When we launched Soma with just four frames back in 2001, the Double Cross was always meant to be our most versatile frame, the one that flew that "jack of all trades" flag: Commuter, long distance road, light touring, trail riding and CX racing. It fit tires up to 700 x 38mm with fenders at a time there were hardly any performance tires in that size. You could build it with drop bars or flat bars with no one giving you grief.
It was based off the cyclo-cross bike, because that was the category of bike that could adapt to all of the above the easiest, but in the last few years, we have seen the gravel bike really shine as a "do-it-all" platform.
They have a slightly lower bottom bracket height, so that improves their on-road handling loaded or unloaded over a CX bike. Their slacker head angles reduce toe overlap with beefier tires. And while early gravel designs started out twitchier handling than CX bikes, many of them now have longer wheel bases and slacker head angles, so they are easier to manage in deep gravel.
The new Double Cross is unabashedly "gravel" and we tried to put it squarely between "racing gravel" bikes and "backcountry bikepacking" gravel bikes. We didn't want to alienate those who love the Double Cross for its agile, unloaded handling on smooth trails and pavement.
What did we change:
1) Head angle is half a degree to one degree slacker, which puts the trail number at about the same as mid-90's XC bike. Chainstay length remains the same to keep things agile.
2) Bottom bracket drop is 4mm lower on most sizes. ( The largest sizes keep the 66mm drop in case long-legged cyclists want to run 180-185mm crank arms.)
3) New color matched fork: We wanted to add 3-pack mounts and a simple unicrown fork design clashed less those mounts than the previous lugged crown, curved blade design. We specced a smaller diameter Infinity tube than our aftermarket straight blade CX fork. It is stiffer and lighter than the lugged crown fork. It will fit a pannier rack too, just not with cargo cages mounted.
As before, the fork is optional.
Other options: If you are OK with a black or chrome fork, you can opt for our Lugged Crown CX fork, our low trail Champs Elysees fork, or our All-Road Carbon Fork.
4) Added a third water bottle boss to the downtube. This used to be as unfashionable as having a kickstand, but thankfully no longer.
5) Slightly more stack on some sizes.
6) We debated whether to jump to thru-axles, 44mm headtube and flat mount brakes. We even asked for your opinions on social media. We decided to run with the tried and true standards (QR hubs, IS disc) for at least one more generation. This allows for customers to use parts in their garage and just allows for a lighter, more nimble bike.
7) We ovalized the top tube so it is wider than tall. It is better for shouldering the bike in cyclo-cross, but we mainly did it to eek out some torsion stiffness in the front triangle.
8) It has more peripheral clearance for 650b x 47mm tires. Will fit up to 700c x 45mm tires with 1x drivetrain.
9) MATTE PURPLE: After 8 straight years of black and shades of gray and silver, we wanted to have something fun this year.
Available October 4, 2020.