The fleet passes inspection

The Soma Saga, ready for adventure cycling.

And boom! Just like that, after two hours on the Soma Saga rim-brake bike, the Ride Your Own Damn Bike Festival® comes to a close.

The only machine unridden in the fleet is my Steelman time-trial bike, which has surrendered its bar-cons to a Steelman cyclocross bike. I have the parts to get it rolling, but it would take a little doing, and I’d look even more ridiculous than usual. Think old baldheaded fart in cute little sport car. Not a pretty sight.

I’d forgotten how much I like this Saga, which I reviewed in 2011. Like the disc model, it has Silver friction shifters, but the stoppers are cantilevers — in this most recent iteration, TRP’s RevoX cyclocross brakes. It also sports a really stout wheelset from Rivendell, with Deore LX hubs, Velocity Synergy rims (32H front, 36H rear), and Schwalbe Little Big Bens in 700×38.

Every time I pull this beast from its hook I think, “Oh, hell, this thing weighs a ton.” And every time I throw a leg over the top tube, clip in, and roll off, I think, “Damn, this is one comfortable machine.”

If I were riding to Sea Otter at Laguna Seca, this is the bike I’d choose. The only component prone to failure is the nut behind the stem.

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22 Responses to “The fleet passes inspection”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I do miss my Saga a bit. But not enough to buy another. My loaded touring days are over; they really never began. Just overnight trips to Bisbee or Benson for the hell of it. But one thing is for sure. Those Sagas are the kings of comfort. You forget how much it weighs as soon as you clip in.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      If you do a bike overnight to Bisbee you should book a “room” at The Shady Dell. That place is cool.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        We have thought about that place often, and visited two years to take a look at the different trailers. The yacht and Tiki bus were very interesting. I can do an overnight on the Double Cross as you have done on yours. Speaking of Double Cross, did that get out in your rotation?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        O indeed. They all got out, Bubba, with the exception of the time-trial bike. The DC is now a townie, with Rivendell Albatross bars and a very upright Miss Gulch/Wizard of Oz position. I rode it to the grocery and back the day after my birthday ride. ‘Twas a very easy 5.3-mile outing.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Ah, I forgot about the townie conversion and grocery run. It’s a wonder I can remember anything this morning with the snot locker working overtime. Today should be interesting here, and there. First red flag day, I think, this year for both of us, and pollen production in overdrive. What a combo to deal with. But, the smarter half is back home frrom KY, so I am whole again.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I’ve been doing without drugs during the day, but taking half of a Benadryl tab at night so I can sleep.

          The winds are slated to be fearsome up here today, so I think I’ll skip the ride and go for a short run before the lawn art starts spinning like young Regan’s head in “The Exorcist.”

          The Boss is back, hey? Glad to hear it. Mine is headed for Texas tomorrow to visit family. Chaos will prevail in the absence of Law. The Cosmic Balance will be in jeopardy.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Good on ya doing without drugs during the day. This Claritin has worked well enough that I would be afraid to skip a day this time of year. When the rains start, I should be able to go a few months without drug support, until the ragweed starts to bloom.

          Now for a cheap commercial plug, we are selling our second car, a 2017 Corolla iM. It’s in excellent shape with 7K easy miles on it. It has the 6 speed manual transmission. And it is spring green in color, which is damn close to bright yellow. Just the color for a cyclist to love. Special deals of course to to the folks here. Any takers? Patrick, the Subie is getting long in the tooth.

  2. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Isn’t that interesting? You notice the weight only when you have to pick the thing up. Same here. But the industry can’t sell you anything unless it’s “improved”, which often means lighter. Unless it’s a ‘cross bike you have to throw over your shoulder, who cares if it’s 10 kg or 8 kg? Once I’m rolling along I can no longer tell. Nobody seems to care that the “cycling viagra” sold by Pinarello, Colnago, etc. these days are a couple of kgs heavier than their normal bicycles, do they?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Just for giggles, I put the Soma on the scale as I rode it yesterday, with computer, minipump, front/rear racks, headlight and taillight, bell, and saddlebag with two tubes, a minitool and tire irons.

      32.5 pounds.

      This is why picking up a bicycle is one of the least valuable things you can do to gauge its utility. It’d weigh twice that for an actual tour, with loaded panniers front and rear.

      And you’d be glad it did, too, after bouncing along what we call roads in this country for a couple-three days. You’d be carrying what you required to get from Here to There and it wouldn’t break underneath you.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        But what is ALWAYS the first thing someone does with an unfamiliar bike? They pick it up as if it was something they had to carry around rather than ride.
        Or nowadays they’ll hang it from a digital scale and make some sort of proclamation that is as useful as knowing how many millimeters of BB drop it has!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Ayuh. I rode my ancient 20-pound DBR ti’ road-racing bike for a couple hours on Sunday. Guess which one was more comfortable?

        I do like to know BB drop and height, though. I often veer off the pavement and onto the trails, and with 175mm cranks I can bash a lot of rocks with the pedals if the sucker’s slung too low.

        The Redline boys used to favor a low-ish BB on their cyclocross bikes, but that was because all the webfeet in the PNW ran such fat tires to navigate the soup.

  3. Herb from Michigan Says:

    I’m big on using the Fun Meter to weigh my bikes. That is, which bike do I have the most fun on versus which is faster or more nimble or WTF. I’ve also experienced that one can take a fav ride and try and duplicate its EXACT dimensions only to find that bike A and B ride totally different despite the attempted cloning. I tells ya, some bikes just gots soul-others nots.I still believe (perhaps foolishly since I lean that direction most days) that the only place to trim weight is on board the carcass mounted to the seat ,and the wheel-set. That being said-eons ago a buddy put sew up wheels on his Varsity in hopes that they could fly up hills together. He admitted he should have put the money into a new bike which he of course eventually did. He also put a Campy Record front derailleur on the Varsity so it could dump the chain off the chain rings even faster and bring him to a quick standstill.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The Fun Meter is the onliest tool what matters. But a good wheelset sure tilts its needle in the proper direction.

      I have a couple Rivendell-built wheelsets, a Neugent, a couple pair of really old Zipp deep-dishes, and one set of Mavic Open Pros laced to Hügi hubs by Brian Gravestock at Old Town in Bibleburg. That last has really taken a licking but kept on ticking.

  4. Libby Says:

    Congratulations on the completion of your Festival. Your Euro buddy, Hoody, has been riding cobbled Flandrian sportifs in between covering races. He has cobbles and breathing vs blue skies and snot.

  5. JD Dallager Says:

    Apologies on the hijack of the PO’G Fleet report; but going back to one of the e-bike discussions……here you have the “scientific” eval of them:

    https://www.outsideonline.com/2393399/biking-cognitive-benefits-study

    Hope they’re as comfy as PO’G’s Soma Saga…..which is a saga in itself. Arma virumque cano….etc. Apologies also to Virgil, The Aeneid et al. 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Interesting read. I wonder how big a role simply being outside, exposed to more stimuli than you can collect through a phone, played in the results. The Turk is always happiest when he gets a half hour or so of outdoor time. So am I, come to think of it.

      Now, as regards e-bikes in general: I don’t object to e-bikes per se. I do object to the industry behaving as if they were Christ returned, the way it does with every new toy. Remember mountain bikes, suspension. fixies, singlespeeds, cyclocross bikes, hybrids, townies, cruisers, fat bikes, “plus” bikes, gravel bikes, adventure/all-road bikes, etc.?

      I stil think infrastructure is the key. People who are askeered to ride reg’lar bikes on the road will be askeered to ride e-bikes on the road, especially as they start seeing the body count on Facebook.

      “The rider was not wearing a helmet.” The newsies keep that one stored in a macro key. Never mind that the cyclist was done from the rear at 75 mph by a Toyota Sequoia whose teenage driver was texting a dick pic to the prom queen.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        “The rider was not wearing a helmet.” “The newsies keep that one stored in a macro key. Never mind that the cyclist was done from the rear at 75 mph by a Toyota Sequoia whose teenage driver was texting a dick pic to the prom queen.”

        Beauty! Classic Mad Dog. Chapeau!

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