Monday, June 30, 2014

Racing the Boggs 8-Hour on the B-Side

by guest writer,  Uri Friedman, owner of  Swell Cycles

Boggs is an 8 hour mountain bike race that takes place every Spring in Cobb, a tiny 5 x 5 mile town
100 miles north of San Francisco. Over the years, it has become one of my favorite bike races because of the beautiful location (of which you can camp out for 1 or 2 nights before and after the race), fun course, and awesome fellow riders. With just 2 months of opening and running our (Will Rose and I) new shop, Swell Bicycles, I thought the odds pretty slim that I'd have the opportunity to continue my love affair with Boggs for the 4th year running. Plus it sells out hella quick, and just like every year, was sold out within weeks.

That was until a friend Sasha Magee, who races for Super Pro team, came by to check out the new shop and mentioned he was racing as part of a two-person single speed team but his partner had broken their collarbone and, der, could no longer ride. We knew what we had to do: Enter the race together and make an epic team name that would be hard to forget: Short Guys with Russian Names.

Now I had one month to dial in a sweet ride and get some extra dirt miles in to prep. I have been a loyal rider of 650b wheeled mountain bikes for several years, but as a necessary contribution to the bike shop starting gods, I sold my uber limited Ridley Ignite carbon single speed bike, and thus was without a mtb bike in which to race with. Knowing my criteria for a ride: steel frame, reasonably priced, sliding drop outs to allow for single speed, and good looking. The B-Side from Soma Fabrications was the first option that came to mind as it meets all the requirements and is designed locally by the savy folks at Merry Sales in South San Francisco.

Within a day of picking my new the B-Side up it was built up and slaying trails on Mt. Sutro. I was impressed with how well it handled and the confidence I immediately felt. I could believe how well it cornered! I was set.

Fast forward to two weeks later and Sasha, his partner Kelly and I were on our way to Boggs Demonstration Forest on Boggs Mountain, near Clear Lake. After 3 hours on some windey ass streets, we drove through Cobb, where the streets seemed to be filled with tough looking men and even tougher women. With several hours of sunlight left, we set up camp and chowed down. I brought me some quinoa, steamed vegetables, and avocado and while it was tempting to hang out with the Super Pro crowd and drink into the night, having been my 4th year at this race, knowing full well what the next morning feels like with a Super Pro party under my belt, I opted to retire early. The night after the race seemed a better option for campfire time, anyways.

The 5:30am alarm came as early as I expected. My typical pre-race meal is a 24oz. smoothie consisting of green juice, coconut juice, yogurt, flax oil, chia seed, avocado, and brown rice protein mix. I also ate a Nana Joe’s Swell bar to add some solid food with more carbs and fats. The next most important part of my morning is getting a huge cup of coffee brewed. Fueled up I begin doing reps of the start climb to get warm. 

The race start is similar to a pack of Tasmanian Devil's traveling together complete with mini tornado of dust surrounding us. 

My first lap goes pretty well and I’m feeling strong. Then something happens over lap two where I gradually start feeling sluggish. I exchange with Sasha and return to camp to stretch, change, and eat. Crucial to a racing on a team is never loosing track of your calculation of when you teammate will come through ready to exchange. Checking my chain I’m relieved to discover it wasn’t entirely me sucking. Turns out: my chain tension was a bit on the tight side and I get to work readjusting it.

After the second exchange and I stop by to check the standings. I’m pumped to see that we are currently third in our category and second place is really close. And when Sasha rolls in and he has just barely gotten us in front of the former second place team!

We have now done 5 laps each and I wait for Sasha to roll though and see if he’s ready to keep going or wants to switch. Sure enough he has crushed his lap and put us back in the 2nd place spot but wants to exchange. The motivation to hold on is strong and I begin the lap right behind Matthias Behrens, solo single speed racers extraordinaire. His pace is perfect and I follow as best as I can and finish my lap with plenty of time to spare to retain our position in 2nd place!

This marks my third podium at Boggs, all in the two-person single speed category. While the competition has gotten stronger over the years, thanks to Sasha’s strong riding Short Guys with Russian Names are on the podium. Beers, food, and shenanigans around the campfire follow.

Sunday morning came, and we started it off right with a big ol' plate of fried eggs, toast and avocado. A group then meets up for a lil' recovery ride around the park. I feel so fortunate to be in such an amazing place and able to enjoy not 1 but 2 days of world class riding and hanging out with friends before returning to San Francisco. Want to hear more about Boggs or interested in bike racing? Come by the shop at 41st and Irving St, or holla at us on ze book of Face

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Grand Randonneur with Tanaka 650b fenders

Tanaka 650b ivory fenders.

50mm wide fenders fit best with 38-42mm.

Fits perfectly on the Grand Randonneur without using spacers.

New 2 bolt style hardware clamps are easier to install and prevent cracking.

Includes leather washers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grand Randonneur via Saturday Cycles

We recently built this sweet Grand Rando for our customer Anna.


- Berthoud fenders

- Dynamo with Schmidt headlamp

-Soma Wingmann Light Mount

- Sella Anatomica Saddle

- Grand Bois Hetre 650b x 42mm

- Sugino XD Triple Crankset

- Rivendell Silver Shifters

Mark Kennedy

Salt Lake City, Utah

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Alex's G'Rando by Back Alley Bikes

Hey there,

I just wanted to share the Soma Grand Randonneur build I've been rolling on the past six months or so. Special thanks to Back Alley Bike Repair and Swift Industries of Seattle for getting me set up!

Rubber side down,


Monday, June 16, 2014

Michael's B-side Hardtail Build

Completed and test ridden.....


Climbing, handling, general feel; are all awesome

The fork and damping characteristics of the CroMo frame created a rolling lounge chair

So comfortable after my ancient Klein 

What can I say, this is an awesome bike and I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out

Deore XT drivetrain with the exception of the Race Face Turbine crankset, Deore XT brakes and integrated shifters, Fox Float 32 120 fork, Nukeproof wheel set, Nukeproof stem, bars, and seat post, Cane Creek 40 tapered headset, Specialized Bennie's pedals, Conti X-King 2.4s, and WTB saddle off my son's fat bike 

Thanks again for an outstanding product

Michael B Brown

Friday, June 13, 2014

Jason's 650b Double Cross Disc from Melbourne

Hi Evan

Just wanted to update you on a my winter project - my Soma Double Cross Disc. I've finally had this built up at Commuter Cycles, Melbourne - one of the most helpful, knowledgeable and friendly bike shops around. 

Highlights of the build include:

- Grand Bois Hetres 650B tyres, set up tubeless on Stan's Flow rims and XT hubs
- Sugino OX601D crankset (46/30)
- TRP Spyre disc brakes
- SRAM Rival drivetrain, including WiFli rear derailleur and cassette
- A little gold bling (Jagwire brake cables and KMC chain) but no chrome (as far as possible, anyway)!

It's an amazing ride - fits me like a glove, in part thanks to the bike fit I did at Commuter Cycles before I selected all of the components. With the Hetres, its like rolling on a cloud, but ... fast. 

I'm planning on mudguards and front racks/panniers for an overnight countryside ride soon. Let's hope I get winter weather on that ride like I did when I took these photos today!


Melbourne, Australia

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Soma Battleaxe Fatbike Frameset

I've been dying to share this for a really long time.

So here it is, the first bonafide Soma fatbike, aka the Battleaxe.

The fork is also called Battleaxe and we have them in stock as of now. We originally designed them for the Juice to be used in lieu of a suspension fork for bike packing, so they'll work well on many existing 29ers. Uses a 135mm rear single speed hub and it will clear a 26 x 4" or a 29 x 3".

ISCG 05 tabs for mounting a chain guide. You probably can't tell from the pictures, but the angles on this are slacker than most fatbikes right now. This ain't no cross country bike; it's made for the hill bombing.

Split slider dropouts like the Wolverine for belt drive compatibility.

Tapered headtube, cuz that's what folks are doing nowadays. It still works with zerostack cups for 1 1/8" forks. It'll also handle them new Rock Shox Bluto forks that you might have seen on the internets.

This one is headed over to the rad folks at Cycle Monkey for a test build. We also got a nifty inverted style suspension fork to try out on it. Keep 'em peeled for more on this project.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Soma NYC Photodump Part 1

I know I said I would post these a couple weeks ago. Sue me. It's been busy out here. Anyhow, here's the goods.

The first day of the trip began a little way outside Hackensack New Jersey. I was lured into a local diner by this awesome sign. 10 points if you know what that's about.

I won't attest to the accuracy of this, but it was very authentic. They had a number of signed picture of celebs including Robert De Niro on display.

You have to love the Art Deco metal work in here; just gorgeous. I got the sense that the same folks that were eating breakfast had been coming there for years.

This was my first time in New Jersey, so I wasn't sure what to expect. My friends who come from NJ assured me that they no longer practice human sacrifice or cannibalism.

Here's our little Soma table at the Action Bicycles Expo.

I gave away a couple hundred stickers, Soma and New Albion catalogs and got to meet a lot of great folks from shops around the New York Metropolitan Area. Thanks to everybody for coming out!

Had a couple minutes to walk around and check out some of the other vendors that were there too. Thompson brought all the bling.

Maxxis had some nice skinwall 29er tires on display too.

After the show I grabbed my Chrome backpack and hit the road. Riding through NJ was a surprisingly pleasant experience.

The view of Manhattan from the NJ side of the Hudson River was quite imposing. Makes SF look like a fishing village by comparison.

Hopped a ferry across the river to Lower Manhattan.

The weather looked a bit ominous, but the temperature was actually very mild.

I snuck through the snarl of traffic and made it past all the tourists across the Manhattan bridge over to Brooklyn. After dropping off my bag and taking a quick shower I took off for a night ride to explore the city. Stay tuned for part 2.