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Competition for Surley, Soma, etc.?(20 posts)

Competition for Surley, Soma, etc.?Steve_O
Aug 30, 2002 5:17 AM
So last night at the shop I'm paging through the new Merry Sales distributor catalog when I happened to stumble across this...

Interloc Racing Designs new CX bike built from Tange New Prestige Tubing! (Does anyone still remember when Tange was THEE premium tubing to have?).

I haven't found any retailer handling these frames but I can tell you that dealer pricing is pretty attractive (ie - I expect them to price out close to Soma pricing, maybe a little higher...

Anyone know anything about these frames?

Here is their site -
Aug 30, 2002 5:36 AM - $479 (not sure if this includes the straight blade fork or not)

Steve-O (Google is a wonderful thing!)
Fork NOT included...The Walrus
Aug 30, 2002 12:53 PM
I just emailed Bulltek and the IRD fork is an additional $84.95--still doesn't sound too bad, since they don't charge for shipping on framesets.
Fork NOT included...flyweight
Sep 3, 2002 9:37 AM
That's funny because they come from the factory with the fork (painted to match) in the box!
Curiouser and curiouser...The Walrus
Sep 3, 2002 5:55 PM
Ah, well--the terse response from Bulltek made it plain that the fork was an option, at least from their perspective. I'd better call a few of the Bay Area shops and see what they want for 'em...
Curiouser and curiouser...flyweight
Sep 4, 2002 12:07 PM
The only shop in the Bay Area that's supposed to carry them is American Cyclery. That's because they're responsible for the design and are supposed to receive exclusive dealership rights in the immediate SF area. I **think*** we're selling frame/fork for $425. I only work on the weekends, so can't remember off the top of my head exactly what the price is.
re: Competition for Surley, Soma, etc.?flyweight
Aug 30, 2002 7:29 AM
IRD and SOMA are both products of the Merry Sales Company in San Francisco. SOMA was designed by American Cyclery to addres some of the shortcomings of the Surly frames (like lack of rack eyelets on the seatstays). Merry put up the money to get them produced and is also responsible for distributing them nationwide. They're made in the same factory as Surly.

I've seen a couple of the IRD steel frames and they're very nice, especially for the price. Thinking about picking up one of the MTB frames with a rigid fork.

I also have one of the IRD Scandium road frames and they're very nice. Smooth as any steel frame I've ridden.
re: Competition for Surley, Soma, etc.?Jakob
Aug 30, 2002 7:50 AM
Are the IRD frames made in South San Francisco? Their website kinda suggests that they might be, but they don't come out and say where they're welded. I read somewhere that the IRD frames are basically Breezers with new paint jobs.

Do you know if there's any truth to that?

It's funny that you said the Soma frames are made in the same factory as Surly. Last fall I saw a sweet Soma Double Cross at a race and later e-mailed Soma Fab about the frame weight and I mentioned that I have a 631 Reynolds Surly. The Soma tech responded by saying that there was hardly a reason to compare the frames because the Soma frames are held to a much higher standard of quality than the Surly. He was quick to distance the Soma name from Surly. While I understand that two frames are speced by totally different companies and that the Soma is a little more performance oriented, I still think it's funny that the two frames share warehouse space.
re: Competition for Surley, Soma, etc.?flyweight
Aug 30, 2002 8:44 AM
The SOMA's are both more performance oriented AND more practical than Surly. One the one hand the SOMA uses 631 in the main triangle as well as double butted tubing in the stays (Surly uses straight guage in the stays and these days they're not even using 631 in the main triangle). At the same time the SOMA also features both rack AND fender mounts AND has them on both the front and rear. Surly only comes with fender mounts. Not to boast, but the SOMA's are a much nicer frame than the Surly (though the Surly is still a GREAT bike)

As for the Breezer/IRD link I VERY seriously doubt it. Wouldn't be worth the added expense and there's the fact that Breezer enjoys more name recognition than IRD. Plus I've never seen a Breezer that had disc brake mounts. Merry dumped the last remaining Breezers a while back. American Cyclery and a few other Bay Area shops picked up the last of the road frames.
re: Competition for Surley, Soma, etc.?Drupa
Aug 30, 2002 4:39 PM
So, am I to understand that the Soma is a better Surly?

I can get a Surly frameset for $300 and a Soma for $450.

Are we just talking about a couple of ounces and rack eyelets or is the Soma really a better bike?

You've got me rethinking my purchase plan...
re: Competition for Surley, Soma, etc.?flyweight
Sep 3, 2002 9:38 AM
Basically, it's lighter and more versatile due to the braze-ons. May or may not be worth the extra $$, that really depends on what you plan to do with the bike and your budget. Frame quality is identical since they're made in the same factory.
Good Feedback!Steve_O
Aug 30, 2002 8:33 AM
I've seen both in Merry Sales catalogs. I've wondered about the whole Surly / Soma thing for a while... Especially since both bikes came out with Reynolds 631 (Not very common at the time) and similar price points...

Steve-O (now curious about where IRD frames are made)
Good Feedback!flyweight
Aug 30, 2002 8:48 AM
Surly no longer uses 631. This, along with the lack of rack eyelets, is what caused SOMA to be developed. Surly wanted to remain set at a certain price point and to do that they had to switch from the more expensive 631 tubes to a heavier cromoly tubing. Seeing how the Surly was already among the heaviest cross frames out there it was decided that people would be willing to pay a bit more for a lighter and more versatile frame. So far it's paid off. SOMA cyclocross frames are sold out for the year. Road, MTB and single speed road frames are also selling OK but not nearly as well as the Double Cross. I'm really surprised how many I see on the streets of SF considering it's such a niche brand and only sold at one shop.
how well do the soma and IRD frames comparelookin for help
Aug 30, 2002 9:11 AM
I had been interested in the Surley frames ntil this was brought to light. It looks like SOMA may be the better frame but how does the IRD tange compare with the 631?

And sold out??? no way to get one before the end of the year?
how well do the soma and IRD frames compareflyweight
Aug 30, 2002 9:23 AM
I've only seen the IRD, haven't actually had the chance to ride one. I'd bet the Tange tubing is comparable in quality (at least in real world terms) to the 631. Might be a bit lighter. Realistically they're pretty close. Either will build up a nice, durable bike that will hold up for several seasons.

Merry Sales is out of SOMA Double Cross frames (last I heard) which simply means your local shop will have a hard time getting one but plenty of shops still have them in stock. You shouldn't have too much of a hard time finding one.
re: Competition for Surley, Soma, etc.?jrm
Aug 30, 2002 3:52 PM
i wanna think that there in the same market as SOMA and Surly. Meaning not really "cross' specific but "all round".
Given roughly the same geometry spec's on the SOMA Surly and Bullet their all about the same thing.
re: Competition for Surley, Soma, etc.?OffRoadTourer
Aug 30, 2002 6:26 PM
Given that 85% of the world's bikes are made in one of 6 factories in SE Asia, all this talk about which brand is better is a load of b.s. Most brands are nothing more than glorified component and sticker speccers who buy frames from one of these factories. Quality is a non-issue because they're all the same. Find a bike that fits you, with the parts you like, from a shop who treats you well - that's all that matters, the brand counts for diddly-squat.*

* - all of these cynical angry comments do not apply to custom built frames.
do you have a list of companies?buffalosorrow
Sep 1, 2002 8:42 AM
regarding the 85%

what's on there?
trek, fuji, surly, terry, bianchi (low end) .....?
do you have a list of companies?OffRoadTourer
Sep 2, 2002 4:51 AM
Just about every commercial brand you can think of, with the exception of those that state they are made somewhere other than Taiwan or China. Even many of these boutique brands have cheaper models coming from one of the Taiwanese or Chinese factories.
This isn't meant as criticism. A lot of the robots in these factories do much better welds than a lot of humans. It's a good thing really. It means it's getting harder to buy a bad bike.
My point is that just because a bike has "Brand Y" stickers doesn't mean its any better than "Brand Z".
a story about this....Steve_O
Sep 3, 2002 5:39 AM
I work part time as a mechanic at REI... Last spring the guy who is the product manager of REI's Novara brand stopped by our store for a brief Q&A session. Eventually it got down to swapping stories and he was telling us about a recent trip to Asia to visit the factory where the Novara Trionfo (REI's Carbon stay high end road bike) was made.

It turns out that the same factory was also cranking out Litespeed's high end aluminum frames on the same production line. Although the production technics for each frame are identical, each manufacturer has different requirements (geometry, drop-outs, etc.). He was told that the guys working the line could tell the bare, unpainted frames from each manufacturer apart at a glance just by looking for the small differences in details between manufacturer's specifications.