Soma Prestige

Soma Prestige

The San Francisco-based Soma Fabrications is a benefactor of Cycle EXIF, for which we are very grateful. The inspiration for their brand is the Bay Area neighborhood South of Market, but the name on this porteur, built up by Joey Celis, might refer to Sōma, a prefecture in Fukushima, Japan.

SomaFab has been creating bikes and accessories for the ‘Everyday Cyclist’ since 2001, but this Soma Prestige dates back to 1977. They were manufactured by the Kuwuhara Company and sold in the states under the Soma Sport brand.

Joey Celis is a photographer who lives in the Bay Area and already owns a Kagero track bike and a vintage Fantini road bike, but built up the Prestige as a porteur because, he tells us, “…sometimes I just don’t want to look like I’m delivering parcels or racing in a lonely one man tour”.

There were a few technical hitches, however. “These bicycles originally used stem mounted shifters and lacked any bottom bracket cable guides. I installed a set of SunRace clamp-on downtube index shifters, tapped the bottom bracket shell and installed a Shimano cable guide.”

“The front crankset is Shimano 600 with a 52T Biopace chain ring. The combination of 52×22 gives it an easy gearing in either of the 3 gears. I won’t be breaking any land speed records nor will I be breaking much of sweat in full office clothing either. It’s a win/win, I say!”

It sure looks, and works, a treat. Special thanks to Joey Celis for the words and photos. Check out more of his exquisite portfolio on his blog and website.

Soma Prestige
Soma Prestige
Soma Prestige
Soma Prestige
Soma Prestige
Soma Prestige
Soma Prestige

  • Love the handlebars! And the location here is perfect 🙂

    • I actually mounted the bars upside down as I preferred the drop versus the rise even if that ment I had to raise the stem. I fear a #doing it wrong post on slam that stem now.

  • Anduro

    I don’t get it: what are the two shifters for? There’s only a single chain ring in the front.

    • Hi Anduro, the driver side shifter works the gear changes on the Nexus hub in the rear. The non driver side is just there to keep the other one from getting lonely at night.

  • roberth

    beautiful bike and great pictures. 2 shifters? same question as Anduro

    • Hi Roberth, thanks for the compliments. Reason for the 2 shifters is more of symmetry than anything. It looked a bit out of balance with only 1.

  • Jacob Jaeggli

    This appears to be using a geared hub, so I’m going to assume that it is using one of the SOMA Fab three speed hubs. I’m going to assume it is a Strumey Archer.

    • Hi Jacob, I’ve used a Shimano Nexus 3 speed hub for this build.

  • Rick Woodward

    Bio Pace chainring up front huh ?
    Riddle me that one.

    • Simple, it came with the crank arms.

  • I have loads of biopace chain-rings. Any takers?

  • Sebastian

    Only thing I’d change is the inclusion of a proper straight-on side shot.

  • ok , granted it deserves the “prestige” for the look & finish 🙂 ! ; but … is this handlebar adapted & comfy enough.?. wouldn’t also 1 or 2 more gears be welcome.?. looks very quality though.!. 😉 .

  • diogenes

    soma could also refer to the muscle relaxer of the same name that goes good with beer??
    nice bike, careful riding it after boozing and pills!

  • Henry

    Hey Joey, how does the moustache bars work with the reverse pull brake levers? Any good? I was thinking of doing the same for a touring bike, but fear that I won’t be able to get in a good position going down hills with breaks in such an upright riding position – thoughts?

    • You definitely have to sit up straight to use the brake levers so stopping from a tuck isn’t really possible with this. But for cruising around town the brake position works fine.

  • “SoMa” means “running horse” in Japanese. In the Soma prefecture there is even a horse festival every year. (Hoping one of our Soma’s will grace Cycle Exif in the future 🙂 )

  • Man you have some beautiful bikes! Also thanks for the tip you left on my Tumblr. I’m going to have to cut down the stays on my basket to level it out. The way it is now is bugging me.

  • bitterbuffalo

    Are these the Soma Oxford Bars?