• 03-02-2019
    Koin
    Soma Wolverine or Soma Juice or Soma Riff? Alternatives?
    Hi everyone, it's been quite a long time since I've posted here. I usually lurk around here and find the answers I need, but this time I haven’t found the the information I’m looking for. I apologize for my long ramblings.

    So, I'm finally trying to get back into riding after life took over - baby and job.

    I'm looking at building up a new 1 bike to do it all kind of bike. I currently live in Tokyo and I just recently totaled my steel city bike (foffa urban 7 with nexus 7 igh) and am looking for a replacement/upgrade.

    I need a bike that I can commute on comfortably (fenders and racks - got a soma porteur rack that I really enjoy), run errands (panniers loaded with groceries and porteur rack with diapers or other large items), take my son riding in a kid seat behind the bars, jump off curbs and roll down stairs if they get in my way, and maybe hit some dirt. There are some beautiful mountains just an hour or two train ride away.

    I'm currently looking at the Soma Wolverine and Soma Juice/Riff. I like the versitility of them but can't decide. I've come to really like riding steel bikes - carbon is sexy but expensive... The soma bikes are much more realistic for me.

    On the one hand, I'll probably mainly be sticking to pavement - as much as I hate to admit it - as getting away for a day to ride trails might be unfair to the wifey. Then again, the school I work at has an annual cabin camping trip where we also take the kids mountain biking - connect with nature kind of thing. The school hires a tour company that has some nice rental bikes (specialized fuse 27.5+ bikes). So there's that trip I could justify getting a mountain bike for. I'm also playing with the idea of going bikepacking, but again, just dreams really... sigh... My dream bikes are the Santa Cruz Hightower CC and the Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 SL 2017/2018. Of course those bikes are waaaaay out of my price range and I can't afford to have a bike for just one purpose any more (limited storage space).

    I'm leaning more towards the juice since I'm a mountain biker at heart (I miss my old 26er fs mountain bike that I gave to my niece 3 years ago before moving overseas). I'd plan on having two wheelsets and a rigid steel fork and a suspension fork (I want a pike) to swap out for trail riding vs commuting.

    I'm also liking the wolverine since it seems like it can do just about anything short of fitting a suspension fork. Seems like it would make an awesome city bike for my purposes. I would have loved to have gotten it in that pumpkin orange color or matte black. The new pearl black and fiery red are kinda meh to me. I plan to put flat bars on the wolverine or use my nitto albatross bars from my foffa. With the wolverine, I can easily take most parts from my wrecked foffa and transplant them.

    With the juice, I will need to pretty much build the bike up completely from scratch.

    The bike I gave my niece had plenty of nice parts (SLX 2 piece crankset, XTR rear shifter, SLX clutch derailleur with rad cage, 1x10 drivetrain with wolftooth nw chainring and XT cassette, XT brakes, Specialized Command Blacklite dropper, Easton EC70 720mm carbon bars, doh!). Didn't think that one through :madman: Can't take it back now since she uses it daily for commuting to school and I'm on the opposite side of the planet. Back then, I swore I'd buy a new fancy carbon fs bike later... I digress...

    Anyways, I talk too much. If you made it this far, I really appreciate your time. Now that I've gotten the background info out of the way, I have quite a few questions regarding these bikes. I haven't been able to find the answer to these ones in other posts, so please bear with me. Sorry if they have already been answered.

    First, what are your opinions about the choices? Do you have any alternatives that are at a similar pricepoint and are just as versatile?

    I put the riff on the list since I'd like to hear opinions on that bike as well. My last mountain bike had 26 in wheels. I demo'd the santa cruz hightower back in 2015 and loved it. The bronson I tried the same day felt a lot like my 26er at the time (the one I gave away) so I'm pretty undecided on the whole wheel size debate. I do like the blue color of the riff more than the battleship grey color of the juice though. Too bad they didn't keep the old brownstone color. Just curious, 27.5 or 29 what do you think?

    How well does juice ride as a commuter? Does the new longer and lower geo make it uncomfortable or too inefficient for pavement commuting?

    Soma's website says that the juice/riff can support up to a 120mm fork. The previous brownstone model was rated up to a 140mm fork. Has anyone put a 140mm fork on the new 2018 model? Would putting a 140mm fork be a practical upgrade or would it just chopper out the bike and make it unridable?

    How does the juice fare on the trail with the new geo changes for the 2018 model? I haven't found any opinions on how the new model rides. Reviews and posts of the older brownstone model and 2017 model are pretty positive. I have found virtually nothing on how the riff rides compared to the old b-side.

    What are some off road limitations with the wolverine? I can see that standover is a clear disadvantage (but plenty of space for a large frame bag). Plenty of people seem to take their wolverines off road so it isn't an outragous idea to ride it on some singletrack. I doubt I'd want to take it on that school camping trip (it's a shuttle run to a beginner downhill track), but it'd definitely make a sweet bike packing rig and an awesome commuter. I like that I'd be able to salvage more of the parts from my current bike - plus the frame is cheaper than the juice.

    Which would you pick? Due to space limitations, I can only have 1 bike. I really wish I could follow n+1 again though... I'm leaning towards the juice right now since it's more of a mountain bike, but of course the wolverine would be cheaper. :madmax: I hate being indecisive...

    Also, if anyone has any pictures of their builds of a wolverine, juice, or riff it'd be so great if you could share them. I'd like to get an idea of what it might look like. I ride a 58cm road bike and a size large mtb (but I think I'd have to get an XL juice based on their sizing). If you have pictures of an XL size juice or riff 2018 or a 58cm wolverine v3 that'd be really helpful to use as a reference.

    Thanks everyone for your help!
  • 03-06-2019
    So Cal RX
    1 Attachment(s)
    If you want to be able to do hard, fast rides on the road, a Wolverine might be a little better for that. Your description didn’t elude to that though, so I’d go for the Juice. More versatile for your purposes. Will do great around town, but can be more capable if you are able to get on trails.

    My Juice is the previous version, but thought I’d post it anyway:) Good luck.
  • 03-10-2019
    Koin
    Thanks So Cal RX for the advice. Sweet looking bike!

    Yes, I'm leaning for towards the juice. I've always heard that long chainstays are a hindrance to bikes. Do you feel like the juice has long stays and isn't as manueoverable? I've been looking into if the whole long stays thing is really as much of an issue as the internet makes it out to be. I found one post that says it isn't so that's a plus.

    If I go for the juice, would you recommend running it as a 29er or a 27.5+? I haven't ridden a proper mountain bike in a few years and a hardtail in more than that. I'm thinking 29er for more city tire options, but of course I'm gonna try to do some trail riding.

    Thanks for your help!
  • 03-10-2019
    edubfromktown
    I've clicked off ~1,800 miles on a Wolverine thus far and would say that if you are going to be riding more road, you might do better with the same.

    I primarily commute on mine (have the option of riding some MTB trails along the way) and also take it on ~50 mile gravel rides with some frequency. I have it setup with tubeless knobby tires (1.8 Slant Six rear and 2.1 Thunder Burt front) and get a bit of cushion from running lower air pressure with them compared to running with tubes.

    Works great as an all-around commute/gravel bike that can hit dirt trails too.
  • 03-10-2019
    bitflogger
    I really enjoyed riding a Wolverine I almost bought but my same height wife and I ended up preferring Fargos and Sutra Ltd. for truly do it all bikes. That's not a cut on the Soma but we just like the way the others handle being off pavement yet great for miles and miles of paved travel. With time my wife started liking the Fargo and the Sutra Ltd. for me.

    Standover was part of it but when you have poor terrain or unpaved they just do better than a more road or traditional touring type bike. We also have a great do it all steel hard tail 29r and with time have realized it's best off road and the drop bar bikes best for long rides where you also need to cut some wind. Be reasonably careful about what others think you need. As an example my wife really likes a fast 29r tire even though many would say ride a 35 - 40 mm tire. I'm kind of there too. The comfort is nice and control is super. We don't care about the speed others were sure we needed and we don't like flat tires.

    The real answer is delay gratification as we did and try stuff. Then you really know what's right for you.
  • 03-11-2019
    So Cal RX
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Koin View Post
    Thanks So Cal RX for the advice. Sweet looking bike!

    Yes, I'm leaning for towards the juice. I've always heard that long chainstays are a hindrance to bikes. Do you feel like the juice has long stays and isn't as manueoverable? I've been looking into if the whole long stays thing is really as much of an issue as the internet makes it out to be. I found one post that says it isn't so that's a plus.

    If I go for the juice, would you recommend running it as a 29er or a 27.5+? I haven't ridden a proper mountain bike in a few years and a hardtail in more than that. I'm thinking 29er for more city tire options, but of course I'm gonna try to do some trail riding.

    Thanks for your help!

    Hey Koin,

    Long chain stays aren’t necessarily a hindrance. Basically, they make the bike a bit less maneuverable and harder to lift the front wheel over obstacles, but you can adjust. They also give the bike added stability as a plus.

    Based on your described use, I’d go for 29 wheels. Plenty capable if you do go off road, but also more efficient around town. Can even throw on a set of more commuter friendly tires for speed and durability.

    I agree that the Wolverine is a great bike, but if you want to keep the dream alive of throwing on a suspension fork and really go mountain biking, the Juice seems a better option. Regarding your first post, I don’t think you need a fork as burly as a Pike for a Juice though.
  • 03-11-2019
    somaamos
    Surly Ogre?
  • 03-12-2019
    SpeedyStein
    I've been riding the Wolverine for about 3 years now, and I love it for my use. 42mm knobby-ish Resolutes seem to be the sweet spot for me on that bike. Ride quality is superb with those over road/gravel/dirt. Geo is very good for an all day ride drop bar bike, and actually fits current geo trends pretty well, long enough to stretch out a bit but not so long to feel like you bought the wrong size. Took me a while to warm up to it, but I wouldn't have it any other way now. Shortish stem helps offroad handling too. I've often thought about putting a regular road groupset/gearing on this bike, and slick 32mm tires and using it as a roadie also - would probably work very very well for that.

    That said, I have had dirty thoughts about building up a Juice to crush the stuff that is just a little too rough for the Wolverine. 85% of the riding I do here I can do with my Wolverine, the other 15% I have a FS 27.5 Giant Trance (150F/140R). If I was shopping for "one bike for everything" it would absolutely be a hardtail, and most likely a Juice.

    Like others mentioned above, 29er gives you a lot of flexibility for tire choice, even with wide rims. Lots of smoothish gravel type tires available in 40-50mm wide, that perform admirably on pavement and would be fine on a 25-30mm wide rim and wouldn't look completely out of place on a steel hardtail like the Juice. Then, just swap tires for a set of 2.3s or so for weekend trips to the mountains.

    The one downside of both of those bikes, for me, is the sliding rear ends. The Wolverine can swallow a pretty big tire in the rear (I had 29x2.25 Nine Lines on mine in the past) but I had to slide the dropouts all the way back, and that size tire in the front changed the trail a lot, which combined really slowed the bike down a lot. I think their intent was to have the slider for single speed adjustability and stability for roadish touring? IMO the Wolverine would be better with standard drop outs though, just to make life easier for those of us who have no intention of going single speed/IGH.
  • 03-15-2019
    loren90
    Don't get any of the models from before last year (I think v3/4 b-side and juice, v2 wolverine?) with the tange/IRD dropouts welded at the end of the stays.

    I had a v3 b-side that had one of the dropouts rotate upwards just from normal braking and Soma had some of the worst customer service I've experienced.
  • 03-18-2019
    Koin
    Thanks everyone for all of the advice!

    I've been hella busy with work these last few days. The Wolverine is very tempting. I like that it will take fenders and racks quite well and still look good doing it. It can take widish tires as well. The logical part of my brain says the wolverine is the most sensible one. A large chunk of riding that I will be doing is going to be commuting and riding around the city with the family.

    But of course, there is that annual camping trip...

    The irrational part of my brain wants to continue hucking off stairs and dreams of big mountain days. There are times when following google maps to a destination by bike in Tokyo leads to staircases (some neighborhood streets even abruptly turn into stairs. (Google maps doesn't show any real bike routes in Tokyo, yet a huge portion of the population rides bikes everywhere - I think it has to do with the fact that cars are really used to bikes and everyone rides on sidewalks and the streets equally - so I just follow either car routes or pedestrian routes). I really wish I could just n+1 here... but of course space is at a premium.

    I actually even started seriously playing with the idea of building up a used trek remedy 29 frame that I found online. Not sure how commuter friendly that will be. Of course I have one of those thule pack n pedal tour racks, so I would be able to have a rear rack. And it looks like Old Man Mountain makes a front frack for suspension forks - I could just get the mounts and modify it a bit to fit my soma porteur rack. hmm... I just need to get some urban tires (maxxis hookworms) and I'll be set. I can even put a chainstay only kickstand on if I really feel inclined (don't judge! lol).

    A Surly Ogre would be sweet too. Seems like an equivalent to the Wolverine. Surly also has the Karate Monkey that has peaked my interest - which seems like their equivalent to a juice. Though, I do like the steel of soma and the IRD broski dropouts look like they will be less of a hassle compared to the dropouts that Surly has. I think as far as cost goes, the somas are about the same price as the surlys, but I can buy direct from Soma and have it shipped here. I think I have to go to a qbp dealer to get a surly - which there are some here but I think they charge significantly more than their cost back in the states.


    I don't plan on going with the older versions of the somas as I've read a lot of horror stories of cracked frames at the dropouts. Too bad, I actually really like that orange wolverine. I also really like the brownstone juice color. Not really in love with either color scheme of the juice or wolverine for 2019.



    So now I've really put myself in a hard place decision wise - and I'm an indecisive person, which really sucks. I'm just thinking out loud now. Sorry for my ramblings.

    Wolverine - makes sense for commuting, looks great with racks and fenders, can do drops or flats (I would probably want flats as I will also put a behind the bars baby seat too).

    Juice - still great for commuting, can do racks and fenders too (but might be a bit weird looking with fenders), can fit a sus fork (and a front rack if given the correct set up), has modern mtb geo (will this be a drag to ride on the streets?), and I can keep my inner child happish (I say happish cause I really want a full suspension mtb again). What is the largest tire that can fit? I want to use some Maxxis Hookworm 29x2.5 tires on it.

    Remedy 29 (sorry to add this curve ball) - used alum frame (the cost is roughly the same as a new wolverine or juice frame), full suspension with reactiv shock, racks are still possible with thule rack and OMM Sherpa hardware for front (will look awkward but oh well), is a full suspension mtb that I can hit the mountains hard with (this is THE bike I was dreaming about back in 2015/2016, before I tested a Santa Cruz Hightower and fell in love all over again - of course back then I had a very different lifestyle, lived near lots of XCish trails in the USA, had plenty of bike storage space, no baby, wife mtb'd, etc). Now we live just an hour by train away from some real mountains.


    Sigh... I just need to get all 3 haha. Seems like I still have some soul searching to do. Thanks everyone for your help.
  • 03-18-2019
    somaamos
    The Soma Wolverine is a Cross Bike like the Surly Cross Check.
    The Soma Juice is a 29" Mountain Bike like the Surly Ogre, but the Surly Ogre offeres a lot more Rack mount options then all the others.
    https://forums.mtbr.com/custom-build...-939062-6.html
    Here you can find some Wolverine builds ;)
  • 03-18-2019
    SpeedyStein
    I would think commuting on a remedy would be cumbersome, especially with racks attached. That sounds like having a fun sports car all loaded down with concrete - it might be able to carry it all, but would it be that good at it?

    The Ogre, as mentioned, is the most capable of those bikes, in terms of both tire clearance and rack/fender mounts.

    The Juice is a nice middle ground - especially if you get a rigid fork with rack attachments.

    The Wolverine would be the best of the bunch if you are looking for fast commuter, loaded or not. It would also be best for tight quarters maneuvering - I whip mine around like a champ in traffic and on trails. I've said many times in other posts that 700x42c is about the perfect tire size for the Wolverine, but a ton of people happily run 27.5x2.1, and I've been kinda eyeing over a set of the 700x47c Senderos lately. You could also go to a smoothish tire for high speed runs on pavement too... It fits a 44c Snoqualmie pass very well, or smaller or larger.

    Also, the breaking chainstays was a thing, but seems to be remedied with the v3 frame/new dropouts. Mine (v2) has been fine, and I ran big tires and sliders all the way back for about half of it's life.

    End of the day, you gotta figure out where you are going to ride most and which riding type you want to optimize for.

    Also, for the record, I will never give up my wolverine, and if it breaks tomorrow, there would be a new one one it's way the same day.

    Good luck!
  • 03-23-2019
    Koin
    I ended up purchasing the Soma Juice! I'm really excited to build it up.

    Thanks, Somaamos and SpeedyStein for the advice. I didn't choose surly since the only surly dealers here are quite pricey, while I was able to buy the Juice frame online and have it shipped to a relative that is visiting us next week. I also like the idea of the fancy steel that Soma uses. Does it make a difference? I have no idea, but the thought is pretty cool. I purchased most of my parts 2nd hand from pinkbike buy and sell - I owe my relative a nice dinner for lugging pretty much a whole bike across the world for me, haha.

    I had a really nice read through that wolverine thread. Really slick bikes those are. They just announced the V4 today. I would have been a bit disappointed if I got the V3 only for the V4 to come out shortly after, and the V3 to go on sale too. Seems like the wolverine can now do a suspension fork! But I felt like I really wanted flat bars, a suspension fork, and the ability to hit the trails/do stupid stuff on pavement should the opportunity arise. Thus I sadly did not choose the wolverine. Maybe if we move into a place without space limitations for bikes, then I can get myself one of those and build it up into a sweet belt-driven porteur bike.

    I'm a bit bummed that I didn't get the remedy (afterall, it was my dream bike for a very long time), the whole sports car with concrete analogy put things into perspective. Damn you logic! I did however, go for the pike. As overbuilt as it is, it'll be fun! I got a dual position air 160mm model and the air shaft to reduce the travel down to 150mm. I can adjust it between 150mm-120mm, with me spending most of the time in and tuning for the 120mm travel mode. I also got a couple other air shafts for different wheel size pikes to see if I can further bring the travel down to maybe 140mm-110mm or even 130mm-100mm. Least this way if I do want to ride in the mountains, I have the option to over fork and slacken out the bike easily.

    Realistically, I'll mostly be commuting on this thing in one of the biggest cities in the world. With a new kiddo, going to mountains often enough to justify lugging around rear suspension and a slack headtube isn't going to happen. What will be happening is the daily battle against traffic (not really, riding in traffic here is actually not bad, so many people commute by bike it's crazy to think about. Cars are and pedestrians are really really used to bikes), taking leisurely rides to the park with the family (picnic and dogs loaded up - dogs in the basket on the wife's mixte and the future Redbull Rampage champion in a baby seat behind my handlebars, lol), exploring all of the nooks and crannies of the city (this is what I'm most excited about as public transit here is insane during rush hour, serious sardine packing - plus it takes forever just to go a short distance, I'd rather bike), and hucking off the odd staircase or ledge when they pop up on my path. I think the Juice is still going to be a super fun bike.

    I might be able to put together a real trail ride with a coworker or two, but that would be seldom as everyone is super busy all the time (I have a hate/love relationship with my job, more hate than love - except for summers, winters, and spring break, haha), or take it along on the school camping trip... So there's that to think about too.

    Anyways, I'll be sure to post pictures once I get the frame in as well as finish the build!

    Sorry for all of my ramblings! Thanks everyone for your help!
  • 03-23-2019
    SpeedyStein
    Hi Koin, congrats on your decision! I was pretty sure a Juice was your best bet after reading your first post, and I'm sure you will be happy with your choice! Have fun building it up, I always have fun with that part! Post up some pics along the way, would love to see your build!

    Enjoy your new ride!
  • 03-23-2019
    Koin
    Thanks SpeedyStein, I think I'll be happy with it. Of course, there is a bit of buyer's remorse over the remedy, haha.

    I'm actually looking forward to tearing apart the fork to change out the air shaft. I've rebuilt a fork once before, so we'll see what happens. I've done my homework at Youtube University. I have all the tools and the parts/oil/lube are on the way.


    I'll definitely post up some photos once it's here.
  • 03-25-2019
    So Cal RX
    Congrats on choosing the Juice.

    A couple notes for you:

    The Soma site says the Juice is optimized for a 100mm fork, but can handle 120. I'd be careful with that Pike. You may be putting your warranty at risk.

    After reading this on the Soma website, I chose to take the frame to my LBS for some prep:

    "I just bought a frame, is there any prepping needed before I start to build it?
    We highly recommend you take your frame to a bike shop to be built. If you must do it yourself…You don’t want to start building a frame only to find something wrong with it in the middle of building. Check frame and fork alignment. Face the BB and headtube. Chase the BB. Check for burrs in the seat tube that might score your seatpost. Optional: Treat the insides of the frame with J.P. Weigle’s Frame Saver for corrosion protection. If you do not have facing and chasing tools, try to look for resources in your area. In SF and other cities there are non-profit “bike kitchens” that let’s you go in and use their tools for free. And there are people there to answer questions as well."

    Good luck and have fun with the build!
  • 04-23-2019
    Koin
    30 Attachment(s)
    Thanks So Cal RX for the advice. I thought about that too. But if it goes to shit, I guess I have an excuse to buy a 29er fs frame, lol. Actually, I figured that since the old brownstone juice could handle up to a 140mm fork, and no way (this is an assumption) that soma would change the design so much as to weaken the headtube joint area, that it would be ok. Surly's Karate Monkey sells with a 140mm fork as well (of course that one has a shorter axle to crown, is a different bike from a different brand, and is made of different steel. The geo numbers of the Karate Monkey are very similar to the Juice now though, so I took a gamble on that as well).

    If the frame cracks, that'd suck but then again, it's steel so hopefully it can be welded back together. Since I bought the frame online and I'm overseas, I'm not sure if I could even claim a warranty if the need ever arose. Who knows. I hope it'll be ok though.

    So the bike finally arrived a few weeks ago! It was honestly like Christmas with the mother-in-law being like a short-not-as-old-and-no-beard-santa. I picked her up from the airport and we lugged the boxes onto the bus and then took a taxi - sometimes I actually miss having a car. Sorry for the pic heavy and long-winded post!

    Attachment 1248239
    Attachment 1248240
    I thought I wouldn't like the color from the pictures online, but it looks really good in person.

    Attachment 1248244
    I got the fork for a great price second hand. The guy never mounted it and it had an uncut steerer. Pike 29 boost 160-130 dual position air. Sweet.

    Attachment 1248245
    Just like Christmas! Lots of parts. Some new but most were second hand from the pinkbike classifieds. I had to buy a few things here in Tokyo and order a few things to ship here though.



    I took the frame into my lbs here and they faced the bb and headtube and cut the fork for me.

    Attachment 1248246

    My poor wife, I did this part in the kitchen of our tiny apartment lol.


    Attachment 1248215Attachment 1248216
    Thru Axle! No boost though, oh well.


    Attachment 1248217
    All built up, but still waiting for brakes to arrive. Took awhile since they got held up in customs.

    Attachment 1248218
    These tires are pretty sweet for commuting. Unfortunately, the bead was a bit loose and the rear tire exploded sealant all over. I refit it and then it exploded again. Third time's the charm right? I fit the tire and let it sit while I waited for the rest of the parts to arrive. The tire held air fine at 30psi for over a week.

    Attachment 1248219
    It is a close fit for the 29 x 2.5 tire.

    Attachment 1248220Attachment 1248221Attachment 1248222Attachment 1248223Attachment 1248224Attachment 1248225Attachment 1248226Attachment 1248227
    While waiting, I decided to change the travel of the fork. The fork is a pike dual position air 160mm-130mm travel. I replaced the airshaft to change the travel to 150mm-120mm. I plan to run the bike in the 120mm setting most of the time and open up to 150mm if I feel the need.

    I really wanted to try an airshaft from a 27.5 pike dpa or a 26 pike dpa. If the logic from the solo air is the same, then the air shafts for those wheel sizes could give 140mm-110mm or even 130mm-100mm. Those airshafts have not arrived yet. Now that I've rebuilt the fork, it was a bit of a pain to do, so maybe I won't try it.


    The brakes finally cleared customs and arrived last Friday! I finished up the bike over the weekend. Did a bunch of helitape all over too. I definitely don't want to risk rusting at the cable rub areas.

    On Sunday, I thought the bike was ready to ride and bed in the discs. I took it out for a spin and not 3 minutes into a light stroll through the neighborhood, the rear tire exploded again. This time there was no sealant to clean from the walls or window of my apartment though. Luckily also that the tire was large enough for the rim to land safely inside it so it didn't get scraped up on the ground.

    I hobbled the bike back home and reseated the tire. It felt really really loose on the rim. I pumped it up to 30psi and set it aside. I started to clean the bike of sealant when the tire exploded AGAIN... I think each explosion stretched the bead even more. I was really bummed at this point.

    Thankfully though, I bought these tires locally at a bike shop not far from my apartment. I called them up and explained the situation. Lucky for me there are at least two people there that speak pretty good English. I then brought the wheel and tire into the shop. They replaced it no questions asked. Even helped me reseat the tire tubeless again (I don't have a compressor and have been able to seat it with nothing but a floor pump up until now - just have to pull the bead into the grooves). So yay for supporting the lbs! I support them when I can afford it, lol.


    I was really not trusting this tire after the whole ordeal. But the front tire hasn't had any issues, so I figured it would be fine.


    Today was its maiden voyage (not counting the disc brake bedding in that I did last night) on a commute to work.
    Attachment 1248228On the way to school.

    Attachment 1248229Back at home, 150mm travel setting

    Attachment 1248230120mm travel setting

    Attachment 1248231 Mudhugger FRX front fender with extension. I'm waiting for a fitkit from old man mountain so I can try to install my soma porteur rack.


    Attachment 1248232Attachment 1248235
    Thule tour rack with mudhugger rear fender. I cut it down so that it would fit under the rack and so I can pop the bike up on the rear wheel for navigating through tight spaces.
    Attachment 1248238
    The tire is really tight in there. There was a little bit of buzzing while commuting. I thought it was the tire hitting the frame due to flexing as it only occurred while I stood to mash the pedals. Turns out it was just the panniers - I really need to get the pannier frame kit now.

    Attachment 1248233
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    Attachment 1248236Attachment 1248237

    The bike rides like a dream. I think I made the right choice. Now all I need to do is get some real dirt tires (WTB Vigilante and Trailboss maybe) and hit the trails!

    Gonna get a kid seat this weekend and a helmet for the little shredder. I think 10 months is old enough for him to start riding with me, lol. Gonna be lots of fun exploring Tokyo by bike rather than cramming into public transit.

    Thanks everyone for your help with my indecisiveness! I'm really looking forward to enjoying this bike for years to come.
  • 04-23-2019
    JMac47
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Koin View Post
    Thanks So Cal RX for the advice. I thought about that too. But if it goes to shit, I guess I have an excuse to buy a 29er fs frame, lol. Actually, I figured that since the old brownstone juice could handle up to a 140mm fork, and no way (this is an assumption) that soma would change the design so much as to weaken the headtube joint area, that it would be ok. Surly's Karate Monkey sells with a 140mm fork as well (of course that one has a shorter axle to crown, is a different bike from a different brand, and is made of different steel. The geo numbers of the Karate Monkey are very similar to the Juice now though, so I took a gamble on that as well).

    If the frame cracks, that'd suck but then again, it's steel so hopefully it can be welded back together. Since I bought the frame online and I'm overseas, I'm not sure if I could even claim a warranty if the need ever arose. Who knows. I hope it'll be ok though.

    So the bike finally arrived a few weeks ago! It was honestly like Christmas with the mother-in-law being like a short-not-as-old-and-no-beard-santa. I picked her up from the airport and we lugged the boxes onto the bus and then took a taxi - sometimes I actually miss having a car. Sorry for the pic heavy and long-winded post!

    Attachment 1248239
    Attachment 1248240
    I thought I wouldn't like the color from the pictures online, but it looks really good in person.

    Attachment 1248244
    I got the fork for a great price second hand. The guy never mounted it and it had an uncut steerer. Pike 29 boost 160-130 dual position air. Sweet.

    Attachment 1248245
    Just like Christmas! Lots of parts. Some new but most were second hand from the pinkbike classifieds. I had to buy a few things here in Tokyo and order a few things to ship here though.



    I took the frame into my lbs here and they faced the bb and headtube and cut the fork for me.

    Attachment 1248246

    My poor wife, I did this part in the kitchen of our tiny apartment lol.


    Attachment 1248215Attachment 1248216
    Thru Axle! No boost though, oh well.


    Attachment 1248217
    All built up, but still waiting for brakes to arrive. Took awhile since they got held up in customs.

    Attachment 1248218
    These tires are pretty sweet for commuting. Unfortunately, the bead was a bit loose and the rear tire exploded sealant all over. I refit it and then it exploded again. Third time's the charm right? I fit the tire and let it sit while I waited for the rest of the parts to arrive. The tire held air fine at 30psi for over a week.

    Attachment 1248219
    It is a close fit for the 29 x 2.5 tire.

    Attachment 1248220Attachment 1248221Attachment 1248222Attachment 1248223Attachment 1248224Attachment 1248225Attachment 1248226Attachment 1248227
    While waiting, I decided to change the travel of the fork. The fork is a pike dual position air 160mm-130mm travel. I replaced the airshaft to change the travel to 150mm-120mm. I plan to run the bike in the 120mm setting most of the time and open up to 150mm if I feel the need.

    I really wanted to try an airshaft from a 27.5 pike dpa or a 26 pike dpa. If the logic from the solo air is the same, then the air shafts for those wheel sizes could give 140mm-110mm or even 130mm-100mm. Those airshafts have not arrived yet. Now that I've rebuilt the fork, it was a bit of a pain to do, so maybe I won't try it.


    The brakes finally cleared customs and arrived last Friday! I finished up the bike over the weekend. Did a bunch of helitape all over too. I definitely don't want to risk rusting at the cable rub areas.

    On Sunday, I thought the bike was ready to ride and bed in the discs. I took it out for a spin and not 3 minutes into a light stroll through the neighborhood, the rear tire exploded again. This time there was no sealant to clean from the walls or window of my apartment though. Luckily also that the tire was large enough for the rim to land safely inside it so it didn't get scraped up on the ground.

    I hobbled the bike back home and reseated the tire. It felt really really loose on the rim. I pumped it up to 30psi and set it aside. I started to clean the bike of sealant when the tire exploded AGAIN... I think each explosion stretched the bead even more. I was really bummed at this point.

    Thankfully though, I bought these tires locally at a bike shop not far from my apartment. I called them up and explained the situation. Lucky for me there are at least two people there that speak pretty good English. I then brought the wheel and tire into the shop. They replaced it no questions asked. Even helped me reseat the tire tubeless again (I don't have a compressor and have been able to seat it with nothing but a floor pump up until now - just have to pull the bead into the grooves). So yay for supporting the lbs! I support them when I can afford it, lol.


    I was really not trusting this tire after the whole ordeal. But the front tire hasn't had any issues, so I figured it would be fine.


    Today was its maiden voyage (not counting the disc brake bedding in that I did last night) on a commute to work.
    Attachment 1248228On the way to school.

    Attachment 1248229Back at home, 150mm travel setting

    Attachment 1248230120mm travel setting

    Attachment 1248231 Mudhugger FRX front fender with extension. I'm waiting for a fitkit from old man mountain so I can try to install my soma porteur rack.


    Attachment 1248232Attachment 1248235
    Thule tour rack with mudhugger rear fender. I cut it down so that it would fit under the rack and so I can pop the bike up on the rear wheel for navigating through tight spaces.
    Attachment 1248238
    The tire is really tight in there. There was a little bit of buzzing while commuting. I thought it was the tire hitting the frame due to flexing as it only occurred while I stood to mash the pedals. Turns out it was just the panniers - I really need to get the pannier frame kit now.

    Attachment 1248233
    Attachment 1248234
    Attachment 1248236Attachment 1248237

    The bike rides like a dream. I think I made the right choice. Now all I need to do is get some real dirt tires (WTB Vigilante and Trailboss maybe) and hit the trails!

    Gonna get a kid seat this weekend and a helmet for the little shredder. I think 10 months is old enough for him to start riding with me, lol. Gonna be lots of fun exploring Tokyo by bike rather than cramming into public transit.

    Thanks everyone for your help with my indecisiveness! I'm really looking forward to enjoying this bike for years to come.

    Re-Subscribed. For the Juice content. 😎👍
  • 04-24-2019
    Koin
    3 Attachment(s)
    So I've been commuting on the juice for a couple of days now. Have to say what a difference the fat tires are compared to the skinny 700x28 tired bike it replaced. So much smoother. My commute time hasn't really changed all that much (maybe add about 3 to 5 minutes on average), but I have to say that I'm having way more fun hoping curbs and weaving around traffic. Before if I was stuck between cars and a curb, I'd just have to slow down and wait.

    While on the pavement I have found that I am actually able to top out the gears - never been able to do that before unless I was sprinting downhill. I'm running a one up oval 32t chainring with a Shimano 11-46 cassette. Might end up switching to a 34t chainring in the near future. Strangely, the oval chainring feels like a more natural pedaling rhythm than the circular chainrings I've always used. Didn't expect that - I was just trying it out for fun.

    Here are some pics from today's commute home.

    Attachment 1248349
    My trusty steed awaits me in the school garage. Been looking forward to the ride home after a long day.

    Attachment 1248350
    The build was completed just in time to catch the last few cherry blossoms. This walking path was completely white and pink a couple of weeks ago.

    Attachment 1248351
    The last petals of one of the few remaining cherry blossoms.


    I still need to fine tune the suspension fork. So far all I've done is the sag. I need to find some small bumps for rebound adjustment. I still have some learning to do about low speed compression though. To the google!
  • 04-24-2019
    SpeedyStein
    Right on, congrats on finishing your build! Looks great, and sounds like you made a good choice with the Juice. Makes me want one now...
  • 04-24-2019
    JMac47
    I know you havent had the bike or fork setup before but how does it feel handling wise with the 120? Any sense of flip flop wandering? Probly something one would notice more out on dirt/singletrack conditions I would think.
  • 04-24-2019
    Koin
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpeedyStein View Post
    Right on, congrats on finishing your build! Looks great, and sounds like you made a good choice with the Juice. Makes me want one now...

    Thanks man. I think it was your comment about the sports car that was the deciding factor between the juice and the second-hand remedy. I do still want an fs bike, but that'll have to wait, and when I do, I can get one that specializes in just being a mtb, not pulling triple duty as a mtb, commuter, everything bike.

    I do still want a wolverine too. That bike looks sweet. If I find myself doing road rides with a group, I think a wolverine might be on order.
  • 04-24-2019
    Koin
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    I know you havent had the bike or fork setup before but how does it feel handling wise with the 120? Any sense of flip flop wandering? Probly something one would notice more out on dirt/singletrack conditions I would think.

    I don't have too much to compare to, so please take this with a grain of salt.

    I'm quite happy with the handling with the 120mm pike. I don't notice any flopping or anything with steering either. I can easily ride no hands.

    Even in the 150mm mode, I can ride no hands and don't notice any wandering.

    Of course, this is all on the pavement/smooth dirt walking path. Not sure when I can get to some real trails. Gonna need to save up again for some dirt tires and then find time to travel about two hours outside of the city to the mountains. We have a 10-month-old, so finding time enough time for a solo mtb trip is tough right now.

    I was able to get the sag set last night. It's hard for me to dial the rebound and low-speed compression since I don't have any roots or small bumps in quick succession to play around on.
  • 04-26-2019
    SpeedyStein
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Koin View Post
    Thanks man. I think it was your comment about the sports car that was the deciding factor between the juice and the second-hand remedy. I do still want an fs bike, but that'll have to wait, and when I do, I can get one that specializes in just being a mtb, not pulling triple duty as a mtb, commuter, everything bike.

    I do still want a wolverine too. That bike looks sweet. If I find myself doing road rides with a group, I think a wolverine might be on order.

    Haha, yeah, I can see commuting on a FS bike with fat slicks, but not putting racks/kid seats on one - I think you ended up with a bike that will meet your needs/wants a lot better. But I will say, I demo'd a 2017 Remedy before I bought my Trance, and it was a great bike.

    I have the Wolverine for commuting and longer road/mixed terrain rides, a FS trail bike just for trails, and a road bike for trainer/road duty. The Wolverine sees the lion's share of my miles, since I pretty much don't ride the trainer that much anymore and would rather take knobby tires on dirt trails vice skinny tires on the road. The FS bike is really the only single purpose bike I have, and it sees about 1/3 of my total bike usage, season/weather and schedule dependent, of course. I would love to introduce a Juice/Ogre/KM/29er hardtail of some sort to the stable, for maybe some faster trail riding/dirt fitness rides and flat bar commuting.
  • 04-30-2019
    Koin
    Dang, maybe I should've gotten the remedy, haha.

    If I could have more bikes, I'd definitely get a wolverine too (after getting a 140-150mm full squish 650b bike). I doubt I would ever need a dedicated road bike. As far as I can tell, a wolverine would be able to do any road ride that I'd be interested in (read as in good enough shape for, lol) doing.

    I'm liking the commute on the fatter tires too. So far no exploding tires this time.

    My commute time with my foffa urban 7 city bike (with 700 x 28mm tires and track bike geo) was about 20-25 minutes. That bike was also steel and had full on racks (front and rear) and full fenders. With the juice (29x2.5 tires, pike 120mm, rear rack, and plastic fenders), my commute time is about 20-30 minutes now. Not too bad for the extra comfort, wider bars, and a burly fork. I'm now able to hop curbs with confidence, lol. Hopefully, this bike will see more than commuting duty though.
  • 04-30-2019
    SpeedyStein
    Yeah, I don't notice much of a time difference in my commute between 25-28mm tires and 35-45mm tires. Probably because I'm slow anyway, haha. It really comes down to tread choice and gearing for me, I think.

    The Wolverine makes for a great road bike too, don't get me wrong. It is comfortable over distances, and with the right configuration, it climbs pretty well and is fun to descend with. I would love to put a regular compact and some slicks on it to see what it can really do - I bet it would be a pretty snappy and properly fast bike with 28 or 32mm slicks.