Soma Smoothie: Steel road frame build and review, pt.3

When fitting the rear tire to the frame, something was odd about it. After a few attempts, I confirmed that the dropouts were definitely not right because the wheel was tilted several degrees from vertical. An email and picture sent, a reply to try it installed backward, and I was looking closer. I discovered that the left side dropout was indeed very snug, so much so that the axle of the wheel had to be squeezed past the entry corner of the dropout itself and then… “pop” it seated past that point and all the way in. The wheel was now perfectly straight. Removing the wheel was the same experience. I had to leverage it out the same way with a finger wrapped around the chain stay and seat stay intersection, and a push with my thumb on the axle to squeeze it out of that point. “pop” again and it’s out. Not only is the rear spacing probably 1mm narrow (not a bad thing because steel flexes slightly)  but this new ‘feature’ will assure that the wheel will never go anywhere in case of a loose quick release.

With the wheel in place, I test fit my Shimano 5800 – 105 brake caliper on the rear and there’s definitely room for adjustment. The only thing to try now is to see if it can actually handle a 31mm measured tire.

I called around to check prices on moving over the bottom bracket and crank, facing the head tube, etc. I decided to have it done by an actual bike manufacturer: REEB. they’re local and they also make beer, known as Oskar Blues. Their material specialty is steel and Titanium and they will prep my frame, face and chase the bottom bracket, face the head tube, spray it with frame saver, and move over my bottom bracket and cranks from the Paketa to the Smoothie. I’ll pick it up tomorrow and put the rest of the parts on. I might be able to ride it around the block. I’m kinda excited. While I was there I found out the shipped to me weight: 4 pounds, 13.2 ounces. Or: 2188.6 grams. A little bit heavier than I estimated, but they say their 56 frame weighs 4 pounds, so I’m in the ballpark of reality.

My new expected weight of the frame, hs, and fork is now 2850g, or 6.3 pounds.

This frame, the more I test part fits and locations, is impressing me. It feels solid, very solid, so far. I’m excited to see the end product.

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