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Friday
Jun052009

« Soma Has a Drinking Problem »

If you like to wear your coffee to work, have I got the bicycle accessory for you. My darling wife, knowing that I was chugging my morning cup of coffee before heading out on my morning commute, special ordered a Soma Fabrications Morning Rush Coffee Mug and Holder for my recent birthday. Since I have heretofore had no reservations about bolting one novelty item after another to my Dutch bike, it sounded like a capital idea. A "Sit Up and Ride" bike would seem to lend itself to morning coffee.

The product itself is basically a round metal sheath riveted to a Cateye mount, with a 16 oz travel mug with the Soma logo and "My other legal stimulant is my bicycle" on it. You see, Soma has cred, being located in some hip part of SF making steel-is-real frames for discerning cyclists. It seemed that if anyone could make a bike mug that worked in the real world, it'd be them.

Wear your coffee with this bike mug!Too bad they don't seem to have actually ridden with this product on actual, you know, roads. The ones with bumps and cracks and tracks and such. They do warn the consumer to "only operate your mug when stopped", but sadly, this craptacular mug operates itself. 

First tipoff on this morning's inaugural coffee ride was the Vesuvius of java bubbling out of the closed top as I wheeled my bike out of the garage. Being that it looked headed for my work shoes (I'm a plain-clothes cyclist), I tearfully poured out half of my mug before riding off. But the coffee kept erupting, through the cheap plastic slider and vent on the lid. I hadn't got 2 blocks before it started raining coffee on my lower extremities.

Heeding their advice, I tried drinking at the first red light, to be rewarded with a wet coffee ring on my face from the flooded lid, and several big coffee rivulets on my pants from the sides of the mug. Oh, and an already tepid sip of coffee.

Arriving at my one worksite without a spare change of clothes, I got to spend the day doing the coffee stanky leg at work. I wouldn't be so peeved if the product hadn't cost $40 for a metal ring, some spare Cateye parts, and a $2 travel mug. Leakproof mugs do exist. This will never be one of them. And I don't think mine is defective; it's just cheap. Makes me want to trade it all in for a flask holder

So what to do? Not sure I can return it to my LBS, and I wouldn't want them to eat the cost. And I'm still quite taken with the idea of coffee on my commute. Any suggestions, gentle readers? 

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Reader Comments (10)

Well I suppose this is spam, but it is responsive, so I hope you don't mind. I sell a coffee cop that I think does a good job with bikes on my site: www.bikecoffee.net. . I had used one for several years and started selling them when I could find the same one anywhere.

June 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKes

I have been using a Thermos brand travel coffee mug and it works really well. It has a clever lid that you unscrew a couple of turns to drink the coffee and unscrew fully to fill or clean. It has a carabiner to attach it to whatever. Coffee stays warm for over an hour at -30C. It doesn't quite fit in a water bottle holder.
I have a soma mug as well and aside from the problems you mention, large bumps will sometimes eject the mug from the ring onto the street and if the mug is submerged, the vent in the bottom will allow the insulation to absorb water and the water will then spit out the bottom when the mug is filled with warm beverages.

June 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoug D

yeah, the soma mug pretty much sucks. i couldn't fill it more than 1/2 full or it would leak like mad. i wasn't sad when it finally fell and the plastic rim broke and rendered it completely useless (other than the fact that i was really out the money i spent originally). i ordered an oxo good grips liquiseal stainless mug from amazon and it fits nicely in the holder or in my bottle cage, doesn't leak at all, and keeps stuff hot for a good long while. wish i'd just ordered the little ring on it's own from somewhere else. maybe we all need to email soma and tell them how awful their mug is and suggest they upgrade that part of it.

June 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjj

Thanks for the tips and commiseration. I stumbled across JJ's Oxo mug with a one-handed top today in a local coffee shop, and it seems to fit! But the bikecoffee.net ones look excellent too - I like the "tactical" black.

June 6, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

I just wanted to add that you should probably write them a polite note explaining your unhappiness. Businesses need customer feedback!

June 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Marie

I bought the Electra cup holder which seemed a little expensive at $22 just for the ring (which includes stuff to attach it to the handlebars). Seems to work okay with what I've put in it so far (a coffee go-cup and my kid's Playtex sippy cup on various occasions). I mostly just cycle around a quiet neighborhood tho, and the streets aren't too bad.

June 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca Allen

So ... I did email Soma, and they responded that some folks have experienced leakage through the threads with defective mugs. I've had leakage through the threads and the slider in the lid, so perhaps doubly defective? I still think the mug is too cheap to work reliably in this context. But they're going to send me an Oxo mug as a replacement, which is nice of them, and I hope they find a way to work that mug or similar into their product!

June 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

That Ahearne flask setup is marvelous, thanks for posting that!

The bikecoffee.net products seem to be a great value. It would be good to also sell contraptions to attach them to the handlebars.

June 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLovely Bicycle!

We also were disappointed in the cup, and that it even made it past initial testing. Not only did it cover my cockpit in coffee, but what was left was cold in about 15 minutes. You would expect better from Soma, no? But, in their defense, we too emailed them to express dissatisfaction, and they have promised to send us an Oxo cup, when they come in. Of course, that was a few months ago...

So, anyway! What we did about was:

- get a Nissan Backpacker Thermos, like this one here

- take some leftover bar tape and wrap it so that the wrap's fatter at the top than the bottom

- cover bar tape job in gaffers tape (optional)

The Nissan really is the best one-handed thermos in the world, and should you forget to drink your coffee, it'll still be hot at the end of the day.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchiggins

Mug sucks. I even changed the lid and still same problem: volcano action coming out through the threads as well as the slide on the lid. The holder is sweet though!

September 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBee Dub

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