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Thoughts after the first 200k with Soma Saga

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Thoughts after the first 200k with Soma Saga

Old 10-22-13, 03:12 PM
  #1  
otavioexel
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Thoughts after the first 200k with Soma Saga

hello List!

I have some comments & some questions after riding some 200km on my Soma Saga. unfortunately I din't do any real touring, just regular city rides (in a huge city with lots of huge pot-holes):

setup:
  • frame: Soma Saga 56cm
  • wheels: Shimano T780 hubs, DTSwiss spokes, Mavic A719 rims
  • tires: Continental Touring Plus 42mm
  • saddle: Brooks Imperial Std

THE BRIGHT SIDE:

the bike is amazing! it is my first steel/CrMo bike and I'm loving it! eats vibration much better than my Spz Roubaix Carbon w/ Zertz! rides very well on cobbles and dirt roads; OTOH it doesn't do well on technical terrain (roots, gravel, etc) but that was to be expected.

it is also my first 29" bike (I mean 622mm whith fat tires). for that reason I can't tell if my choice of spokes (Champion on the drive side and Competition on the other side) is produccing noticeable results. anyway, the wheel seems very sturdy & comfortable!

the toe-wheel overlap was not a big problem. I got used to it almost imediately (just a single fall).

the Brooks saddle is awesome! if it gets any more similar to my butt it'll start sh*tting and farting! :-)
I've been using proofide before each ride it but I don't think it was needed: fits perfectly since the 2nd ride!

THE DARK SIDE:

the frame is too short! 56cm is the perfect size for me assuming a drop-down handlebar. I failed to take in account that I intended to use a MTB-style handlebar. the result is that I've had to use a long (110mm) stem and the saddle-to-hbar distance is still too short.

and here's where I need your help!

I've been considering moving everything (components) to an other longer frame. as I'm very pleased with Soma my choice is (for now) a Double Cross 58cm. do you guys have any comments on that idea?

as long as geometry goes, the noticeable differences are:
  • 27mm longer top tube (level); that's the good part! it will also solve the toe-wheel-overlap problem.
  • 14mm higher BB: good, I've had 2 pedal strikes on the first ride;
  • 43mm bigger standover height! that's going to be a major problem: it'll be 32.6" versus my 32" inseam; on the bright side, it is a problem that kicks-in when you stop, not when you ride!
  • 25mm shorter chainstay; I wonder what is the effect of this one...

note: I got used to both the low-bb and the toe-wheel-overlap problems but I think they get-in-the-way of good bike handling (at least for a MTB guy like myself). pedaling while turning is a good thing!

the Double Cross takes 38c tires max. the Saga takes 47c and the ones I've bought are 42c. can someone here confirm that the Double Cross will not take 42c tires? this pic from the Soma site shows a tire that seems bigger than 38c to me, don't you agree? http://tinyurl.com/mfy7ul4

that's it! I'd love to hear your comments as it is a major decision for me (specially considering that it is very unlikely that I will be able to sell the Saga frame here in BRA).

[]s & thanks!
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Old 10-22-13, 04:25 PM
  #2  
njkayaker
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Originally Posted by otavioexel View Post
the frame is too short! 56cm is the perfect size for me assuming a drop-down handlebar. I failed to take in account that I intended to use a MTB-style handlebar. the result is that I've had to use a long (110mm) stem and the saddle-to-hbar distance is still too short.
Hmm. An upright posture generally produces a shorter reach (toptube length + stem length + hand position offset from stem).

The horizontal top-tube length (HTT) is the crucial measurement. The seat-tube length (typically what's used for the bicycle "size") is not very important (as long as you can straddle the bike).

http://www.somafab.com/archives/product/saga

56 cm Saga has a 56.5 cm htt.

http://www.somafab.com/archives/product/double-cross

56 cm DC has a 57.6 cm htt (11 mm longer).
58 cm DC has a 59.2 cm htt (27 mm longer).

Originally Posted by otavioexel View Post
43mm bigger standover height! that's going to be a major problem: it'll be 32.6" versus my 32" inseam; on the bright side, it is a problem that kicks-in when you stop, not when you ride!
By "inseam", do you mean the height of your pubic bone from the floor or the pant size inseam?

http://www.rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?ID=39

(Your pant size is going to be a good bit smaller than the stand-over height you could manage.)

Note that the stand-over height is measured at the middle of the top-tube. It seems that a frame with a (more) horizontal top tube can be a bit bigger than one with a more sloped top-tube.

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-30-13 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 10-29-13, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Hmm. An upright posture generally requires a shorter top-tube length.
Using a mtb handlebar doesn't mean an upright posture.
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Old 10-29-13, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by otavioexel View Post
it is my first steel/CrMo bike and I'm loving it! eats vibration much better than my Spz Roubaix Carbon w/ Zertz!
I'd say that's entirely down to the fact you are using 42mm tyres, as opposed to 25? 28? mm tyres on the roubaix
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Old 10-30-13, 05:50 AM
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octavioexel, The Saga looks to be a touring rig with a classic drop bar design using a TT slightly shorter than the ST. The only way to open up the cockpit is to increase stem length or use a handle bar with more reach. Working with what you have, try a 120 mm, or longer stem. A butterfly style trekking bar will provide more reach while allowing you to reuse your mountain bike controls and perhaps the stem you currently have. Much more expensive is a drop bar conversion. There are plenty of non-standard drop bars, like the Soma Junebug available.

Brad
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Old 10-30-13, 05:50 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Violet View Post
Using a mtb handlebar doesn't mean an upright posture.
Yes. It still is typically more upright than drops.
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Old 10-30-13, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Yes. It still is typically more upright than drops.
Perhaps I have explained myself badly. In theory bicycles designed around flat bars have a longer top tube because the primary hand position is right at the end of the stem, as opposed to a drop bar where the primary hand position is further away from the stem (hoods or drops).

So the bar itself doesn't make a bicycle any more upright, it all depends on the frame and stem etc.
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Old 10-30-13, 09:30 AM
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You need mtn bars or clips that provide some hand positions forward of the stem attachment so as to best emulate the top of the brake hoods position on your drop bars.
I switched to Titec H-bars when I changed from drop bars to mtn bars on my 26" wheel LHT. End of bars position is good for low speed handling with heavy front loads and hands on forward extension is good for effort. I don't see them anywhere but the Jeff Jones bars look available. Also you might consider old fashioned "touring" bars where the grips are swept back and the forward bend extends beyond the clamp. Attaching clamp ons there can give you some room for effort.


http://www.jonesbikes.com/h-bar.html

Last edited by LeeG; 10-30-13 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 10-30-13, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Violet View Post
Perhaps I have explained myself badly. In theory bicycles designed around flat bars have a longer top tube because the primary hand position is right at the end of the stem, as opposed to a drop bar where the primary hand position is further away from the stem (hoods or drops).

So the bar itself doesn't make a bicycle any more upright, it all depends on the frame and stem etc.
I did say a "more upright posture". The primary thing is what posture he's trying to assume.

Generally, tourists go for a flat bar to be more upright.

For the same handlebar and stem, a racing position is going to require a longer HTT than a moderately inclined touring position.

I'm not sure but I don't believe the hand position on a MTB is typically not as far forward of the steering axis as a drop bar.

If that is the case, basically you'd need a longer HTT to match the same back angle and same arm extension.

So, the bike could be too short for the OP.

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-30-13 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 10-30-13, 09:58 AM
  #10  
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Sorry, but you must be mistaken, the top tube is at least as long as the seat tube on every sized Saga.
Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
octavioexel, The Saga looks to be a touring rig with a classic drop bar design using a TT slightly shorter than the ST. The only way to open up the cockpit is to increase stem length or use a handle bar with more reach. Working with what you have, try a 120 mm, or longer stem. A butterfly style trekking bar will provide more reach while allowing you to reuse your mountain bike controls and perhaps the stem you currently have. Much more expensive is a drop bar conversion. There are plenty of non-standard drop bars, like the Soma Junebug available.

Brad
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Old 10-30-13, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by venturi95 View Post
Sorry, but you must be mistaken, the top tube is at least as long as the seat tube on every sized Saga.
Soma sizes the Saga in "virtual" seat tube length. This is (presumably) the lengh that the seat tube would be if the top tube was actually horizontal.

The actual seat tube size isn't a very meaningful measurement (it's dependent on the slope of the top tube) in the same way that the length of the actual toptube isn't very meaningful.

For the 26 inch wheel, the HTT length is larger than the virtual seat tube length for all sizes.

for the 700c wheel, the HTT length is larger for smaller sizes and smaller for larger sizes and the same for the 58 cm size.

http://www.somafab.com/archives/product/saga
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Old 10-30-13, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by venturi95 View Post
Sorry, but you must be mistaken, the top tube is at least as long as the seat tube on every sized Saga.
Thanks for correcting me. I found a table that gave level and actual TT lengths: http://www.somafab.com/archives/product/saga .

Brad
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Old 10-31-13, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by otavioexel View Post
the Brooks saddle is awesome! if it gets any more similar to my butt it'll start sh*tting and farting! :-)
Quoted for posterity...
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