Wednesday, April 16, 2008

SOMA Love

Since signing on to ride the PMC this coming August, I have been in the market for a new road bike. I searched high and low, but the bike I really wanted didn't seem to exist off the shelf. I was looking for a steel-framed bike, with less-aggressive touring geometry, quality components (Campagnolo or at least Shimano 105), and since this would also become my daily commuter bike, I wanted the ability to mount fenders and 32c tires if needed. Oh yeah, and I only had so much money to spend. I looked at Surly's Long Haul Trucker and Cross-Check (I dig the Surly ethos, plenty of tire clearance, but rode like a tank, and low end Shimano Tiagra kit), the Bianchi Volpe (great price, I love Bianchi, but this one just didn't fit, and same cheap Tiagra components as the Surly), and the Trek 520 (quality components, but too much of an all-out touring bike for my needs). Most off the shelf bikes that seemed to fit my needs were cyclocross bikes, but I was really looking for something with more relaxed geometry, longer chainstays, better suited for centuries and light touring. I considered a custom bike from Ira Ryan, Circle A, or Independent, but I knew it just wasn't in the cards this year, someday. The solution was a frame from the good folks at SOMA Fabrications in San Franciso, and handpicking the components from my local bike shop. I ended up going with the Soma Smoothie ES frameset, Campagnolo Mirage kit, Salsa Delgado wheels (bomb proof), and rounded out the ride with Bontrager Race-Lite bars, stem, and seatpost. All said and done, I spent a little more than I would have for the Trek, but I now have a bike that fits me and my needs. I have to thank George and Sam at my LBS for hooking me up with the Bonty carbon fork (for the same price as a steel fork), and for helping me pick everything out and making it fit like my favorite pair of jeans. I will post a real review after my first long ride this coming weekend, but for now I feel like an 8-year-old again, who just received his first BMX. Remember that feeling? Bikes rule.

Listening to: Tool- Undertow

6 comments:

Sean said...

Very nice, maybe not as versatile but better than the Volpe for sure.

Congratulations.

Rambling Canuck said...

Sweet ride! I'm so jealous. I've been meaning to get a road bike but it will have to wait. With our upcoming move to LO (at some point this summer) I'll be only a few miles from the office, which means I'll be back into riding again. I was looking at some Konas the other day. I liked what I saw for the price.

JMH said...

Yeah, Konas kick ass. Local NW company (Bellingham) and they spec out their bikes with better than average components. I looked at a couple of their road bikes (Sutra, Zing?, & Jake the Snake), but they just didn't have quite what I was looking for. If I was ever to buy a new mountain bike, I would definitely get one.

Rambling Canuck said...

BTW: Diggin' Tool's Undertow? Good stuff, eh?

fern said...

SOMAs are a great deal. Picking out bikes is one of the funner things to do in life...even more fun when you get to choose the components, too.

When you going to post that review?

JMH said...

Fern- Not to worry, a proper review is in the works. I want to get a few more long rides in first. I just finished my first group ride tonight (30 miles) and I feel great, so the fit is spot on. Not sure how I feel about riding in a group though, a little intimidating.