Bike Review – Soma Juice 29" Mountain bike

With so much attention to full suspension and carbon fiber, you’d think steel stiffeners are dead. Well I’m glad I can tell you they’re alive and well. With the explosion of 29 “wheeled bikes, the steel hardtail has made a comeback. All the properties we love about steel bikes are present in the Soma Juice. Tough yet smooth ride. Reasonably light with a snappy feel. Soma Juice is a trail bike for all tastes that can adopt whatever personality you want.

The look is distinctive with the curved top tube creating a unique profile and providing plenty of legroom. With rear entry dropouts and a derailleur hanger, the Juice can be built in single gear or geared, depending on your mood. It has enough tire clearance at the rear to drive a 2.3 “tire with plenty of mud clearance.

For a season riding the Soma Juice, I grew it single gear, geared, and as a road bike with drop bars and skinny tires. I spent most of my time racing him during endurance events (8 hours solo) as a single speed. The handling was solid with the usual stability of 29 “wheels at high speeds. The combination of a short wheelbase and a stiff fork made for a quick drop out of the saddle. On technical terrain, the low bottom bracket allowed for the occasional bump of the pedal, but no worse than most bikes.

It’s hard to quantify the differences in how a bike rides, as it is primarily felt, but the Soma Juice is a fun bike to ride. I had my best racing results of the last 5 years on this bike, so this bike has a special place in my heart. The Juice has the benefits of a 29 “wheel with the old-school feel of a good steel hardtail. Built with a Bontrager carbon hardtail fork, Chris King wheels and On One Mary bar, the complete bike weighed 23 pounds.

Constructed from heat-treated Tange Prestige double-butted tubing, the Juice strikes a balance between price, ride quality, and weight. They could have made it light by making it with Reynolds 853 or True Temper OX Platinum, but it would have increased the price drastically. Available from Soma as a frame only, you can build it yourself or get a complete bike from your favorite store. The Soma Juice is the kind of bike that turns heads but still performs great on the trails. You won’t see many of them in the local racing or group ride scene, so you can have something unique without breaking the bank.

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