SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA (BRAIN)—Bradley Woehl, owner of San Francisco’s oldest bike shop, American Cyclery, had an idea 10 years ago.
Woehl asked his suppliers if they could start making steel frames. The problem was no one was listening.
“He came to me, and he says, ‘You can get these things made?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, sure, as long as you promise to buy them,’” said Jim Porter, president of distributor The Merry Sales Co.
Not only did American Cyclery buy them, but eventually hundreds upon hundreds of dealers bought Soma Fabrications’ steel frames. In fact, currently Soma has seven distributors in the United States and 17 worldwide.
Soma’s most popular model is the Double Cross—a cyclecross frame. “We’re sold out,” Porter said. “And we’re waiting on a container that’s already sold.”
Soma is excited to be launching—with the help of Rivendell’s Grant Peterson—a lugged “sport touring” frame called the San Marcos. Porter expects that to be a hit as well.
Soma has exceeded Porter’s expectations on all levels. “Soma was definitely out of the ballpark,” Porter said.
(IMAGE: Soma 10th anniversary poster. *Cropped to fit for web.*)