We’ve done quite a few custom builds with the Soma Wolverine now (check out our custom build archives here), but this is one of the more interesting ones. Interesting because it’s running an internal gear hub, made possible by the Wolverine’s sliding dropouts. But it ain’t any old hub gear, it’s a Shimano Di2 Alfine 11-speed hub gear. That’s right, electronic shifting baby.
Electronic shifting has a couple of key advantages. The first is of course super-consistent, super-easy gear shifting. The second is the lack of any cables, which reduces maintenance and ensures precise shifting in any conditions. Over time, cables can get gunked up and corroded from adverse conditions – rain, mud or dust. Gear shifting suffers and you need to invest in new cables and housing to restore original performance. The electronic Shimano Di2 system, however, will keep shifting perfectly no matter how much rain you ride through. Just remember to recharge the battery when required!
A gear hub (or ‘internal’) system also works better in wet weather than the more common derailleur (or ‘external’) system. Its workings are hidden away inside the hub, out of the weather, rather than being stuck on the side of the hub like a cassette. There is weight penalty with an internal system, and it does make it harder to remove and install the rear wheel, but it will run smoothly with less maintenance. The Shimano hydraulic disc brakes are impervious to the weather as well, maintaining their stopping power in wet conditions and again requiring little maintenance. They use a hydraulic hose instead of a cable, and are the gold standard of bicycle braking systems.
The Shimano Alfine rear hub is matched by a quality Shimano front hub, and both are laced to solid Alex rims. The tyres on this bike deserve a special mention, being Soma’s fantastic Supple Vitesse in a 700X42c. The flexible casing and high volume of these tyres provide plenty of grip and unparalleled comfort, whilst maintaining a low weight and rolling resistance. And tan sidewalls almost never fail to look spectacular.
Sam has been thoroughly enjoying his new steed. If you’re interested in doing a custom build, you can give us a hoy on 03 9381 0088, or even better, come and say hi!