Featured User Review: Soma Fabrications Rush Frame

Urban

Featured User Review: Soma Fabrications Rush Frame
by Benjamin Evans

Price: $450.00 at Cyclepath, Portland
Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating: 5 of 5

Favorite Ride:
Avenida de los Volcanes, Central Ecuador

Bike Setup:
Crank and Chain Ring: PAUL Component Engineering, Royal Flush Road Crank w/ 170 mm Crank arms.
Chain: KMC
Wheelset: DT Swiss RR 1.2, w/ DT spokes (Front Dura-Ace hub, Rear Surly Steamroller hub)
Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700c x 32, or Soma Everwear 700c x 28
Headset: Chris King threadless
Stem: Syntace F99 Road, 75mm
Handlebar: On-One Mary Bar
Brake: PAUL e-brake
Saddle: Brooks B17
Seatpost: Thompson
Bags: Jandd Stem Bag, Carradice Camper Longflap

Summary:
I’ve had my Rush, set up fixed, for about 5 years now and have ridden approximately 8-10,000 miles on this frame. It’s the only bike I have saddled during that time, and thus, I’ve stretched its utility beyond that of a strictly track or city frame. The bike was my 10+ mile/day commuter for three years in damp Portland, OR, followed me to the stone streets and dirt roads of Oaxaca, Mexico for 18 months, and more recently was the frame I chose to ride between Mexico and Peru, clocking over 3,000 miles on that 10 week tour.

Riding hard is a passion of mine and the Tange CroMo frame has performed under significant stress through all riding conditions. The steel’s flex and ability to absorb vibration does reduce rider fatigue, and has let me continue longer rides on rough roads and pursue mixed rides (pavement and dirt) with confidence. The frame’s track inspired geometry is aggressive (more so than most cross frames), but still comfortable for longer heads-up commuting. And with the right stem/ handlebar/saddle combination, I was surprised to find what a worthy, capable single speed touring frame this is. As someone with a history of back problems, I was impressed beyond my expectations of how well the frame’s geometry facilitates comfortable, 50+ mile rides, extended climbs, and on and off road agility at moderate to high speeds. Of course, as a track frame, it also positions the rider for optimal power generation and transfer, which makes it a blast to ride in the urbanscape and is another reason why I enjoy it as a touring frame–I can accelerate quickly and hold high speeds in the flats and rolling hills.

Regarding frame quality: After years of riding this frame into the ground, it refuses to be buried. The welds are precise and still flawless today. The tubes show no cracks, only chipped paint. The burly rear, horizontal dropouts are well-aligned and continue to take a beating without contortion, while the fork welds and front dropouts are of matched craftsmanship. I have never had to make any kind of repair to the frame itself. I have wondered if the diameter of the bottom bracket shell is slightly too large, since I have replaced the bottom bracket several times over the life of the bike and continue to notice a very minimal lateral play (of a millimeter or less) when shaking the crank arms. Whether or not that is true, it does not affect riding mechanics.

In sum, I have found the Rush to be a high quality utility frame with agressive geometry that commuters, urban day riders, and minimalist, single-speed tourers alike will enjoy. If you want a frame that provides serious riding versatility, and don’t need brazed-on extras or super custom styling, the Rush might well be what you’re looking for.

Strengths:
– Expect a confident ride. The Rush’s geometry offers the rider a commanding view of the road and facilitates fast riding.
– Frame geometry and Tange Chomoly steel make possible a variety of riding endeavors.
– High quality construction/welding, especially on the bike’s highest stress areas.
– The frame performs well when riding with weight distributed evenly between front and rear.
– Low frame-set weight makes this frame a good start to a ultra light build.
– Frame feels responsive and nimble when avoiding obstacles, maintains agility and a tight feel at higher speeds.

Weaknesses:
– Braze-ons limited to one water bottle rack.
– No bosses for cantilever brakes (but appropriately so, this is a track frame).
– Minimal play in bottom bracket shell may or may not be unique to my frame.

Similar Products Used:
– RedLine CycleCross frame, aluminum.

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About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.


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