Our Radar Roundup compiles products and videos from the ‘net in an easy-to-digest format. Read on below for today’s findings…
2021 was an exceptional year for our Readers’ Rides series, which we first began posting back in 2011. Last year’s readership-submitted bikes ran the gamut, much like our Top 10 Beautiful Bicycles, but Readers’ Rides is 100% audience-submitted. We love receiving submissions each week so if you were on the fence about submitting your ride, perhaps this list will motivate you to break out the camera. This list was compiled by web traffic and comments. Let’s check out the Top Ten Readers’ Rides of 2021 below, in no particular order…
Matt has submitted a Readers’ Rides post before and this week, we’re featuring his “Unicorn” Soma Wolverine build, which he’s documented in detail for your enjoyment below!
Soma Fabrications have been designing bikes for all-road adventures for quite some time and one of their most cherished frames, the Randonneur, just got a whole bunch of upgrades. Here’s an easy-to-digest list of these updates:
What Stayed the Same:
-Front load bias geometry for better handling when using a front rack, bar bag, or basket.
-Traditional 1″ threaded fork with investment-cast crown
-Three sets of bottle bosses
-Front mini rack and pannier rack compatible
-Slender and lightweight CrMo tubes. (We lightened the seat tube, but are using a larger diameter, but thinner gauge downtube.)
-Thru-axle hub compatibility for improved handling and stability in corners
-Disc brake mounts (IS)
-Tange/Long Shen Modular rear dropout system
-Improved tire clearance. While optimized for 650b x 42mm tires with fenders, the frame easily fits most 650b x 47mm tires
-An additional size: 46cm
Retail is $899 and available at SOMA or your local dealer.
7 years ago, I bought my first mountain bike. 3 months after that, I slammed it into a downed tree at 30mph and broke it in half. So I bought a new frame. A Soma B Side. This is the story of that bike. Now, this bike has already been featured on this site, in one of its most radical (read: stupid and most likely mechanically unsafe) configurations.
John already made that build look real purdy… This is another ode to that bike, but also an ode to how it has evolved, and how I’ve evolved with it.
Soma, known for their city and touring tires, have entered the world of crit and road racing with their Crit King gum tread race tire. Unlike Soma’s other offerings, this is a “race day” only tire, not a training or daily ride tire.
– Proprietary gum tread compound
– Superfine cord in a high TPI weave creates a supple casing that is also cut resistant
– Anti-puncture belt under the tread
– Wt.: 200g (25c, Kevlar bead)
– Sizes: 700c x 25c, 28c
– Made in Japan
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.
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.
There are many ways you can build a bike for traveling and all of them have their virtues; striking a balance is not as much a universal truth as it comes down to where you want to make sacrifices. When Stephanie and I set out to build these bikes, we had the long term in mind. Not just the fact that we intended to spend all summer riding them around the western United States, but that we wanted bikes that would be useful beyond that trip.
For us, the guiding principle along the way was that we wanted bikes that would be fun around town and commuting bikes when we came home, which is really what determined the frames we chose. We were building bikes for a honeymoon adventure but the lasting legacy was a bike that would fit in to our daily lives when that chapter came to a close. To put it simply, we didn’t want to tour on touring bikes. And after 4,000 kilometres of fully loaded riding, we’re happy we didn’t.
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.
Where I last left you we were less than 50 miles from home as the crow flies, having ambitiously pedaled three days from our front door and ridden a remote high mountain pass with way too much gear. We were solidly in travel mode, no longer just camping in the front yard. It was early July and while that sounds like it should be summer, we wore our GoreTex more in the week we rode in Canada than we did for the two months that followed. You know, the Great White North, and all.
There was still some amount of comfort in what we were doing: while the scenery was changing more quickly than we had anticipated, we were still spending colorful money and freely using our overpriced cell phone data. The people we ran into still knew where we lived – or at least had heard of it – and could drive there in an easy day.
It should come as no surprise that this is the third SOMA Wolverine to roll out of Golden Saddle Cyclery and onto this website. These bikes are a great value, extremely versatile and they look damn good, especially in the murdered-out matte black option.
Matt has wanted to build a 27.5″ dirt tourer for exploring the fire and frontage roads in the Angeles National Forest for some time now. The Wolverine fit the bill, with massive clearances, rack mounts and an affordable pricepoint. He pulled the trigger and began ordering components through GSC, including a SON hub, Velocity Blunt SS wheels, Maxxis Crossmark tires, E3 lamp, a JANDD bar bag, Haulin Colin rack, PAUL Klampers, Thomson bits, Cowchipper bars and a Sram 1x drivetrain.
This beast is more than capable to climb the steep and loose roads in the local mountains and rip like a rocket back down. Earlier this week, I took Matt up on my favorite morning ride to shoot this bike in action. Enjoy!
Here comes the weekend again… make like Morgan and Denver and give someone a high five!
In Los Angeles, you can bite off more dirt than you can chew. Fortunately, if you like camping and getting dirty, most of the campgrounds here can be accessed via dirt tracks. Problem is, you need a bike that make it up those steep climbs and ideally has a generator lamp since a lot of your climbing might be done at night during the winter months.
Phil wanted his to be rugged, specifying a no-nonsense groupset composed of SRAM X9, 11-speed bar-end shifters and a Force 22 crankset. For reliable, strong front lamp power, the Shutter Precision PV-8 Dynamo generator hub was chosen and the Luxus-U front lamp mounted to a Jandd rack. Panaracer T-Servs (even though they say for messenger use) are great all-rounder tires for dirt and sealed roads. Paired with 650b Blunt SS wheels, they’ll take a few hits while descending, even fully loaded and resist easy pinch flats. Phil’s trusty Brooks Cambium will provide ample comfort for those long hauls up into the mountains.
Bottom line: Golden Saddle Cyclery built up a rugged bicycle to Phil’s specifications, fit for any number of rides here in Los Angeles and I can’t wait to hear his stories!
SOMA always does a great job at addressing tire demands from its customers. Their new Shikoro tire offers the ultimate protection with reinforced sidewalls and tough tread, while the Supple Vitesse offer a smoother ride with tubular casing and two tread thicknesses.
Like options? These tires are available in 23, 28, 33, 38, 42mm widths. That’s literally something for everyone. Check out more info at Soma’s Blog and swoop up a pair at your local dealer.
Never underestimate the benefits of a wide, flared-out dirt drop. Especially for off-road riding. While 655mm might sound like a MTB bar width, all that leverage in a shallow drop can add just the right amount of control to your MTB, cross or all-road bike.
Soma’s new Gator Bar looks like a beast! Check out more at the Soma blog and see the specs below.
SOMA’s Juice 29er and B-Side 27.5 hardtail MTBs are now compatible with a Gates belt drive system, thanks to split Tange Sliding Dropouts. You can now choose to build them singlespeed or with Rohloff hub. For this run, they kept the same colors and adopted the Tange split dropout, but future 2015 models will utilize a split stay. As far as current stock, the only other change was incorporating a drive side chain stay yoke to ensure the frames will fit 2.4″ tires and the thick Gates front cog.
If you’re looking for a versatile, steel hard tail, these two bikes are great options. Check out more details at SOMA and holler at your local shop for ordering. You could even set it up as a mean dirt-dropper. Check out Golden Saddle’s latest Wolverine for inspiration!
Golden Saddle Rides: The SOMA Electric Wolverine Turn On Your Bike
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
One part inspired by the band Electric Wizard and six parts inspired by Erik’s Di2 Alfine 11 Peacock-Nuke AWOL.
While this customer may not be heading off to Europe to participate in The Transcontinental anytime soon, he is riding this thing through the urban jungle we call Los Angeles and participating in daily jaunts through the Santa Monica Mountains.
The new Soma Wolverine was our canvas and the picture which we would paint took longer than some of the most famous oil paintings. Most of the components were no-brainers. While questions like whether to use a belt or chain took a bit longer.
I hope you guys enjoy looking at this bike as much as we liked building it!
p.s. The Soma Wolverine was also reviewed in the latest issue of Bicycle Quarterly. So if you’d like to know more about the performance of this bike, I’d suggest heading to your local bike shop and picking up issue No. 51 of BQ.
The Panaracer CX Fire is indeed a great tire, but with a 45c measurement, it’ll be a bit too big for a traditional cross frame. That’s why SOMA responded to the demand with a 40c mixed terrain tire called the Cazadero, made by Panaracer in Japan. Head over to SOMA for the scoop. These look damn good and yes, gumwalls…
I love this ad Soma made to announce their 2014 Rush frameset. Head over to Soma for more information.