cyclofiend.com - peripheral thoughts & notes

May 2024
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Rivendell Collaboration: SOMA San Marcos
Filed under: rivendelica
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 11:47 pm

In winter, it doesn’t take too much to get the various bike-geek lists lit up (and I say that with love, since I admin one of them myself…).

A couple of days, a new image popped up on the SOMA fab Flickr feed -

which was interesting enough by itself. 

Then further photos emerged a day or so later, after an RBW Owner’s Bunch member espied a new frame at the RBWHQ&L -

(You can view the slideshow of the images here.)

This was a bit more interesting, clearly showing that something of a collaborative nature was in the works. Could it be the rumored SOMAdell A. Homer BorneFoy Atlanticabombaluki Roaday-ay-ay-OH?  Some felt that obviously it was, would be or could be.  Others felt the fork was clearly a disappointment. It was instantly an internet star.

Following in the wake of such conjecture, both SOMA and Grant at Rivendell released clarifications on their various websites:

The SOMA Feed

The RBW News

Since the RBW News column included a wide variety of other topics, here are the pertinent paragraphs:

“It’s what used to be called a road-sport bike. It has light tubing (by our standards — like the Rambouillet, A. Homer Hilsen), and accepts tires up to 28mm with a fender, or about 35mm without. It has two eyelets on the rear dropouts, one on the front, and hourglass mounts on the seat stays. It’s not for loaded touring, but fits a rear rack anyway, and you can use that as a saddlebag support, or put a trunk rack or some other light load on it. It probably won’t break-like-carbon if you load it up and head for the hills, but it’s really not built to do that fantastically well. The tubing is too light.

It has the same “expanded” kind of frame as the Bombadil and Sam Hillborne. The top tube slopes up about 6 degrees, so ultra classicists will barf, but the upslope forces you to be comfortable, and some people must be forced. It also means you’ll ride a frame that’s three to five cm smaller than what you’d ride in one of our bikes.

The fork is threaded, so you can use a quill stem. All the lugs, the crown, and the BB shell are the same ones we use on our own bikes. The rear dropouts are a stock model that have been used on lots of frames, but I didn’t pick them. They’re small, strong, and light.

The tubing is Tange Prestige (heat treated CrMo). Tange is a tubing maker; Prestige is it’s top, heat-treated CrMo tubing, and it’s plenty good for any frame.

The downtube says the opposite of SOMA, and the model nameSan Marcosis in small letters on the back of the seat tube.

I think it’s best and fairest to evaluate this frame in the context of the current bike shop selection, and the price, about $895. I want to say that, because if all you do is consider “lugs” and “steel” and “fork crown” and maybe even “Rivendell-designed” it’s a short step away from being compared to frames that cost a whole lot more.

Please DO compare it to any carbon frame and fork. Compare the clearance, the bar height and comfort, the tire and fender clearances, and the overall look. DON’T compare it to an A. Homer Hilsen, etc., and expect the same details. The fork won’t be as beautiful, but it’ll look a whole lot better (by certain standards) than any carbon fork, and it’ll be way safer, too.

This frame is perfect for anybody who wants a really nice, super comfortable, attractive, safe, and versatile bike for well under $2,000. It’s great for any road rides, centuries, and (with 35mm tires run soft), some smooth fire trails.


SOMA San Marcos

Sizes: Probably 51/650 or 700c (not sure); 55, 59, 63. Maybe a 47/650, too. It’s designed, but nobody ever buys small bikes, so I may suggest to Jim to nix it. It’ll be up to him, so don’t get mad at me….

Fitting: Go three to six cm smaller than your level-top tube frame.

Color: Not set, but maybe the light blue that’s on the table (and the ‘net)

Brake style: 55 reach, sidepull or centerpull, but there’s no cable hanger stop, so if you want to use a centerpull you’ll need the stops and hangers, and I’m sure Merry Sales will make them available to dealers.

Max tire with fender: 30mm. (Who makes a 30? But if you have one)

Max tire no fender: 37mm.

Braze-ons: Two bottles, two eyelets on rear drops, one on each front, plus the normal cable stops.

Designed for: Road riding, light loads. If you’re light or if you ride light (don’t smack things, pedal smoothly, unweight the bike over bumps, things like that), you can go glorious unpaved places on this bike, but the bottom line is: Road bike, not trail bike.

Loaded touring?: Nope. It won’t break, but it’s not touring-stout.

Rear spacing: 130mm

Fork type: Steel (CrMo) with Riv’s crown

Lugs, BB shell: Riv’s investment cast

Kinda tubes: Tange Prestige, with 0.8mm butts in the top and down tubes.

Seat post size: 27.2mm

Anything quirky, weird, or spooky that you’ll find out too late? No, it’s normal.

Frame weight: Shouldn’t ask, but a 55 will weigh about 4.4lb.

Available where: Bike dealers who opt to stock it, and Rivendell.

Available when: We aren’t going to rush it, and if all of the details aren’t nailed, it plain won’t happen at all. Right now the most optimistic guess is Fall, 2010. I bet it won’t land till Spring 2011, though.”


How, oh how will we make it until 2011…?

4 Responses to “Rivendell Collaboration: SOMA San Marcos”

  1. Brian Says:
    The frame looks nice. Rivendell seems to be undergoing some radical changes as of late. Hope they survive…..
  2. The Cyclofiend Says:
    I’m not sure I’d agree with “radical” - the Bleriot project went for two years with QBP, and that was four years back - Taiwan-built, wide distribution, etc.

    Merry Sales (their partner) is a significant west coast distributor, though I’d expect as they are a smaller enterprise in the scheme of things, they may be a little more “hands-on”in the distribution of the frames.

    I like the fact that Rivendell is continuing to adapt. On the upper end, they are bringing the Toyo-built bikes back to US-manufacture. Yet they are still managing to maintain a less expensive option by using the Toyo-controlled manufacture on the Hunquapillar and Maxway on the Hillborne/Foy.
  3. Len Says:
    I wish Rivendell luck. One thing they need to do better on, though, is the names. ‘Roadeo’ was a little too cutesy/lame. Now ‘Hunqapillar’? LOL, whatever, Grant. And I used to think that ‘A. Homer Hilsen’ was obscure/silly.
  4. The Cyclofiend Says:
    I actually like Hunqapillar. To my ear, it has the ring of nordic stalwart strength.