Monday, April 20, 2009

Soma Fixie / Fauxie wheels



What you're looking at here are a set of attention grabbing anodized wheels with a fixed gear style nut (no quick release) and a machined brake surface. Are these

a) urban wheels with a nut to foil bike component thieves?
b) a product aimed primarily at people who ride fixed gear bikes with brakes?
c) a confusing combination of compromises (not convenient for road riding due to the nut but not meant for track riding either)?

6 comments:

Mark said...

Is the rear hub a flip flop?

Matt Boulanger said...

Unless I'm missing something, could these be for somebody who wants to ride fixed and have brakes at the same time? That's not all that weird, is it?

-p said...

Their website indicates track/fixed use only:
http://www.somafab.com/somax.html
No flip flopping unless it's to change fixed gear ratios.

This post let some of my bias through. I find the trend of fixed+brake standard components a strange one. Fixed for the track makes sense, single+brakes makes sense for the road, and for a really small portion of the population, fixed+brakes might do it for them. Is this segment big enough to start making and selling wheelsets? Manufacturers are doing it but I think it's a trend that will eventually collapse, leaving only a hard core group of riders who would have built their own road rim/fixed hub wheels anyway. The photo I took shows the front wheel specifically. A 15mm nut on the front wheel for what is clearly non-track product seems inconvenient, no? Is this a common ploy to deter thieves?

Soma has some fantastic products and I may be proven wrong.

Matthew said...

Soma pretty much caters to the urban fixie crowd, so I don't see anything odd about it (it's much less odd than riser bars on a track frame). I think the idea is that you can ride them at the velodrome (where you have to have track nuts) and then bolt on your brake and ride home on the road. Something that many old amateur track riders used to do. Granted, most people who will purchase these wheels have never, and will never, ride in a velodrome, but they're coming from the fixie scene where the original purposes of componentry are rather meaningless -- and there's really nothing wrong with that. They're also used to track nuts and may be perplexed by skewers. I really doubt theft prevention has anything to do with it. Urban thieves can probably spin off a nut as fast as releasing a skewer nowadays.
There's no reason why a freewheel should trump a fixed cog in road use. Road riding doesn't require coasting anymore than constant spinning, and a brake is always a good idea in traffic. There's actually a longer history of "fixed wheels" with brakes on the road than freewheels.

Alison Chaiken said...

I've been planning to put nuts on the skewers and torx on the stem and seatclamp of my city bike. Of course I've been meaning to do a lot of things.

-p said...

I put torx screws on the license plate of my car for the same reason. There are also some products out there that come with a threaded skewer and some wacky little end caps.