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Soma Grand Randonneur
Soma Grand Randonneur Frame/Fork Version 2
A Crazy Amount of Bicycle Fun for a Super Low Price!
Click Here for more info and images on the Soma Website.
The Soma Grand Randonneur (GR) frame/fork is a result of our collaboration with Soma to bring a great riding 650b rando bike to market at a very affordable price. The Grand Randonneur rides very well - so well that it gets unconfortably close in performance to our Boulder Bicycle 650b frames but at a much lower price.
The GR is not quite as smooth riding as our Boulder Bicycle frames, but that is mostly because of beefier forkblades and chain'seatstays. This is rather intentional and allows for a bit more loading than with our Boulder Bicycle frames that are more pure-rando oriented.
Soma GR frames in the small to middle size range use 8/5/8 skinny tube tubes and 9/6/9 skinny downtubes. This is a great tubing choice for most riders and is helpful if you have a smidge of load on the bike (this is still NOT a touring bike). The difference in feel between the Soma GR and the lightest 7/4/7 skinny top tube bikes with respect to what is sometimes called "planing" is very small. In fact, the small to middle tube spec for the main tubes is identical to that of the Rene Herse we had reviewed in BQ a number of years ago. This is probably also nearly identical to the tube spec used on most classic Rene Herse bikes over the years.
The fork is threaded. The Soma frames we now offer are version 2 which means that for a given top tube length the frame is taller (translation longer headtube so you get the bars higher for a given stem). The workmanship and paint are also really nice - sadly, if this frame was made in the US it would be much more expensive. The Soma GR is a screaming deal - we've had folks order custom Boulder Bicycles with capability for more loading and the price was probably three times of the Soma's. Is the performance 3 times as great? We doubt it.
When you order a Soma GR from us, we chase and face your frame with the Campy tools which is necessary in order to maintain the US warranty from Soma. The Soma GR uses Canti brakes and works great with Compass/Grand Bois 42mm 650b tires with 50mm fenders. We strongly suggest use of the Miche needlbearing headset (best headset for reduction of shimmy risk which is an issue with low trail 650b bikes such as this one.
Also - beware, the use of fenders carries safety risks!