‘This one goes to 11’
Victor came to us a while ago looking for a touring bike, rode a few floor options, but after a bit of back and forth, his eyes caught our mechanic Dan’s Soma tour-specced Wolverine parked in the corner. Intrigued, we talked him through the strengths of Dan’s bike compared to an off-the-shelf Surly or Kona. Both brands provide fantastic value tourers with a great ride, but after a long discussion the allure of a custom build could not be ignored. After a while we settled on a build that mimicked Dan’s Wolverine, but in the Wolverine’s original lovely pumpkin ‘orange’ skin. The Soma Wolverine is a favourite of ours, having featured a number of times already on this forum, with various staff former and present owning one and singing its praises.
The most noticeable difference of Victor’s bike compared to a traditional tourer, is the feature of an 11 speed drivetrain (cause yewwww), but also because modern 11 speed mountain bike derailleurs have a clutch mechanism, reducing chain slap, and dropped chains. We’ve also fitted a hella-ranged cassette (11-42), and when paired with a modern mountain bike crankset, we are able to reduce weight and improve shifting over a traditional setup, but keep an appropriate range of gears for touring.
However, as Victor wanted to go drop bars, we encounter a stumbling block – 11 speed shimano shifters are not compatible with Dyna-sys11 front and rear derailleurs, due to the difference in cable pull. Victor also didn’t want to go downtube shifters or bar ends (this is a modern bike after all) Enter Gevenalle . An American brand producing shifters for cyclocross racing, but also conveniently a road shifter that incorporates an dyna-sys11 mechanism, that allows you change gears whilst riding on the hoods, and in the drops. Furthermore as the cables are exterior it allows for easy servicing, a must-have for any tourer.
Lastly we built a set of tried and tested Mavic A719 Rims to Deore M6000 serviceable and reliable hubs. Custom built wheels are appreciably stronger and longer lasting than machine built, (as well as the ability to choose your own hubs and rims). We topped the bike with a comfortable B17 Brooks saddle. Braking is provided by the reliable and easy-to-adjust TRP Spyres.
We are very pleased with how this build turned out, a sensible modern tourer that incorporates modern bicycle technology, but keeps the elements of a bike required for a comfortable reliable tourer. If you want us to build your dream tourer (or any bike) or have any questions send us an email.
Full Build Specs.
Frame / Fork: Soma Wolverine 56cm
Groupset: A mixture of shimano SLX/XT 11-42
Shifters: Gevenalle Dyna-sys11 2 x 11
Bars: Salsa Cowbell
Saddle: Brooks B17 Black
Wheels: Mavic A719 to Deore m6000 hubs w/DT spokes
Tyres: Surly Knard 41c
Cost ~$3700 AUD (Including full bike build and wheel build)