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  1. #1
    x37
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    Soma Smoothie ES as commuter?

    I'm thinking of building a commuter bike with a Soma Smoothie ES frame. Are Somas good frames? And is a touring frame such as the Smoothie ES the best choice for commuting? Are there any other frames in the same price range that I should consider? Thanks.

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    The ES is a sport/light touring/club racer style of bike , not really a full-on touring bike.
    I use this style (with a no-name frame) and think it is ideal for everyday use. Mine takes a 32mm tyre + fenders.

  3. #3
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    The Tange tubeset is great, and most people I know love their somas. They are a good deal for the money, and they are pretty good looking machines. If you're buying a frame only, I'd recommend checking it out in person, if possible, or having someone check it for you.

    The Smoothie (straight-up) frameset for my wife that I ordered had some fuuugly and sketchy welds, and the back brake bridge was brazed crooked. That was a deal breaker, and I'm waiting to see what the replacement is like.

    All of the Somas I've seen so far have had nice paint jobs, but pretty ugly welds, if you care about that sort of thing. Shouldn't affect the performance, I don't think.

    There are a bunch of companies that do road frames w/ clearance and eyelets in that price range, Surly is the other main one, IRO if you want to go single speed

  4. #4
    x37
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    Thanks for the input.

    A light touring bike does seem ideal for commuting. After all, I'm not riding 50 miles every day.

    I like what I see on the Soma website, but if their welds are dodgy, then maybe I should look at frames from a different company. On the other hand, there's a Soma dealer in my city, so I could inspect the frame before I bought it.

    I was ready to go with a Surly Crosscheck frame, but it seemed a bit heavy and was more expensive than the Soma.

    I'm also still debating whether I want to go geared or single speed. I like the simplicity and feel (not to mention the money savings) of the SS, but I worry that it won't be versatile enough and that I will eventually find myself in a situation where I need or want more gears.

    I notice that Bianchi, Kona, Redline, and Raleigh are all making SS commuter bikes. I wonder if a complete bike is the better way to go.

  5. #5
    B.C. to D.C.
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    I'd *definitely* go check out the Soma in person with attention to what I posted. My probs. may have just been random ones that slipped through QC. Like I said, everyone I know who has them seems to like them pretty well.

    As for versatility, well, there's always the Surly Crosscheck. Can't really beat that for versatile.

    You could always trawl around on CL for a used road frame with horizontal dropouts--then you could SS/fix/gear out to your heart's content for way less than the cost of a new frame. With patience and luck you could score a mint complete (my cherry miyata nine 14 comes to mind).

    The only reason I ordered a new frame for my wife is that second hand frames in 700c with sub-29" clearance are impossible to find.

    Whether or not to go complete or not I think depends on how many usable components you've got lying about.

  6. #6
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    The Somas I have seen in person seem like very nice frames at their price point. I am at the moment enamored with their red fixed gear frame.

    Being a cheapskate, I would likely do some looking for a nice old steel touring frame first if I were in your shoes, but the Soma is likely a good choice if you want a new frame.

  7. #7
    x37
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    I don't have any components lying about, but buying a complete bike seems kind of boring. That said, I can't really argue with most of the components on, say, the Volpe.

    I agree that a cheap used steel touring frame would be best, but I haven't been able to find anything suitable in my area.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Warmonger's Avatar
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    Soma es

    I too have been eyeing a used SOMA ES Smoothie where I live.
    Prior to then, I had no idea of SOMA nor of fixie speed types.
    I am utterly in love with it but despite being used (impeccable condition) it is over 800 bucks.
    I know better than to shell out money over something my heart rather than my head wants.
    From the commentary here it appears SOMA has a good reputation.
    I have checked Craigs list and e-bay for SOMA's and only a handfull of very expensive SOMA's and too tall for me, appear.
    Any suggestions where to go for an already built fixie SOMA type? One that will not leave me homeless.
    I need it for city use, flat paved road/sidewalk. What's the advantage of one fix speed bike like this?

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    I just received a Smoothie ES frame in the blue color- all the welds looked fine and paint quite handsome. Also, as far as I could tell it was well aligned. Applied some framesaver on the inside. Collecting some components to do the build, hope to have it running in the next couple of weeks. Going to commute with it and do some CC tours.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I have never heard complaints about Soma build quality before. However, also check out the Salsa Casseroll for a sport touring frame that would be great for commuting. Kona ***** Tonk is another inexpensive option.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Warmonger's Avatar
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    Martianone, is your new ES a fixie?
    That is what I am exploring to get so I am interested in hearing from fixie owners or ex-owners

  12. #12
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    My Soma Double Cross has been great. I used it for commuting last year, but now use it mostly for Long Distance events. I've put 4800 miles on mine in 12 months. Weld quality is not an issue and I've had no problems. The paint has been durable and this bike has not been babied.

    I've done my first Century ride and Double Metric (127 miles) this year. The ride comfort is exceptional and the bike is versitile. It's not only a great bike, it's an addiction.

    I have often asked myself if the Smoothie ES might have been a better Sportive bike. It might be a little more stable than the Double Cross, but my Double Cross provides hands free stability at 30 mph .

    Last year;



    This September;

    Last edited by Barrettscv; 09-29-09 at 01:34 PM.
    2012 Pedal Force CG2: "Secolo Bicicletta" the modern carbon fiber road bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1fkngwarmonger View Post
    Martianone, is your new ES a fixie?
    That is what I am exploring to get so I am interested in hearing from fixie owners or ex-owners
    1FK:
    No, sorry not a fixie. The build is 2x9 with 105 level components.

  14. #14
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    I was considering a Surly Pacer, but eventually went with the Soma Smoothie ES and the carbon fork option. The Soma's been pretty good. I could even do some cyclocross with it, it can handle 34mm 'cross tires with the fenders off. Here it is with 700 x 28s and the narrowest SKS full fenders, chillin' in the garden:



    One of the nice things about the silver frame is that silver reflective tape (Reflexite V82 in this instance) blends in pretty well



    I usually use a rigid mountain bike for grocery hauling, but yesterday I took the Soma. With two panniers, a U-lock, and maybe 15 pounds of food in back, it was still stable. If I could change anything on this frame, I'd like:

    1) a separate seat collar, instead of built-in ears for a 6mm bolt

    2) a third bottle mount on the underside of the downtube

  15. #15
    Senior Member Warmonger's Avatar
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    This is what I am looking for. Can anyone help me find one exactly like it. Please.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  16. #16
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1fkngwarmonger View Post
    This is what I am looking for. Can anyone help me find one exactly like it. Please.
    The lugged road bike frame is now named "Stanyan": http://www.somafab.com/stanyan.html
    2012 Pedal Force CG2: "Secolo Bicicletta" the modern carbon fiber road bike
    2012 Pedal Force CX2: "Carbone CX" the carbon fiber CX bike
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    1997 Simoncini Special Cyclocross: "Little Simon" lugged Columbus steel CX bike
    1987 Serotta Nova Special X: "Azzurri" The retro Columbus SPX steel road bike
    1987 Trek 400T: "Trek-IT" lugged steel sports bike for my visits to Italy

  17. #17
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    The Speedster (not Stanyan) is a real looker, although a little beyond what I feel like paying for a Taiwanese frame. Still have my eyes open for a used example though. Note, several people have commented on their rather short head tube, and need for more spacers and possibly a steeper rise stem to get the bars in a comfortable position. Your photo seems to confirm that.

    I have nothing against the Taiwanese sourced frames per se, in fact quality is generally high, but don't feel they will hold long term resale value. And, at that price, if you look carefully, you can find some rather interesting used frames.

  18. #18
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    I looked long and hard at the Smoothie ES, but wound up with a Kona ***** Tonk. For $800, I got a sweet 4130 chro-mo frame, room for 28's with fenders, mounts for a rack and some nice components (including DA DT shifters for that retro thing). It makes for fast, smooth commute with no fuss.

  19. #19
    It's faster than the bus Catgrrl70's Avatar
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    I have a Soma Smoothie ES and it's my daily commuter. I LOVE this bike. The welds are beautiful and everything is in the right place...don't know what the problem was with the other commenter's experience, but every Soma I have seen is a really well made bike. I worked with my LBS to build the bike up adding the components I wanted. The frame is rock-solid and handles rough roads and everything I throw at it with grace. It's super-comfortable. Never had a single problem with it. I have worn out a couple components like pedals and the rear wheel through rough riding but the frame is still perfect. 20 miles per day through all kinds of weather. It's a champ.

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