2009 Masi Bikes Commuter Preview

Last year saw a lot of good things come out of the once road-only Masi Bikes.   Last year saw the release of the Caffe Racer, Speciale Commuter and SoulVille.   All three models are selling well with the Speciale and SoulVille selling out as quickly as they can be stocked.   Masi 2009 shows more variations of the popular models as well as a new touring specific bike.

First up, the ever popular SoulVille is growing up and getting some gears.   The bike’s aesthetics have been top notch since day one, but rolling a 1-speed comfort bike in hilly terrain is not my cup of fun.   And even though they’ve gotten 3 and 7 speed versions, adding a 10-speed option with SRAM shifters will make the choice all that more enticing for many riders.   This new SoulVille will be available in early November and will retail for $1195.

(click the pictures to see them bigger)

And for those of you still waiting for the SoulVille Mixte (step through version), looks like you may still be waiting.   Their on their way now, but every one of them is already spoken for.

Next up is the new color of the Speciale fixed gear.   The current color is Shamrock green, and this new yellow is a nice addition:

And last, but certainly not least, is the new Speciale Randonneur.   While I don’t have all the specifics yet, this is their new touring bike that is, as Brand Manager Tim Jackson says, “kick ass”.   The MSRP is $1145 and it is also due to hit shore in early November.

What do you think of Masi’s new offerings?

Look for more information once Interbike rolls around…

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0 thoughts on “2009 Masi Bikes Commuter Preview”

  1. xcskimt (Robert) says:

    Very cool bikes. How do I sneak a new Masi bike into my stable of bikes without my wife knowing? Hmmmm

  2. Arleigh says:

    Kudo’s to them on the randoneer bike! The whole line looks awesome Tim.

  3. James says:

    Are those WTB mountain drops on the tourer like Raleigh’s? That is a nice looking bike.

  4. Mike says:

    “Last year saw a lot of good things come out of the once road-only Masi Bikes.” – best comment about Masi I’ve heard.

    I know it’s just a photo (and it’s a great looking bike), but the seat-to-bar height looks a bit too racy for a randonneuring bike. TJ, tell us why this is a randonneuring bike and not a Speciale with braze-ons and clearance for fat tires.

  5. Chester says:

    Is it a randonneur thing to have bar-end shift levers instead of having them integrated into the brake levers? If so…how come?

  6. J.D. says:

    The Randonneur bike looks delicious, but I agree with Mike. The seat looks like a tad sky-high for any serious long distance comfort.

  7. Guitar Ted says:

    I thought similar thoughts about the saddle height/lack of stem rise on the Randonneur. To be fair, similar offerings from other companies are quite the same in this regard, which is pandering to the racer look, in my mind. Get those stems up and the bars where they belong!

    On the handlebars on that Masi, no- those are not WTB drops.

    Why the bar end shifters? Dependable shifting in all weather conditions when you are in the middle of no where on a dirt road with 60 miles to go yet. That is why. If you crash on STI levers and ding up your shifting, or knock a derailluer out of whack, you are lost. With bar end shifters, you simply either miss the the shifters in the crash, or in the case of any derailluer damage, you switch to friction shifting mode and carry on.

    Touring bicyclists have been using bar end shifters or down tube shifters for ever because of these reasons and more.

  8. Chester says:

    Ah, okay. Thanks for the explanation, Ted.

  9. William Boyd says:

    I hope my old Trek 520 does not catch me gawking at this beautiful new touring Bike.

  10. Nathan says:

    These are sweet bikes, and as the quality is high, the prices are pretty decent too.

    The cafe racer looks just a bit like Bianchi’s Milano in lines and style.

    I agree that the touring bike is sporting some race aesthetic, but it’s just for the photo, I’m sure.

  11. Dman says:

    Looks like the touring bike is simply the Speciale Commuter w/gears, not that it’s a bad thing…the Speciale Commuter comes as a single speed (with a flip flop hub I think?), but it also comes w/a deraillure hanger so you can run gears if you want.

    I really like single speeds, but for my commute gears make too much sense. I spend a lot of time coasting a single speed because I can’t pedal fast enough to keep up. I can get from point A to point B much quicker with gears.

    It’s a sweet bike. I want one.

  12. Ghost Rider says:

    Bar-end shifters FTW! Looks like Masi has done it again…classy, functional machines!

  13. John says:

    Argh! I was just about to go put in an order for a Special Commuter! The $300-$400 “premium” for the Randonneur looks like it might well be worth it … drivetrain, saddle, fenders. It would be even cooler if they offered it with an internal rear hub.

  14. Mike Myers says:

    LOL! I seem to remember making the same comments about Masi bar heights LAST YEAR on bikecommuters.com when Masi brought out the Speciale Commuter. Tim even said the bars were too low. The question is how will the bikes ship—with cut or uncut steer tubes? As Ghost Rider knows, I run a LOT of steer tube and spacers. Manufacturers who ship with cut steer tubes eliminate a lot of fit options for their customers.

    Still, beautiful work on those bikes. Is the Randonneur a randonneur or full-on touring bike? There is a difference, I think.

  15. Ghost Rider says:

    C’mon, guys — it’s a studio photo of a soon-to-be-released model. We can’t infer ANYTHING from that, other than that the bike looks great and has bar-end shifters. Final saddle/handlebar position depends on how they’re shipped and how they’re set up at the LBS.

  16. Guitar Ted says:

    Ghost Rider, you don’t seriously think that bike is going to show up with a high rise stem at the local bike shop, do you?

    Even if it is “a studio photo of a soon to be released model”, we have to have some faith that it is a reasonable expectation of what we will see. Otherwise, why bother showing the photo at all?

    That’s the whole point of the photograph in the first place: to give us an expectation of what we will see at our local bike shops.

    In that light, the bars are too low as shown.

  17. Mike says:

    G-T’s correct. It is likely 95% correct of final product. Without a major frame geometry change, it will come out of the carton just like you see. Maybe the masiguy can elaborate?

  18. rick says:

    I don’t think the bars are to low at all. I like the riding position on my Speciale Commuter just fine thanks. It may be a good idea to actually ride the bike before determining the riding position is not correct.

  19. rick says:

    Is it my imagination or my computer but I thought that I seen a couple of more comments after my post #18? I now see that the comments end at 18 instead of #21???

  20. Dave says:

    Question: Are there any new changes to the Speciale CX for 2009? I just saw it for the first time in Boston, it looks perfect for me. Previously, Masi bikes were not on my radar, since I’ve never seen one in Utah. I’m looking for a winter commuter. I ride 15 miles each way through snowstorms. Do you have any other recommendations?
    Thanks, Dave

  21. rick says:

    I believe the Commuter gets new paint for 09.

  22. The artificially created production shortages are ridiculous.

    You’re not making these things from Vibranium or such. You’re not waiting upon little Keebler elves to carve lugs and braze shit on. If you don’t have enough, up your orders. Duh!

  23. rick says:

    Author: Mike Myers
    Rick—–if manufacturers ship bikes with cut steer tubes, they eliminate a good fit for lots of potential buyers. I think a low handlebar is wrong for a substantial portion of the populace. But there are plenty of people who like it. Others would be in agony with numb hands within a mile. That’s why manufacturers should NOT CUT steer tubes. Leave it up to the shop.

    It’s not that much work. Sure, the bikes may look a little weird on the shop floor, but a decent shop is going to do a fit session, anyway. That’s when the stem height should be set——not at the factory in Taiwan.

  24. rick says:

    Author: Mike
    To expand on what Mike Myers said: “I think a low handlebar is wrong for a substantial portion of the populace. But there are plenty of people who like it.” – there are also probably more people who just simply don’t know that they don’t like a low handlebar because that’s all they’ve ever known.

    Regarding steerer tubes, you would see a mass revolt if shops had to cut steerer tubes – even if they had to cut 25% of the steerer tubes on new bikes they received, there would be a mass complaint to the manufacturers. The time involved to remove (make sure bearings don’t get contaminated) the fork, headset parts, front brake…then cut the steerer, clean up the cut, install star nut… Too much time for a mass-produced bike. But, if you want a custom build, most framesets are sent with un-cut steerer tubes.

    In addition, fork makers also impose a limit on how many spacers you can install on top of a headset. In the case of a carbon steerer fork, that amount is usually 40mm. The Alpha Q Extreme fork is made with a super stout steerer and you can run 130mm of spacers. For aluminum steerers, it would be a little more and for steel steerer, potentially even more. But, running almost unlimited amount of spacers would likely be a liability issue for manufacturers.

    Hmmmm, maybe reverting back to quill stems is a novel concept. No, seriously. But this is unlikely to happen on a large scale. The logical way to get bars up is to just make frames with taller head tubes and larger frames and get away from the sloping/compact style. Leave that style to the racers.

  25. Gomez says:

    “I’d buy one but” has a reasonable point even if he sounds like a dick.

    Never counted, but I guesstimate that from inquiries–a lot of them–that I could have sold at least 50% to 100% more of the various Soulvilles had I been able to convert a lot of walk-ins and a few of several phone/email inquiries into sales.

    I don’t want to eff my boss by screwing his relationship with Masi, but I work for a shop in a good highway location in a good retail area and people come in and ask for the Soulville by name. Now and again,I can sell them something else in a commuter and a lot of times it might be a better proposition for them from a price/performance pov, but the conversion isn’t nearly as good as if I could give them what they want.

    When you get a self-selecting customer who has sold himself, it’s pretty crappy to see him walk out the door. Putting them on a list is pointless, since I can’t tell then when they might be available.

  26. Howdy folks- Sorry for arriving late to the party… it’s been a touch on the hectic side as of late… my apologies.

    So many things to try and address…

    Bar height; The stem is a flip/flop stem that allows some rise. Admittedly, as this is a new model for us, we are feeling away around this and we always listen and make changes when we can. In the future, I honestly see revising the frame with a taller head tube- but that could be a year from now with the way lead times are growing. Since Mike is the one who designed the frame… let’s ask him why the head tube is so small… 😉

    Fork steerer tubes; shipping bikes w/ uncut steerers would definitely result in the revolt hinted to by Rick. Besides, it isn’t just the steerer- you need to have long enough cables and housings to meet that height as well and that leads to another complaint from many retailers. The majority of shops- not all- prefer to simply pull a bike from the box and make a few slight adjustments before putting it on their floors. I get angry calls and emails from retailers when a bike takes more than 30-45 minutes to assemble and put on the floor. Seriously.

    Supply; I wish we could have every bike in stock all the time, in every size and every color… but we just can’t. A) We’re too small of a brand to warehouse the bikes and pay for them- it’s very expensive to run massive inventories. 2) Lead times have ballooned beyond imagination. Case in point- Shimano Nexus 8spd hubs on the SoulVille went from about 60 days lead time to 180+. That’s why we made a mid-season change to the SRAM 7spd hubs. It’s impossible to forecast those kinds of changes. 4-B) We also couldn’t have even begun to account for how much more popular the bikes ended up being. That sounds a little smug I know, but the bikes sold far better than we hoped. We always have faith in what we bring to market or we wouldn’t do it… but having demand for a bike be 4-5 times greater than forecasted means a lack of inventory.

    All that said, we’re super happy that things have been improving for Masi and we’re gonna keep trying and we’re gonna keep listening to what folks like you have to say- and I say that in total sincerity. It’s feedback like this that has helped us to create the bikes that keep popping up. For that, I have to thank YOU.


  27. Mike says:

    “let’s ask him why the head tube is so small” ” – Busted. It’s simply a modified Speciale that fits fat tires. I never got time to finish the commuter frame and get it really dialed. It’s a good solid base, though. Some minor tweaks and it can be gold.

  28. SupplySide says:

    Re: supply problems

    I sympathize on the Soulville inventory, BUT if that’s the case, just sell the frame.

    As a conumer who would have bought either frame configuration (and recently did pay a premium for another company’s mixte frame), I have the following observations:

    (1) As you’ve pretty much said, there’s some rationalization on price and sourcing in your kits on the Soulville.

    (2) The uniquely attractive part of the Soulville is the frame. The particular comps for me are wheelbase length, styling, horizontal dropouts, and steel vs. aluminum. The drivetrain is a bummer, inasmuch as it is neither all that cheap nor all that magical (vs. Red Band, Alfine, i Motion).

  29. nuetron_bob says:

    For SupplySide,
    If the frame is what speaks to you most on the Soulville, thought you might want to take a look at the local frame builder here in Napa, CA. Lots of guys ride road versions around here and the website doesn’t even come close to doing justice to how nice they look.


  30. Shelby says:

    I have the Masi Speciale Randonneur and I LOVE it! I have been training on it for the last few months and have logs over 400 miles on it. It out preforms all my friends bikes. Its smooth and has all the components that I need for touring. The short head tube is becoming a problem. I am a 5’7 women with a 31 inch inseam and over 50 miles on this bike and my neck muscles are screaming. Now I need to figure out how to get a new and longer head stem with additional spacers because the headset is not adjustable. But, other than that I love my bike!!

  31. Paula says:

    I’m riding a Masi Soulville 7 mixte and love it for riding to work every day. I agree with Shelby on the short head tube – this is something I want to look at adjusting.
    I’ planning on some long term touring in Europe next year and would love to use this bike if it’s up to the task.
    Can anyone tell me if my model can be customised for touring? I’d like to fit a rohloff hub and will carry a full load on racks but unsure if the frame will hold up to this use. Would appreciate any info.

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