650b Soma Buena Vista

Soma Fabrications is a company based in San Francisco, CA USA and they are responsible for producing practical, durable, comfortable bicycle frames, parts, and accessories and apparel. One of their frames is called the Buena Vista and I have really wanted to like this frame, but a couple of niggling design points kept me from it. The position of the brake bridge in the rear, combined with the semi-horizontal dropouts, and the position of the brake hole in the front fork made it difficult to mount fenders with normal side pull brake calipers. On Buena Vistas we have built in the past using 700c wheels we ended up using calipers with different reaches on the front and rear just to get clearances. The US distributor told me that long reach brake calipers such as the Rivendell Silver or Tektro 559 which accommodate reaches from 55-73mm will work with 700c tires up to about 28mm wide and fenders, but that is still sort of limiting.

bike frame

The Soma Buena Vista is a mixte design. A pair of small diameter tubes run more or less parallel from the head tube past the seat tube and on to the rear dropouts providing stiffness and strength to the step through frame.


An astute customer and reader of the Lovely Bicycle blog brought to my attention that the frames could be used with 650b wheels with tires up to 40mm wide! Well, I thought, I’ll be dipped in shit and called stinky. The US distributor also confirmed that the frame has always been suitable for either 650b or 700c wheels.

Dry fitting the brake calipers and fenders. The brake pads contact the rims at close to the max 73mm reach. Plenty of clearance for the Berthoud 50mm fenders with Grand Bois Hetre 42mm tires.


checking the length

The rear brake works too!


Yes the bike is complete and it turned out brilliantly, thank you very much. We are waiting for the VO Zeppelin fenders to become available and then I can include some pics of the finished bike. Now I’m happy to recommend the Soma Buena Vista 650b as a capable light touring and commuting machine.

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