When I first spoke about picking up the Soma frame, a reader commented that she would like to know how I/we choose parts for a build. With this particular build, I didn't have (nor want) to spend a lot of extra money, so we built it with the intention of using (for the most part) items that we had sitting around from prior bicycles or builds. This meant that the choices for me were limited with this particular project. Because I tend to be rather finicky about the way a bike feels, I didn't want to spend extra money on parts, only to discover that I didn't like the ride or that it didn't fit properly. My thought from the inception was simply to use what was available in the parts stash and if all went well, I will potentially change things out down the road. So, with all of that said, the parts selected were not necessarily what I would ideally have chosen, but in order to get it on the road, I wanted to use what was available.
|The hoods are a bit torn up on these shifters/brakes (they're Sora, in case anyone is wondering - so nothing special) because they're older, but they still work just fine.|
|XT rear derailleur was also a part had from another bike build.|
As stated above, one thing of note with the Soma frame is that it is sold as a frame-only (there is an option to purchase a complete bike as well). A matching fork is available for an additional cost. Because I figured I would ultimately end up getting a carbon fork, I chose not to bother with the matching steel one and instead used those funds to get those few other items needed for the build. Yes, a carbon fork was actually cheaper than the matching steel one, crazy as that sounds.
|Easton fork was obtained for a killer deal on a closeout with a store on Amazon (& I had a gift card to use with Amazon, making the cost free-to-me)|
|The photos I took all seemed to grey out a lot of the colors, but I suppose that's my own fault for not taking a proper camera. :O)|
The tires are the very same ones that I had on a former road bike that were removed for a different choice at about 600 miles, and are Schwalbe Durano's in creme (for the record, I run them at around 90-100 psi, generally speaking). They are not the tires to select for the least rolling resistance (though still not bad), but I like that they're a bit softer/cushioned yet still hold a higher pressure, and that I can use them when it's a bit wet out and not worry that I'm going to slip all around. Plus, I had them in the parts stash, so that made them an easy and obvious choice. The saddle and saddle bag are from previous builds as well that just keep making their way from one bike to the next (the saddle is a Brooks B-17 and the bag is from Rivendell). The wheels came off of a prior build for Sam, so they too were in the parts pile to be used. Again, they're not the lightest wheels out there, but that wasn't of concern to me for this build.
I was asked how this ES differs from the Surly Pacer I've had in the past. I think one of the biggest issues for me was handlebar height on the Pacer. I really liked the Pacer and it was a great ride too, but having problems with hands and wrists, I couldn't seem to get the Pacer to a place that allowed me to be comfortable when riding longer distances. The Pacer had lighter weight parts and different gearing (after we rebuilt it, not as a stock bike from Surly), but the frame is similar in many respects; however, when I look at the geometry of the two, I begin to think that just slight differences made a big difference. The top tube is actually slightly (very slightly) longer on the ES than on the Pacer (both were/are 46 cm), but the ES head tube is longer, which I believe assists in allowing me to get just that bit more I needed for the handlebar height. Again, they are both solid frames, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend someone try either. My preference (at least to date) has simply been in favor of the Soma.
Regardless of the specifics chosen to build this bike up, I think it's a solid frame and worth a look for a person seeking an easy-to-ride road bike at an affordable price when compared to other steel options on the market. Parts and pieces will likely change on this bike (as they have on nearly every bike I've owned) over time, but I think this one is turning into a really solid option. If you're interested in seeing a few more photos of the bike, you're welcome to see them here. I'm still working on a true "glamour shot" photo shoot, but it's been challenging for me in recent weeks, so I'll add them to the folder as I get them completed for those who have interest. As always, if you have questions about the build, parts, or have had your own experience with Soma or the ES, feel free to leave your thoughts, ideas, and so on.