OK, first the bad: I tried to build this bike around a pair of Bruce Gordon Rock N Road 700 x 43 tires. After getting the tires and bike together in one place I was disappointed to find out that the rear tire has about 2 mm clearance... a No-Go. The tires are EXACTLY 43 mm at their widest point. So I substitute a Bontrager 38mm cyclocross racing tire, this has adequate clearance. Since I wanted a little more dirt capability, this is a big negative. Also, the rear wheel needs "a little help" to sit squarely between the chainstays.
Now the good: As far as I can tell the frame tubing is perfect for my intended use: light (verylight? ultralight??!!) touring on roads of all types in the western U.S. I am a big fan of Pestige tubing, and I think that Soma has a great design here. I have no doubt this frame can handle some modestly rough terrane thrown into the mix with a light load on it. I like low bottom brackets, and this one is plenty low! 10 5/8ths inches with the big bomber tires on it. At 27 pounds this bike is a huge leap in performance from my 32 pound 1985 Miyata rigid mountain bike I used for mixed surface touring/dog adventures. When the road levels out or gets a little smooth this thing just wants to roll! The bike doesn't have the same "snap" of my heavier touring MTB with the 26 inch wheels, but almost, and Attachment 279841Attachment 279842Attachment 279843Attachment 279844I rarely put out those explosive kind of efforts.
More good: I love the front tire on this bike. I am thinking I might get a custom Bruce Gordon just to use a pair of them and have a perfect fit, I don't know just yet... The bike is a great blend of float and performance, I want to ride it tomorrow but we're getting rain. I have Honjo fenders and 32 mm street tires for it, but I will wait until winter to put them on.