterdam. In the same year he also broke the 50 and 100 mile RRA records.
Jack learned how to build wheels in his teens but in 1929, with Olympic and record-breaking success behind him, he set up his own cycle shop in Holloway Road, London, and marketed his own brand of bikes.
His "Lauterweight" brand specialized in racing machines, the lightest of which was 17.5 lbs.
More biographical info on Mr. Lauterwasser here.
Currently available at our online shop and Rene Herse Cycles, but your LBS can get them too.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Click on image to zoom (+)
Our new 26" wheel cross-country trail bike doesn't feature any never-thought-of-before pivot locations. It doesn't have any acronyms tacked to its name. Its tubes don't have fancy bloated shapes. BUT neither does it require a mechanical engineering degree to explain how exceptional a ride it can be. While most bikes flaunt their technology (being "digital"), we search to bring out the soul of a bike ("analog").
The Analog features our time-tested spec of Tange Prestige double butted heat-treated CrMo tubing with modern XC geometry. It has a longer top tube than our Groove frame and is optimized for 100mm travel forks. We did put fender eyelets on, but we don't feel many of the buyers of this frame will use them. This frame is more about off-road fun than utility. We do want to point out the elegant Tange stainless steel Sliding Dropouts, which greatly simplifies your ability to change the build from single speed to geared. Maybe the look isn't as clean as using an eccentric bottom bracket, but they are a few grams lighter, plus this is mountain biking... how much do we care about clean?
We gave it a classic look with the panels and the blue we picked will look really nice with a Fox fork. (We are calling it "Pacific Blue" after that award winning TV show from the 90's.... with (hubba hubba) Paula Trickey and Mario Lopez) The ride is balanced and compliant and rides lighter than it actually is. It won't have the clunky overbuilt feel of some entry to mid-level steel bikes you might have tried.
Available to our distributors and shops next week.
Mission Block Party 2010:The Taco Bike, San Pancho Art Collective's new home(old morgue), free booze
The Mission Holiday Block Party was last Friday! This meant the merchants of the Mission opened their doors until 10pm, offering free PBR, 2 buck chuck and killer deals. There were gallery openings, djs spinning, and of course bizarre elements of San Francisco bike culture.
Our first stop as we made our way down Valencia Street was the Incline Gallery-new home to the San Pancho Art Collective(the group of artists responsible for the gorgeous mural on back of Mission Pie). Their current show "Something from Nothing" featured works by one of the founders Christo Oropeza and other members. We chatted with Christo for a bit and found out that the Incline Gallery used to be a morgue! If you're into art it's an awesome show...it will also satisfy those with morbid curiosity.
As we continued up Valencia and hit 16th street, we stumbled across what had to be one of the world's strangest street corners at that given moment. A man carving a toy from a giant block of wood while drunken onlookers sifted through his bag sharp tools, a four piece band (one of the pieces being an accordian)playing gypsy music, and this--all within 10 feet of each other:
The Taco Bike. Owned by Mission restaurant Weird Fish, this bike sticks to the Mission-one of the only flat neighborhoods in SF-it certainly ain't going up Nob Hill. The crowds of the Mission Block Party were delighted to see this Mercurio bike peddling squid tacos-amongst other things. There is even a condiment stand on the back wheel with a variety of salsas. Click here to see a diagram of the bike-it's pretty fascinating! Apparently these bikes are all over Mexico--they are pretty practical (in flat lands). I've been seeing/hearing about cargo bikes all over the place! How do you guys feel about them?
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Save over $100! We are closing out our remaining version 1 B-Side frames on the SomaFab Shop. It is a classy looking hardtail in a handsome Carmelized Orange paint job designed around the relatively new 650b wheel size, which is smack dab in between the conventional 26" and 29". Build it geared or single-speed. It is a nimble handling friend that rolls over roots, rock and big divots better than the common 26" wheel. It is probably the ideal bike for those who feel they don't "fit" 29ers or find their handling not as crisp as they want it to be, but still desire some of the advantages 29ers offer.
We do have other older frame colors on sale, too, but we cut the price extra deep on this one to encourage cyclists to experience this new platform.
Been on the fence on 650b?
Looking for the most bang for the buck?
Here it is staring at you in the face.
We will definitely continue with the B-Side, but we don't have an ETA of when version 2 may be ready.
Conceived by Soma these headsets are a collaboration between us and KyotoLOCO (host of the world famous fixed gear festival). These headsets are super durable! Ideal for bike messengers(naturally), fixed gear freestylers and mountain bikes-any high impact riding. Made by Tange-Seiki, we've got 1" and 1 1/8" in black, white and silver.
Here's a cutaway of the double row bearing in the lower cup.
Monday, December 13, 2010
In the British Medical Journal a doctor reports that his 27-mile commute is not speeded up by his more expensive carbon race bike.
Dr. Jeremy Groves rode his 20.9 lb. carbon framed bicycle over the same commuting route as his 29.75 lb. steel bicycle from January through July 2010. He found that the average difference in travel time was a little over 30 seconds.
Please note this was not meant to be a serious report. This is the light-hearted Christmas edition of the BMJ and, while the papers published in this edition are scientifically sound, the subject matter tends to be less-than-serious. Previous Christmas BMJs have tried determining the speed of Santa's sleigh.
Dr Groves told BikeBiz:
"I should emphasise, and this has been lost in some of the reporting by the larger news organisations, the study relates to my commuting journey and to generalise this to all trips (especially competitive cycling) on light weight bicycles is taking the study a bit far!
"I do think the point holds though, when commuting there are other influences (particularly the weather, road conditions and fitness of the rider etc) that will have a far greater impact on journey time that the weight or specification of the bicycle."
Which do I enjoy riding most? Well, after the trial I have to go for the steel bike. I get there as quickly, and it is more comfortable, better value, and has more “character.”
Which we must add, "More people should listen to their doctors."
More commentary available at Bike Biz and EcoVelo. Full test report here.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Protect your feet this winter, don't lose your boots whether they be wellie, snow, UGGs(just joking). Get yourself some Soma Deep Steel Toe Clips with a sexy chrome finish. We've got them with 2-gates or 4-gates in S/M or L/XL.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Dark, sleek, a touch frisky...we will miss you
Check out the Soma Eurotrip Fenders look nice over Soma New Xpress 700c's in Terra Cotta... The rear wheel is a Soma Iggy Wheel w/ Sturmey Archer Wide Ratio 8 speed hub. Needless to say this setup is perfect for wet winter weather...
The Soma Electric Saddle in Dominatrix Black adds some edge. The cable routing is right hand to front brake; it's cleaner and what Karl at Bicycle Times requested. The handlebars are our Soma Sparrow Handlebars in the 560mm length with Cardiff Julian Leather Grips in Black. The shifter is a Sturmey-Archer 8 speed twist shifter. Brakes are Dia-compe 610 brakes. It's set up pretty upright, but they can easily go less upright by flipping the bar and moving it down one spacer.
So long Buena Vista!!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
We are stoked when anyone purchases a Soma frame. We are especially happy when they immortalize them in art as Chris Piascik has.
Full color, 28-page zine featuring illustrations of every bike I have ever owned. Since a young age I have been completely bike crazy, because of that I’ve had lots of different bikes of all shapes and sizes. Highlights include: General Hustler, Robinson SST, Schwinn Predator, S&M Holmes, Soma Rush, Standard 125R, Milwaukee Bruiser, All-City Dropout, FBM Joint 2, Freeman Transport.
32 Bikes! Limited run of 100 copies—each signed and numbered.
Order a copy at the Print Brigade webstore!
You can preview the zine in full on Issuu.
Monday, November 15, 2010
At a loss for what to buy bike-crazed grandma for the holidays? Looking for a classy wool jersey to outfit yourself on weekend rides? Look no further than our store, which is stocked with Nitto Wool Jerseys and 100% cotton tshirts(mens and womens sizes) featuring gorgeous oil paintings by bicycle artist Taliah Lempert Anyway you spin it, these are really great and we're very happy to be carrying them.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
This happened to barista and cyclist Mike Hardy on his 27th birthday back in September. He was struck by a car riding his Soma Rush to his girlfriend's house. While paramedics were treating his injuries, the bystanders, who initially checked on Hardy after the accident, made off with his bicycle. This was all caught on a Kansas City Police Department dash camera. The video footage (click to view news story and video) shows the thieves checking the bike out for damage, then rolling off with it.
With the video footage in hand the police and Hardy hoped to be able to track down the thieves. The Kansas City cycling community and his friends had all pitched in to help get the word out on the stolen bike, which Hardy was very appreciative of. But so far, no luck.
When we heard about the incident, we tracked him down on Facebook and offered him a new frame and fork if his bike was not recovered. After giving the cops six weeks, he took us up on the offer. We also sent him a set of red Foer rims that were on the stolen bike. It will still be some time before Mike can ride, but at least he has something to look forward to when he can. We wish him a speedy recovery.
* * * * *
Mike said he and his friends lovingly built the Rush to be a racer. But we bet he didn't have a set of these new Urban Pursuit 31.8 bars. These are 31.8mm in the center for enhanced stiffness and have shorter horns than our original Urban Pursuit bullhorns. They kind of look like RB018's. These should be available in shops in a couple of weeks.
* * * * *
More new track bike news....track not tark since this show involves vintage pistas and other classic bicycles. Superb Bicycle asked us to offer up a little schwag for their vintage bicycle show, Bella Biciclette. I saw their promotional image and thought it was so cool and had to up it here.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Put together by the folks at American Cyclery in the three days after they won the World Series. This one's pretty pro. If you are a baseball fan definitely hit the "play" button. Thank you Giants for an incredible season!
Directed, shot and edited by Corbett Jones.
And remember there's always a bunch of Somas at American Cyclery.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
How do they compare with our other 3-Speed Moustache Bar
3-Speed II Bar vs. Original 3-Speed Bar
The gist of this all is that with the 3-Speed II Moustache Bar, you can add mountain grips, brake levers and shifters. Also, it's drilled for bar end shifters if you prefer..
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Touching down in the not so distant future(about a week and a half) are smartphone holders for your cockpit. We're getting them from Minoura(which is not a distant galaxy, but a Japanese bike part company). For those who use their smart phones to navigate lengthy rides through the hills of Marin or New Hampshire these are obviously a welcome alternative to pulling over every few miles to reorient.. keep your eyes on the Soma store!
Monday, November 1, 2010
I apologize for the Journey but the city is swelling with Giants pride right now and it's hard to resist. We just got these caps in, just in time for the Giants impending World Series victory tonight. Coincidence?...perhaps... Anyway, I'm totally wearing one to City Hall tonight.
Friday, October 29, 2010
We just in a bunch of treats from Sturmey Archer! The S3X 3-Speed Fixed Hubs are finally here, 120mm(in the plethora of colors pictured above) and 130 mm (in black and silver). These all come with the Sturmey SLS3X barend shifter...
Also, we got the Soma Iggy 700c and 26" Wheels with 3, 5, 8 speed Sturmey Archer hubs... find them in the new stuff.
And more Sturmey hubs:
The 8 Speed X-RF8, comes with the Sturmey twistshifter
The 5 Speed S-RF5, also includes twistshifter
The 3 Speed S-RF3, comes with the barend shifter
The XFD Dynamo front hub with a 70mm drum brake and generator
And the XFD front hub with a 70mm drum brake..
Whew!! There will be a posting later today with more stuff...including a SF Giants themed bike accessory...
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Charlie sent in this awesome picture of his Double Cross. This is atop Passo Gardena in the Dolomites. You have to blow it up large to appreciate the scenery.
Sycip Designs installed the S&S Couplers to the frame to make for cheaper and easier travelling. While he owns a carbon Madone, he says if he had a choice of just one bike it would be his Double Cross. (Charlie: Thanks for going on record with that statement. Your free trip to next year's Tour De France is in the mail)
Monday, October 25, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
This is old news for you on our Facebook group and the 1.6 million readers of Bicycling, but our do-all frame, the Double Cross, just got reviewed. They actually reviewed four CX bikes in the issue. I must say it was refreshingly awesome of them to lead with an affordable steel frame instead of the super carbon bike.
CLICK on the picture below to read the article. Click here to see the video review.
Friday, October 8, 2010
cause these saddles are electric!
Oh yeah, and we have a vimeo account now!!! We plan to start posting demos and such on it in the near future, we will keep you posted of course...
Thursday, October 7, 2010
What is Paved Magazine? It's a brand new skinny tire magazine from the editors of bike Magazine, that mountain bike publication with all the awesome photography. When the test editor at bike called me asking for a Buena Vista, our immediate response was "why" and "are you really calling from bike?" They said they were working on a special road issue and that head editor was going to the Tour of Flanders and needed something for the girlfriend to ride and they would need the frame and any parts we could get sent ASAP. So even while we were packing up the frame set to send to a mystery address in SoCal (It was not the address listed on their website or print magazine, we were thinking something smells fishy.)
And when e-mails to the test editor went unanswered, we again thought something smells fishy.
Well it turns out the smell was just us, because Paved hit the newstands last month. There is a glorious full page picture of an immaculately built Buena Vista on page 92. And there's even an article of the Tour of Flanders. Click on picture below to read the review.
Was quite impressed that they decided to do a
showcase of "street bikes" in their premiere
issue. One would expect carbon fiber
If you've been following our blog, you'll know that Moseman set off on an ambitious trek across China, Mongolia, and Russia back in April, a mostly solo journey close to 10,000 km in length. She had too cut her journey short (if you can call 7600 km, short) to take care of an emergency in Shanghai where she calls home, but she vows to finish what she started in the next couple of months. We applaud Moseman on her physical and mental tenacity and Bust Magazine for recognizing what an inspiration she is.
Click on the image below to read the article by Pheobe Magee.
(We gave her a Soma Saga for the ride,
which she calls "Lieutenant".)
Monday, October 4, 2010
Last week, these gents from Hawley (our east coast distributor) stopped in for a visit post-Interbike. These aren't just any gents, they are riding cross country..from San Francisco to Yorktown, VA! And they are doing it on Soma Double Crosses!! I just checked out their blog and right now they are in Eureka, Nevada. So in a week they've gone about 500 miles. Damn. We'll bring you all the latest and greatest news from their Cross Country/Double Cross adventure.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
We've had a busy month here! It's pretty exciting, lots of awesome new products in the Soma store... So, seriously, if you're really burnt out at work or just generally playful, I propose a game of "I Spy"..
I spy with my little eye:
Cardiff Leather Top Tube Protector (with brass snaps-yesss)
Soma Ensho Electric Saddles (there are 6 different colors...bear with me here, they've got some ridiculous/kinky names)
*Dom(inatrix) Black-inspired by the recent Folsom Street fair, oh snap..
*Mutha of Pearl-I've had this one on my bike for the last few weeks and it's had lots of admirers..it's the belle of the freakin ball.
*Gloss Red-this one is mounted on the NEW Soma ZO seatpost. The seatpost also comes in silver and black.
*Blue Snakeskin-made from Vince Neil's old pants
*Anti-Freeze Yellow-it glows...
Pake RMX Stem Inspired by Nitto's old MT-16 BMX stem; great stem for fixed gear freestyle or BMX
Pake Alloy Track Frameset! Lightweight butted aluminum frame with no goofy shapes matched to a carbon fork that’s raked for track-like handling, but it will still take brakes. Don’t call this one ‘tarck’. It would love some time in the velodrome.
Cardiff Leather Bar Tape We've got seamless and seamed. Both awesome of course, no seams means no fraying!
Palmy ULocks in Black and White I like these the best of the bunch..
Seatcap Latex Seat Cover Who else is going to protect your leather saddle from Father Winter?!
Pake Urban Chains 1/8", 4 colors, snazzy...
Cardiff Saddles in Moss Green We've got the Mercia saddle (copper rivets) and Cornwall (steel rivets) in Moss Green.
And the Cardiff Leather Trouser Strap With reflective area like other trouser straps...but since its leather you could keep it on during your business lunch at the Four Seasons. I think.
Thanks for playing, it was fun...and if you don't feel like sorting through the store to find these treasures, don't worry, they're all in the new stuff section..
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The guys from Tange paid us a visit this weekend after Interbike. Lucky for us, they didn't come empty-handed. Their bounty included this tubular chromoly crank. It's really stiff AND it's weight is acceptable. Now comes its real test though...what do you guys think of it?
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The first one is from Bicycling Magazine who just finished reviewing a traditional Double Cross. This is probably the first in-depth review on a Soma frame in this the most widely circulated bike magazine in the U.S., which made one of our dealers exclaimed "about 9 years overdue". We think Michael Frank did a fairly awesome job on this review.
The second one is from Mtnbikeriders.com who reviewed a Double Cross DC built with a flat bar set up. It's just a short ride video. RL seems to have no problems keeping up with his buddy on hardtail mountain bike. The in-depth review can be found here.
Friday, September 17, 2010
This is my new Smoothie, still nameless, that was birthed this Sunday. Up until then I had been trucking around on a Peugeot mixte (a lovable bike until you're cursing it as you scaling one of SF's hills) . It's not fair to compare these two bicycles but I will say that since Sunday I have been a born-again biker.
First a few words on the Smoothie:
Let me preface this by saying I'm one of the graphic designers here at Soma. I've been here for 5 months now and before then my bike knowledge was scant. I'm at a conversational level in bike language. I love riding though, and I've started to appreciate the technical aspects of biking more since working here.
Smoothie definitely lives up to its name, my neighborhood is rife with potholes but since Sunday, riding's been a whole lot more enjoyable. While my Peugeot (Lucille 2) lagged on hills, climbing with the Smoothie is a breeze (maybe I should name it Ms. Moss). I love it so much that I keep it in my office with my all day-it's too beautiful to be tossed about in the communal bike parking area.
Why did I wait 5 months for biking bliss? As I mentioned above, having just stepped off the plane in Bike Land, the idea of building a bike was intimidating. I have become more comfortable with the parts, knew what I wanted in a bike and felt I was at the point when I could make a thorough shopping list.
My Shopping List:
Soma Smoothie Frame 54 cm (I'm 5'7") in Pearl White
Soma Fork 1 1/8" CroMo Lug White
Soma Thick and Zesty Bar Tape in Pear Green
Soma Toe Clips 2-Gate Chrome
Nitto Dynamic 626 Seatpost
Tange Headset Threadless in Black
The new silver Soma Shotwell Stem
Nitto Noodle Handlebar 41/26.0
Soma New Express Tires 700x26 w/ Skin Wall
Soma Ensho Saddle --the new Electric line in "Mutha of Pearl"(ridiculous saddles call for ridiculous names)
The SRAM Apex Group
and Velocity Deep-V rims
I love the Smoothie in Pearl White because of the versatility you have with handlebar tape and saddle color (as I mentioned, I'm a designer). I chose kind of crazy colors, I know, bright colors please me. My coworkers have given me a lot of grief over the tape/saddle combination... there's quite a variety of white Smoothie builds out there-check out our flickr pool. The possibilities are endless!
Having never built a bike before but wanting to get a taste of the process, I lured my coworker Keith (the resident mechanic) into helping me (his only currency is beer). We listened to some Lisa Lisa and Keith built my bike-explaining the process along the way. If you're a novice to building, I definitely recommend having a mechanic help you-it's pretty complicated and involves a few of odd/expensive tools.
Here are some pics from the process:
The first trimester
Keith pressing the headset
Shotwell Stem and fork... lost without their frame
Prepping the fork...
The third trimester...OOO!!!
Yes, building a Soma is intimidating to those unfamiliar with the process (me and many others). Yes, it would have been easier to head down to the local bike shop/shop the interwebs and pick up a Trek or Specialized bike already built. But when you assemble your own, every time you ride it you will be in heaven-relishing every decision you made. And Somas are so much more awesome!!
That's all....I promise. Have a great weekend, and for the love of Mike, go test ride a Soma!