Thursday, August 17, 2023

Adventure Cyclist Reviews the Soma Jawbone B-Type Bikepacking Frame


Northern California native Corey got a chance to review our Jawbone earlier in the year for Adventure Cycling Association's print mag for members, Adventure Cyclist.

We don't want to print the whole review, but here are some highlights:

The B-Type is for parts-bin tinkerers, single-speed devotees, and world tourers who may be attracted to the internal hub compatibility and the simplicity

The frame felt responsively and pleasantly compliant

For a touring bike, the Jawbone climbs well. With the high-volume 29 inch tires, it felt playful and paved and unpaved climbs.

The Jawbone's stack is high, but not so high that you couldn't build it with a fair amount of saddle-to-bar drop.

... a reliable companion for spins around your local trails, and it'll really shine when you have a chance to sink your teeth into a big multi-day ride.

The bike was built with Shimano GRX shifters and derailleurs, IRD Vortex 46-30t crank (GRX crank doesn't fit a 73mm BB shell), Ritchey Butano bars, Newbaum's Cushioned Cotton Bar Tape, WTB saddle and Maxxis Rekon 29 x 2.25" tires set up tubeless.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

2023 Colorways for the Soma Wolverine

New Wolverine 4.1 A-Type Build
by Jon Bobel/Beat Cycles

The Wolverine, our gravel/monster cross model, is almost 10 years old!

For its 10th birthday, we decided to bring back the popular Pumpkin Orange paint we introduced the model in. It just has a sunny, positive vibe that we always loved. The Pumpkin Orange is going on only the A-Type, non-belt-drive model that has adopted more modern hub and headset standards. It is slightly easier to find high end wheels or a carbon fork for this model.

The B-Type, the belt-compatible version, that also fits QR hubs and EC34 headsets, is now offered in a green-tinted gray, we are calling Lunar Rock. The B-Type will continue to be offered with two different matching fork options. The lugged crown curved blade fork is classier and more comfortable. The unicrown is less flexy and more confident at speed and during hard braking. You need to figure out what camp you are in.

The Wolverine has been praised by many as our most versatile platform and the variety of bikes that shops and individuals have built them into often amazes us. 

  • Gravel adventure bike 
  • Light touring bike
  • Endurance road bike
  • Single speed CX bike
  • Foul weather Commuter with Alfine internal geared hub and fenders
  • Ultimate tourer with Rohloff hub and belt drive
  • 700c wheels, 650b wheels, road bars, gravel bars, riser bars, alt bars, rando bag and mini racks, bikepacking bags, full front and rear touring racks.

Looking forward to seeing more incredible uses in the next few years.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Meet the Adventure-Ready Soma Jawbone

Over the years, we at Soma have been truly amazed at how the modern bicycle has allowed all types of folks to travel the across continents and be immersed and mesmerized by the great outdoors even as much of humanity is often living in more and more in urban and suburban sprawl. Whether you enjoy the camaraderie of a weekend bikecamping trip or are hooked on doing week-long solo adventures, we salute you. And your passion encourages us to build better tools for the experience.

While our popular Wolverine monster cross frame and our Juice and Riff hardtails are super-capable for the majority of cyclotourists and bikepackers, we recognize there are many of you - after being out a different trips on different terrain and riding different bikes - find themselves wanting more of one thing and maybe less of another. 

Basic idea: A drop bar bikepacking/touring bike that fits true mountain bike width tires (up to 29 x 2.25" and 27.5 x 2.6" with decent mud clearance -- depending on frame size and drivetrain choice). 

Why would I try this over using a Wolverine, a gravel or CX bike for bikepacking?
- More stability while loaded thanks to a longer wheelbase and slightly stiffer design
- Tackle more rugged conditions with fatter tires 
- More three pack mounts

Why would I try this over a Juice or Riff or other hardtail frame for bikepacking?
- You don't think you need a suspension fork and you want to run drop bars
- Slightly lighter in weight
- More room in the front triangle for gear
- More responsive handling on asphalt 
- More sizes for better fit
- Geometry has higher stack to make it easier to use the drops on drop bars

Why would I try this over a Saga Touring Frame or similar heavy duty touring frame?
- Not super stiff, so still enjoyable to ride off-road unloaded or to commute on.
(We don't tout the Jawbone as a traditional touring frame, but it can do the job, if you can live without a kickstand.)

While it seems the Jawbone might be simply a mash between the Wolverine and the Juice, the geometry is designed from a clean slate. Stack is higher than either to make it easier to build a bike where the riders can more comfortably run drops high enough so the drops are more practical to use. This also creates a large space in the triangle for frame bags and gear. Please look carefully at the geometry chart when selecting a size, even if you have owned a Wolverine or Saga before.


The Jawbone is offered in two versions. 

The A-Type is for those who feel a simpler design with less moving parts makes for a more reliable, thus better touring bike. It also adopts more current standards like thru-axles, which offer a stiffer connection to the wheel.

The B-Type is for those who like to tinker and appreciates practical bells and whistles. The Broski thru-axles allow to run the bike with derailleurs or geared hubs like Rohloff and if either fails on a trip, it can be run as a single speed. The sliders on the B-Type allow you shorten the chainstay to 435mm for a sportier ride or 455mm for a more stable ride.
The B-Type maintains compatibility with QR wheels standard. We know there are quite a few of you who find QR wheels quite reliable for long distance touring and gravel. It is the technology you know and it is still easy to find and cheap to replace.

Find out more at

Optional fork for A-Type:
Steve Potts Type II-R MTB fork. Unique looks. Note: Unlike the frame having flat mount ,
the fork has an IS mount. This makes it easier to run a 180mm rotor, if that is your choice.

Optional fork for B-Type:
Simple efficient unicrown design. Has three-pack mounts angling rear and front.
Plus dedicated pannier rack mount on inside and outside the leg.

Jawbone B-Type Build (Size 54cm)

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The Soma Gullwing Bar: The Answer to One of the Most Asked Questions on Bike Forums

There are inventions from the 20th century that - when you first look at them - you aren't sure whether they are super cool or a little wacky. The "gullwing" feature on 1950's era Mercedes 300SL is one of those inventions. Of course some of these 300SL's go for over a million dollars to collectors and then there is the Delorean and the new Tesla, so maybe cool has won out.

The Soma Gullwing Bar is definitely going to get second glances like those vintage Mercedes, because of its unusual look and questionable purpose. It is essentially a flat bar designed to allow you to run drop bar STI levers. 

Bike forums are full of threads asking how to run road "brifters" on flat, riser, moustache and pursuit bars and full of threads where valiant cyclists have tried, but the results were usually between "less than ideal" and "more than a little entertaining". So we kind of knew what we were getting into releasing this in the States.
This bar was actually designed by our Japanese distributor and they asked us whether we would like to sell it here. (They also designed our 1st gen Condor Bar)

It does address the bar diameter needed to install a brifter and adds a bend so the lever doesn't bottom out against the bar. And it looks kind of sleek if you forget that the levers are oriented not the usual way, especially on current STI's.

The bar has a 30mm rise and comfortable 25ยช back sweep. Harder to see in photos is the 7° drop at the grips which suits a semi-aggressive ride position and puts your wrists in a better angle to operate the levers. 

The brake lever hoods can be used as a secondary place to rest your hands and to get more aero. Hood position feels similar to a 38cm road bar, which is fine, since this is not meant to be the primary hand position. It's more of a position to get a little aero.

Grip section is 22.2mm OD, so you can either run MTB grips or bar tape.

Straight section near the clamp is 110mm wide, which gives some room for accessories or possibly aero bars.

Lastly how comfortable it is depends on how high your stem is already and how close the bars are. The levers would normally be mounted at a flat angle, so for your fingers to activate the shift paddles it is best if your forearms are at nearly parallel angle to the levers (zero to 20 degrees). Any higher an angle and some of you may experience tension in arms or fingers over time. Get the set-up right and you should get more braking leverage than you get from braking from the hoods on your drop bar.

If you are moving away from your drops primarily to sit more upright, you may still want to add a stem with rise. (The Gullwing has a 30mm rise, but that isn't a ton) 

BUT if your goal is to add steering control and stability to your gravel bike that you sometimes ride singletrack with, the Gull Wing could be the perfect choice, if you don't want to buy new flat bar shifters.

Designed in Japan by Tokyo San Esu.

• Width: 620mm
• Center: 31.8mm OD
• Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum
• Rise: 30mm (with 7° down slope at grips)
• Backsweep: 25°
• Grip OD: 22.2mm
• Lever mounting area OD: 23.8mm
• Weight: 290g

*** Not feasible to use with Campagnolo Ergo levers, L-Twoo, or other models where one of the shifters is on the inboard side of the lever.