Soma Fabrications: Grand Randonneur Frameset

Soma Fabrications: Grand Randonneur Frameset

$1,299.00 $625.00

or 6 weekly interest free payments of NZD $104.16 with

Soma’s Grand Randonneur is a true low trail geometry randonneuring frame set, which means it rides better with a front load than other touring and road bikes. Co-designed with Mike Kone of Rene Herse/Boulder Bicycles. It will fit all the gadgets a good rando bike should have. The traditional diameter tubes lend a smooth comfortable ride.

Size: 58cm

Please check the photo for a small chip on the headtube.



  • Tange Prestige CrMo tubes, double-butted, non-oversized
  • Threaded 1″ lugged fork with low rider pannier bosses, mini rack eyelets and double eyelets at the dropouts
  • Rear rack and fender eyelets
  • Pump peg
  • 3 sets of water bosses
  • Designed for 650b wheels and cantilever brakes
  • Max. tire fit: 650 x 42mm slick tires w/fenders
  • Max. fender width: 50mm
  • Needle bearing headset recommended
  • Paint: White

Cycle Seattle’s Quick Impression on the Grand Randonneur

The Soma Grand Randonneur designed by Mike Kone of Boulder Bicycle and Rene Herse fame, is a very compelling deal.

In my short ride, I felt immediately at home on the bike, and really felt some of the benefits of the different front-end geometry. It was quick handling, but forgiving – not twitchy. As I slowed, I noticed there was none of the flopping I have on my higher trail bikes if I let go of the handlebars. OK – that’s nice. The thing I liked more is that on a slow climb, I didn’t have the bars slightly twisting back and forth with my pedal strokes. It tracked well at low speeds. On turns, at medium and higher speeds, there was no uncertainty of where I was going. Perhaps it didn’t feel like it was “on rails” like my Rivendells, but there was no bad effects I could ascertain.

Handlebard’s Grand Randonneur Review

It’s a beautiful bike with clean welds, and light tubing. The colour, which I expected to be an aesthetic problem immediately grew on me. It’s unique, classic and even a sophisticated looking. Pump pegs, bosses for a third bottle cage, integrated rear brake stop are all nice features that add to the fit and finish.

The ride is more reminiscent of my Trek 560ex than my touring bike, yet it is at least as comfortable to ride. My other bikes have been collecting dust since the GR arrived. (Ah, new love!)

It’s my first 650b bike, so I am loath to make too many comparisons. I’m just having fun on it. Fun riding up the volcano, a blast riding my favourite fast flat, a hoot getting my coffee in the morning. It’s even fun to look at while I drink my coffee.

One caveat. If you’re sniffing around Grand Randonneur as a touring bike, you might look elsewhere. The GR is purpose built for randoneurring. Further, the rider is farther back towards the rear axle than on an intended touring bike.

Climbing was actually fun, each pedal stroke was like getting a push from an unseen force at the rear of the bike. I wasn’t just going up this hill, I was accelerating up it. Jan Heine calls it ‘planing’ and it’s a result of a symbiotic rider and frame geometry. .


Things to Know About Riding A Low Trail Randonneuring Bike

There are growing ranks of cyclists who prefer a low trail bike, primarily because of the way it handles with a medium front load like a handlebar bag. The Grand Randonneur has a fork offset 20mm or more than the average road bike. When carry a load up front the bike responds less to the weight of the bag while steering.  The Grand Randonneur uses lighter tubing than our other road bikes and a fork with a more pronounced bend to create a more comfortable ride over long distances. Because of that and the low trail design, we don’t recommend it for fully loaded touring. It is a performance bike designed for carrying a light to medium front load in relative comfort over long distances.

These observations from Bicycle Quarterly and others may help you determine if you want to try it out and help fine tune the ride of your bike.

1) Low trail bikes ride best with tires at least 36mm wide and preferably at lower tire pressure (55-60psi). Some claim 42mm is ideal
2) These bikes handle differently than most bikes you’ve tried. It may take one long ride to get used to it or weeks or months – depends on the rider.
3) Without a load in front the steering feels light especially at low speeds. You can put on panniers or a loaded saddle bag on it, but the ride quality won’t be as good.

Don’t low trail bicycles suffer from “fork shimmy”?

A few riders with low trail bikes do experience varying levels of fork shimmy (aka speed wobble) during speedy descents. There isn’t a consensus on what causes it or how to get rid of it. Some riders seem more prone to it than others. Others say that shivering on a cold day or gripping the bars too tightly can set it off. Installing a roller bearing (aka needle bearing) headset may help get reduce it. Some say to avoid putting your seat too back or raising the bars higher than the saddle. Others say resting your knee on the side of the top tube during can help, too.

Specifications and Recommendations:

– Headset: 1″ threaded, external cup, 26.4mm crown
– Seatpost: 27.2mm
– Front derailleur: 28.6mm, bottom pull
– Rear hub spacing: 132.5mm (fits both 130mm and 135mm OLD hubs
– Tires: 650b x 38 to 42mm
– Fork rake: 69mm – Max chainring fit: 52-42-32t 45mm chainline. 53-39t, 48.5mm chainline
– Bottom bracket shell: 68mm wide, English threads
– Brake compatibility: Cantilevers or V-brakes
– Compatible with downtube shifters
– This type of bike rides best with a front load. You can ride it unloaded, but it will take time to get used to the steering qualities of a low trail geometry.


Better than a 700c bike with a front load

The low trail geometry makes the bike very sensitive to steering input. This would normally be too much, but paired with the 42mm 650B tire, it feels PERFECT, even with a front load. When I used to have a mid-trail 700C 38mm-tire bike with a front load, the steering was heavy and sluggish. It was very good at going straight, but not very good at subtle manoeuvres. What I have now feels perfect for my taste. I also have a beater that is a low trail 700C 35mm, and that also feels very nice. I’m sure a 700c low trail bike with 38mm tires would be quite good for me. But if you add to this how comfortable the 42mm tires are at low pressure, and they’re fast, I can’t imagine wanting anything different as I prepare and train for the PBP 2019.

~ Rojas

Paul’s 1000 Mile Review

Paul wrote a lengthy thoughtful review. Below is just an excerpt. Read the full review here. And the verdict is
It’s a great bike and I’m really enjoying it. As far as the things that are unique about this bike, I’ll take them one at a time.

Steel Frame
This is a no brainer for me now. I’ve had aluminium and carbon fiber bikes in the past and now I know I prefer steel. The ride is always great, the performance is great, and I know I can trust it.

650b wide tires
I’m sold on this now. I feel like I’m not giving up anything as far as speed and agility while gaining comfort, stability, and the ability to ride on any surface. This is really a win-win for me.

Low trail geometry
The jury’s still out on this one. I like the responsiveness and how well it holds true around a curve. I don’t like the possibility of shimmy at speed, or the twitchy feeling when going too slow. Once advantage of low trail is that you can carry more weight in the front. This is great but I can also load up my touring bikes with a front load and never have any problems. If the main advantage of low trail is that it handles better around the turns on really fast downhills, then this is something I don’t need. I’d be perfectly happy going slower for more stability. So this may be one feature that I don’t care for. The more I ride this bike the better I like it. It may be that I’ll come to appreciate the low trail more.


Detail 1

Detail 2


Soma Grand Randonneur

Size 58


Micro Silver

27.2 x 400



B17 honey ladies

Quill Stem

Velo Orange

Grand Cru 110


Velo Orange

Headset: 1″ threaded, external cup, 26.4mm crown

Cable Stop

Velo Orange

Front Cable Stop with Adjuster

Handlebars tape


Red leather





Velo Orange

Zeste Cantilevers

Brake levers

Dia Compe

Gran Compe 202


Dia Compe

10s Downtube shifters

Brake cable housing



Shifter cable housing



Shifter cable



Velo Orange

Grand Gru Drillum, 34, 48T


Shimano, Ultegra

CN 6701

Bottom Bracket

Shimano, UN55

68mm, JIS square taper, English thread, 118 Spindle length

Rim Tape


High Pressure Tape

Rear Wheel (650b)

Velo Orange

Grand Cru Diagonale /w freehub body

Front Wheel (650b)

Velo Orange

Grand Cru Diagonale


Shimano, Ultegra

CS-6700, 10 Speed, 12-30

Rear Derailleur

Shimano, Ultegra

RD-6700, 10 Speed, Double Grey, 30T compatible

Front Derailleur

Shimano, Ultegra

FD-6700, 10-Speed, Braze On, Glossy Grey

Front Derailleur Mount


Braze on mounting adapter



Cazadero Skinwall, 650 x 42B





Velo Orange

Snake Skin

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    $1,299.00 $625.00

    Soma Fabrications: Grand Randonneur Frameset


    Soma's Grand Randonneur is a true low trail geometry randonneuring frame set, which means it rides better with a front load than other touring and road bikes. Co-designed with Mike Kone of Rene Herse/Boulder Bicycles. It will fit all the gadgets a good rando bike should have. The traditional diameter tubes lend a smooth comfortable ride. Size: 58cm Please check the photo for a small chip on the headtube.

    $1,299.00 $625.00
    $1,299.00 $625.00

Practical, durable, comfortable, affordable, customised bicycles for the everyday cyclist… these are the primary forces shaping Soma’s ideology.