Thursday, April 14, 2016

Saga DC Touring Frameset

Candlestick Point
We introduced the Saga Disc around the same time as the Wolverine. People wondered why we decided to make two different models that look so similar at first glance, and honestly we weren't sure whether we would sell enough of the Wolverines to justify it. Well as it turns out, the Wolverine has been our best selling model several years in a row, while the Saga Disc sells about as many units as the cantilever version. It's a respectable number compared to some of our weirder models like the Mini Velo or the Tradesman, but nowhere near as popular as the Wolverine. That said, we feel that there are advantages to the Saga that might make it a better choice for some riders.

2009 Saga Build from Pedal Revolution in SF
To really explain what the Saga is all about we have to take it back to 2009 when we introduced the original cantilever version.

Ocean Beach SF
Back then disc brakes for drop bars were far from commonplace, and while they worked well for our Double Cross DC, we felt that long distance tourists would benefit from the ubiquity of mountain bike rim brakes which can be found on almost every continent (maybe not Antarctica, but that's why we have fat bikes now right?).

De Young Museum Golden Gate Park SF
At the time people wondered why we were making another rim brake bike when the Double Cross already had plenty of tire clearance and rack mounts. And it's true, lots of people use the DC or for that matter the Smoothie ES for loaded touring no problem. However, when one of our customers told us he was planning to cycle across Eurasia and wanted to build the ultimate touring rig it got us thinking about how we could improve the design for fully loaded riders.

San Bruno Mountain Park
One of the simplest features that often gets overlooked is the kickstand plate. For most "serious cyclists" a kickstand is a useless accessory for kids bikes and beach cruisers. For loaded tourists it means not dumping 50+ lb. of gear on the ground every time you need to take a leak. It's also great for bike selfies. Since rear panniers often get in the way of the pedals, the chain stays are longer. This allowed us to use a proper mounting plate which prevents you from crushing the chain stays by over tightening the clamp.We also use a beefed up head tube, which makes a big difference when you need to keep two loaded panniers and a handlebar bag going straight over bumpy dirt roads.

Oyster Point, South San Francisco
When we designed the disc specific version we used one piece boomerang shaped dropouts, which work perfectly for mounting racks and fenders without the need for a bunch of flexible spacers to clear the disc caliper. They also allow you to install a Rohloff OEM2 bracket without needing a clunky torque arm strapped to the chain stay.

The disc fork is basically the same part that comes with the Wolverine. It uses a super tough Tange crown lug, which offers plenty of tire clearance and not a lick of shudder under heavy breaking. Sure, it's stiffer than the Classic Curve forks we've started speccing with a few of our other models, but come on, this is a loaded touring bike. Your tires should offer plenty of suspension, and if they don't we recommend you dispose of whatever Schwalbenental boat anchors you've got on there and try a pair of our new 42mm Shikoros or New Xpress 1.75ers.

Golden Gate Park SF
So this year we decided to combine both versions into a single model the Saga DC. Predictably there was some resistance to this. Like the Lannisters and the Targaryens, both houses have their champions, but we ever the pragmatists said f-it. It's a touring bike. It's going to have racks, bags and bottles on it, so you wont even see the brake mounts.
Looking at it another way, if you are like us and we suspect that you are, you're probably going to change your bike around a few times. Sometimes you'll want to use those Phil Wood touring wheels you took off your old Paramount 2 years ago. Sometimes you're going to want hydraulic 1x11. Done and done. If that really bothers you, and you don't think you'll ever take your bike apart, you're in luck because we still have traditional Saga complete bikes in British Racing Green. You know what else? We've got more Wolverines coming soon too. That said, if you want a bomb proof touring frameset you can't do better than Thee Olde Saga. Seriously, I've been riding around on our demo bike and even with 42mm Supple Vitesse SLs there's nowhere I can't ride this thing.

Brisbane CA
Since we know that some people just aren't going to be happy with surplus brake mounts we've decided to offer an upgrade discount on replacement forks for anybody with a Soma frame. 1 fork per frame (and you have to send us the serial number). Stay tuned for more details on that deal.

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