SOMA Wolverine for a clydesdale- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    SOMA Wolverine for a clydesdale

    Have any heavier riders had a chance to ride a SOMA Wolverine? I'm about 300lbs and am a bit nervous about biting the bullet on one.

    I've read mixed reviews for some of SOMAs frames from heavier riders claiming that they tend to be a bit more flexy than the alternatives (surly, etc). That being said, the weight listed on their website lines up pretty well with a surly straggler which I have test ridden and seemed fine. Eyeballing the pictures it seems to have similar tubing sizes as well.

  2. #2
    A God Without A Name
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    I'm in the same ball park as you (JUST under 300) and I ride a wolverine, I owned a Surly Straggler before that and a Soma Groove before that. the Groove was the flexiest of the three.

    I did not like the Straggler, the ride was too stiff and unforgiving. the head tube was incredibly short and the rear drop outs suck. though I will admit for different purposes I might consider another. It's just not my first pick. If I was doing loaded touring on an IGH, I'd do a Straggler.

    I did like the Groove, It wasn't too flexy and like any Soma, it was rigid in the chainstays, making the flexibility a non issue in terms of acceleration. The only time that flex wasn't a good thing is when I took it flat out mountain biking. hauling ass up a hill is a little harder, not because of any drivetrain issue, but because of my fat body flexing the frame up and down with each effort made handling a little bit vague. as an in town bike, it was a dream. but it sure looked silly.

    The Straggler is very jarring off road if it's not loaded up. frankly it handles better under load... under a 300 pound man. It takes a lot of abuse and it laughs at it. it also laughs at you. your joints may hurt at the end of a long day.

    I found the wolverine to be perfect. part of the "flex" you're hearing about comes from the fact that Tange Prestige tubing is very thin, and very aggressively butted. I've yet to have a tube fail me. And I've put Tange Prestige Bikes through winter wrecks and car accidents. But a thicker tube in the 4130 family will be stiffer and stronger. no denying that.

    Which is why I like the Wolverine. It comes with an Tange Infinity fork (thicker and heavier than Prestige, which was the steel on my Grooves fork) that is just slightly more forgiving than a Straggler fork. It has fantastic rear drop outs. the chain and seat Stays are heavier grade 4130 (Generic, but being that Surly and Soma both have Maxway build their frames. It's a safe bet the tubing is identical to 'Natch) and then a Tange Prestige front triangle. I combined that with some relatively stiff wheels (32 spoke chukkers to DT swiss 350s), 38mm tires and a Brooks Cambium and now the bike basically glides. I've taken it down some dirt roads and found it to be just right, It takes the edge off like steel should, it doesn't dull handling like the Groove did and it doesn't rattle my fillings out like the Straggler did.

    I'd push for a Wolverine, though frankly if the Straggler drop out's didn't piss me off I'd still own it. they're remarkably different bikes for being virtually identical bikes. The Wolverine just won as a long distance, mostly road bike for a fat commuter that likes dirt. I still want a Straggler, but as a toy. because it's a real MotherF***** of a bike.

  3. #3
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    How did you manage to get your hands on a wolverine? I keep trying, with no luck.

    I am debating between the straggler and the wolverine. I am not sold on the straggler dropouts either. Being that you have had both, which do you think would be the better choice for riding 99% on gravel roads and possibly doing some gravel races? I guess which one felt sportier.

  4. #4
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    I got the last 52cm frame BTI had in stock for the current run, the second run is supposed to be out soon. like end of this month, early next month. They also said they will offer more size options with the second run.

    Wolverine feel's much sportier, Its fit is very well thought out. the Wolverine's rear end is very compliant. frankly it feels even stiffer at the chain stays than the Straggler did, I'm willing to bet a part of that is the fact that the Wolverine dropouts are substantially more stout. Wolverine also has a slightly taller headtube, which I feel is better suited to... you know... giving you a taller cockpit, which is a good thing when you're in a situation with less than ideal traction. like gravel.

    both bikes fit long in the top tube, neither one feel's a whole lot like a cross bike. (though they both feel a little like a cross bike, but... Just a little.) I'm no expert but if I was to try and oversimplify it, I'd say that the Wolverine rides like a road bike on steroids, with a healthy dash of touring bike thrown in. The Straggler rides like a Mountain Bike dressed up to look like a road bike. With a lot more touring bike built in, but then a short, aggressive road-like cockpit for no discernible reason.

    With enough stem spacers you can get the Straggler to fit Just like a Wolverine, but It's still going to be a bike that seems to want 80 pounds of cargo, gives a more jarring ride and has little foibles that get under your skin. stem height, drop outs and a very different and altogether harsh feeling ride.

    personally I like the look of the Stragglers perfectly horizontal top tube more than the wolverines top tube. But everything else I didn't like.

    As for fork compliance between the two. the Wolverine wins, but not by a giant margin. Steel forks do and don't do certain things well. one of the things other materials are better for is steering compliance.the same flex that makes the fork forgiving under normal conditions can feel a bit laggy when you snap the fork side to side at higher speeds. It's a big part of why a lot of gravel racers from higher end companies go with carbon forks (check out Cielo and Niners options. a much higher price than either Soma or Surly. but also much more race oriented. )

    Carbon fork options for a 1-1/8th steerer are limited. But may improve the bike in that area. I love the bike as it is. I'm happy with it. But in the future I may slap the Spot or Tange carbon fork on it. Because race car.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for in depth reply. I guess the things I am looking for in a bike like this is, fender mounts, disc brakes, and the ability to run big tires. I have multiple cross bikes but I live out in the middle of nowhere to some extent so all of my riding is on dirt roads, and some can get pretty rough. Yes the cross bike works fine but running 45s instead of 35s I've found is a noticeable difference, I've converted one of my 29ers over to a drop bar which I much prefer for this kind of riding. Something like a warbird would be nice but no fender mounts and I don't think it can take tires any bigger than my cross bike. I think if Niner came out with a steel version of the RLT that might get my interest.

  6. #6
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    Both bikes can run some pretty massive 29'er tires. I've run both with fat franks(slicks, but they list as 50mm and usually exceed that by a bit. depending on rim), the Wolverine had a hair more clearance. The Wolverine also has more mounts. (mini-rack mounts on the fork.)

  7. #7
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    I was all set to get a Straggler, but the geometry just wouldn't work for me. These days I split my time between a Specialized AWOL and Salsa Vaya.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  8. #8
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    I really dig the specs on the Awol. The only thing that kept me away from it is taste. I think it's really ugly. I disliked the vaya. It has that QBP generic steel much like the straggler.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agwan View Post
    I really dig the specs on the Awol. The only thing that kept me away from it is taste. I think it's really ugly. I disliked the vaya. It has that QBP generic steel much like the straggler.
    IME, the Vaya rides nicer than similar frames from Surly.

    And sometimes, ugly is good.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  10. #10
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    I agree on the vs Surly bit. But I still dislike how it rides.

  11. #11
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    Has anyone that's already gotten a Wolverine noticed any abnormality in the middle of their top tube, right where the middle cable guide is brazed on?
    I asked my LBS, who is listed as the nearest dealer on Soma's website, to order a frame for me. I was excited when it came in, but upon inspection it was immediately obvious that the top tube was bent right at that middle cable boss. At first I thought I was seeing excess paint around the boss, but it is in fact wrinkles in the tube itself from the tube being bent downward in the middle. The mechanic at the shop noticed it in about .2 seconds from across the room. After putting a straight edge on the top of the top tube there's a 2-3mm gap in the middle over just a 12" span, according to the shop owner ( I didn't do this myself)....It's enough to easily be visible to the naked eye, and really surprising to see on a frame that seemed pretty well put together otherwise. The guys at the shop and I both agree that it appears to have happened at the factory, pre-paint, because the finish is perfect. The mechanic's educated guess was that it was a tube that had that flaw in it from shipping or storage or something, and the builder didn't catch it during the mitering and welding process... sounded like a good theory to me.
    The crazy part is that the dealer contacted the distributor who, after a little "debate", agreed to ship a replacement frame and issue a call tag for the original, and the replacement frame showed up with the exact same problem! I haven't been able to get to the shop yet to look at it myself and decide what I want to do, but they say it looks about the same.
    I kinda feel bad for the guys at the shop because I asked them to order something for me that they don't stock (and now maybe I know why!?), and I'm hesitant to give a third try to something that has such an obvious construction flaw. But this bike really hits the spot for me otherwise and I'm not aware of any other frames out there with a traditional road aesthetic, big tire clearance, disc brakes, decent quality tubeset, and a price that's south of American handmade.

    Anyone?

  12. #12
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    I didn't do a full inspection of my frame, but my LBS got my frame and I checked it out yesterday and didn't notice anything like that.

    I probably won't see it again until the end of the week but I'll give it a closer look. Hopefully others can chime in since they just shipped out a bunch of frames.

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