Soma Sandworm (P)review By : Spencer J Harding

So…I’ll be pretty honest from the get-go, I have only ridden this bike for about 10 days.  I built it up about a day before I left for a stint on the tour divide from Banff to Montana.   I rode the bike about 10 miles up to the helipad in Griffith Park for a beer to test it out and then boxed it up to go shred some good ole’ Great Divide fire roads. I have it built up with hodgepodge of part with 29+  wheels at the moment, but haven’t got to play with all the wheel set options, 26×4” all the way up to 29×3” and anything in between.
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To start with this is sold as a frame only, so we aren’t gonna get too crazy about angles and all that jazz because this bike is all about options baby.  You can spec is out with the Soma Battleaxe fork if you like but the sky is the limit here.  Because you are reading this you are probably a bike nerd (NEEEEERRRDDDDD!) and this probably isn’t your first fat bike. You are reading this because you want to build a 27.5+ belt drive Rolhoff equipped hardtail, a classy steel framed fat bike that could almost make grant peterson proud (seriously dude, disc brakes are awesome), or like me you want a 29+ monster truck touring machine! Everything is possible if you can comb through all the new standards these days. To start, the 44mm headtube, wanna run straight or tapered steerers? hell yeah you do, just switch the lower cup, boom!  Wanna run a suspension fork? the frame is designed for suspension corrected or suspension forks! Secondly, the100mm bb shell, you want to run a 29+ that has a double crankset? do it! The bottom bracket gives you plenty of room to clear the tires. Also, if you wanna be extra classy, looking at you Bicycle Quarterly readers, you can slap a 100mm square taper bb on this thing and use whatever year crankset it was when you Mennonites stopped keeping up with technology.  thirdly, 170mm rear spacing with PARAGON SLIDING DROPOUTS! If you have owned any iteration of the surly rear facing drop outs with a derailleur hanger you know how much that shit sucks to take off when you get a flat (Surly I love you so much, but lets move on). I honestly was about to have the dropouts chopped and replaced on my Motobecane for this reason. The sliders were the most exciting part of this frame by far, mostly for ease of use but also for dialing in that wheelbase for wheelies, duh. Though with 250mm chain stays this isn’t winning any wheelbase competition, but we like fat bottom girls here anyway. On that note you can switch out the plates for whatever you want, like I mentioned earlier put a belt drive Rolhoff on this beast, just swap the plates and the seat stay already has a removable break! And finally for the recovering downhill shredder that fears this whole new fangled 1x thing and has a closet full of parts, there is a 3 bolt mount on the bb for a chain guide if you wanna run 1×8/9.
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The bike has held up wonderful to all the punishment I could dish out fully loaded on the divide. Took some good cranking to keep the slider dropouts from moving, but they held. Also there was no noticeable flex from the removable belt drive frame break for you wattage machines out there. Im mostly just stoked to have a such a versatile frame to build off of. This bike is a blank canvas to make your dream off-road touring bike come to life.  I am really excited to see the bike fleshed out as a 27.5+ trail ripping hard tail as well as an even more monster truck snow touring bike this winter. It wont be the lightest, it won’t be the fastest, but if you are a person of particular and peculiar needs such as myself I do feel you will be stoked on the Sandworm….the spice must flow!
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my build:
frame: XL 19.5” frame
fork: Surly Krampus
headset: mixed bag of cane creek for straight 1 1/8” steerer
crankset: sram gx1400 with a wolf tooth 26t ring
pedals: odyssey twisted with hold fast straps
wheels: salsa 170mm hub to rabbit hole rear
hope hub to velocity dually up front
tires: Surly Knard 29×3” 27 tpi
brakes: bb7
rear der: sram x-9
seatpost: generic 27.2
stem: soma 90mm
handlebar: extra wide jones loop bar
casette: IRD 10 sp 11-42t
seat: brooks b17
bags: porcelain rocket handlebar harness/camera slinger
roadrunner bags frame bag
swift industries zeitgeist saddle bag
Follow Spencer on Instagram – @spencerjharding

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