Not everyone wants a carbon fiber road bike. Whether it’s price, durability or versatility, sometimes steel bikes are better option. If you’ve been riding for a while you will remember how a good steel frame rides. Smooth and snappy. The Soma Smoothie is a modern version of that classic steel road bike.
Soma Fabrications is a small company in San Fransisco that started with the aim of offering good quality steel frames for road, mountain and cyclocross. Now they have a wide selection of accessories and components available as well but the focus is still on offering good frames to serious cyclists. All of their frames are made from Tange Prestige heat treated double butted tubes. This was the top tubing a number of years ago but now if lets them offer a great quality frame at a reasonable price.
As Soma doesn’t make complete bikes, if you want Soma Smoothie you will start with a frames and build it up how ever you like. At my shop we do a lot of custom builds on Soma frames. What I like about them is that they are well made but not common so you get a bike that isn’t just another cookie cutter model from a globo-bike-company. I’m not against the big companies but there is something cool about having a unique bike.
The Soma Smoothie that I tested was built up very middle of the road with an ITM Basic carbon fork, Shimano 105 components and a set of hand build wheels with Alex Pro 28 rims. The weight of the complete bike without pedals came in at 19.7 lbs with a 54 cm frame. Not a feather weight but reasonable for the price.
Not to sound cliche, but the Smoothie lives up to it’s name. The ride is very smooth and comfortable. It gives good road feel but the bumps are muted. Because of this you may be a slight bit slower in the first half of a ride compared to people on race bikes but faster in the second half as you haven’t been beaten up as much.
During peak power efforts like sprints and out of the saddle climbs there is a little more flex than my carbon race bike but not enough to cause the rim to rub the brake. Just a gentle give the returns the energy with the next pedal stroke. The subtle give the frame has combined with a balanced geometry make this an awesome cornering bike. Downhill corners feel like you sling shot out of them. Unlike stiffer bikes, the Soma Smoothie holds a line without skipping out when pushed to the maximum.
The goal of the Smoothie isn’t an all out race bike but a comfortable riding machine that will let you ride strong for long days and charity rides. It will still let you hold your own on the local group ride as long as you have the legs but racing isn’t it’s forte. The Soma Smoothie comes in 7 sizes and two color (blue and white).