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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello 29inch gurus and fans:

I work for Soma Fabrications and we are finally getting around to producing a 29" wheel steel frame. Already settled on some specs: 631 Reynolds air hardening steel, 34.9mm OD downtube with headtube gusset, clearance for 2.35 tires, and 48/36/26 chainrings. We are not building your dream frame. The main goal is a quality steel 29er frame at under $399.99 that can be used for XC, trail riding and even touring and commuting.Something affordable for the (niche-seeking) masses.

Where we are locking horns with eachother is whether to:
1. Make it just a geared frame... vertical dropouts, disc mounts. If someone wants to do SS, they have to ENO hub it or Singleate it. But it is simpler, cleaner, least problematic but still versatile.

2. Make it ss & geared... horizontal dropout with a gear hanger... similar to the KM and Dambala. Highly versatile but possibly problematic.

3. Make it ss & geared by adding an EBB. This is cool, but would be the costliest solution. And also adds more weight. (Must give props to the GF Rig, very nice)

I've been checking out this forum for over a year now. Fun and informative to say the least.
Any input to help break up the stalemate would be much appreciated.

-stan
 

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artistic...
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sorry for bringing up a 26er question here but i'm itching to ask you guys:
why the short top tubes, tall head tubes and steep angles on the hardtails? 71.5/73.5 and a 22in top tube? 23in top tube and 5in headtube? that fit hurts...
 

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The Duuude, man...
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somacisco said:
Hello 29inch gurus and fans:

I work for Soma Fabrications and we are finally getting around to producing a 29" wheel steel frame. Already settled on some specs: 631 Reynolds air hardening steel, 34.9mm OD downtube with headtube gusset, clearance for 2.35 tires, and 48/36/26 chainrings. We are not building your dream frame. The main goal is a quality steel 29er frame at under $399.99 that can be used for XC, trail riding and even touring and commuting.Something affordable for the (niche-seeking) masses.

Where we are locking horns with eachother is whether to:
1. Make it just a geared frame... vertical dropouts, disc mounts. If someone wants to do SS, they have to ENO hub it or Singleate it. But it is simpler, cleaner, least problematic but still versatile.

2. Make it ss & geared... horizontal dropout with a gear hanger... similar to the KM and Dambala. Highly versatile but possibly problematic.

3. Make it ss & geared by adding an EBB. This is cool, but would be the costliest solution. And also adds more weight. (Must give props to the GF Rig, very nice)

I've been checking out this forum for over a year now. Fun and informative to say the least.
Any input to help break up the stalemate would be much appreciated.

-stan
Glad to hear you all are at it....more is better. We have to boot-strap this 29er economy, and it sounds like we're making progress.

I think to start off, you need to decide what your market strategy is:
*do it all, totally versatile bike (going after the Monkey)j
*low cost leader
*SS
*geared
*SS and geared
*etc

IE, what market are you going after...think of what you want the exagerated image of your frame will be....

Once you decide that, most of the options will take care of themselves.

My vote(s):
*a straight up competitor to the monkey would be nice, maybe lighten it up a bit, give us better standover clearance
*there is room in the market for a low-cost leader - geared/SS/both, focus everything on leading the cost war, and you may win on that...I used to work at Proctor & Gamble, specifically on the Crest brand. We introduced the SpinBrush, a battery operated toothbrush for 7 bucks, when the closest thing was around $40. Margins were razor thin (I don't know exact info), but it KILLED, and the rest is history...if you go low cost, you want to be the Model A of 29er frames....of course does that fit into your overall strategy?
*that modular dropout option is pretty cool, ala the Van Dessel Buzz Bomb...the Voodoo's sliding dropout doesn't look as solid to me, needs to be only 1 slot there...better yet, forget sliding dropout, just go Mutant dropouts, where you either bolt in a geared dropout, or a Track Dropout....

Probably didn't solve it for you...
 

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climb
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I would like a steel hardtail racing machine replacement for my current 26" steel hardtail. I would like gears and a the ability to run a 44/32/22 crank. Disc-brake compatible.

It would also be great if you offered a great steel fork to go with the frame. Currently there is only the Monkey and Vicious forks that I know of to choose from.

If you have a prototype available I'll be happy to test it for you. :)
 

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Who turned out the lights
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My Opinion...

somacisco said:
Hello 29inch gurus and fans:

I work for Soma Fabrications and we are finally getting around to producing a 29" wheel steel frame. Already settled on some specs: 631 Reynolds air hardening steel, 34.9mm OD downtube with headtube gusset, clearance for 2.35 tires, and 48/36/26 chainrings. We are not building your dream frame. The main goal is a quality steel 29er frame at under $399.99 that can be used for XC, trail riding and even touring and commuting.Something affordable for the (niche-seeking) masses.

Where we are locking horns with eachother is whether to:
1. Make it just a geared frame... vertical dropouts, disc mounts. If someone wants to do SS, they have to ENO hub it or Singleate it. But it is simpler, cleaner, least problematic but still versatile.

2. Make it ss & geared... horizontal dropout with a gear hanger... similar to the KM and Dambala. Highly versatile but possibly problematic.

3. Make it ss & geared by adding an EBB. This is cool, but would be the costliest solution. And also adds more weight. (Must give props to the GF Rig, very nice)

I've been checking out this forum for over a year now. Fun and informative to say the least.
Any input to help break up the stalemate would be much appreciated.

-stan
My vote....Option 3. I hate track ends. Personally, they're a PITA for flat-tire changes, and you always seem to have to add a 1.5lb chain tug to it to keep your tension. Sacrifice that weight and put in an EBB. I know quite a few people running EBB's, and they seem pretty reliable (I will be soon). Vertical dropouts mean your brakes are always in the right position, no matter what cog you run. I'd sacrifice a wee bit of weight and a few bucks for this option. Just make it a little lighter (and a little softer) than the KM. It doesn't have to be derby proof. And I like the pricepoint. Save some cost by only offering disc tabs?
 

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I vote SS only!!!

Hey been looking for a steel frame that has EBB disc only. If you look around there are none unless you go custom small builder. I ride a GF 29er (with Convert) and really like it. If you go SS make sure the chainstays are as short as possible. Ala Jones and GF I really think this is the best solution for those riding SS b/c you are standing on tough climbs and it is nice to have the added traction. I have a Soulcraft 26er and cringe everytime I have to do something to the rear wheel. Gettting that thing lined up with the disc brakes is somewhat of a pain that sort of defeats the elegance of singlespeeds. BUT I love that frame and deal with the hassle b/c it is so nice ( if only I could afford to have one built 29 w/EBB) If you make it I will come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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By the way...

somacisco said:
Hello 29inch gurus and fans:

I work for Soma Fabrications and we are finally getting around to producing a 29" wheel steel frame. Already settled on some specs: 631 Reynolds air hardening steel, 34.9mm OD downtube with headtube gusset, clearance for 2.35 tires, and 48/36/26 chainrings. We are not building your dream frame. The main goal is a quality steel 29er frame at under $399.99 that can be used for XC, trail riding and even touring and commuting.Something affordable for the (niche-seeking) masses.

Where we are locking horns with eachother is whether to:
1. Make it just a geared frame... vertical dropouts, disc mounts. If someone wants to do SS, they have to ENO hub it or Singleate it. But it is simpler, cleaner, least problematic but still versatile.

2. Make it ss & geared... horizontal dropout with a gear hanger... similar to the KM and Dambala. Highly versatile but possibly problematic.

3. Make it ss & geared by adding an EBB. This is cool, but would be the costliest solution. And also adds more weight. (Must give props to the GF Rig, very nice)

I've been checking out this forum for over a year now. Fun and informative to say the least.
Any input to help break up the stalemate would be much appreciated.

-stan
By the way what ever you guys/gals decide I just want you to know I think it is very cool for bike companies to post suggestions for their future product development. It shows intelligence and marketing savy (in a good way) to garner as many opinions, from qualified sources, before embarking on the expense of making new products.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
colker1 said:
sorry for bringing up a 26er question here but i'm itching to ask you guys:
why the short top tubes, tall head tubes and steep angles on the hardtails? 71.5/73.5 and a 22in top tube? 23in top tube and 5in headtube? that fit hurts...
You are not the first guy to see this is a far cry from today's racing geometry. It was originally an attempt to create old school geometry but usability with today's XC suspension forks.
But we are getting a following who really like it. One guy really likes the smallness of it because it helps him do jumps and tricks, not that we designed it for that.

The 29'er will not be as short, but it will not be Genesis-like either.

s-
 

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Why the gusset?

Are you building a hucking bike? Even in an XL, I don't think you need to gusset a steel frame, unless you're really worried about the QC over in Taiwan and want some insurance (which, having been a Soma dealer at one point, I could understand - we saw all kinds of minor screwups on those frames - brake bridges not brazed on completely, dropouts misaligned, etc, etc. Eventually gave up on it because of that kind of thing).

I'd steer clear of the "do everything" model - the KM has that territory pretty much covered, and it sounds like you're not going to be coming in much lighter/better/cheaper, so avoid the competition there, I'd say. People like Surly, they like the Surly image, and they like the proven geometry of the KM. Even if the Soma is a pound lighter (the "Groove" was running around 4.5 pounds in a 21", last I checked, so a little over 5 pounds is a reasonable goal, unless you go the EBB route) a lot of people will take the proven option, or choose based on image. (I like the KM, but it mystifies me that some people think they're being independent/cool/sticking it to the man because they ride a Surly - do they not understand it's just QBP?)

In any case, I digress. Forget the 26/36/46 chainring clearance idea - nobody runs those kinds of gears anymore, especially not on a 29er. Forget the gusset unless you don't trust your fabricators to do a decent job. Forget the do-everything bike. Do a basic XC bike with a disc mount, canti bosses, and vertical dropouts, and let the SS people and various others modify as needed. There are plenty of people that just want to ride a regular old geared XC rig, they just aren't as vocal as us SS people...

Good luck.

-Walt
 

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Go with the horizontal dropouts with hanger

I agree with Walt on the no gusset, but have to say that the surly style horizontal dropouts with hanger are a pretty cool addition. I haven't seen many problems with them, and it does make the bike pretty versatile.
-Sean
 

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Hey Stan, great to hear there's another manufacturer ripe enough to join the 29" movement. I'm with Ibis-SS, very mature of you to come over here and ask opinions rather than try to figure it all out by yourself.
48t rings, those are not REALLY necessary. Perhaps if you were to build a Hybrid bike out of it, and you're the type of guy that only wears out the 11t on his cassette, because of his ultra-slow flatland riding style. I hope that only occurs here in Holland, though. Making the maximum 44t, you win a little bit in the chainstaylength/tire clearance department.

Definately be disc-ready. Make the bike look disc-only by using the optional Cantimounts VooDoo uses, which simply bolt on there. I like the look of that, some DJ bikes have it too. Sell the cantimounts opional, if that helps to cut down the basic price.
The Eno is quickly gaining acceptance. One thing you could do if you're making the bike geared-specific, is to make some popular Eno setups work out nicely, with a chainstaylength that works well with various gears in eno-mode.
If you want to do well in the magazines, a KM-like geometry, minus 2" of seattube, is bound to get great reviews. Right now, 29" bikes are still competing with 26" bikes, so they have to be a like steep on the headtube (no slacker than 71,5º headtube unless for a really small size to avoid toe overlap). If people want a more relaxed steering bike, they can just add a 100mm travel fork.
There's room in the market for an aftermarket ridig fork for sure. The KM set the standard in rigid fork geometry for 29"ers, and is liked by everyone, but curses by everyone for it's harshnes, and by some for it's weight. If you can make an affordable, around 2 lbs , 468-470mm rigid fork that doesn't try to brake the rider's hands, many will get one aftermarket or along with their Soma frame.
No more than 68mm of BB drop, on the KM that's been okay for the vast mayority, but Fishers that passed the 70mm barriers, got bad reviews for it. Stay between 55-68mm accroding to your beliefs, and you're ok. Personally, I'd keep them pretty low, stability is one of the main traits of 29", why take that away?
Definately make sure there's a full pound between your own offering and the KM. It's doable, and the psychological diffference of a full pound could persuade many riders to give your offering a closer look.
If you need loooong chainstays to make the 2.35" tire fit, slacken out the seatttube angles on the larger sizes a bit to compensate. People coming into the 29" sport probably like short wheelbase figures because they think shorter is better, and 29" bikes don't need superlong chainstays anyway, as the higher placed axles help a lot for steep climbing.

Ddi you ever see the adjustable chainstay length frame posted on the SS forum? If looked to be a cheaper solution than an EBB, and really simple, too. Not sure if there's a patent on it. Some bolts in grooves allowed for chainstaylength adjustment under the BB. Very long shot, but it could be an option for a SS-ready bike that doesn't require the Eno.

Many tall riders around now, see if you can make the largest size a 21.5" or 22". Riders for that size won't have much standover problems anyway. Only being 20.8" is the main problem with my Fisher.

Hope any of this helps, good luck!!

J
 

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Harmonius Wrench
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Ditto what Cloxxki and Walt said

Don't make another KM! Lighter weight, geared bike would be my take, along with the technical aspects mentioned by Walt and Cloxxki. Thanks for askin'. :D
 

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Thanks for asking

It's nice for a bike company to listen to riders.
My vote would be for geared only, disc only frame, at the price point you're aiming at you may get alot of first time 29er riders, so they'll need a new wheelset so they may as well make a disc bike. A sus corrected fork would be good too.
If you wanted to do a SS bike in the future that would be very cool too.
Luke
 

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The Duuude, man...
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Walt said:
In any case, I digress. Forget the 26/36/46 chainring clearance idea - nobody runs those kinds of gears anymore, especially not on a 29er.
-Walt
?? what? Really? Whoa, I guess I'll have to sell my XTR cranks! Dammit, I almost had that bike built!!

Notice all 29er riders: You can no longer run XTR cranks on your 29er....nobody's doing it....
 

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canti and disc mounts for sure (canti brakes aren't dead yet)

track dropouts with derailleur hanger (just make sure the chainstay length isn't too short so there's not any tire rub issues for the front derailleur runnin' kind)

offer a rigid fork with lower weight than KM

frame weight lower than KM

geometry close to the KM (it's right on)

change the frame color every year
 

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artistic...
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i'm w/ walt

... .and make it in red!
 

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Another opinion...or maybe just another vote of the same

Running a 48t chainring is OK but 44X11 on the big wheel is all anybody really needs-wanna go faster? Just ride the road bike, right? My chart doesn't go to 44X11 but a 44X14 will get you to almost 30mph at 120rpm and most XC riding is 15 (or less).

I have an ebb and it's great! The problem is hitting the price point. If you can do it, that would be super. If not, maybe a regular vertical drop would be easier. ENO/Singulator are OK options. EBB/Vertical drops/disk and canti mounts would be excellent for everybody. A lot of people like the horizontal drops but for me they are really not good.

You probably only have to make 2-3 sizes-18/20/22 or whatever.

5# in these bigger frames is probably light enough to satisfy and be heavy enough to last. On top of most of us, 1# in extra frame weight is not a big deal but psychologically it's hard to warm up to the idea of a 6 1/2 pound frame like the KM.

Hey thanks for asking around about what people want in a 29" bike. That is cool! Good luck!
 

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Soma

You mentioned touring as one of the uses and if it's supposed to be versatile, then it should be a good tourer. My vote:

It HAS to be able to run gears. (I singlespeed all the time on singletrack and love it, but if I want to run on the road, I have to change my gear, and for touring SS is just dumb IMHO.)
Eno is THE solution for the SSers. IT is great for tweaking your geometry as well!

Must have canti mounts (remove the studs if you don't like em.) Canti's are still the most universal, dependable, most common and easy to fix/replace system around.

Make a nice (sus corrected) fork to go along (lighter than KM)

Make sure you have drillings for racks/etc.

Shorter TT is ok, especially if you want to run road bars/dirt drops. However, don't make it too (hybrid) short.

Make it able to handle 48T - learn from FISHER DUAL SPORT! If you want to tour/commute it is a must. Off road, you only need the middle/small ring. Just give us MORE clearance than the DS (ie: less bb drop)
 
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