First Impression: New Albion Privateer


San Francisco-based New Albion is a sister brand of Soma Fabrications, focusing on steel road, dirt and country bikes, like the Privateer pictured above. Made with Tange Infinity chromoly steel, the Privateer is a simple bicycle designed to do many things well, including hauling you and your stuff.


The Ahearne/M.A.P. handlebars offer a nice grasp of things with 570 mm of stability, capped off by Cardiff cork grips. Many components are made in Japan and distributed through corporate parent Merry Sales in South San Francisco. The bike has an nice vintage aesthetic, with the black steel frame and fork, white tires and silver components. So far it rides like a modern bike begging for simple adventure.


Privateer Frame: Tange Infinity double-butted chromoly tubing; double rear eyelets, horizontal dropouts, rear rack braze-ons, and three sets of water bottle braze-ons. Sizes available: 44, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 cm. Retail is $280.


Privateer Fork: Tange Infinity chromoly blades with sloping fork crown, 50 mm rake, 350 mm 1-⅛-inch steerer, lower case “j” with double eyelets and lowrider braze-ons. Retail is $120.


Handlebar: Ahearne-M.A.P. Cycles Bar, 570 mm; Shifters: Interloc Racing Design (IRD) XCPro thumb shifters (indexed rear 9); Front Derailleur: SunXCD XFD34M; Rear Derailleur: SunXCD SXRD34M; Cable Set: Yokozuna Reaction compressionless brake housing; Cranks: IRD Defiant Crankset “Wide Compact” 46-30 tooth, 172.5mm length; Cassette: SRAM PG-980 11-34 tooth 9 speed; Chain: SRAM 9 speed; Bottom Bracket: IRD Quad 55 ; Downtube shifter boss cover: IRD QR; Stem: Soma Shotwell; Brake Lever: IRD Sylvan (adjustable pull); Brakes: Dia-compe Gran Compe GC999 (pads adjustable with the black ring at pivot stud); Cable Hanger: IRD Long Drop; Grips: Cardiff cork; Headset: IRD Techno-Glide (Made in Japan); Saddle: Soma Okami; Seatpost: Soma Layback 27.2 mm; Tires: Soma New Xpress 700x37c Cream (folding bead, hypertex casing), will fit tires up to 700x41c; Tubes: Foss (polymerized, unvulcanized rubber); Wheelset: Suzue road hubs (sealed cartridge bearing) with Ukai rims.

More photos

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Complete bike pricing

According to Soma Fab’s Stan Pun, the retail price for this build is around $1,970. A shop can probably build and sell a Shimano Deore/Tiagra-level bike for about $1,300. Our test bike is a 58cm, with a 58.5 cm top tube, 185 mm head tube, 72/72.5-degree head and seat angles, 72mm bottom bracket drop, 435 mm chainstay length, and a 1,042 mm wheelbase. Weight without pedals and accessories is 24 pounds.

Extras added: VP Components VP-001 platform pedals, Portland Design Works TakeOut basket ($120), ABUS U-Lock U-mini 40 ($65), Paul Components Gino light mount ($24), Bontrager Ion 700R headlight ($99).

I’ll be riding the Privateer during the Bicycle Times Brunch & Beer Bumble this Saturday. Join publisher Maurice and I if you’re available! Look for a complete review of the Privateer in an upcoming print issue of Bicycle Times.


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