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Thread: Soma or Surly?

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    x37
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    Soma or Surly?

    What does everyone here think about Soma frames? I'm building a commuter bike and trying to decide between Soma and Surly (and some other brands as well). They both seem like good frames, but the Somas are a bit lighter. Thanks.

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    I like my Soma Smoothie ES. It was cheap and it rides well. If it means anything to you, Surly uses basic 4130 steel on its bikes and Soma uses several different, some would say, higher quality steels.

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    x37
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    Thanks for your reply, niknak. Would you say the Smoothie is the best frame for commuting? Looking at all the frames on the Soma site, it's kind of difficult to choose among all the options -- road versus cyclocross, lugged versus non-lugged, geared versus single-speed, etc.

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    For commuting, you could consider a fixed gear model if you aren't riding up/down many long hills. It's simple and efficient. The Smoothie ES is a good option also because you can run 32s and fenders for comfort and beefier tires. The new lugged models look great. There's a lot of factors to consider, and I'm not sure what type of bikes you're used to riding. I'm not sure this is helping. Sorry. Building up a bike and choosing all of its components is fun, though. Good luck.

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    x37
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    Any advice is helpful. Right now I'm riding a mountain bike for commuting. I want a bike that's lighter and faster. SS is intriguing, but I worry that I would find myself in a situation where I want or need more gears. This seems likely as my bike is my primary means of transportation.

    I suppose the relaxed touring geometry of the Smoothie ES is the best choice for commuting.

    Thanks again for the advice. Maybe I should ask this question in the commuting forum as well.

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    I have a Surly CrossCheck. I won't go into why that over the Soma DoubleCross or Bianchi Volpe, as I have written about that many times in these forums. I have ridden both the Soma and Surly; they feel the same to me. It is my understanding the geometry is nearly, if not exactly, the same. The difference is the tubing material - Surly = 4130 vs. Soma = Reynolds 853. Many would say the Reynolds is better. It is, in fact, stronger, which means thinner tube walls; that is why the Soma is approx. 1 lb. lighter (or so I was told by Wallingford Bike in Seattle). My impression, then, is that the relative strength of either frame is the same.

    I have read in these forums that thinner tube walls means for a more active ride. I cannot comment on this relative to the Soma because: 1) I only test rode it 2) I have not cycled enough in my life to really know the difference - yet.
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    x37
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja
    I have a Surly CrossCheck. I won't go into why that over the Soma DoubleCross or Bianchi Volpe, as I have written about that many times in these forums.
    Could you give me a link to where you have discussed this? I'm also considering the Volpe (and San Jose) and I'm very interested to hear your opinions regarding all of these bikes.

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    Senior Member fenester's Avatar
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    I went through the same just recently. I was all set to get a Smoothie ES, but I waited 2 months for the frame and then found out it would take another 2 months before it would arrive. That's no fault of Soma, IMO, nobody promised me it would arrive any sooner. But I got sick of waiting. In that time I also swung back to my initial idea that I wanted to try a SS/FG bike. My LBS had a crosscheck in stock so I had them build that up as a SS/FG.
    I'll be changing the handlebar and saddle shortly, and switching from clips to clipless, but I've really been enjoying it. It doesn't feel too jittery or over-responsive or anything, and compared to my previous bike ('00 Trek Clyde)it seems plenty light. I had been riding that bike exclusively for 6 years, and old 3-speeds and schwinns w/ country handlebars for years before that, so this is the first time I've had a road type bike in a longtime and I don't have similar bikes to compare it to.

    A couple things to point out though:
    Smoothie vs. Smoothie ES, the ES has more room for bigger tires and FENDERS.

    Soma vs. Surly, the Soma frames (doublecross, Smoothie, and ES) all have vertical dropouts, the Surly crosscheck has horizontal. So if you think you will want to try SS/FG at some point it will be alot easier (and arguably mechanically better) with the crosscheck. The difference in tubing was already covered above.
    Lastly, and a minor point at that, if you like debadging your bike, the Surly decals come off pretty easy whereas the Soma decals are under a clearcoat.
    "Mobility without effort constitutes a kind of unreal happiness, a suspension of existence, an irresponsibility."

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    [quote=x37] I want a bike that's lighter and faster. SS is intriguing, but I worry that I would find myself in a situation where I want or need more gears. This seems likely as my bike is my primary means of transportation. [QUOTE]

    man i used to think like you. "but how will i go up hills????"
    ok so riding a ss is way different than riding bike with gears. you sometimes need to get up out of the saddle and go all out to get up hills. and sometimes you will reach a point where you cant go any faster with the gear ratio youre running. but if you pick the right gear for your surrounding, you probably wont have that experience. bear in mind that ss and fixies are wayyy more efficient than geared rides(because of the perfect chainline). also, if you choose to go this route, i find that i am much more aware of my surroundings riding my fixie. you never worry about shifting gears, if the going gets tough, you get up and give'r. they require so much less work to stay in good running order because the only thing that needs adjustment is the brakes, but those need to be looked at almost never. if you plan on using this bike a lot, then this would be a bg advantage. theres a hell of a lot less to go wrong. shifting problems are a huge percentage of the things that go wrong on a bike.

    plus they look soo much cleaner than a bike with a bunch of ugly things sticking out everywhere

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    x37
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephyr16
    man i used to think like you. "but how will i go up hills????"
    ok so riding a ss is way different than riding bike with gears. you sometimes need to get up out of the saddle and go all out to get up hills. and sometimes you will reach a point where you cant go any faster with the gear ratio youre running. but if you pick the right gear for your surrounding, you probably wont have that experience. bear in mind that ss and fixies are wayyy more efficient than geared rides(because of the perfect chainline). also, if you choose to go this route, i find that i am much more aware of my surroundings riding my fixie. you never worry about shifting gears, if the going gets tough, you get up and give'r. they require so much less work to stay in good running order because the only thing that needs adjustment is the brakes, but those need to be looked at almost never. if you plan on using this bike a lot, then this would be a bg advantage. theres a hell of a lot less to go wrong. shifting problems are a huge percentage of the things that go wrong on a bike.

    plus they look soo much cleaner than a bike with a bunch of ugly things sticking out everywhere
    I recently test rode several single-speeds and I had a blast. The last ride was in very challenging conditions -- rain, up and down hills, etc. -- and the SS handled it well. You're right about a fixie/SS making the rider more aware of his or her surroundings -- you can just ride the bike instead of constantly messing about with gears. A much purer experience all around.

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