Installing a VO wheel stabilizer on a Soma Saga 700c

My touring bike is a Soma Saga, with 700c wheels. I run 35mm Schwalbe tires under some nice VO hammered fenders. This is a great touring bike, but one thing that's always bugged me is the way the front wheel will flop to one side or the other when the bike is parked. This is exasperated by the Pletscher twin-leg kickstand which will cause the front wheel to lift if there is a load in the back. But even if I have a heavier load on the front, and the front wheel is solidly on the ground, it will flop to one side or the other. On tour I would carry a strap that I used to tie the wheel to the down tube to prevent this. That worked but I would always forget it when it was time to go. I'd try and push the bike but the front wheel was locked. I needed a better solution.

Soma Saga My Soma Saga on tour in the Florida Keys.


Velo Orange sells a wheel stabilizer designed to help with this. This looked like just what I needed so I got one. When I attempted to install it there was not nearly enough clearance between the fender and the down tube to install it as shown in the picture. I would have to make some modifications if I was going to get it to work.

The first problem was that my fender was mounted to the fork crown using an L-bracket which was in the way. Fortunately I had on hand a fork crown daruma I had purchased from VO earlier but never used. This great little device goes up inside the fork crown, and the brake mounting bolt (not used for cantilever brakes) goes through the hole to hold it up. The fender then mounts to this through a hole drilled in the fender. I just removed the L-bracket and used the same hole. This did rotate the fender forward about an inch and a half, but that's fine. I can always install some mud flaps if the fender is not low enough. With this modification there was now room to mount the bracket for the spring on the wheel stabilizer.

However with the bracket installed as in the picture on their website, with the spring down, there was no clearance for the spring between the fender and the top tube. It just hit on the fender. I had to reverse the bracket so that the spring was on the top. To make this work I had to put the bracket in a vice and bend it a few times until I got it right. Fortunately in is strong enough to withstand some bending. Once I got it right I was able to install the bracket with the spring.

The next step was to attach the clamp to the down tube that holds the other end of the spring. As you can see in the picture I had to install it much further down than in their picture, thus stretching the spring out considerably. It took a while to get it far enough down the tube so that the spring did not rub on the fender. Eventually I had it all together and could take it our for a test ride.

I'm happy to say it really does the job. When I'm riding i don't notice it at all. I can feel the resistance on sharp turns at very low speed, but since I have toe overlap on this bike anyhow, I avoid that kind of turn. For normal turns at riding speed I don't notice any resistance. And best of all it really works to keep the wheel straight when the bike is stopped. So it does its job and was worth the extra effort to install it.

VO wheel stabilizer Here's the installed product.


UPDATE: After talking to Scott at Velo Orange I realized that the clearance issues I faced are due to the fact that I have 700c wheels on a 54cm frame. This is the "in the middle" frame size where you could have 700c or 26" wheels. Larger frames will have more clearance, and smaller frames will have 26" wheels and thus more clearance. So unless you have the same combination of small frame and large wheels you probably won't need to do any modifications to get the VO wheel stabilizer to work.

VO wheel stabilizer Velo Orange wheel stabilizer.

VO wheel stabilizer The fender was originally mounted with an L-bracket.

VO wheel stabilizer The Fork Crown Daruma I had on hand.