The Saga


When Bryan and me decided to keep going, unsupported, riding our bicycles around the world, I had to get a proper touring bike. I know it sounds a bit crazy but I didn´t think twice (well, actually, I did think about it a few times) when I was able to swap my Colnago for a Surly Long Haul Trucker at the end of our trip in Los Angeles (thanks Callie!).

And then we found out Soma Fabrications were interested in sponsoring us. It was just perfect timing. At the time we wrote to Soma they had just come out with a brand new touring frame: The Saga. They wanted us to field test them on our trip so they gave us 2 frames (and forks, along with headsets, tires, tubes and a super sweet deal on everything else we needed). So I built my Saga with most of the parts I had and some I got from Soma (thanks Thayne!).

Riding the Saga in hilly San Francisco was fun. It felt very comfortable, nice to ride and easy to handle, but I was looking forward to riding it fully loaded, that´s what the bike has been designed for.

fully loaded saga

I remeber I could hardly even lift the bike over a step at Asira´s house when we were leaving L.A. It was so heavy, even pushing the bike along was hard. We had way too much stuff. I was worried.
But then I got on my bike and rode away. And that was it: instant love.
I got rid of some of my stuff, and now, with my 2 panniers and duffel bag at the front, and 2 rear panniers and messenger bag on my rack, the bike feels even more comfortable.
It feels solid, but it doesn´t ride like a tank. Handling is easy enough to cut tight corners, and there´s no toe overlap with the front wheel. Climbing , even off the saddle, is not much different than on a road bike. And going fast downhill is always predictable. The low bottom bracket and long wheel base makes it very stable. It´s everything you´d want from a touring bike.

The Soma Saga is made with super solid Tange Prestige tubing. The head tube came off a downhill bike and the top tube from a freeride bike: very strong tubes. Made to last and carry pretty much anything you´d take on a longhaul tour.
It has a semicompact geometry with a slooping top tube. Mine is a size 58 with a 56cm seat tube (CTT). My bars are just above my saddle height with an uncut steerer tube. I´m 5´11″ and it fits me perfectly, giving me a very upright position.
The saga is a very versatile bicycle too: pump peg, eyelets for fenders and racks (eyelets on the fork for a lowrider rack), bolts for 3 bottle cages, spokes holder on the left chainstay, and even a platform behind the bottom bracket for a (very useful when you´re fully loaded) kickstand! It takes 26″ wheels up to size 54 and 700 from the 56. With fenders on, you can fit tires up to 35c. And one of the best thing about it is the price: at $500 for a quality steel frame and fork, it is a very affordable touring bicycle.

The Soma Saga is the perfect touring bike.




The Saga continues…

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  1. great photo. beautiful bike! go, guys, go!!!

    (oops, i posted this comment on the wrong blog)

    go jo!!!

  2. thanks for the feedback, jo! say hello to bryan.

  3. Thanks for doing the write up on your Soma Saga. I’m curious about this bike. Have you had a chance to do a ride comparison with the Long Haul Trucker? I currently ride an LHT but alas the frame size is too small. I’m considering the LHT in the proper size but am open to the Saga. I love the paint, panels and now the new headbadge planned for the 2010 models.

    Also wondering if the seatpost binder was ever an issue. On the LHT the stock clamp was kind of a problem (always slipping). The fix was easy, though, changed out the clamp but on Soma’s seems like you’d just be out of luck if you had the slippage problem.

    Anyways, your opinions would be great.

  4. hola, thanks for your comments. I had the same issue with my LHT size 56. my Saga is a 58 (compact) and it’s the perfect size for me. I also had some seatpost slipping problems on the Saga but a piece of a beer can around the seatpost solved it. Cheers. Jo(aquin)

  5. Fantastic blog. I just wanted to say thank you for your efforts!

  6. Hey! I know I’m a little late reading this but….I’m starting to look for a touring bike and doing research, and looking and reading. I was originally thinking of the LHT, it’s so popular and inexpensive, but then I saw the Saga. I like the looks much better! I was curious about your sizing. I’m 6′ and normally ride a 56, regular geometry. But your 58 Saga fits you good and you’re 5′11″? That seems backwards, I would think the smaller 56 would be better, but it’s too small?



  7. hey Rob, the 56 (compact geometry) was too small for me. I could ride it but I feel more comfortable with a bigger frame, especially for touring. So I went for the 58 and loved it. I’d say the 58 will fit you better but I’d recommend you try both sizes if possible. Ride safe.

  8. Thanks Jo! I had myself talked into the Surly, but the more I think about it, the more the Soma seems like the way to go. Problem is I haven’t ridden either one yet!! I’m still working on it!

  9. Hi Jo, happy holidays!! Wanted to let you know that I FINALLY ordered my Saga, in a 58! Can’t wait to get to building it!! Hope all is well with you!

  10. awesome. congratulations. i’m sure you’ll love the saga. safe and happy riding and merry xmas!

  11. Decent review! How well does this bike handle heavy loads? I’m thinking about getting a custom handmade frame rather than one made in Taiwan, but everyone who rides one of these seems to love it. It seems to do everything – the tubing is light enough to go fast when unloaded, yet sturdy enough to handle heavy loads. I can’t believe there’s not a compromise somewhere.

    Advice appreciated!

  12. hey,
    the geometry of the saga is made to handle perfectly with heavy loads. i didn’t find any compromise. good luck and ride safe

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