San Marcos Frame Set [RETIRED]

[This lovely San Marcos is no longer being produced as of mid-2016. It was always meant to be a limited edition special project.] The San Marcos is a "sport touring" road frame designed by Grant Petersen of Rivendell. It is a fine ride on black top and smooth fire roads. While not designed for loaded touring, it can probably handle that type of duty even better than the Double Cross, which was Soma's go-to choice for touring before the Saga was designed. Fork includes mini rack braze-ons and fender eyelets.

- Tange Prestige heated treated CrMo steel with genuine Rivendell lugs
- Rivendell-designed road geometry
- Includes a lugged crown Tange Infinity CrMo steel fork (1" threaded steerer). Latest versions have our "classic curve" fork legs
- Rear rack, mini front rack braze-ons and fender eyelets
- Headtube pump peg
- Kickstand plate
- 1" size headtube
- 27.2mm seatpost size
- Sizes: 47, 51, 54, 57, 59, 63cm
- Paint: Tiburon Blue

CHANGES for 2015: The 47 thru 57cm (57cm is a new addition) are designed for 650b wheels and 55-75mm reach road brakes. Max. tire fit: 38mm
The 59cm and 63cm are designed for 700c wheels and 55-75mm reach road brakes. Max. tire fit: 35mm
The 59 and 63cm have that Rivendell double top tube to restore the triangulation lost with the tall top tube.


San Marcos Frame Set [RETIRED]

  • Why I should or should not have a San Marcos in my life?

    Without getting into your own person issues, this flyer offers insights from designer Grant Petersen on why he designed the San Marcos the way he did. Download flyer

  • Give me specifications on the San Marcos not listed on the Info tab.

    Front derailleur required: Bottom pull, 28.6mm
    650b fork: 52mm rake, 367mm axle-to-crown
    700c fork: 45mm rake, 379mm axle-to-crown
    Bottom bracket shell: 68mm, English thread
    Hub spacing: 130mm
    Braze ons: Upper bosses and dropout eyelets for rear rack, fender eyelets on fork, pump peg, downtube shifter bosses, two sets of H2O cage bosses Top tube cable routing: 10 o'clock position

  • I have general questions about your frames... (i.e. frame material, country of origin, fit questions, how to order).

    Go to our General FAQ page. Link is on the bottom of each page.

San Marcos Frame Set [RETIRED]

  • A Connecticut Cyclist's 51cm San Marcos

    “Full Review: "...So that's pretty much the build and some of my thoughts about it but what do I think about the finished product and the frame itself? After riding 4500 miles I can say I am completely in love with this bike 95% of the time. The other 5% of the time I wished the bike were a bit lighter.

    It's not really a heavy frame at about 6 lbs for the frame and fork, and I tried to select the lightest parts I could while still having all the features I wanted. Before I put the racks, kick stand and bag with gear on the bike it weighed 26 lbs. Once I added the racks, etc. the bike gained 5 lbs. To loosely quote Grant Peterson,"it's hard to build a useful bike for less than 30 lbs". The five percent of the time when I wish it were lighter I'm usually carrying some weight and/or going up hill or against the wind.

    Lets get back to the 95% of the time when I am completely smitten with this bike. First thing is the fit, it's everything I hoped it would be. When I first started riding this bike It was like it was made for me. The Cannondale fit me pretty well once I had the stem extender installed, so that was my starting point when I started plugging dimensions into bike CAD. The San Marcos is 2 cm longer in the top tube, which I was a bit worried about, so I used a shorter 50 cm stem. Once I started riding the bike I was happy to have a little extra room to stretch out.

    I am using a Nitto Technomic stem with about 4 inches of rise. Let me first say I love the threaded stem with it's ease of height adjustment. Also I personally prefer the aesthetic of a threaded stem. I must also compliment the geometry/design that Grant Peterson used on this bike. With a longish head tube set at 71 degrees, the higher you raise the stem the more it moves back towards you, effectively shortening the reach.

    I also love the slacker seat tube angle of 71.5 degrees. That is an angle that is extremely hard to come by in a 51 cm frame, the typical angle is 74-75 degrees. My knees appreciate the slacker angle and I doubt that I would be able to use a leather saddle with their usually shorter seat rails if the seat tube angle was any steeper.

    The ride is sublime. It rides like a Cadillac, smooooooth. I'm sure it must be the combination of the Tange Prestige steel and the supple 650b tires. On the road the ideal tire pressure for me is 60-55 psi in the rear and 40-35 psi in the front. Being a 51 cm bike I'm sure it is stouter than it needs be since a small diamond frame is inherently strong. On the other hand I have no worries that the tubes will dent easily and I have full confidence it can handle any load I pile onto it.

    Aesthetically I never grow tired of looking at this bike. The color is a pearlescent turquoise which photographs more like a light blue. It is a difficult color to capture. ”

    A Connecticut Cyclist, City, Conn.

  • Finally a bike tha fits

    “ I just wanted to pass along a big "THANK YOU" for the Soma San Marcos bike. After all of these years, I finally found a road-style bike that fits me!!! For years I have had a stiff back and tight hamstrings which means a lack of flexibility. I HAVE to ride in a more upright position. I have tried a ton of bikes and spent too much money on those bikes and I never could get the bars high enough. It is so nice to ride for a few hours and get off the bike without the neck, shoulders, arms, and wrists either in pain or fatigued. My thanks to Rivendell and Soma for bringing to an end my life long search for a road-style bike that fits. I started w/ a size 54 and ended up with a size 59 and I could not be more satisfied. Granted, I catch any and all wind when I ride due to my lack of flexibility, but I ride for the joy of riding and could not be any more happy with my San Marcos.”

    Dan S., City, Georgia

  • Haziz First Impressions of San Marcos

    “I have had a Soma San Marcos for about 10 days. My other main bike is a mid 90s lugged steel Serotta Colorado CSI, which is a racing frame that I have fitted as far as possible for a more relaxed ride. I had initially emailed Rivendell asking about the Sam Hillborne, San Marcos and Betty Foy (I am a guy BTW) and indicated that I was interested in a relaxed geometry sportive bike with drop handlebars. They gently guided me towards the San Marcos over the Sam Hillborne, and I am glad they did.

    I am 5 ft 8 1/2 inches with an 84 cm PBH. I am riding a Soma San Marcos 54 cm frame. I initially had a real concern regarding the Soma San Marcos' generous top tube length. This concern arose because the fit data from a formal fitting on the Serotta suggested an ideal top tube was 53 cm with a head tube of 20 cm or more. This arises due to my preference for a really upright posture. I have a 50 mm reach on my Nitto Technomic stem with short reach, shallow drop handlebars on my Serotta (top tube 55 cm) to try to compensate, and ended up putting a 70 mm reach Nitto Technomic stem and a Nitto 177 "Noodle" handlebar on the Soma San Marcos which theoretically should make the reach several centimeters longer on the San Marcos compared to the Serotta. The San Marcos feels quite comfortable and I am quite happy with my reach despite the theoretical concerns.

    The San Marcos feels quite zippy and is no slouch compared to the Serotta which was after all designed as a racing bike. So I am comfortable and with a fairly zippy bike. I do not have racks or fenders on it, and am running 700c x 28 mm tires. Overall, I am quite happy with this build. ”

    Haziz, Road Bike Review, Member

  • A Proud Retrogrouch's San Marcos Review

    “This bike can fit pretty wide tires. That makes it versatile.There is really no downside to a bike being able to accept wider tires. You can always use skinnier ones if you want.

    This is not a re badged cycle-cross frame and the geometry is quite different from a cross bike. For example it has a lower bottom bracket which makes the bike extremely stable.

    The bike has very predicable handling. It is not twitchy. I would not call it a fast handling bike but it doesn't turn like a barge either. It is a competent climber but shines when descending. There is no shimmy, no drift, no fear coming down hills

    An absolutely Cadillac ride especially on flat roads. The bike is really comfortable without feeling mushy

    It is actually a fairly light bike There was no real effort to bring the weight down on this bike yet it is just over 22 pounds including the pedals.

    The finish and workmanship are very good. The bike is impressive to look at....

    ... I've ridden bikes that climb better But I wonder how much of that is wheels. The Campagnolo Vento CX wheels are not the lightest though they are actually not that heavy. However, the bike climbs better than I expected and far better than many bikes I have ridden.

    This bike does not feel like a racer. It really does not even feel sporty. It does not feel like a touring bike either. it isn't going to win many races but is great to ride all day. The bike has what could be called very gentlemanly manners. Pleasant to ride, undemanding, forgiving and willing to go anywhere you want to go. It is also faster than you might expect...

    The Recommendation
    This is a great bike. The bike handles predictably, can be built up fairly light and is very comfortable. That said if I had to do it again I think I might have purchased a slightly sportier frame if I could find one that accepts the 28 to 32 mm tires.

    The problem with this bike is that I am not sure that it really knows what it is. It can do a lot of things pretty well but doesn't really do any of them as well as a bike that is focused on one type of riding. I kind of wish it leaned a little more toward a touring bike or sporty bike. "Moderation in all things" may be a good moral philosophy but I am not sure it applies to bicycles. This is a frame that is OK for someone like me that has other bikes for specific purposes but might be an issue for someone with only one bike. It is racy but not nearly racy enough for the fast guys. It can carry things but not very much and isn't really suited for a long or self contained tour. It is light but still heavier than a weight-weenie would approve of. It would make a good commuter unless you had to carry lots of stuff or had to lock it outside.

    Potential buyers should think hard before buying one. If you need a touring bike or heavy duty commuter get a Sam Hillborne, Atlantis, Surly LHT, the Soma touring bike or VO Polivalent. If you want the racy steel get a StanYan or Rivendell Roadeo.

    If you are looking for a pleasant riding easy handling pleasure bike that can do a bit of everything and is lighter than most of the Grant Petersen designed frames this could be your bike. I will definitely be riding this one for years to come

    The Build
    Wheels: Campagnolo Vento Reaction CX 700c
    Tires: Continental Gator Skin 700X28
    Saddle: Selle San Marco Regal
    Seat Post: NOS Campagnolo Victory 27.2
    Stem: Nitto Dirt Drop
    Handle Bars: Nitto Flat
    Crank: Campangnolo Power Torque Centaur 170 mm 50/39/30
    Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Veloce medium cage
    Front Derailleur: Campagnolo QS
    Shifters: Campagnolo Veloce Flat-Bar 10 Speed
    Cassette: Campagnolo Centaur 10 speed 12-29
    Chain: Campagnolo 10 Speed
    Headset: Campagnolo Record Threaded
    Calipers: Tektro 569 long reach
    Grips: Who cares
    Bar Ends: Short straight
    Pedals: MKS touring with toeclips

    Fai Mao, Road Bike Review, Member

  • Comfortable San Marcos

    “ It took me a long time to spend this much on a bike... some years ago I decided to get a pretty nice aluminum touring bike for club rides and later a newish aluminum cyclocross to commute on. I was so wrong.....My first ride on the San Marcos was sooo quiet.. not used to a ride that makes so little noise and the drivetrain was so solid it felt like a fixe. But the main thing I have noticed is that the San Marcos is actually faster on the club rides because it is so comfortable to climb with or push hard on flats. I would have never thought such a beautiful vintage- looking bike would be so sleek. If you're looking... don't cheap out like I did..go for it. ”

    Alan , , PA

  • Clydesdale's take on his 63cm San Marcos

    “I like it. I have not ridden as much as I would have liked because I have been on the "fast" bike but I have taken it out for a few 40K + rides and many smaller ones. Very comfortable with lots of spring due to the tubing size but not a lot of flex - so get the benefits of comfort of small tubed steel without noodliness (sic). I'm a clyde and it is very appropriate for all-rounder - better for my actual application than a cross bike. The bike is everything I hoped my Cross-Check would be (and was not). Nimble, fast, light, and versatile. ”

    , ,

San Marcos Frame Set [RETIRED]

  • Rivenoma or Somadell? Thoughts on a Soma San Marcos
    .... I just have to say that this has to be one of the most gorgeous frames for the price I have ever seen. It's frankly prettier than many other far more expensive frames too. It screams Rivendellian to anyone familiar with Grant's choices. Love him or hate him, he has a point of view when designing frames and the Soma San Marcos is no exception

    One of my early rides out on the San Marcos I pedaled just over 20mi/32km and used the drop portion of the bars about half of the time. For me, this is a rarity because of hand and back injuries and just generally feeling uncomfortable on most bikes in that lower bar space. With the San Marcos, everything is comfortable, regardless of my hand position....
    There have been those who have criticized this frame stating that it doesn't know what it is or that it isn't an excellent bike for any particular purpose, but I think that is precisely what I enjoy about it. It isn't a race bike, and no one is likely to use it for sprinting. It also isn't a touring bike because it's not equipped to handle the load needed for this type of travel (though it does have eyelets for racks as desired), but it can take a small amount of weight in front, back, or both and would likely do fine on a very lightly loaded or fully supported tour.

    ....The appreciation for this bike (at least to me) comes with its adaptability and ability to take a rider comfortably over distance. If I were looking for a race bike or one to keep up with speedy club rides, this would likely not be the choice, but since most of my riding is done solo and I can push (or not) as much as I choose, why wouldn't I want something that fits well and is comfortable?

    Let it not be assumed though that this ride is slow. I've bested some of my own records on local segments with relative ease - even being injured - so if the rider is willing to push, the San Marcos is perfectly capable of working with the rider's abilities....

  • Bicycle Times Reviews the San Marcos (63cm size)

    I’ve been a Soma Fabrications owner for a few years—I have a Double Cross DC that has thousands of commuting miles on it—so I was eager to ride something new from a company that specializes in versatile, tough, and long-lasting frames and accessories.

    This bike is Soma’s love child with Rivendell, meaning it was designed for Soma as a “sport touring bike” by Rivendell’s Grant Petersen, using Rivendell lugs, geometry, and design details. The San Marcos is “the bike any road rider who doesn’t race but rides mainly on the road ought to be riding,” according to Petersen.

    So what are these design details? Well, it’s mainly about handlebar height and retro geometry to increase comfort. The concept is simple and time-tested: raise the handlebars to get weight off your hands, crane your neck less, and relieve stress on your lower back. The San Marcos’ top tube slopes up about 6o, raising the stem’s exit point from the head tube. The bike’s 1-inch threaded fork uses a quill stem that you can easily raise or lower to get the perfect height.

    In addition to this main point of Rivendell geometry, you also get some bonuses to versatility that are on par with other Soma models. On the functional side, the bike will accommodate up to a 37mm-wide tire, or 32mm with fenders. The frame sports a pump peg on the head tube and two sets of water-bottle bosses. There are two sets of eyelets in the back for a rack and fenders, but only one set on the fork, meaning no front rack. Soma says light loads are fine, but this isn’t meant as a heavy touring bike.

    The San Marcos uses the same steel lugs, bottom bracket shell, and fork crown that other Rivendell bikes do. The frame is made of high-quality Tange Prestige heat-treated, chromoly steel tubes, same as other Soma bikes. What you don’t get are the even higher-end steel and the fancier two-tone paint job of more expensive Rivendell bikes.

    The two largest sizes have a double top tube. Since Petersen prefers the classic look of small-diameter tubes and lugs, an extra top tube was added on the 59cm and 63cm frames to maintain the same level of triangulation and stiffness as the smaller sizes, especially in the front end. This design has become one of his trademarks.

    I believe bikes have personalities and those personalities are part of the buying decision. Jim Porter of Merry Sales (Soma’s distributor) says their relationship with Rivendell is like the relationship of Elvis to blues or gospel music. Taking his analogy further: if Rivendell is gospel, then Soma is Elvis being played in an old Cadillac.

    The San Marcos gets you where you want to go in comfort and style, but it’s not going to be the most racy thing to ride. My test bike was built with 32mm-wide tires and had an incredibly smooth ride, but no tail fins (they aren’t very functional). Rough roads and smooth gravel were less of an issue for sure, as long as you’re not in a hurry.

    Riding tall with those high handlebars meant the compact drops are probably at the height of most riders’ brake hoods. This provided several comfortable hand positions. The frame is both tall (in the top tube) and low (in the bottom bracket), which helped make for a very stable ride that carved turns gracefully.

    The extra tube certainly seemed to help with front-end stiffness, as intended. I’m not that light, or that slow, but I never detected any lateral flex standing on steep climbs, or front shimmying on fast descents. For those of us used to more modern geometry, the extra top tube looks like overkill. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on a bike intended for heavy touring. But it’s actually a retro solution to preserve frame integrity.

    The San Marcos is definitely a comfort road bike that many people could get into as a versatile commuter, or a bike able to cart a light load, or just for getting out on long rides. In terms of goals and execution, I think Soma Fabrications has a winner. The San Marcos looks good and does everything it was meant to. It’s comfortable and versatile, but an inexpensive Rivendell is an expensive Soma. If you’re down with the retro styling and geometry, I’m certain this would provide years of comfortable service and enjoyment.