I think a few words are in order after using Byron, my Soma Buena Vista for the past season.
Wow! This is one really neat bike!I use it as my dedicated city bike for commuting, errands and generally anything within a ten mile radius of my home. I have found it to be a load of fun and I still look forward to riding it every day. That is not likely to be true of many bikes on the market. Being a true mixte design with twin sloping top tubes it provides extra stability to the very light Tange Prestige tubing, and the sloping tubes provide protection for your valuables in stop and go traffic. The geometry is more aggressive and sporty than the laid back touring and city design common in mixte designs.
Being set up with a VO model 8 saddle and swept back Albatross bars, it provides a very comfortable upright ride in traffic while making you want to get out of the saddle and "go after it" when the occasion allows. Even with my 220# build, I experience no squishiness in the bottom bracket which is common in lightweight steel tubing.
In the end the bike is a lot more fun to ride than the Raleigh Gran Prix it replaced.I would have no reservations about setting this up with standard gearing, drop bars and using it for credit card touring or charity rides.
A couple products I tried on this bike were the VO headset, bottom bracket and the model 8 saddle. What can I say about the headset and bottom bracket? The fit, they work, I needed to readjust each of them once during the year. It will be a few years before I know if the over sized bearings are any real benefit but I expect that they are. The saddle is really incredibly comfortable.
The springs got a little squeaky after a few months, but adjusting the tension bolt a little bit eliminated most of that. Hey the springs are tellin' me they are working! The dye used on the pebbled leather is wearing in many
many areas, I'm not sure if I like that or not. I gives it a kind of antiqued look which is in character for the rest of the bike, but I don't think that should happen in one season. The other features of the saddle are excellent, the fiber panel under the seat seems to really prevent any saddle sag, as you can see. After a year of a bigger guy on it is still firm and well adjusted.
Overall this is one of the better investments I have made in cycling. It will pay for itself many times over the course of my life and my son's. When he saw it he said, "Hey that's nice, PeeWee Herman would be proud of you!"
Guess what he's getting in the will.