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WillWorkForTrail
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is sort of just a heads up thread for now. I pulled the trigger on a Soma Juice yesterday afternoon. It will replace my old single speed frame. I'll get some pictures when it comes in, and comment a little on how looks, build it up, ride and and review it. I've seen a few builds on this bike, and some ride comments, but no real reviews on the frame. So, I'll do that here. Stay tuned.
 

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WillWorkForTrail
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm going to go off the reservation here for a minute.

I'm a little neurotic about having tracking information. It's a long story, but to give you an idea, literally the last thing I ordered and had shipped to be before this frame was destroyed in shipping. At first there wasn't going to be any refunding of anything on that shipment, or compensation of any kind, but because I had the tracking number, and the destroyed in transit code the shipping company provided rather than the "undeliverable" status the shipper provided, I was able to sort that out.

So, this frame was ordered this past Thursday, mid dayish from bikemania.biz - I immediately received an order confirmation email. Late saturday, having not received any status updates on the order, I sent them an email requesting an update. I was assured the frame was in stock and had shipped, and that the shipping department would get me a tracking number by monday afternoon. One additional email monday afternoon (having not received tracking information yet) where I received additional assurances I'd get tracking information, and I still haven't got it Wednesday morning.

I don't have the frame yet, but here's the thing - no matter how good the deal is, I personally find it stressful enough that I haven't received shipping information yet that I can promise I won't be ordering from bikemania.biz again. I hope to have an update soon where I actually have the frame in my hands.
 

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I'm going to go off the reservation here for a minute.

I'm a little neurotic about having tracking information. It's a long story, but to give you an idea, literally the last thing I ordered and had shipped to be before this frame was destroyed in shipping. At first there wasn't going to be any refunding of anything on that shipment, or compensation of any kind, but because I had the tracking number, and the destroyed in transit code the shipping company provided rather than the "undeliverable" status the shipper provided, I was able to sort that out.

So, this frame was ordered this past Thursday, mid dayish from bikemania.biz - I immediately received an order confirmation email. Late saturday, having not received any status updates on the order, I sent them an email requesting an update. I was assured the frame was in stock and had shipped, and that the shipping department would get me a tracking number by monday afternoon. One additional email monday afternoon (having not received tracking information yet) where I received additional assurances I'd get tracking information, and I still haven't got it Wednesday morning.

I don't have the frame yet, but here's the thing - no matter how good the deal is, I personally find it stressful enough that I haven't received shipping information yet that I can promise I won't be ordering from bikemania.biz again. I hope to have an update soon where I actually have the frame in my hands.
Wow...frustrating for sure...

Hope you get it sorted soon.

SPP
 

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I know this doesn't help now, but when I ordered my Soma Double Cross frame last year, I ordered from Universal Cycles. I had it in no time at all. I ordered my fork direct through Soma Fab's website, again with no issues. I was so impressed with Universal Cycles' customer service and tech help; I ended up having them build me a custom set of wheels and they supplied the rest of the parts for the build.
 

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WillWorkForTrail
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4,989 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So, no frame yet. But as a further update on bikemania:

The frame was ordered May 1st. After 4 requests for tracking information, I received tracking information yesterday (one week after I placed the order). They had previously indicated that the frame had shipped on the 5th. Since bikemania is located in Jersey, I had expected it to maybe arrive yesterday. But it turns out the reason their prices are so low is because they have the frames drop shipped from Soma, because my frame shipped from California, according to the tracking information. So, I should have it Monday. You can do the math yourself. One week to get tracking information, 12 days from the date of order for an "in stock" item to receive it. But there you go. So, look for something from me early tuesday about unboxing and build stuff.
 

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So, no frame yet. But as a further update on bikemania:

The frame was ordered May 1st. After 4 requests for tracking information, I received tracking information yesterday (one week after I placed the order). They had previously indicated that the frame had shipped on the 5th. Since bikemania is located in Jersey, I had expected it to maybe arrive yesterday. But it turns out the reason their prices are so low is because they have the frames drop shipped from Soma, because my frame shipped from California, according to the tracking information. So, I should have it Monday. You can do the math yourself. One week to get tracking information, 12 days from the date of order for an "in stock" item to receive it. But there you go. So, look for something from me early tuesday about unboxing and build stuff.
Good to hear that at least it's coming...

SPP
 

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Glad to hear you got some confirmation. I'm sure the frame will be super, and you'll have this whole mess behind you soon. I would be interested to see how the frame is packed too if you would shoot a photo. Can't wait to see your build!
 

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WillWorkForTrail
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well then. Lets have a look at what turned up at my door.

2014-05-12 16.05.37.jpg

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Now, it could be I've just been suffering from massive single speed withdrawal, but even the box looks good to me. The packing was certainly quite good. Well secured in cardboard cutouts, double wrapped in bubble wrap and a good heavy plastic.

Sensitive content, not recommended for those under 18 Show Content
2014-05-12 16.07.19.jpg

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So there it is with the protective stuff still in place - plastic spreader in the dropouts, plug in the seat tube, wrap through the BB, etc.

2014-05-12 16.08.57.jpg

The finish on this thing is first class. I mean it looks and feels good. Flawless and smooth.

Keeping in mind this is an XXL sized frame (really, it seems to be the equal of everyone else's XL, but whatever) here it is on the scales at 5 lbs 10 oz.

2014-05-12 16.13.10.jpg

I'm not going to go into huge detail about the build. Everything going on to the bike came off my old SS frame (Nashbar) which gave out on me. The bar and stem are the stock bits off that bike, the brakes are BB7's with Ashima Airotors. The wheels are Pacenti TL28's, 2.3 Exiwolf front, 2.25 Tioga Psycho Genius on the rear, both mounted tubeless. The BB and cranks are stock bits off the Nashbar bike. The seat post is an XCR carbon 400mm and the seat is the stock seat off my wife's Giant Talon, which is the same as the seat on my Giant Anthem, which works well for me, so I figured why not use the take off from her bike. The only thing that didn't transfer from the old bike was the seat tube clamp (different sizes) and the fork - the fork on this bike is the take off from a friends Redline Monocog (Flight?) - but other wise even the headset bearings and crown race came off the Nashbar bike. I did clean and repack the headset bearings while waiting for this frame.

2014-05-12 17.30.51.jpg

So I have to go somewhere and find a seat post clamp - my LBS says they think they have a 30mm clamp laying around. But after that I'll ride it more than just in a circle around my yard. I'll get back with you then.
 

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Pretty light for a huge steel frame. My medium Inbred weighs the same or more. These seem under represented on the trails for such a decent frame.
 

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WillWorkForTrail
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Pretty light for a huge steel frame. My medium Inbred weighs the same or more. These seem under represented on the trails for such a decent frame.
My thoughts too. I haven't actually weighed the whole bike yet, but I suspect that this is actually going to end up lighter than my old SS by a couple ounces in spite of the weight of the frame. That's because the fork is almost a pound lighter than the fork on the old frame. I suspect a lack of dealers hurts sales for Soma. I only found 2 places online other than the Soma Fab website that sold these frames.

So, I got some work I needed to get done yesterday done by a little after noon, and had time to swing by my LBS, pick up a collar for the seat post, and make a little shake down run. I could sit here and nit pick a little - my initial guess on the seat height was too high, I dropped it down after the ride. The bike is a little longer than my old SS and my FS bike, but it's the right size - smaller would have been too short. I had three minor pedal strikes. That could be because the BB is a little lower, or because I'm out of practice and my timing is off. But on to things I can't explain.

Ok, I can explain this. This bike feels like it's got suspension compared to my old AL framed SS. Steel, for the win. I think the shape of the seat stays helps.

The mythos of steel? Maybe for this one. The frame let me feel the trail in a way that was almost more like an instinctive sixth sense than the brutal transmission of the trail on the AL frame. It made the trail come to me in a way I can't say I have ever experienced. I'm not saying I rode better yesterday than I ever have. In fact, there are a few places that adjusting to the bike caused me to not clean technical turns due to being wider than I expected in the turn, but other turns where I needed exactly the same tighter type of line I was able to nail. I'm just saying the trail felt really good, nothing seemed to surprise me.

Now for something way, way out. Remember, all of the components except the fork and the seat post collar on this bike are the same as what came off my other SS. And while I got the sense my other SS rolled faster than my FS bike, which I could just as easily write off as being tire related, this bike, with the same air pressure in the tires, was noticeably faster. Maybe the slacker head? Maybe the forgiveness of the steel frame? I don't know, but the bike was fast. I was able to pump and roll flats that I've had to pedal on before just because the pumps seemed to net me so much more speed.

A couple more quick pictures.

2014-05-13 16.38.04.jpg

CS clearance with the 2.25. This picture may not do it justice. There's plenty of room even with the sliders slammed. If I was a half-link kind of guy, I could probably take a link out, put in a half link, and run the sliders slammed on this, or very close to it, with about the right chain tension. Gearing is 32/18.

2014-05-13 16.38.36.jpg

Speaking of sliders, that's how it's set right now. You can also see one of my few gripes about the whole thing. The way the brake mounts puts a pretty good angle on the cables. Fortunately, I haven't noticed it adversely affects the performance or feel of the BB7's in any way. It just looks odd. If you look at this picture close, you can sort of see the lower part of the contour on the seat stays. I'm sure these get a little flex and it contributes to the plush feel of this frame.

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On the whole, it was a pleasing ride. I'm still not certain it isn't just a smidge too long. I'm still looking to put some carbon bars on it, and when I do, I my make the new stem a 90mm rather than a 100.

That's all for now. More thoughts after I get some more saddle time.
 

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Thanks for the great write up. It's cool how you could plainly feel the trail feedback with the steel frame. I have never ridden a ti bike, but I have ridden some well done-aluminum and plastic bikes, but the info you seem to get from a steel frame is unique. Riding a Niner Air 9 scandium, and while being impressed with the feel of it, it is not the same as my old steel bikes. I'll have to look up the head angle on that frame. Is your new fork longer than your older one? If you get a chance, ride a nice steel bike into a hard turn with choppy pavement, and do it with a plastic bike. It's a great test.
 

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That's pretty cool. I've only had XC geometry too, so it would be interesting to see how that would feel. The biggest thing I notice about my SS is that since the fork is rigid, the geometry doesn't change, resulting in a consistent feel. That may be the biggest thing I notice when I go back to a suspension fork. Maybe just the longer travel alone is the reason for the need of the slacker angles at sag--so when you are at full compression, you aren't at like 76 percent or something.
 

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WillWorkForTrail
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sure. I've put about 30 miles on the bike this week. The ride is plush. The head angle being a little more slack has made the bike feel a little better on some of the descents around here, but I haven't noticed it throwing me wide in turns. I have noticed the slightly longer wheel base in turns, but it was very easy to adjust to. I've put a couple of good climbs in, and this thing has traction for days, and climbs like a homesick angel.

For all the plushness of the ride, I've noticed the bottom bracket doesn't flex as much as I expected it too. My old AL frame seemed very, very harsh in comparison to this bike, but I am certain there was more flex in the BB area than there is in this bike. I'd really like to be able to criticize this frame somewhere so you know I'm not just freaking in love with it because I've bought a new SS frame and happen to like it. But I honestly can't think of any downers about it at the moment. Except that after several months of no SS, riding 30 miles on it this week has made my legs sore, curse this bike. As punishment, I shall ride it more. There.

Seriously. The differences between this frame and the old one in geometry caused me to have to make a few adjustments to things - I'm still not certain I've got my seat exactly right, I think it's at the right height now, but maybe needs to go back a couple mm on the post. On the whole though, the feedback the frame provides is so good that you intuitively know what to do with it to make it do what you want to, the important signals don't get all cluttered up with a bunch of trail chatter and general harshness the way the old frame did.

The bottom bracket on this frame is a little lower than the old one. I've had three pedal strikes, but none of them have been hard ones. It really rails turns when you lay it over though, something the other frame never really did as well as I'd have liked. Oh yes - jumping. Historically, I've made a habit of getting plenty of air time on bikes. I've managed a bit on this frame now, and can honestly say, this may be the best jumping bike I've ever owned. Take off seems automatic, and I haven't muffed a landing yet.

Nothing else to report right now. Oh. One thing. The color. Everyone sort of expected the bike to just be brown. I kind of did too. But it's much deeper than just brown, it's got some sort of gold fleck somewhere in the paint that gives the color a depth, almost like colorshift paint. Everyone has remarked how good the frame looks. One of my friends (a welder by profession) even spent about 3 minutes just looking at the welds, and said they were all very clean, and quite good looking. I already knew that because I weld too, but not professionally. It was cool to hear that from him.
 
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