Thursday, August 23, 2007

Out of the bag...

Good news travels fast... so now that the bag is open and the cat is running around, might as well make the big announcement;

Say hello to the Speciale SoulVille!

Ain't she a beauty?! (The answer is "yes", of course...)

Double butted chromoly steel with steel fork with lugged crown.

Alloy fenders- very minimal to keep the lines nice and clean. This sample doesn't have it, but we got these with the Masi head badge artwork laser etched on the fenders.

And the custom Masi embossed leather saddle is an awfully yummy touch! I mean... how can you argue with this thing? Oh yeah... you can't!

Though it's really hard to see in this bad photo I took, the grips are fo-real natural cork.

I know... you're already getting sweaty palms and beginning to get dizzy- it's pretty common.

Here are the other pertinent details to get you all hot and bothered;
Internal 8spd rear hub with Revo shifter
Coaster brake (for doing cool skids!)
Simple arc bar
Ritchey adjustable stem
Rack and fenders mount
Cool leather saddle with springs
Super sweet steel tubing and steel fork

It's gonna retail for a little over $800 and is worth every penny- it's just a beauty...

AND it comes in two colors!

Here's the deal- it's designed to be a great all around city bike. Perfect for cruising around town, one hand on the bars, sipping your favorite cup of coffee, wind in your hair and a smile on your face. This bike isn't about "fast"- it's about "fun"... lots of fun.

Ok, discuss amongst yourselves...

Tim (Oh yeah... and this is mine too.)


dan23dan23 said...

Pick me, pick me!

James said...

Very cool. It will be interesting to see how American's like the Euro commuter style

Anonymous said...

WooHoo! I'll take 'em all right now!

Gilby said...

Holy crap, that is beautiful!!!

Bret Moss said...

Do you have size run info yet?

Tim Jackson said...

Paterfamilias- Ok, but you still have to buy the sushi.

Jamesa- Me too. So far, the response has been pretty darned startling. I'm hoping the market is ready- of course. Things look good so far.

Phil- I had a feeling you might like these.

Gilby- Yep... yep.

Bret- 14", 16", 18" and a 20". A larger 22" might be in the works after I've had more time to do some testing.

ALL- More models are planned based around this platform, so feel free to pitch your dream ideas.

ADIG said...

Exactly what I've been looking for! Looks great and I can't wait for my first ride to the cafe!

Donna T. said...

Looks great! But, that quote...vintage Masiguy. You make me laugh out loud!
All the best with the new line!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see this bike with regular hand brakes (like the Bianchi Milano) as an alternative to the coaster brake. I'm more comfortable with hand brakes and I like to back pedal when coasting down a hill. Any plans for different braking alternatives?

Tim Jackson said...

ADIG- Right on.

Donna- Glad you liked it.

Dave R- At this point, I don't have other braking options planned for this bike. However, I'm working on a model with a traditional 9 or 10 spd drivetrain and hand brakes.

Anonymous said...

That is one sweet looking bike. Totally awesome.

Tim, keep up the good work.

Yokota Fritz said...

Tim, this bike is a homerun! I hope you sell about a million of these. It's gorgeous.

When you write "Traditional 9 or 10 speed" are you talking about with a dérailleur? SRAM has their i9 hub that might work well here.

Anonymous said...

Nice, I've never seen one of those!

Pete LaVerghetta said...

Fan mail for the new bikes, but I'm a big fan of front brakes....

Unknown said...

Would you consider a singlespeed/fixed gear version a la Redline 925? THAT would be seriously classy.

ElectricWorld said...

I think we need an A+F team Pit Bike!? Again, that thing is HOT!

Unknown said...

Tim, it is a beautiful bike. I think an internally geared rear hub would be much nicer than a derailleur, if the plans are to go that route. This would make for a great commuter bike set up, although it is hard for me to think of a Masi as a commuter. Best of luck and I can not waite to see the rest of the line.

Hasty! said...

That thing is just screaming to be made into a fixed gear!

Looks like a great city bike (still not sold on the idea of coaster brakes though).

Anonymous said...

What hub gears are you using? Shimano has stopped doing 8speed Nexus w coaster brake, so is it Sturmey Archer?

Jason Schifo, Pastor, Mahomet Community Evangelical Free Church said...

Man the white is uber sharp.....I am now going to have to google the nearest Masi dealer and pre-order.

dan23dan23 said...

Since you asked for suggestions...

You should consider a deluxe model with that fancy new Alfine group from Shimano - that way you make Dave R happy! You could run a double crank, and disc brakes. Holy crap, it would create the family of bikes - Coaster brake, multi speed, and killer Euro Commuter with disc brakes and an internal hub! Tell Wayne and Pat to get busy planning for this one.

Tim Jackson said...

Andrea- I assure you it is a Shimano 8spd coaster... maybe they're only making them for me... but I doubt that.

Hasty- Dude, buddy, bro... you know you have to have one. And... coaster brakes are cool because you can skid! And you can brake with one hand on the bar shifting gears while you drink your coffee with the other. It rocks...

dan23dan23 said...

No doubt it's cool! Good job on it! I can't wait to ride one. Let's talk next week, as I think it's the perfect bike for my brother in Portland. I'd like to get one for him.

Anonymous said...

Awesome - I've been looking for something similar for ages. Even trying to find a "one-year-only" Kona Aha cruiser with the curved top tube. My only options (without going the clunker frame route) seemed like an expensive custom job from Retrotec etc..

When you say the frame tubing is "nice", I just hope it's better than that tin-plated Chinese gas-pipe that B*****i labels up for their Pistas.

But I have to agree with other posters re. the brakes: Here in the UK you *should* have 2 brakes on a street bike. Fixed plus a front caliper would be fine, as would rear coaster plus a front caliper or V-brake.

The front brake is a real bonus in traffic, as you can only apply the coaster properly with the crank in 2 positions. Fine for segregated German bike lanes or low-speed cruise in central Amsterdam, but sketchy in real winter traffic conditions.

Minimum Upgrades:
Canti studs both ends;

Wish List Upgrades:
For an all-weather European city bike, avoid rim brakes altogether, so:

Disc tabs both ends to suit an Alfine groupset. Or Shimano roller brakes. I'd love to fit a Rohloff if the quality of the frame was good enough.

Whichever way, keep it low-maintenance (meaning non-derailleur), so hub-geared, fixed or singlespeed only.

Oh, and sort out a UK distributor (please). Do you have a European distributor? I'd happily make a trip to mainland Europe as an excuse to bring one back to Blighty.

All the best,


Anonymous said...

While we're discussing wish- lists...

Low-rider mounts on the fork legs would be great for fitting front panniers.

Even better would be threaded rack mounts right on top of the fork crown (like the Kogswell Porteur) for fitting a nice wide front delivery rack. (Mmmm, colour-matched rack tubing with polished wooden slats).



Tim Jackson said...

DM- I like the way you think. I'd love to do a sweet matching rack with wood slats. I can't make promises... but I'd love to do it.

ALL- Thanks for all the comments and the ideas. This bike is likely the launching pad for a few more similar models and these suggestions could lead to some great new bikes.


Anonymous said...

Tim, This is great - direct feedback from the brand manager. The only other person I know to do this is Brant Richards at On One. He runs the "empire" from his garden shed and frequently pops up on the MTB forums with detailed answers to all manner of customer queries. And he can't make enough bikes. I think that tells you something.

If you're thinking of future variants, I'd mention tyre clearance.

Not sure what rear OLN spacing you've gone for (Alfine is 135mm, AFAIK) but a lot of European manus are designing neo city bikes around the 50mm or even 60mm Big Apple tyres by Schwalbe.

These things are phat, so they DO need big clearances. But they give a fantastic "suspension" effect and the compound and casing technology are first rate, so they roll and corner really well. I've been riding a pair of 26s for a couple of years and am looking for a pair of 18s for my Birdy folder.

I'm sure there'll be lots of Big Apples spec'd at Eurobike. Just one more part of the move towards overcoming the perceived barriers to cycling (harsh riding tyres, skipping derailleur etc.) and getting more people on well-designed utility bikes.

Make enough clearance in the Soulville frame for modern balloon tyres and I'd say you've got an urban "magic carpet" ride that will sell very well.

More info here:

[Disclaimer: I have no link to Schwalbe. Just a bike geek.]


(Oh, and do one in the rootbeer/ white panel colour-scheme)

Veni Vidi Vici said...

I really like this bike. It looks alot like the Bianchi Milano but much better. The TT curve cleanly runs a smooth line into the seat stays. Very nice job. The colors look great as well and with panels!
I'll take mine in Black and if I had my way it would be a fixed/SS
with disc brakes or better yet just
fixed and a disc brake on the front. Again I want to say well done man! Thank you.

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Just cheerleading....nothing important, but both of these bikes flat out rock !
I dont know which one I like better !!

How about a Speciale with a 3 sp /coaster hub !!

Or how about a Soulvile with a ..............
OK, you get it , great stuff !!

Unknown said...

Oh yeah....I forgot...
Dont DARE touch that gorgeous
crowned fork !!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

$800 US is too much for a toy bike. It needs a front caliper brake.

David Manning said...

Hey Tim,

Just stumbled upon your blog from a link on Cnet News.

Reading about the Masi marque brought back some interesting memories for me. I worked for Ted Kirkbride when he owned his bike shops in Escondido and Carlsbad between 1982 and 1985. I also rode for Masi Bicycles during that time and rode a Masi Gran Criterium road bike and track bike. In fact, I rode my Masi track bike to the 1984 junior national championships.

Masi featured me on the cover of their catalog in 1984, and if you are a student of history and have access to old catalogs, I'm wearing a blue and yellow skinsuit. I was 17 yrs. old at that time and LOVED Masi bicycles.

What a blast from the past to read your blog and the link to Masi Cycles history. Please pass along my warm greetings to Ted the next time you talk to him. Someday I'd love to show my children the factory on our next San Diego visit!

David Manning

Anonymous said...

I can only guess what your guidelines were when designing this bike:



Anonymous said...

Cool looking helmets got a lot of people to wear them. Thanks for making communting and bike-as-transportation attractive by making a COOL bike!

Anonymous said...

I'd sure like to see an "accessory wheel" offered for the front, combining a roller brake, generator, and double-butted spokes (cushy ride).

I'd like to see the factory front wheel have either lighter or less spokes than the rear so that the bike rolls well with same-same air pressure front and back.

I'd like the roller brake rear hub instead of the coaster brake--safety issues!

One little thing is a big help with this style bike. Stronger than brass, DT alloy spoke nipples are an helper up hills.

For both looks and acceleration, Panaracer Pasela Tourguard Folding with Tan Sidewalls 26" x 1.75" are beautiful and quite the blast uphill.

I'd also like to see an alloy frame model with that same steel fork--or the whole thing on Colombus high-end steel.

The Nexus 8 gear range is slightly limited, so some extra pep in the hill climbing department would let you gear up high enough for 26mph at 125rpm.

You've got a pretty bike, but, now lets see one with the same sweet appearance plus ability to take on the highway.

See also Schwinn Alloy 7, when refitted with Nexus Premium 8, DT alloy spoke nipples, and MRP bottom bracket conversion (to sq taper), the bike can ride with the road club, as seen doing all 500 miles of the 2006 Oklahoma Freewheel--and not walking a single hill.

Anonymous said...

Awsome frame!!!
Love the horizontal dropouts!!!
I would like to build one up as a fast hard-pack (dirt road)hauler e.g. Vermont!!!
Will you be selling bare frames?

Anonymous said...

Great bike, but I already have a Bianchi Milano (and I love it). I added a front basket and lights to my Milano when I bought it and have been riding around Portland for about four years. It will be interesting to see if this new bike is competition for Bianchi.

Anonymous said...


Again, it looks great!
How about a fast version of this concept?
More focus on hauling butt and less on latte?

Anonymous said...

looks good, glade to see the steel frame and square crown fork. Only a lugged frame could make it better.

Anonymous said...

The last bike I owned was 100 years ago, but this one interests me, big time. I have an eight block commute to my office and I'm sick of taking my car. Also, a nice shopping street less than a mile away, to cruise to and to pose. Tell me if this lovely ride should be my ride and why it tops the Bianchi Milano!

echelon draft said...

I like the rat trap in the background of picture 3. Nice touch.

Anonymous said...

This bike is an absolute travesty. It would be hard to imagine any bicycle less connected to the heritage of Masi. This bike is like that Porsche SUV--all wrong for the brand. Shame on you for taking one of the proudest names in cycling history, and slapping it on this cruiser. This bike presents final proof that the owners of the Masi name have completely sold out.

Anonymous said...

In what country is it manufactured?

Anonymous said...

You could go in so many directions with this thing...
I love those drop bars on the singlespeed version.
Actually I love that rendition. Keep it all steel. I love the fork too. Lets keep the carbon fiber for racing. This is kool-retro-kool.


tequiladave said...

Tim -- do you have any pictures of the Caffe Racers or Speciale Commuter or CX?

Smelley said...

I'll add a vote for a front (and a rear) matching rack, with either wood slats, or slats to match the fenders.

Building this into a line with a few options seems like a great idea, but for me, I'm copacetic with the coaster brake and an 8 spd hub.

I have looked at Bianchi's Castro Valley, the new Soho 4.0 with the Alfine internal gear hub, the upcoming Gary Fisher Simple City, the Jamis Commuter and a few others as possible replacements for the Trek 4300 Mountain Bike I commute on now.

Nothing even approaches the pitter patter this Soulville has sparked in my cardiac organ. HOLY CRAP.

When when when?

Anonymous said...

this sounds like the bike I have wanted

Dr. Logan said...

It's a beaut for sure, good job. For posterity though, I must agree that roller or disc brakes are way better (safer). Front rack or basket would be an awesome addition. Looks like a great bike.

Anonymous said...

nice bike, leave it alone and ignore all the 'nice, but' crowd.

Will Reed said...

I'll buy one as soon as they're available. Like many others, I've been waiting for something like this for years.

Question: what size are the wheels?

Anonymous said...

When, o when, will it be available?

John Day said...

Really nice frame, with the inherent springiness of the elegant curve in seatstays and top tube. So, what size wheels? Is it available as a frame to build as a fixie? And does that fork accomodate a front brake?
Myself, I'd like it in 700c, no fenders and randonneur bars with natural cork tape. Just sell me a frame... Black, please.

Anonymous said...

when is this available? how do i get my hands on one in Singapore?

Anonymous said...

what a problem?

sh nexus 8 with roller brake and front too, like

Anonymous said...

I just saw the Soulville for the first time in a bike shop in Santa Cruz, California.

I've been on a whirlwind of studying retro bikes, and learning about collecting - Sting-Rays, classic cruisers, and vintage 10 speeds from the 70s when I was a teen. Through all this I'd been yearning for a modern update with newer tech components, yet not goofy and crazy heavyass clunker, like some of these retro balloon cruisers with aluminum frames.

Then I spotted this Masi...Wow, beautiful, with very tastefully done classic touches, a vintage tubing diameter, and paint style that steers clear of the kitsch. I also love how the selection of modern parts compliments the design as a whole, rather than distracts.

What's keeping me from buying it now? I never liked coaster brakes. I wouldn't be into a bike like this for laying skids, and I'm nimble enough to carry a latte - or more likely some crap I'm having to carry back from the store in one hand - while using a handbrake with the other.

I've ridden with handbrakes since I was 8 years old, and wouldn't want to be without their precision and control when I'm riding in traffic, and where a quick reaction to the guy that doesn't see you may save your life.

I really like the internal gearing - such a clean look that doesn't distract from the frame - but please give me either disc or roller brakes along with it, and some sweet, responsive levers. Then I'd be a buyer.

The Soulville is certainly heading in the right direction - we here just need more choices in the line. You certainly have the foundation in place. Please give us the added offerings sooner rather than later.

Jeff in California

Anonymous said...

I think it would look better to have some housing-free sections of cable, It would further the classic look as well.

Could you put in some nice cable stops on the downtube and right chainstay, and give us a half-naked cable? Sleeve the bare section in clear plastic tubing.

Perhaps a cable guide under the bottom bracket as well, to eliminate another housing section around it.

josh said...

i know i'm a little late to post here, but i'm curious about that saddle. it looks like a brooks, but is way heavier. who makes it and any long term feedback on how they break in and hold up? thanks.

Anonymous said...


One word: twenty nine inches!

I would love to see the Masi with Schwalbe Big Apples: suspension at the appropriate level of technology for this bike.

Please tell me if they'll fit with or without a modification.

-- 29er

Anonymous said...

For all you folks critical of the coaster brake hub, I felt exactly the same way...until I visited Copenhagen, one of the world's most cycle savvy places and discovered that 99.9% of all the Danish commuter bikes have coaster brake hubs. So I'm going to give it a try!

Anonymous said...

I just bought this bike and LOVE it.

I won't lie, it's been an adjustment from my single speed, but this bike is now my minivan whereas the ss is my quick & dirty. I am converting the Masi to an xtracycle so I can take the whole family along. It's going to be a fun ride, for sure. Gotta love those designerly Italians!

Tom Cates said...


It is lovely, a truly magnificent machine. I admired it parked in front of Youngblood's for so long, and finally bought it.

Can you please tell us more about the tubing spec?