Quick Review:Trek Soho S

Product: Trek Soho S



Sizes 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5″
Frame Alpha Black Aluminum
Fork Cro-Moly w/lowrider mounts
Wheels Alloy flip flop high flange hubs; alloy rims
Tires Bontrager Race Lite, puncture resistant, 700x28c; 60 tpi
Shifters n/a
Front Derailleur n/a
Rear Derailleur n/a
Crank Bontrager Nebula 44T w/chainguard
Cassette Shimano 17T freewheel/16T cog
Pedals Nylon body w/alloy cage
Saddle Bontrager Select City
Seat Post Bontrager Satellite Nebula
Handlebars Bontrager Crowbar Sport, 25mm rise
Stem Bontrager Soho, 15 degree
Headset Aheadset Slimstak w/semi-cartridge bearings, sealed
Brakeset Alloy dual pivot w/Tektro alloy levers
Extras Chainguard

Sweet chain guard to keep your slacks free of grease.

I really dig the matte/flat/gloss finish. Gives it character and makes it less of an attention whore for thieves.

First Impressions:

The Trek Soho S retails around $549…not bad for this kind of bike. It’s a single speed/fixie with the flip flop hubs. The setup of the Soho S reminds me of how I’ve set up my Redline 925. I’ve never been a fan of drop bars, and flat bar road bikes have always been my favorite because of the geometry and overall riding position that tends to be more comfortable. One of the comforting aspects of this bike is the Bontrager Race Lite tires that are puncture resistant. I HATE getting flats and having these type of tires not only peace of mind, but it will also prevent you from being late to the office because you didn’t have to hassle with a flat tire.

The sidepull Tektro brake and levers provided enough stopping power without any strain on my hands.

One of the other small details that I liked about the bike was the bar ends. Check out how they have a reflective sticker on it. I thought that was pretty cool. Oh and the bell is an added bonus!

The gearing ran at 44/17t on the freewheel and it was easy enough to start at a dead stop and get on cruising speeds within a few seconds. I rode with the fixed gear for a bit, but when I did try it, the lock ring slipped. I quickly fixed that but rather than riding it as a fixed, I opted for the freewheel since my knee has had problems from stopping fixed gear bikes.


I actually liked the Trek Soho S. I rode a 17.5, which made it just right for my height, 5’7″ on a good day. The bike felt comfortable, I didn’t feel that I was leaning over too much or had that aggressive race geometry. But don’t get me wrong, the Trek Soho S can dish out some good speed. Just a few pumps of the pedals, then this baby is hauling.

trek soho s

There was one thing I didn’t particularly care for about this bike, its the pedals. They had these weird open cage design that felt like my foot was falling off. I think a good pair of platform pedals or even clipless pedals(even better) would have solved this issue. Other than that, the bike is fun to ride, it would make a great commuter and is relatively priced low.

Beautifully designed, affordably priced canvas and leather bicycle bags.


  1. aidan

    You didn’t point out explicitly that it is another crappy aluminium frame. Aluminium fixie is an oxyMORON.

  2. RL Policar (Post author)

    Aidan, relax. The bike rode fine as a commuter. There’s not need to do track stands, skid stops or race in a velodrome with this bike…its a commuter…

  3. Moe

    Believe it or not, the Trek Soho S seems to be a popular search. Fortunately we had the chance to check one out, yes, the frame is aluminum but ultimately it will be up to the buyer to make their decision.

  4. Lance

    Aluminum is good enough for roadie race bikes. Should be good enough for a commuter, I would think? Really dig the blackout look to the bike.

  5. Ghost Rider

    You know what? There are a CRAPLOAD of good aluminum-framed track bikes out there, too. I’m not a fan of aluminum by any means, but there’s more to a bike than just the material — any can be appropriate for a given application.

    That Trek looks like a nice bike — sleek and understated. I’d still rather see drops on it, though.

  6. aidan

    Steel is cheap, rides well, and takes thinner prettier tubes. Aluminium is even cheaper, needs fat-*%$ed tubes, and doesn’t ride as well. Carbon is far more expensive, for a few pounds’ weight benefit. Titanium is porn! Roadie, fixie or commuter: steel gives you the best looking and riding frame. Only if you are paid to race, you might need a lighter frame, on race day.

    There may be “a CRAPLOAD [well-said] of good aluminum-framed track bikes” and perhaps “aluminum is good enough for roadie race bikes”, but they’d be better in steel.

  7. Mike Myers

    Trek knows how to bring a stylish look to their bikes. The Soho S isn’t something that would fit in my stable, but damned if it’s not a looker. The blacked out look is clean and sexy, and the rubber insert on the top tube is a smart addition. That makes it easy to lock up without dinging the paint.

    It would be nice if Trek would embrace its steel roots, however. At least they still make the 520 in steel, even if it’s not ideally specced for touring any more(I understand they spec it with a 52T big chainring, and nobody tours with that).

  8. russ roca

    The Soho looks pretty nice…would love to see that frame with an internal 8speed….do they have one?

    I have a 520…works well after a few changes…(crankset, wheels, saddle, handlebars, rack :)….my biggest beef with the 520 is that the shop (or someone) cut the stem to short. Fine for a roadie maybe, but not so good for a tourist….

    from my understanding the 520 gets sold as a cheap road bike and not so much as a touring bike these days (atleast in these parts…los angeles)…which is sad…and probably explains why the shortish cut on the steerer tube…

  9. russ roca

    Answered my own question…they do make the Soho as an 8speed…with the alfine hub no less….sweet!

    Does it have rear and front eyelets?

  10. Wayne Myer

    What’s with Trek’s big ugly welds?

    I have an SU200 (relative of the Soho). It’s a tank in every sense of the term. There is nothing stock on it anymore, but the stock kit served well for all-weather commuting (just add fenders), grocery-getting, trailer-pulling, pounding through potholes, and going down stairs.

    I hate aluminum. That said, the use of aluminum on a beater/commuter, especially here in salty, narsty Vermont, makes great sense. I beat up this bike, ride it hard, put it away wet, and lock it to lightpole so I can go pound pints. Try that with a steel bike that engenders love and care.

  11. barbaroo

    Been riding a Soho S since November – although it required a custom fender install, it is my favorite commuter to date – that with 25+ years of commuting. Stable, yet zippie ride great for avoiding potholes or buses. I’ve taken it on 20 mile road rides to and have been surprised at how nice it was for a longer-than-commute ride. I’ve been a fan of traditional and steel my whole bike life but have to admit that the ride on this bike, and the benies of alum in wet climates, AND the price make this bike a great choice for SS commuters.

  12. who-ha

    everyone is missing the point. this isnt one of those hipster, jump on the band wagon fixie bikes. its a commuter. its made to be light (aluminum) its made to be cheap (aluminum) and its made to look sleep (aluminum and hydroforming) its not made to go out and do trackstands and skids with all the hipster fixie riders. its made to get from point a to b for cheap cheap cheap and still looking ok.
    has anyone seen some of the commuter bikes out there today… id say this is by far one of the best looking commuters that isnt conforming to the hipster track movement. just because it has a flip flop hub and is SS specific, doesnt mean trek was going for the mainstream market. they made a kick ass functional bike for a cheap price good job to trek!

  13. Andrew

    Hey, I’m looking to buy my first fixed gear to use as a commuter/town booter, just sold my truck. This so far is my number one choice, however in all the blog type reviews I’ve read there’s a crapload of controversy over aluminum vs. steel. What is the difference in riding steel vs. aluminum?? – plain and simple please. Is it simply that the aluminum gives a harsher ride? Is it frowned upon simply because the oldschool riders or “hipsters” are afraid of something new…?

    Yours truly, the ignorant/indifferent rookie rider.

  14. Ghost Rider

    Andrew…it’s a little of all of that — “steel is real” , or so the mantra goes when it comes to the hipster types. Vintage bikes are preferred in those circles, but if you gotta buy a new bike, “be sure it is steel”.

    I don’t subscribe to that…while I prefer steel for aesthetics and riding qualities, there are plenty of good aluminum-framed bikes out there. I just don’t happen to own any.

    Aluminum has a reputation for harshness…somewhat unfairly deserved, because there were plenty of noodly, dead-feeling frames on the market when aluminum frames first came onto the scene (Vitus 9-7-9, anyone?). I’ve ridden a couple of aluminum bikes, and while some of them might have been a little harsher (steel has natural “spring”, if manufactured correctly), there are not a lot of big noticeable differences, especially from a rookie’s perspective.

    You’ll never have to worry about an aluminum frame rusting out, at least!

    Bottom line is: test-ride a few bikes and go with what feels good to YOU; don’t base your choice on a bunch of hype, “cool factor” or any of that other crap. Let your butt and your hands tell you what is best for you!

  15. Andrew

    Ghost Rider – Thanks alot for the advice! I was planning on riding a couple different fixed gears, the trek, a langster, as well as the few others a local shop has to offer. Being that the deciding factors on my venture into fixxies are price, styling (my personal taste), and the fact that I live in Winnipeg – MB – Canada and plan on riding through winter, winter, spring, winter, summer and fall… the Trek seems like my best bet so far.

    For the purists, however, I do have an old Bianchi that my dad gave me that I wouldn’t mind building into a fix gear as I learn more about them, i.e. what brands are quality brands and also finding out what I like, and what I want in a fix gear.

  16. Ghost Rider

    Andrew…a conversion may be the best way to “test the waters” — converting an existing bike doesn’t require much more than a fixed cog and a lockring. Check out Sheldon Brown’s (actually Tom Deakins’s) conversion tutorial at:

    I love old Bianchis — I have one in my collection from 1983. Good luck, and be sure to let us know how it works out!

  17. Richard E. Myers

    I bought one! I like it! It rides swell! What more could one request of mere metal, or recycled beer cans? Yah, yah ,yah the welds look rotten but so did the welds on my Canon Dayle or Canon whatever. It is a Davis Phoney design, impressed? I dug it and since was the cheaper model I put a Croce Doughnut crank on it, Chorus brakes and a Chorus derailers. Impressed? This give me standing but sadly I don’t know where. None the less the Soho S rides well and I dig it. The brakes don’t work as well as the Chorus brakes, circa 1990. For those who don’t like ugly welds I say eat salamander slime and get a wife. May she spend you to you know where and sadly back. I will continue to ride it with joy however I have a Bare Knuckle frame in the works, a work in progress if you will. It is Nemo blue. I wante Bubbler Gum Pink but someone told me it was gay and so I went blue, Nemo Blue. I so far have a set of wheels with Surly track hubs, the flip flop type, you know like the current pack of idiots ruining for the highest office in the land. The Hubs are black and I chose a pair of Campy Ypsilon rims I had setting around for over 15 years. The wheels look swell. How will the two bikes compare? Most likely not very well. I can ride the Soho, and I can’t ride the other because it has no other stuff to make it run. Let lust say that a bird in the hand is better than one in the bush. Please let us not wax Fruitian on that one.


  18. Ed

    I personally have no issues with aluminum. Purists don’t like it at all, but they must have never ridden a truely sweet aluminum frame. I wanted to buy a single speed and I agonized over buying aluminum vs. steel. I like this article that helped me get over my fears:

    So I want to buy a 29er frame, make it single speed and I think I’m going to go with Al. Why? It’s not to expensive and it doesn’t rust. If you ride in the rain or winter salt, you don’t have to worry about it. If water gets into the BB and chainstays, steel rusts unless you protect it. I have nothing against any of the frame materials, but I wonder if Titanium was as cheap as Al, would the purists hate on that too?

  19. Barry Gold

    This is my first post here. I’m 60 years old, 5″10″ and 260#. I know that sounds like a lot but I really am in half decent shape.

    Been a while since I’ve been biking. Used to mountain bike all the time with the kids when they were younger and I was smaller. Now they have their own families.

    This is a round about way of saying I was in my local Trek store lookking for a bike when I saw the Trek Soho single speed. I won’t say I fell in love but I really liked it. Took it for a spin and liked it even more. I want to be able to commute 8 miles to work each way (70% road and 30% bike path). Only one short steep climb and a couple of smaller ones. My wife things I’m crazy for looking at a single speed. She wants me to stick with 24 speeds. She thinks it will be easier for me. She’s afraid I will die on the single speed, but I sure did like it. I also liked just how simple it was.

    So how silly am I being for even thinking about the single speed?


  20. Ghost Rider

    Not silly at all…if the gearing can let you conquer the climb without killing you, a singlespeed will make you a stronger rider. Plus, as you mentioned, the simplicity of a singlespeed just can’t be beat!

    Still, for versatility’s sake, a bike with more than one gear might be a wiser option…it could let you do other rides over steeper terrain and give you the gearing to haul a tour load or a set of panniers full of groceries without too much strain. Something to consider, in any case.

  21. Sydney Commuter

    I literally just bought my SoHo S when I incidentally stumbled across this blog.

    I live in Sydney Australia and wanted a commuter to get me to the ferry (on time, the bus is always late) and then from the ferry to my office in the city. For years now I have entertained the thought of owning a light, simple, single speed, a kind of grown up BMX (I’m 36). The first bike shop I walked into I saw the Soho S and knew it was the one. But before committing I checked out heap of other options, mainly flat bar/hybrid road bikes with traditional gearing. But the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea of a single speed. Trouble is there ain’t many off the shelf SS bikes available. And as much as I liked the idea of a Surly I went for the Trek. A deciding factor was price. The Trek cost $800 AUD, based on current US/AUD rates that’s about $730US. But if you think that’s a bit rich a Surly frame and fork set alone will set you back at least that.

    And so far I’m really happy with it. My first ride (in years) was down to my local beach (Manly for those know Sydney). In no time at all I was up and down gutters and riding off steps. It’s light, balanced and agile so you tend to glide over everything rather crash and bang into things like I used to on my old cro-mo hardtail MTB from a few years back. Gearing is pretty much perfect for this neck of the woods. We have a number of nasty hills which can be hard work but as my commute is short I figure a bit of hard work isn’t such a bad thing.

    So to all the hard line detractors of mass produced alloy framed “urban/hybrid/city? bikes the bottom line is that Trek have put together an affordable bike that has got me and probably many others back into riding. Nuff said

  22. Steven

    It looks like a very nice bike. How does it compare to the Specialized Globe Centrum Sport? They look very comparable. I am trying to decide between the two.

  23. Steven

    I test rode the Trek today and I liked it for the most part. The brakes seemed kind of weak though. I am not sure if they will improve once broken in?

  24. Ghost Rider


    that’s a common gripe with brakes like that. The stock pads aren’t really any good — a $20 upgrade to Koolstop salmon-colored pads will make a world of difference no matter what brand of bike you ultimately go with!

  25. ride_SLC

    I am also looking at this bike and the Centrum Sport. I love the look of both bikes, but I am not sure if I can live with the single speed.

    If I did get one I think I might eventually buy another rear wheel with an Alfine internal hub. I assume it would work since both of these lines already have a model equipped with that hub…

  26. DOBADE

    I don’t even own this bike, but have come to the conlusion it’s the one I am going to purchase. I grew up with bmx and prefer the single gear approach. Not a cycling purist either…bike could be make out of horse shoes for all I care. Thanks to Ghost Rider, Who-Ha and Sydney Commuter’s post. I am Sohold!

  27. Henk (Hamburg)

    For weeks I starred at these pictures, read the comments and wondered: Should I? Really? Singlespeed?
    Answer: Definitely, for four reasons: Fast, agile, bulletproof and fast.
    I bought it two weeks ago. No need to worry about the singlespeed. It is silent, elegant and it is the fastest way to move through the city. True, you should certainly not go on a 50km-tour with it – get a car for that.
    It weighs 9,4 kg (22,5”), so even hills are no problem at all. The gear could be higher, but then again I don’t want to trade the acceleration.
    And the style is uncomparable – as if someone fused a f117 stealthfighter to form this bike.

  28. RL Policar (Post author)


    Congrats on your purchase, I loved this bike when I reviewed it!


  29. fICK nOLI

    Just bought this bike less than 72 hours ago. I looked at all this feedback and made the and I made the decision to go for it. Definitely like the bike quite a bit. Changing from riding a cheap hybrid bike to the Soho, i’ve noticed a marked difference between the two. The Soho is a super quiet stealthy ride. The balance is much better than the old bike as well. But i do notice that i find myself topping out too quickly, and seemingly too effortlessly for my own taste. This could be fixed by changing the front sprocket size, right? Will the bike be able to take a bigger sprocket? dont really know too much about it yet and I was just wondering if I ever felt like upgrading..//


  30. Ghost Rider

    You can always bump up the tooth count in front, or conversely you can reduce the tooth count in the rear. Going to a bigger chainring up front will make more dramatic gearing changes, even if you only go up a couple teeth.

  31. markus

    I’ve been riding this bike for a month now. I live in Helsinki, Finland, where distances are relatively short, yet pavement can be a bit rough at some courses. So far the soho s has been guite ideal for my needs: I use it mainly as my work commuter (3 miles), but it has been a pleasure to ride even up to 20 mile day trips. Gearing seems optimal for uphills and riding a bike in a windy city with lots of stoplights around downtown. I replaced the handlebars with a bit narrower straight one, but other than that, the bike has been a lightweight, quiet and comfortable ride.

  32. tulisan

    After reading all the comments here. I test rode the Soho S in the flatlands of Alameda, CA. It will definitely be my next commuter bike as after I sell off my 24-speed 26″ folder.

  33. ballzer

    aidan, you have a crap attitude- do you work in a bike shop? “…fixie or commuter: steel gives you the best looking and riding frame. Only if you are paid to race, you might need a lighter frame, on race day.” ever ride aluminum? well aidan, i live in a colder climate and the roads get wet and salty in the winter. ya know what steel does when it gets wet and salty? it rusts. you know what aluminum does? (hint: i doesn’t rust.) great bike, great frame.

  34. DOBADE

    Still in the honeymoon phase with my Soho S. I love this bike and it’s exactly what suites my needs. Going on 3 weeks of owner ship and already 3 of my friends are interested in buying one. Round trip to work is 22-24 miles and did it with no problem. Took a little while to figure out proper set up, which, being really naive to cycling, is super important I found out. Thanks to a little research; I dialed the bike in. And forgot to thank RL Policar for the review.

  35. RL Policar


    It was my pleasure. I’m glad you were able to get that bike and enjoy it.


  36. Charles

    Hey all,

    Been following the thread and am thinking of picking this bike up after giving it a test ride…the local shop had to order one up for my size (6′). Anyway, I like the bike but was thinking of throwing drop handlebars on it – anyone have any commentary on that idea? I figure it’s mostly preference, but I don’t have much experience and so figured I’d ask.

  37. Ghost Rider


    if you ask me, just about ANY bike is better with a pair of drop handlebars! Your only consideration would be to also find a suitable pair of brake levers to operate the Trek’s brakes (flat bar clamp diameter is different from most drop bars, and levers don’t swap between them).

  38. DOBADE

    I found a picture of a Soho S with drop handle bars here,
    It looks great. I found out that you can flip flop the gooseneck on the Soho too, which looks like it suites the set up better. I flipped my around, searching for a comfortable fit actually.

  39. Douglas Jarquin

    Thanks for the review. In the market for a commuter and the Soho S is at the top of my list.

  40. Girish

    Bought this bike today. I’ll be using it for commuting to work. Hope it will be fun riding it. Good to see some good comments on it here.

  41. james

    Can you put fenders on this bike ?

  42. Ghost Rider


    you can put fenders on ANY bike with a little tinkering. With this Trek’s rear-facing “forkends”, getting the rear wheel in and out for tube changes will be pretty tough with a fender mounted, but it can still be done.

    For bikes without mounting points for fenders, vinyl-coated “P clamps” make mounting a snap. They’re available through Velo Orange of Annapolis, MD or at your local hardware store. Stay tuned for a quick writeup of mounting a rear rack to a bike without mounting point using these P clamps (in the next couple days).

  43. Palm Beach Bike Tours

    Ghost Rider: I agree… just about any bike *is* better with a set of drop bars. Before I put the first mile on my Trek 7300 ten years ago, I had the shop put on a pair of drop bars. I like the variety of hand positions you get with a set of drop bars. Straight bars seem so limiting.

    On the topic of aluminum versus steel, I own both. My 1998 Trek 7300 is an aluminum bike and my 2001 Bianchi Talladega is steel. The stereotypes relating to each metal are true, more or less.

    The steel bike has a wonderful feel, absorbing road buzz like a much more expensive carbon fiber bike might. But, the steel frame is more malleable than the aluminum and the seat post had to be shimmed-out to keep from slipping down.

    The aluminum bike has a harsher ride and I feel a lot of vibration through the handlebars. It has no flex and I can really tell the difference when out of the saddle and powering up a hill.

    That said, for the purpose behind each bike (utility versus speed), each does pretty darn well and there is a reason I’m holding onto both.

    One more point on metal choice… When my parents moved from Ohio to South Florida, they figured their cars would last forever. No more road salt meant no more rust. They would never have to buy another car!

    My parents and I both have houses within two miles of the Atlantic Ocean. Instead of having salt on the cars a few months out of the year, our cars, bicycles, gas grills, lawn chairs, etc. have a light salt coat year round.

    For those who live in salty environments, make sure to at least consider an aluminum frame and components. If you’re not the type to wipe your bike clean a couple times a week, want to keep it in the garage and perform next to zero maintenance, pick a frame that is not going to start to rust in the first year.

  44. Adrock

    I ordered this bike last week. Waiting – Waiting – Waiting! Will write a review ASAP. Great comments. Victoria BC, Canada

  45. PaPa

    Hi everyone,

    Very disappointed here, After reading all the reviews, and surveying for months for a Bike to commute 10 miles total (Storow drive bike way Boston)). I went to the local bike store and the sales man told me that they are sold out and Trek does not have in stock ???? I will have to wait a few months ?!?!? One beginner question I am 176 Cm Tall (~ 5’8”) which size would be the best for me ???


  46. Ghost Rider

    PaPa, size is such a subjective thing that it’s difficult to answer sizing questions over the Web — but if I had to guess, I’d say the 17.5″ would put you in the ballpark for fit.

  47. Jason

    Just picked up my Trek Soho s on saturday… what an awesome bike, the guy in the store had never seen one before and commented that it was probably the best bike he’d seen in a long time and this guy is an expert!
    Simple, light, silent and very light (I live on the third floor of an apartment block with no lift)
    Lovin this bike!!!

  48. smeagol

    Been riding my Soho S for almost a month, and I love it. I have 3 minor gripes. 1) I wish the seat was a tad cushier 2) I wish the pedals had a bit more bite (similar to the reviewer) and 3) disc brakes would have been nice (just had that thought after riding through some rain). I swapped out the chain ring for a 48T one, and the gearing works out well for me (I’m in Chicago, it’s pretty flat). I got my woman the Specialized Globe Centrum Sport, as she wanted something similar. The Specialized is a bit more comfortable. Softer seat, thicker/wider tires (so it’s a bit slower), and heavier. It does have some nice disc brakes though. I took a look at both before picking up the Trek for myself.

  49. Dave

    Bought this bike in February for my main commuter bike, as of this writing the thing is ready to fall apart. Boston roads suck, but seriously… this has to be a quality issue. I hit a pothole the other day that blew apart the rear rim– costing me $150 to have rebuilt including a new tire. They told me the wear and tear on the wheel was problematic… On a 5-month old bike!! In general, things seem to come loose on this thing all by themselves. Brakes are not sufficient. Handlebars are too wide to fit between cars at traffic lights. I can go on. My advice is try to see past the slick matte black paint and assess the bike for what it is: a poor-quality entry into the commuter-bike family by Trek.

    This is the first and last Trek I will ever own.

  50. James

    I’d also like to start commuting and was considering buying a single speed, but was wondering if the Trek Soho S could ever be upgraded to have more gears if I ever felt the need? At some point, I’m sure I’d get hooked enough to want to do some long rides, including mountain passes in Colorado.

  51. Ghost Rider

    James, this particular bike can accept an internal geared hub (like a Shimano Nexus 7 or 8 speed), but not a traditional derailleur-based shifting system.

    Even then, I’m not sure you’d have enough gearing range to go over the mountains in Colorado!

  52. guapo_apo

    extreme noob to cycling…love the soho s styling and SS set up… can you adapt disc brakes to a caliper bike?

  53. KevDread

    I picked up a Soho S from Bicycle Habitat in of all places…..Soho! I just started riding SS/FG this year, but I have been an avid cyclist for a few years now. I first bought an SE Draft. That’s a whole story in itself! I actually liked that bike and I was gonna make a few mods to it when a friend of mine from work offered to buy it for 2 bills. (Thank God) So I put the 2 bills towards the Soho. I wanted the Soho S because it was a Trek. I’m a big fan of Trek since I was a kid. (I’m almost 45). I also wanted it because it’s sort of a low profile bike. I also have a Langster NYC Edition, and it’s like a hot blonde. It draws way too much attention and I would’nt even think about leaving it for 1 minuet unattended to a NYC bike rack. I like the Soho. Not as much as the Langster, but way more than the Draft! It is what it is. It’s a single speed with a flip flop hub. I’ve only ridden it so far as a fixie. Very dangerous in NYC, but hey, you only live once, and it’s a great workout! I changed the peddles to Crank Bro’s Mallets and I will take of the chain guard because itt rattles! From my experience, all chain guards rattle! I don’t like the handle bars. They are a little wide for my taste. I kind of got used to the 42mm wide flat bars on my Langster. So there it is! it rides nice. Not too harsh even though it’s an aluminum frame! The saddle is good, and she goes! I just hope I can keep the bike thieves away! NYC is the bike theft capital of the world! ___”Cheer up! Things could get worse! I cheered up, and things got worse!…Later!

  54. PatagoniaCommunity

    I currently commute (5 miles each way) on an ’07 Specialized Sirrus and really like it. My commute is flat and completely in paved bike lanes. But I’m intrigued by the SoHo (though not the S model but the 1.0 that has gearing). I like the commuter-friendly features of the SoHo (rust-resistant hardware, disc brakes, bumper bar on top) and think it may be worth the upgrade. Has anyone ridden both and can you compare the two for me? BTW, nice review by RL Policar and I liked all of the different pictures from different angles.

  55. Ghost Rider

    The frame is the very same one (geometry, material, etc.) for both models mentioned…the only real difference being the components and that rubber bumper on the top tube. I’d be surprised if they rode very differently at all from each other (though I suspect the geared model weighs a bit more due to the extra bits).

  56. Ian

    I’ve had one for about 6 weeks- generally really like it but a couple of gripes-

    Brakes appalling in the wet (i’m in Manchester so it rains a lot). but they have been getting better now the brakes have worn the black paint off the rims.

    Problems with stretching chain after about 500miles – i don’t know if i have a faulty chain but it comes off on potholes- i adjusted tension by moving the back wheel on thursday night, it was fine on friday, then jumped off again on the way to work this morning whilst i was in the middle of a busy junction so had to coast to safety- during which time the chain got causght up in the wheel, sheared off the end of most of the right hand side spokes then snapped- leaving me well and truly stranded! Got rescued by the wife in the car and bike is back with the dealer getting fixed- (under warranty i hope!)

  57. Ghost Rider

    Ian, have the shop check your chainline and the chainring for bends. A chain shouldn’t “stretch” after such a short amount of miles (generally the chain should last 3000 miles or more with minimum maintenance).

  58. Ian

    It was my apparantly my own fault for not doing up the wheel nuts tight enough- the back wheel shifted which is why the chain came off and it allwent horribly wrong. Bike shop really good though and haven’t charged me for labour, just for a new chain and spokes.

    Shop highly recommended

  59. Michael

    I have been riding a “soho s”, 22 1/2″, for about a week. Great set-up for me 6′ 3 175 lbs. I am partial to TREK as I ride a “Liquid 65” as well. I have noticed a slight knocking sound coming from the crank area of this soho when I am pedaling with strong strokes. I think it may just be the nature of this single speed set-up with the aluminum frame. the crank is solid as is the bottom bracket. Chain tightness has been checked… the shop says all looks fine. These guys are honest good wrenches. Anyone have any info for me?…Thanx, Michael

  60. Ghost Rider

    Grease and tighten the chainring bolts, including the faces where they contact the chainring itself. Grease and tighten the pedal threads. Grease the underside faces and threads of the BB spindle bolts. Check, grease and tighten the BB cups (the most common source of “knocking” in my experience is the non-drive side cup…it might need to be snugged up).

  61. Ghost Rider

    Oh, one more…sometimes a freewheel can “knock”…it is particularly common to ACS freewheels (I don’t know what comes on the Soho S). Some folks call it a “death knock”, implying that the freewheel is worn out. Actually, it doesn’t mean a thing (it is common on even brand new ACS freewheels), and there’s no solution for it.

  62. Josh M

    Michael / GR,

    The knocking isn’t every crank / revolution, but just occasionally, correct? If so, I’ve noticed the same on mine. Never any evidence of chain shimmy or anything… just an occasional knock that makes me wonder.

    Anyhow, me, I really like the bike. Still working on getting it set up just right for my commute (pedals are definitely gone). If I had to do it again, I might go with something different. But it works just fine for me.

  63. KevDread

    I removed the chain guard and the damn thing is still rattling like the Devil! It’s annoying! I’ll take it to the place that I bought it from. I think the noise is coming from the freewheel side of the flip flop hub. The bars definitely have to go! Otherwise it’s not a bad ride…If it wasn’t so noisy it would be the bomb! Who wants a noisy fix anyway? Later…..

  64. Michael

    First off, thanx to all who took the time to comment on my dilema posted on Aug 8 ref the Knocking sound… I have narrowed it down to the freewheel. Rear tire removed from frame, holding the tire/rim securely, if I grasp the freewheel with all my finger tips I can wiggle it ever so slightly, the sound I have been hearing while pedaling echos through the entire wheel unit a hollow knocking/clinking as I rock the freewheel with my fingers. Now the question, is this normal as Ghost Rider mentioned on Aug 8 as it is with the ACS freewheel ? The Soho S has a Shimano 17T freewheel. The slight play may be a characteristic of these as well. My first call this morning will be to my shop to ask if this is normal. Will let you know what they say…To quote Sheldon Brown, ” Aside from the whoosh of the tires on the road, and the CLINKING OF THE FREEWHEEL a bicycle should be silent” Regards, Michael

  65. Ghost Rider

    If the knocking and play bothers you, you can “shim” it by unscrewing the lockring on the top of the freewheel (reverse-threaded) with a pin spanner and putting another freewheel shim inside (really thin washers…and probably hard to come by — you could salvage some from an old freewheel cluster).

    Otherwise, a bit of play and noise is perfectly normal.

  66. Michael

    Thanx for the advice on shimming option. I visited the shop and they agree that with this shimano freewheel, as you said “a bit of play and noise is pefectly normal”… case closed.

  67. brad

    can anyone answer me about this bike being a freewheel and a fixed gear at the same time? i know nothing about bike mechanics. it has to do with the flip/flop hub? what’s required for changing it from one to the other? i’m interested in fixed gear riding. i’d say because it looks fun, but i really just wanna be a hipster.

  68. Ghost Rider

    Brad, you literally unbolt the back wheel, flip it around and reattach it. A flip-flop hub has freewheel threads on one end and stepped threads (for cog and reverse-threaded lockring) on the other. Piece of cake!

    Take a look at the hubs on this page to make it all clearer:

  69. brad


  70. Michael Kelly

    Wow thanks for the post and all the 69 comments so far. Really gotten an education. I’m an avid MTB rider and love my Cannondale Hardtail for the trails, but need a commuter bike to get about 8 miles each way to work and back. I’ve been drawn to the single speeds but man they can get pricey.So sure its aluminum and big ugly welds, and the pedals suck. But for <600 if that’s its biggest gripes, I’ll be looking at one myself.

  71. Global Climate Warrior

    Just got my Trek SOHO S yesterday, took the subway tothe dealer and biked back with it for 25km. I was surprised how light it was!

    The gearing is perfect for my commute everyday to work.Change it depending on the terrain profile of your regular trip.

    For my use, the SOHO S is a great design. The black finish looks stealthy.

    I tend to use it at least 3x a week to get to work. i got to get another person at work to bike to work. They are always interested when they see me in my bike outfit. I tel them that cycling is a great exercise and if I can do it, they can too!

  72. Helms

    Hello all,

    I just picked up a soho S the other day from my local bike store. I had been in the market for a road bike to do some commuting/ long rides on but after evaluating my lifestyle, realized that I would probably be doing many more local jaunts than long rides. I spoke with the guys at the bike shop and every single one of them uses this bike as a commuter.

    When I bought the bike I immediately swapped out the pedals for some shimano pd-M324’s they are SPD on one side and standard pedal on the other- great for either hopping on for a short commute or strapping on the bike shoes for longer treks (no pun intended). I also threw a bike rack on it to help with the commuting. I really only have one complaint about the whole bike, and that is the worthless brakes. The front caliper literally exploded on me, coming completely apart and even in working condition it wont really get this thing stopped in a hurry. I recently ordered a set of the dark grey campy centaur front and back brakes to throw on there which will hopefully cure my only gripe.

    overall, I love the bike. The gearing is great for me and I havent had any hill problems. A guy from the bike shop regularly takes his on 120 mile stints. I would say this has been one of my favorite bikes I have owned, and its also one of the cheapest. Riding it 10 miles + a day 5 days a week now.

  73. Aun

    Just picked up my Soho S this weekend. Hadn’t been on a bike in a few years but decided to get a single speed to (1) get a tad in shape and (2) commute to work and around town.

    I love the ride of the Soho S. Also love the look. Very discreet. Am adding a Brooks saddle to it but other than that, it is perfect.

  74. Steven

    I bought one in late April 2008 and for the most part I love it! I had some problems with the chain. It kept coming off. One time it caused an accident because it came off at the worst possible time (while pedaling hard at about 2o m.p.h.)

    Trek eventually swapped out the bottom bracket for a beefed up one and this helped out a lot. The chain still gives me a little trouble and I am afraid to really stand up and pedal. I am stronger and heavier than the average user (220 lbs.) so this may not be your experience.

    I really like the idea behind the bike (fast, high quality, good looking, comfortable, single speed commuter) for under 600 bucks. To me this is the perfect commuter bike for Chicago since we don’t have any hills. The single speed makes it lighter, more efficient and theoretically less maintenance (though this has not been my experience so far)

    I would recommend this bike for most people.

  75. Jocky Wilson

    Had a soho S for about 7 months now and it’s a great commuter once you do the following:

    replace saddle (supplied one is shite)
    replace pedals with spd’s (again the supplied pedals are utterly useless)
    change handlebar (or put bar-ends on)
    replace chain (had lots of problems with the original coming off at speed – once this was replaced it’s been fine)
    replace brake pads for quality ones (especially if your riding it fixed and only have front brake)

    Have cycled 70 miles in one day on it without any problems, and it’s an ideal winter bike (although I now use it more than my hybrid, road & mtb bikes).

  76. Woody

    Wow, a LOT of information here to think about.
    I need to get a commuter since someone pinched my last bike, and have started doing my homework.
    I saw this bike and just rated the looks and now I think Im pretty sold that i is the right bike for me.
    Only drama is i live in the most isolated city in the world, Perth West Australia.
    All of the dealers seem to be out of stock, and some of the more hardcore bike shops have been pretty short when I ask about Trek.
    “WE DONT DO TREK!”(Whats the beef with Trek?)
    Anyway Im gonne keep hunting caus eonce Ive set my heart on something I usually keep at it. Ill let you know how I get on.
    Also Im a pretty heavy guy, getting towards 100kgs (one reason Im keen to get riding again) should I be worried about the chain?
    Thanks for the review too RL – great stuff!


  77. Ghost Rider

    Woody, you should have no problem with the chain — there’s no real weight limit to a standard bike chain. When you do locate a Soho S, have the shop check the chainline to make sure it is as straight as possible between front and rear and everything should be OK.

  78. Woody

    Thanks for the prompt response Ghost Rider!
    I will check into it for sure!

  79. Wooody

    Anyone know what the main differences are with the 09 model coming out soon?
    Is it worthwhile waiting? (I hate waiting!)

  80. Woody

    Yep just managed to source one (an 09 model) and it should be here in a couple of weeks. (Waiting! Grrrr)
    On the bright side though the insurance company have said that they will pony up because my bike was pinched from my house, so its kind of like a free upgrade…

  81. Ghost Rider

    So, Woody…what’s new on the ’09 model?

  82. Woody

    Well apparently not much is new, just the logo and the price (+$50), but the guy at the shop was willing to give it to me for the 08 price so all is good.
    There was some speculation somewhere that the 09 was belt driven which sounded cool, but its not the Soho S its some other variant…

  83. Global Climate Warrior

    To get a smoother ride out of the SOHO S try replacing at least the fork and the seatpost with carbon fiber. If you have some spare money, change the handlebar and the stem too.

    This will make the SOHO S very very light as well!

    My SOHO S is in the garage now as there is already a lot of snow on the ground here in Canada! It’s not even winter yet. You can ride in the rain but snow is a different story. Plus , it is too dangerous because there are already a lot of vehicular accidents happening because of the slippery conditions.

    I envy those who can ride the whole year through.

  84. Ken

    Just picked mine up this afternoon and have gone out for 2 short spins. So far so good. It’s nice and lightweight and feels pretty sturdy. I noticed the brakes weren’t terribly grippy – but it sounds like they improve a bit after use. The pedals also feel a bit funky – though I’m used to the flat pedals of my 7-speed beach cruiser (which I’ll be replacing with this bike) and the clip-ins on my tri-bike. A pedal swap may be in order.

    Anyway, the bike rides pretty smooth, clips along nicely at high speeds, and seems easy to control. I’ll be using it for recreation and some commuting and have a feeling it’s going to be just perfect.

  85. D.L. Hilton

    SOHO S “clicking” and chain problems. The sound that you hear while pedaling at a certain speed is caused by the ball bearings rolling around inside the freewheel hub clacking together due to spaces between each ball. I traced my chain problems to the fact that the stock cogs and rings are 3/32″ and the chain, as supplied, is 1/8 “. The 1/8″ chain looks cooler and, of course, comes in real handy as if and when you change out the cog and ring for beefier 1/8″ parts. I replaced the chain with a 3/32” chain (8-speed chain in my case). The chainline is perfect. If you go fixie, make sure the chain is nice and snug. Swapped out the ankle-biters for aluminum pedals with steel cages and leather toe-straps. Bullhorn bars replaced the stock stick. Current gearing is 39/18 both free and fixed (I spin.)

  86. schacter

    Aluminum Rocks. I hope they never stop making frames in it. I ride an aluminum TREK (bought 4 years ago), year round in Canada, so salt is a major issue. No corrosion = more fun/less worry.

    Steel is heavy. No thanks.

    Hash ride? Hah! I just have a suspension seatpost. Non issue, really…unless you are UBERwimp.

    Big A$$ tubes are beautiful. Get your head checked. All the race motorcycles are made that way — with the obvious exceptions of Buells, Ducatis and a few others — and they are stunning pieces of techno-aesthetic.

    Hipsters will crucify me. I couldn’t care less. People can ride what they want, but IMHO, aluminum is great, great, GREAT.

  87. Keoni

    I am just thinking about getting into biking and have been looking at a couple bikes myself. I went to Trek and looked into the SohoS and i really liked it. From a noobies perspective it seems to be a good bike to start out on. I do want to ride it fixed with no breaks, this might be a bad question but i was wondering why people keep saying that you cant/shouldnt do skid stops on it. I do eventually want to ride breakless so i was curious.

  88. Steve

    I’m going with either this bike, a Swobo Otis, or a Republic bikes custom steel for $344. I can get the Soho S at my LBS, so that is a plus, the Otis is used, and the Republic is an unknown quantity. Leaning now towards the Trek.

  89. Eric

    After much reading, I am heading down to the LBS and take the Soho S for a spin. Since I’ve been commuting on an aluminum frame/carbon forks single speed for 3 years, I am use to aluminum ride. It’s funny how people are harping on the aluminum…since 5 out of 6 “hipster” fixie riders at work ride aluminum and love it. If I like the bike, I’ll buy it and ride it.

  90. Steve

    30 days in…

    LOVE IT!! Ithink I’ll replace the brakes with Cane Creeks. I put Bontrager knobbies on mine to ease the pain of no longer having a MTB. Looks awesome, rides great. I may do that carbon fork…

  91. Bike Chica

    I’ve ridden my Soho S for 4 months now and it is great!

    I did have an issue with the rear wheel giving out, but at 250lbs that didn’t surprise me given the cheap stock wheel. And I swapped out the handlebars and break levers for some bullhorns and tt levers. I also replaced the seatpost for a carbon one.

    At any rate, I have ridden this bike well over 1000 miles (I commute 20 miles a day) and I would recommend it to anyone.

  92. Szymek

    What frame size do you recommend for someone 6 feet tall, 25 inch inseam?

    M (20) or L (22,5)?


  93. Todd

    I’ve had this bike for just over 7 months and it is great. I ride on the street and on bike paths with uneven joints, i am between 239 and 220 since i got the bike and was worried about wheels bending or frame bending no problems so far. The only problem i have had was a broken pedal, the pedals have a plastic skeleton and broke while i was riding causing me to wipe out in the middle of an intersection; luckily i wasn’t seriously hurt and the bike only had a couple minor scratches. I do recommend changing the pedals to anything with all metal construction. Oh and one of my chain guard screws vibrated out. But I love this bike.

  94. Bill Church

    I bought one of these 5 days ago to replace a 17 year old Trek 700 as I am commuting every day now. Its such a pleasure to ride, and beautiful to look at. It needs better pedals, which I am trying to source. On the path I ride to work (3 miles) I have already taken 2 mins off my PB!

    Don’t buy one though, I want them to remain exclusive!

  95. Bill Church

    Szymek, you should get the 22.5″. I have the 20″ and its perfect for me at 5’9″.

  96. MW

    I was hoping someone could give me some additional info. I’m 5 5 and have been thinking about getting the soho s. i will be commuting into manhattan from brooklyn, not far just across the bridges but will be riding around from apt to apt all day long. My question is it really difficult to make it over the hills and how is the bike on rough pavement

  97. Kevin

    How much did you pay for your Soho S?

  98. SA

    Just bought a Soho S and love it. I’m used to wider tires, though, so I replaced the 700×28’s(?) with 700×32’s. There’s not a lot of wiggle room between the breaks and the tires, but it works. The 32’s are great, especially when I — occasionally — ride on unpaved paths. Also, I switched out the 17t freewheel cog for a 16t. The shop did all that for me when I bought it. However, the gearing still feels a little slow. The shop said I couldn’t go smaller than 16t and when I asked about a larger chain ring, I could tell they were ready to boot me out the door. Don’t really blame them. But I’d still like to try a larger chainring — perhaps a 48t. Though, I’m a complete novice when it comes to the mechanical stuff. Here’s my QUESTION: How do I know what kind of chainring to buy? I know I need a five bolt. But there seems to be some figure in millimeters I need to choose. However, I have no idea what that number would be for this particular bike. If anybody knows, please let me know. Thanks.

  99. Ghost Rider

    SA…use this chart:

    to figure it out. It’s easy to do with a metric ruler. I suspect the BCD is 110 or 130 mm.

  100. SA

    Thank you, Ghost Rider. I teach writing so I’m very amused by your nickname. The SJS chart is great. I’ll find a metric ruler and start measuring. I appreciate your help. Best to you. — SA

  101. JT

    Quick question: I understand that last year’s Soho S (2008) came with disk brakes and that Trek removed that feature in 2009. Before I buy one, should I care? Should I try to hunt down a 2009 or not worry about it? Is there a functional difference? I’ll be commuting 15 miles each way to work. Thanks.

  102. Ghost Rider

    JT, other models of the Soho came with disc brakes in 2008, but to the best of my knowledge, the Soho S never did.

    Functional difference? Yes. PRACTICAL difference? Hardly. Discs excel in sloppy conditions (mud, excessive rain, etc.) but certainly aren’t crucial for a good commuter bike. Rim brakes are just fine for the overwhelming number of commuting applications.

  103. Michel - Paris

    Hi there !
    I’ve just bought a Trek Soho S. What a light bike !
    It’s a pleasure to ride: fast, agile.
    And the look is great.
    I’m happy to discover singlespeed on such a bike.

  104. Whiskey Valentine

    I just bought one of these bikes and like it quite a bit. I live in the Arts District of Los Angeles and ride downtown every day, to grab coffee and take in the city. I purposely bought this bike because it did not look like a fixie. I am not in that crowd, nor do I want to be. I have nothing against them, just not my scene. I had a really bad motorcycle accident and have made commuting around town part of my rehab from my injuries. The bike has been great. Some of the components suck (pedals for sure), but will upgrade those along with bars. I think what really counts is riding every day. People will talk all kinds of crap, but ride for you, and ride what makes ya happy. Peace.

  105. Henk (now Kiel)

    See above, at 27. I’m *still* in love with this thing – for more than a year! And I’m amazed that still new comments come in for this review. Impressive bike – or impressive website?
    Since in Kiel there’s rainy weather all the time I got detachable fenders, works perfectly for me.
    I will shorten the handlebar with a saw right now, since I have to put it in the hallway.
    By the way: I see more and more singlesspeeds in Germany – even in this little… I guess the expression is “one-horse town”.

  106. james

    thank you all for your feedback on this bike i too am now sold on it although i want to change the bars and put on some drops… i love my drops!

  107. sergio

    i have this bike too, and my lock ring is slipping on the fixed side. how do i fix it?! please let me know.

  108. singlespeed

    Does the 2010 model only come as free spinning without the flip fixie option? That’s how mine is that I just got this December. Any other way to tell what year model it is?

  109. rjk

    When I bought my Soho S, it came with a flip flop hub, just didn’t have the cog on the fixed side. I love the bike…

  110. chris

    thanks for the review! im interested in purchasing this bike, but my shop doesnt have em in stock so im unable to ride it 🙁 but this review helps, especially the photos!

  111. Rodney

    Can anyone help me find someone willing to sell me the black handlebars from the 2008 Trek Soho 4.0… with the second straight bar attached? If new, I’m willing to pay full price and the price of another handlebar to be put in place of the original handlebar I would be buying from the seller.

    Please respond back with a picture of the handlebar. It has to be the exact match.


  112. Sea-Squatch

    I’m looking hard at this bike for my daily, 8 mile commute to work. There is a big/steep bridge during the ride. Would I be able to handle it w/ the single gearing? I’m not avid biker.

  113. Larry

    1. Can I do 25-30 miles on this soho ?
    2. Is there a SALE expected soon ?


  114. Ken

    In response to Larry… my local retailer just dropped the price to $499. Not a sale, said that was the price from here on out. With all the overwhelming comments, I think I have to go and buy one today! I’m going to try it fixed at first, but guessing I’ll end up switching it to the flywheel.

  115. Dacius

    Larry – I have the big brother version of this bike, in the Trek Soho Urban Assault with the Carbon Belt and internal 8 speed. The bike is rock solid and very fast, but the gearing was absolutely necessary for me and it was the reason for me opting for the much more expensive version.

    I bike 52 miles a day and pass over a very steep bridge and the fixie version was just too much for me to handle. Now the Soho Urban Assault is marvelous and I would highly reccomend it to any commuter. I have owned 4 bikes since I have started commuting and it is the best I have ever owned, especially for carting my clothes and gear around.

  116. lee

    Would you buy redline 925 or trek soho s? Torn between the 2. Price is the same.

  117. Jesus Christ

    Get the Redline 925, steel frame rides smoother than the Aluminum on the Soho.

  118. Riina

    I’ve been looking for good looking chain guard and came across the picture of your bike and I want your chain guard. Any idea who manufactures those?

  119. izzy

    I want to win that 2000th post prize package! I’m commenting on this post specifically cause I own this bike.

  120. Ghost Rider

    izzy, post your comment on the contest page…otherwise we’ll miss it when the prize drawing comes.

  121. DJ

    Just thought I’d post cause I was having problems with clicking on the pedals of my Soho S and have been searching on-line for a solution. Noise was coming from bottom bracket – axle/crank needed replacing, a bike this cheap has some cheap components. Jockey Wilson from 2008 hit the nail on the head. I’ve done everything he has apart from the chain, the bike is a comfortable commuter in Melbourne and Christchurch. Have dropped a couple of teeth on the rear since it can “top out”, but still going strong after a few years. Wandering “what will my next commuter be?” any ideas on what can replace the Soho S?

  122. Edward

    For those of you that have to live a frugal life style and want a bang for the bucks…i want to thank Trek for the soho,i replaced the tires from 28’s to 23’s and took it on a 52 mile road trek no point intended and for 2.5 hours in the saddle i felt great. “this is a good one coach”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *