Soma Smoothie: Steel road frame build and review, pt.5.

It’s built, however, I’m nervous. Everything went on nicely, but in adjustment, I discovered that the newer Shimano 5800 11-speed group has a new style of front derailleur. The shift cable attaches to the derailleur arm and pulls down. The result is the derailleur pushes out, putting the chain on the big ring, but the arm tilts in as a lever would, where the cable attach point is VERY close to the tire sidewall. This is the case for anyone running a near true 30c tire. although I am on officially 28c Michelins, the actual measure is 29-30 and I have probably 2mm clearance to that arm when in the big gear. this isn’t really an issue if I’m on perfectly clean roadways. SOMA fabrications claim this frame can fit 28c tires. Their spot on and exact 28c is the safe tire to use here. So the moral? If you plan to run fatter road tires, check the group and make sure that the equipment clears everything when shifted to it’s limits on both ends of travel. The taller shifter arms might not let you run the fat tire. Now, Were I to run a 1×11 drive-train, I could run 30c+ tires all the time. but those 1×11 setups are not only expensive, but the gaps of a 10-40 cassette might be a bit wide.

Long reach brakes? Not required on the back and it’s fork dependant on the front. I picked that DC07 fork from Kinesis and it’s more of a mid-reach fork. A good thing because my 105-5800 caliper works, just barely. I slid the pads to the bottom most position and they just cleared the rims so they work fine and I don’t have to buy new calipers.

I have my personal fit reflected on this bike and there’s not much more I can do besides finding a lighter seat post. The saddle is from my cyclocross bike and works nicely on the road but it’s not much heavier than something else. the only places to reduce weight would be the tires (80g over 25c race tires, each.) The seat post (80g saved with a Thomson aluminum) aaaaand if I really wanted to, a full carbon fork would only save another 200. Yep, If I wanted to spend all that money I would save 440 grams, or, 1 pound. I could go after new calipers and save up to 510 grams but that would put me just under 20. Big deal. This is firm, solid, responsive and already up and down the street a much more comfortable ride than I’ve had yet. The best steel bikes on the world tour were twenty pounds. The best aluminum were eighteen….and those were the best. I’m doing just fine.

Tomorrow I’ll try to get out there for a two hour ride and really feel it out.


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