We supply every component needed to build up a complete bicycle. Sure you can buy a fully built up bike off the shop floor, however the advantage of buying a frame instead of a full bike allows you to fully control your parts build so you get to create a unique bicycle with components to specially suit your taste, budget, and the type of rider you are.
Building a custom bike usually makes for a fun project, here are some of the choices you'll have to make:
Wheels & Tires
Will you be riding on rough mountains, smooth roads, soft sand, dirt roads or a bit everything? Will you be racing , commuting, going on adventures, doing fitness training or just having fun? Answers to the previous questions will usually dictate the type of wheels and tires you need. Wheel size and tire volume affect the feel of the bike more than any other factor ( but generally not it’s speed). Skinny tires and smaller wheels will accelerate faster and give you a more buzzy connected to the road feeling but they can be fatiguing and don’t hold momentum well. Wider tires are more comfortable, they offer superior cornering and grip and allow you to go faster when roads get rough. We generally recommend supple wider tires with a wheel size that suits your frame size and the terrain you intend riding. Supple light tires usually feel the best but are usually not that durable, so as with all your bike building decisions, you need to decide where to compromise.
Once you know more or less what size wheels and tires you want to run, you’ll need a frame that can accommodate them. The frame size and geometry then need to let you get into riding position that works for you and the type of riding you’re into. This is about your body’s contact points with the bike. Your butt, hands and feet form what is called a contact point triangle. Getting this right is very important for you to feel comfortable on your bike. As long as your top tube is a reasonable length for your frame size you should be able to adjust your contact point triangle to suit you. A young professional racer may want his hands much lower than his butt for aerodynamic reasons but this can put strain on your hands, back, neck and arms. For touring or commuting you would want a more comfortable upright contact point triangle, this usually requires a slightly bigger frame than most race orientated bike shops and fitters recommend. Soma Fabrications have a range of very well designed steel frames to suit a variety of riding styles and they come in a wide range of sizes to fit you just right.
The Cockpit components.
These are the most personal parts of your bike as they touch your body. These components are often also a great way of showing off your personal taste & style by using different colour combinations etc. The good thing is that these are usually not the most expensive components and over time you can try out and experiment with a different seatpost, stem or bars until you find what works for you. The choice between flat bars or drop bars, how wide they are, stem length, or raising or lowering the stem and bars will greatly effect your riding position and comfort on the bike. For example wider saddles are better for more upright riding positions and narrow saddles are more comfortable for racy riding positions. Don’t worry too much about getting these things perfect from the beginning, your ideal riding position and personal preferences often take years to develop and hone, and are constantly changing.
The Drivetrain, Shifters and Brakes
This can can be anything from a simple single speed without brakes to a touring bike with a wide range of gears. Most people tend to have too many gears with very small increments between them. Why shift gears if all you need is a one or two tooth up or down, rather just pedal a little harder or faster. We recommend having as few gears as you can get away with for the type of riding you like doing. Having good brakes is essential and your choice of tires and handlebars will usually determine the sort of brakes you can fit on your bike. Wide tires usually require disk brakes and drop bars or flat bars will determine the type of levers you can fit. Shifters are often linked to brake levers, but you can have bar end or down-tube shifters, it’s up to you ( Lance Armstrong liked one down-tube shifter and one shifter on his brake lever).
If your’e touring or commuting a frame that can fit racks makes all the difference. Having a bag or a basket makes you bicycle so much more practical. Clearance and mounts for mudguards is essential if you commute in the rain and a bell and lights make a bike so much safer.
If you're considering a custom build, or just wanting to upgrade your existing bike, feel free to contact us, we'd be happy to help.