Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Introducing the Soma Tradesman Cargo Frameset

Prototype #2

We at Soma have been quietly exploring making cargo bikes for a while now. Soma has always first and foremost been about practical transportation and cargo bikes are definitely practical.

Our first attempt is along the traditional English "baker bike" design --- which we are calling the Tradesman.
It is designed for personal hauling rather than industrial use. Should handle well with loads around 40 to 50 lbs. It is made with light but strong Tange Infinity CrMo steel tubing. At 22" inches wide and 68" long, it'll fit through narrow apartment doorways (was developed by a 2nd floor apartment dweller). Features a large high-tensile steel platform mounted to dual horizontal stays that extend to the seat tube (the platform does not turn with the fork/handlebars).

Unlike many cargo options out there, the Tradesman will be available as a frameset only, so all you "project bike people" should to appreciate that.

- Available as frameset only (Tange Infinity butted CrMo, one size only)
- Designed for 26" rear and 20" front wheels. (Wheels may or may not be included)
- Designed for front and rear disc brakes
- Due to it's unique rake trail arrangement, it handles like a normal bike
- It's got an extra long 40mm oversize head tube for maximum cargo capacity
- Modular high-tensile steel rack. Mount wood to it. Mount a Wald 157 to it. Put a massive crate on the front.
- Kickstand plate
- Wheelbase of 1115mm
- Top tube on production models will have curve to it
- First production is only 20 units (Dealer can pre-order with Merry Sales)
- Tentative price: $600 (Update: SRP is $699)
- Tentative release date: Mid November 2011

Stay tuned for MORE cargo bike news from the SOMAfeed next week.

Prototype #1: We didn't get the fork rake right on this one.
Production model will have a curved top tube to add a
little distinctiveness to the look.
Platform will be powdercoated, too.


Anonymous said...

Top tube curved which way? Humpbacked like an old Schwinn, or saddle-backed and droopy for standover?

Which 20" wheel (I was about to assume 406, but you never know)?


Unknown said...

Is there a way to make the cargo bed Caltrain friendly?

Could it be made foldable or something to make it less wide when needed?

Stan said...

Anon: Humpbacked for a cruiser-ish look. BMX 20" wheel for decent fat tire options.

BartF: Conceptually, where there is a will there's a way, but we would need to go back to the drawing board.

rigtenzin said...

That's really nice. Another bike I want, but at least this one is practical.

Anonymous said...

Looks great, I once owned an old cycle-truck and found it very useful. My 5'3" girlfriend and 6'1" self shared it. Keeping it light and lean enough to fit into doorways etc. makes sense. I would spec. the seat-tube to fit the largest diameter seat-post available so it would be strong when extended to fit somebody tall. It would also be nice to have the option to use a rim brake on the back if one chooses. They are cheaper and easier to maintain. Any idea what size the frame will be?

Anonymous said...

Strange, that looks EXACTLY like the Ahearne Cycle Truck.

Anonymous said...

@Anon: Strange, that Ahearne looks a lot like a Schwinn Cycle Truck.

Stan said...

Hey, hey let's not fight. We admit the general design layout is much like the awesome Ahearne Cycle Truck (just one of the reasons why we are curving the top tube on the Tradesman), but we came up with the geometry for the Trademan on our own. Angles, TT length, tubing spec, even where the beam connects to the frame is probably not the same as on the Ahearne.

f said...

Fender mounts? What style rear dropouts? As a life-long rider of IGH hubs, in the rain, I await your answer with bated (not 'baited') breath

Another Fred said...

I learned about this via EcoVelo. The "Pickup Artist" model they mentioned seemed even more interesting to me.

I would like to see this bike come as a complete bike. (Personally, I'd like to see it built with affordable parts and fenders).

I've been very interested in the Civia Halstead, but unless I were to use it as my one and only bike I can't justify spending $1,125 on it. Their framestet is only $575, and I may like theirs slightly better because of the step through design. (I would want a rear rack with panniers and a cargo crate on top of the rear rack, which would make it difficult to hike my leg over the back.)

As for now, I'm waiting for someone to start releasing cargo bikes at Bikes-Direct type prices.

As was mentioned before, I think it's a NECESSITY that this bike be fender-friendly, rear rack frendly, (an integrated rear rack would be perfect), and be capable of being built with cantilevers instead of discs for us budget-minded people. It also needs a double-legged kickstand.

Overall, I'm excited about this!

Unknown said...

Forgive me , I should have made it clear that I'm only asking whether the cargo bed can be made to fold/unbolt/made narrower, not the whole frame


meade said...

at the $600 price range I would be interested in a frame. I would suggest having the frame set up for both disks and canti-brakes since many of us have a bmx wheel and old mountain rear wheels laying around but don't have a disk 20 incher or an extra set of disk brakes...

I'm not sure if I'm a fan of the curved top tube without seeing it...

Laurence @ Blacktop Cyclery said...

I vote for curved top tube (humpback) as well. Looks classic and more styled.

Martin said...

Great idea!
If this is supposed to be a practical bike then I would strongly suggest not having a 'humpback' top-tube. It only reduces standover/step-over clearance and will likely look aesthetically awkward as well as increasing cost. If you're going to go to the trouble to curve a tube, why not have it curve down from the headtube and run level/parallel by about the 1/4 to 1/3 mark back to the seat tube?
I definitely vote for canti braze-ons - they'll be effective enough for this load size that they should be an option. Or maybe a canti version later?
I'll keep my fingers crossed for a good quality, production box-bike/long-john/bakfiets as well!

Savvas said...

Slightly dumb I'm afraid to sell the frame as 'disk only'. Also the upward curving TT makes no sense - awkward for shorter folks.

Boone's Daddy said...

Love it. Saving $ now. Please make more than 20!

Marizle Farizle said...

TCB needs one of these!

Anonymous said...

I would buy one

Unknown said...

Only suggestion would be to try to get the cargo bed as low as possible for stability. I think if you angle it down through the main triangle and put a little bend in the tub, you could drop it right above the front tire...improving the design and differentiating it from the other truck bikes. The Civia Halstead has the lower cargo box, but the support is bolted on, reducing the load capacity. No charge for this one ;-)