Before the deluge

Soma Double Cross

The Soma Double Cross in semi-touring configuration.

The Thunder God’s mojo must be on the fritz. Once again I got home from a ride just as the rain started to fall.

I snapped a quick pic of today’s steed for your amusement — it’s the Soma Double Cross, tricked out as half a tourist, with a rear rack and silver SKS fenders.

The Double Cross has a Tange Prestige main triangle and Tange Infinity fork; an eight-speed drivetrain (bar-end shifters, XT triple crankset, Ultegra front derailleur, XT rear); Shimano R550 cantilevers, an ancient set of Shimano 600 brake levers and a newish set of Empella Froggleg top-mounted levers; Mavic Open Pro rims, Dura-Ace hubs and a pair of 700×38 Schwalbe Little Big Ben tires; a Giant stem, Deda bars and some truly ancient Off the Front cyclo-cross tape; Time ATAC pedals; a Tubus Logo rack with a Busch & Muller 4D taillight; and an Easton seatpost topped with (of course) a Selle Italia Flite saddle.

This may be the least expensive bike in the garage, though my Voodoo Nakisi will certainly give it a run for the money. Oddly enough, those are the two bikes I ride the most.

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15 Responses to “Before the deluge”

  1. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    That looks like a sweet ride. An ES still haunts me. I want the red one before they run out. But, other than a few parts I already have, I would have to buy all the components. Wants and needs getting mixed up again. The bikes are getting a day off today; we woke up to thunderstorms and rain. Rain barrels are full again, and their overflows are gurgling away as they drain. For us in the desert Southwest, and you folks in the high country North of here, this rain is as sweet as a new bike. Like Patrick has said before, we will be drinking this next year.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Patrick, I’m in the same boat. I’d love to have one of the red Smoothie ESes, which are on sale, but I’d probably have to strip another bike to build it after raiding the parts bin over the years to build the Double Cross and two Voodoos (the Nakisi and my Wazoo townie).

      Rain again here last night, too, and looks like more of the same all week. I’m gonna have to check back through my notes, but I can’t recall a summer quite like this one in the better part of quite some time. I have fenders on damn’ near every bike that will take one.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        I have a Soma Saga. Road bike area fairly well covered.
        I have a Niner MCR. Mountain bike area well covered.
        I, and I am reluctant to admit it here, have a Trek Pure for around town. I do NOT have the townie area covered. The damn thing works OK, especially with regular clothes, but damn it has no class whatsoever. Thing feels like one notch better than a wally world bike. What should I do? Help me brothers get out of this china syndrome.

  2. Larry T. Says:

    Fenders. When it looks like rain I usually go out on my ancient LeMond Poprad. Slightly more modern than your example with Campagnolo Ergopower 9-speed triple setup and some old take-off S-brand canti brakes, but pretty much the same idea. If the roads are wet or the weather is dicey, this is my “go to” bike. The fat Challenge Paris-Roubaix clinchers smooth out the Iowa frost-heaves nicely too. Never could sit on one of those Flite saddles though – it was like sitting on the blade of a knife when I’d test-ride customer bikes with those back-in-the-day! Ouch.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      What are you riding for a saddle these days, Larry? I’ve had a chance to ride a whole bunch of different ones over the past few years, but I keep coming back to the Flite.

      I’d be interested in your take on shoes, too. I used to be a diehard Sidi guy, but I’m not as happy with my newish pair as I was with my old kicks. I’ve actually gone back to a seriously old pair of Northwaves for most of my riding. These look kinda like the old Sidi cyclo-cross shoes (and yeah, I have a pair of them, too).

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Terry Liberators for me. All bikes, all the time. Problem is that they moved production to Taiwan from Italy and replaced leather with vinyl. Will have to upgrade in the Terry line, or look somewhere else, probably Selle Italia, who I think make the Terry saddles.

      • Larry T. Says:

        I had some “undercarriage” work done a few years back and found to my horror I could no longer sit on a Selle Italia turbo or anything like that. I began a long and expensive (starting at the cheap end and going ever upward) saddle buying and testing program. Tried the Chinese made stuff from the big S, etc, moved on to Terry’s, then Italia, San Marco etc. with no real “aha” moments. In despair I spent the big money on an SMP, a saddle I’d laughed at when seeing the ads in Italian magazines. Like Goldilocks, went through “too narrow” and “too wide” models before settling on “just right” the SMP Glider. During this expensive project I made friends with the importer/distributor and convinced (begged?) them to become an official supplier to CycleItalia.
        I’m spoiled now, can’t ride on anything else. The toaster-size cutout and dropped nose let me get down on the drops like the old coaches used to beat into us back-in-the-day with no smashing of the tender vittles, as they say. But width is critical, we used all the ones we bought and didn’t like to start our own demo program, quickly followed up by SMP with a real one, so your dealer can loan you various models to try until like Goldilocks, you find that “just right” fit.
        Shoes can wait for another post, eh?

      • James Says:

        PO’G, have you tried Sidi Dominators? I know a stupid question but with the various widths, etc. they might be worth it – as long as you like black, black or black for color choices. How old are yours? I have a pair that are still going strong after a decade of abuse.

        Saddles. My fat arse (MFA) likes the WTB Laser, Rocket and Pure Vs. All work for MFA in the width and length. The added bonus is that there is the ‘wing’ at the back like the old Turbos so you can slide a bit further back and still stay on the rivet. Another added bonus: no full cutout to get goosed by one wet rides!

  3. Khal Spencer Says:

    I used to use Sella Turbo seats (I forget the name) back in the day and bought three or four when Nashbar was closing them out. That was my favorite saddle. Like O’G, I use the Flites now although the new ones look thinner (or my ass is fatter, or probably both).

    Frankenbikes are nice, and a thumb in the eye of the modern bike industry with its “solutions in search of problems” and planned obsolescence. I can’t quite figure out why I would want to have hydraulic centerpulls, for example. More gears on a cassette, to be sure, sound nice when one has a fat ass and 4 miles of 9% grades, but not at the cost of those new Campy chains and chain tools. A Frankencassette cobbled together out of a Campy and IRC works pretty well and gave me a servicable12-29 right out of two boxes. Now if anyone has an old 10 spd med cage Chorus derailleur gathering dust….I need to find a spare.

    Of the six bikes in the garage, only the tandem and Stumpjumper were bought as complete bikes. In the case of the tandem, it was because I got a sweet deal on the complete bike. Everything else was put together either out of the parts bin (including the Long Haul Trucker, built out of parts I took off the old Trek tandem and a donated mountain bike) or in the case of the LaCruz, the buddy I bought it from bought the frame and added his choice of parts. I would have done without the Mavic Speed City wheelset on the LaCruz in favor of Open Pros on Shimano hubs (you answered a longstanding question, Patrick. I see that 38c rubber fits on Open Pros). Otherwise, building up a bike is a fun hobby and keeps parts destined for the dustheap in quite useful form.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      K, you can still get the Turbo, via Excel Sports in Boulder.

      Alas, I can’t help you with the 10-speed Chorus. Matt Wiebe down in Santa Fe has a well-stocked garage. Have you two been in touch? He may still be salmon fishing; I’ll ping him and see what’s in his parts box.

      I’m really pushing what an Open Pro can handle on the Voodoo Nakisi. I’m running Bruce Gordon’s 700×43 Rock ‘n Roads on that bike. It’s a bit much — love the tire, but I fear rolling one off a rim if I let the PSI fall too far. I may have to go back to WTB’s 700×38 All Terrain, or maybe a Schwalbe Little Big Ben, which is billed as a 38 but actually calipers out at just a hair over 36.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Thanks for the heads up, O’G. BTI was/is out of stock on that med cage Chorus. They have really nice stuff in the Record category, but I would have to hide the receipt from my better half or forgo beer for a few months. There is nothing I can think of for an answer to “why the hell does someone have to spend almost $400 for a fucking derailleur?” My meek answer would be “well…darling…its a Campy for the glorious Six Thirteen….”

        I’ve never met Matt, or I’d call and beg a favor. But he sells to Jim Rickman, dba Little Jimmy’s Wheelhouse, up in BombTown, who is a personal friend who does bike setup and repair out of his garage. Jim checked a few weeks ago and said I was SOL for the Chorus and I balked at the Record. I guess if you wanna play, you gotta pay.

        Tires. One of the reasons I got the Delgado Cross hoops for the cross bike was I wanted something to handle winter commuting and I figured there was nothing I could mount on those that would be too fat. The Speed City wheelset (why does one need aero wheels on a commuter?) handles the silly go-fast tires for summer (Conti Gatorskins in 700-25 or Specialized 700-23/25’s) and I have a set of Conti All Season 700-28’s that fit on those just fine. I’ve put Schwalbe 700-40 Land Cruisers on the Delgado Cross rims and they look pretty formidable, but I usually mount Richey Speedmax Pro 700-32’s on those for light duty winter commuting. As long as I’m not trying to corner, they handle up to a few inches of the white stuff OK. Watch out for black ice, though.

      • Khal Spencer Says:

        Looks like the new Turbos are sold with suede rather than shiny leather. Has anyone tried these? Sounds like one could get a pretty sore butt until you wore through the suede.

    • Larry T. Says:

      Khal – when you say MEDIUM cage, what do you mean? Measure between the pulley wheel bolts. I have a new Centaur 10-speed with a longer than normal, but not triple length, cage here. It measures 75 mm between the pulley bolts. I’d bet it’ll handle a 29 cog, but it won’t do that AND wrap up enough chain for a triple up front too. Let me know if it’ll serve your purpose – and the sales commission will go to POG!

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