Monday, February 28, 2011

Soma's Oxford handlebar featured on NAHBS Best Lugged Frame!!

My boss Jim and Bradley of American Cyclery went on a little trip to the NAHBS this weekend (lucky bastards). They came back with a tales of revelry, in awe of all the great work they saw. Most exciting was the amount of Soma products they spotted!!(pics to come..promise!)

This gorgeous bike built by Bilenky Cycle Works won Best Lugged Frame. Here's the skinny:
"Brett and Shelly Horton commissioned Bilenky Cycle Works to build this “constructeur” (most pieces are handmade or hand finished) city bicycle." This bike pays homage to Art Deco movement everywhere from the script on the downtube to the lugs.

Most importantly take a close look at the cockpit...check out the mirror polished SOMA OXFORD HANDLEBARS on it!! They looks very classy with the modified Cardiff Julian grips. We at Soma are honored to be part of such a beautiful build.

We're working on a more extensive post about the show, no worries. We were pretty stoked about this though, so we wanted to get it out asap!! Stay tuned...

Friday, February 25, 2011

IRD Defiant Cranks (Triples/Doubles) In The House

Interloc Racing Design (IRD) is company that started out in the mid-80's doing the mountain bike components, however recently they are better known for their 11-34 road cassettes, quality freewheels and other knick-knacks that larger manufacturers don't care to make anymore.

When we visited American Cyclery back in November, they had a test sample of one of these Defiant "Touring Triples" on a black Double Cross frame. It definitely caught our eye. Thought it was their track crank at first. We now have a few of these ourselves to sell on the Soma Shop. The arms are cold forged before the fluting details are added. The retro design does come with some old school eccentricities: These cranks need a wider BB than usual. For most bikes, it would be 115mm spindles for the doubles (53-39t or 50-36t) and 122mm for the triple. Not a huge issue. IRD makes those, too.
The chainrings are CNC'd, ramped and pinned for modern 9/10-speed shifting and buff-polished to match the crank arms.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Soma Love + Back in Stock = Happy Tuesday

We receive lots of emails from Soma customers, we revel in all of the praise Soma gets (its MOSTLY praise). And while we love you all equally, occasionally we get love so exceptional that we feel compelled to share it. This is one of those instances (duh!). We received this email from Tyson last week:
"Dear Soma,
I just recently put to rest on of your hemp messenger bags. It had been plastered to my back for over four years. I have always been very happy with and just wanted to say thank you. I have attached what the bag looks like just to show you. Thanks again. -Tyson"

A much-loved Folsom messenger bag

Thanks Tyson, we thoroughly enjoyed your picture and story! So yes, please send us your stories/pictures of worn-to-shreds Soma stuffs.. they keep us happy.

As one Soma product is laid to rest, another is born.. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we recently worked with photographer Matt Washburn to get some sexy shots for the new Soma website (in-the-works!!). He was so taken with our beauties that in lieu of getting cash-money, he opted for a new Soma ES! He kindly sent us a picture of it all built up (build c/o the folks at American Cyclery):

This brings me to our BACK IN STOCKS, cause ES's are back in stock baby!

Soma ES's in ALL sizes!
Soma Smoothies in ALL sizes w/matching pearl white forks!
18" Soma Juices!

Soma Frame Prize Finally Gets Claimed

Over a year ago in the winter of 2009, Patrick Wilson won a raffle put on by two guys who needed money for their bike tour ( He made known he wanted a Soma Stanyan lugged frame(guys got good taste). But he never gave them an address where to send them and subsequent e-mails went unanswered.
Who wins a big raffle prize, but doesn't claim it?
Here's the "perfectly good explanation":

Patrick was an army specialist serving in Tal Afar, Iraq. At the time he was a medic with the MP's who were training the Iraqi police and army. Not too many places stocking bike parts out there.
He has been a back in States for awhile, but it was only a recently Patrick hit up the We Keep Going guys about the raffle. So Patrick will be finally able to build his new bike real soon.

"I won a So-ma! I won a So-ma!"

Army Specialist Patrick Wilson shows how Iraq looks
a little like Mars after a sandstorm.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sycip Featured In Wired Magazine

There's are pretty nice article on frame-builder and friend, Jeremy Sycip in Wired Magazine this month. Called "Frame of Mind: Inside the Art of Building Handmade Bikes", its worth checking it out even if you aren't in the market for a bad-ass custom frame. Photo: Jim Merithew/

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Mini Velo has arrived!

[UPDATE 6/2015: The Soma Mini Velo is no longer being made. The sales of our first model didn't justify keeping it going. Interestingly though, this continues to be one of our most visited blog posts. If you have ideas for your perfect mini-velo bike, please share it in the comments or e-mail us (esp. if you are in the U.S). We may choose to give it another shot in the future. Thanks.]
Meet the Mini Velo, Soma’s newest bicycle. It’s a viable solution to living a carless lifestyle in our increasingly dense cities. With a width of less than five feet it can fit where most other bicycles can’t. This style of bicycle is already a huge success in Japanese cities, where space is tight.
Being the one of the graphic designers at Soma, I was responsible for getting some shots of the Mini Velo navigating downtown San Francisco. I rode the Mini Velo for a week and I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. I wasn’t so keen on the idea of trading in my Soma Smoothie for the Mini Velo. How would it handle? Would it be comfortable?
Riding the Mini Velo was a little surreal at first. With its small wheels and compact build, it definitely feels different than any bike I’ve ever ridden. It really won me over; the Mini Velo is very responsive! Last Friday I spent the whole afternoon riding with a friend (who was on a Univega mixte) around San Francisco. There was no point in the ride that I felt uncomfortable or had any trouble keeping up. Also, I made lots of friends; San Franciscans were pretty taken with it (we even had a bike messenger do a wheelie on it).
photo c/o Alissa de Vogel

So yes, the Mini Velo is fun to ride, why else would you want it? COMMUTING IS SO MUCH EASIER! Normally when I take the BART(high-speed train in Bay Area) with my bicycle (every weekday), I’m always really stressed out that I’m going to smack one of my fellow commuters in the face when I carry it up the station stairs. When I’m navigating through station crowds I feel pretty awkward maneuvering. When I had the Mini Velo, I felt so much more at ease in these activities, I felt much more in control of my movements! Also, it takes up a whole lot less space on the train, much to my relief (and the relief of my fellow commuters I’m sure).
photo c/o Alissa de Vogel
The Mini Velo’s compact build was not only an advantage on the train, it was also a huge advantage in my apartment and it when we photographed it in my friend’s cubicle. Normally I can barely get through my front doorway with my Smoothie parked there. Moving around my apartment can be really awkward. The Mini Velo is small enough that it fades into your furnishings; it’s not a prominent feature (which in a studio apartments, bicycles definitely tend to be). And if you’ve got roommates, they will thank you! Also, while I don’t work in a cubicle, I decided to take some pictures of the Mini Velo in my friend’s. As illustrated, the Mini Velo fit very comfortably. Don’t worry about leaving your bike locked up outside all day anymore…
photo c/o Alissa de Vogel
Here’s the meat and potatoes on the Mini Velo:
The Mini Velo is our only frame sold as a complete build.It's available sizes: 48cm, 53cm, 55cm. It weighs a cool 23.5 lbs...
- Tange CrMo steel
- Sugino RD 53-39t crankset
- Micro-Shift bar end shifters
- Shimano Tiagra derailleurs and hubs (32h)
- Shimano Tiagra HG-50 11-25 9-spd cassette
- Kenda Kwest 20 x 1-1/8” tires
- Tange-Seiki RDC 1” threaded headset
- IRD Cafam Cantilever Brakes
- Cardiff Cornwall Saddle
- Kalloy quill stem
- Soma seatpost
- Fender braze-ons
Here's the Mini Velo Geometry(click to enlarge):

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Condorina, a cafe-racer style handlebar for your bicycle

Given that this handlebar was inspired by Italian motociclettas, I traveled to North Beach, the Italian neighborhood of San Francisco, to capture its sophisticated beauty. It has a very European feel: narrow streets, motorcycles, cafes and small shops with a lovely park in the center. So yes, here's the Condorina enjoying a North Beach espresso..

Here's the whole handlebar, motorcycles afficionados might see resemblance to the club man bar. We hope it will find a home on fixies, townies, and other unique bikes.

Here are the specs:
- Tange steel
- Width: 580mm
- Sweep: 15 degrees back with 5 degree drop/rise
- Center: 25.4mm
- Grip: 22.2mm

If you've already got these bars or plan to purchase them in the near future, send us some pictures! We would love to see what you've been inspired to do with them - this includes taking them out for espresso!!