Words by Locke Hassett and photos by John Watson
Some bikes are just too good to get rid of. Or too sentimental, or broken, or otherwise a purely “eye of the be(er)holder” sort of thing. This Soma B-Side is that bike for me. It has lived its life as many different bikes. For a long time, it was built up as a new/old school Montana singletrack shredder, with a 2x drivetrain (gasp!), 660mm bars (double gasp!), a short fork and no dropper. It lived a few months as a 26+ singlespeed when I found a pair of Nokian Gazzalodi tires in some back room of Free Cycles.
A few years ago, a dear friend of mine set it up with a prototype carbon gravel fork from Otso Cycles, road plus tires, and some full racks. She rode across a decent portion of Alaska with that setup, taking her mom on their first tour together. When the bike came back, I set it up with burly wheels, Jones bars and a Firestarter fork for the Geology through Bikepacking course. Most recently and pictured here, it’s been living it’s most absurd life: over forked by 30mm, with tires it wasn’t meant to fit, and the worst cable routing I’ve ever allowed of myself. As of two days ago, it’s back to a rigid singlespeed.
This frame has been through so much: hit by cars, up and down uncounted miles of amazing trails from Montana to the Olympic Peninsula, Baja to Fruita. Beyond its borderline unsellable appearance (might even strip the paint, for giggles), selling this bike would be like selling a childhood stuffed animal. If this silly orange bike ever dies, you can bet I’m close to death too.