First Impression: Soma Buena Vista
The Buena Vista from Soma Fabrications is a mixte frameset made from Tange Infinity heat treated chromoly steel main tubes. The mixte frame design replaces the traditional top tube with a pair of smaller tubes that run from the head tube all the way to the rear dropout, with a connection at the seat tube. By retaining the conventional seat and chain stays, the mixte provides generous standover, combined with better structural rigidity than step-through designs.
The Buena Vista comes a sloping-crown CrMo steel fork that has low-rider pannier mounts. The frame's 132.5mm rear hub spacing is compatible with either road or mountain hubs. Headset size is 1 1/8" and seatpost diameter is 27.2mm. Horizontal dropouts equal singlespeed compatibility.
If you're wondering about the Buena Vista's raison d'être, Soma puts it this way: "You'll find the geometry is more sporty, than comfy. Though it can be built up to suit either demeanor. Drop bars? Sure. Moustache bars? Of course."
I'm a "comfortably sporty" kind of guy so I elected to have Soma build up my test bike as a "townie," complete with Soma's 560mm wide Sparrow townie bars, a Sturmey Archer 8-speed rear hub, a pair of Soma New Xpress tires in terra cotta, Dia-Compe 610 brakes, and set of Soma fenders.
One look at the photograph and you'll see that Soma was kind enough to give me with plenty of adjustability on the stem height. I decided to start with the stem/bars at max height and experiment with working my way down, as I grow more comfortable atop the Buena Vista. So far, so comfortable and sporty. Despite the "upright" appearance, this rig handles the mean streets with a snappy quickness that is great for dodging potholes and dancing with dinosaurs. Look for a full review of the Buena Vista in print in an upcoming issue of Bicycle Times. If you're not yet a subscriber, click here and join the tribe. —Karl Rosengarth
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