Join Date: Feb 2007
Bikes: Breezer Venturi, Lemond Ti, Santa Cruz Blur, Soma Saga, Miyata Colorado
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Off Pavement with a Saga
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
I 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.