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.
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…