Colin came into Velo Cycles looking for a quality flat-bar commuter for his ride to work, plus a bit of rail-trail type riding on the weekend. I was taking him through the range of complete bikes that we had on the shop floor when he noticed the Soma frames hanging in the window.
“They look nice.”
“Yeah, Somas are superb bikes,” I said. “We generally do our custom builds with them. They’re a fair bit pricier, but you’ll end up with something really great that’s just the kind of thing you want.”
I talked Colin through the Soma Wolverine, the Soma Fog-Cutter, and the Soma Double Cross Disc.
It was a case of not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
The Wolverine, whilst there are many things to recommend it, was probably more bike than Colin was after. He didn’t need the sort of heavy-duty, load-carrying capacity that it offered, nor the off road chops that its monster tyre clearance allows. Neither was he after a belt-driven drivetrain, which the Wolverine allows via its frame-break in the seat stay. The Fog Cutter was also tempting, but with its carbon fork and shorter wheelbase, was a bit too aggressive. Also, it only came in fire-engine red, and Colin was after something more subtle. The Double-Cross Disc was a nice mid-point between these two bikes, offering a solid utilitarian platform with attractive ride characteristics. And it came in black.
“Yeah, I can do black,” said Colin. “With some blue bits. Can you put some blue bits on it?”
I laughed. “Yeah, totally!”
This request for blue bits was like a red rag to a bull for our store manager Matt “bling bling” Jackson. Matt is forever decking out his own bikes in shiny, colourful, high-quality components, so he was all over it. After a bit of back and forth, we settled on a quote and began ordering parts. This little ditty is what we came up with. If something like this tickles your fancy, give us a tinkle on 9381 0088, and one of our friendly staff can walk you through some options.
OK, let’s take you through it.
Soma Double Cross Disc frame 54cm in slick black. Tange Prestige heat-treated Cromoly steel front triangle, butted Cromoly rear triangle. Tange Prestige is a lovely tubeset that is lightweight, durable, stiff, and provides a beautiful ride quality. With a matching Tange Infinity Cromoly steel fork.
1X11 speed Shimano SLX drivetrain, 11-42 tooth cassette. Single chainring, or 1 x (one-by) drivetrains have been popular in the mountain bike scene for a while now, but have more recently started reappearing on a range of different bikes in recent years. This setup gives you ample range for commuting, without the weight, expense, and complexity of front derailleur, shifter, and extra chainrings.
Wolf Tooth elliptical narrow-wide chainring with Shimano non-series crank and Shimano Saint flat pedal. A narrow-wide chainring prevents the chain from coming off, and is essential for a ‘one-by’ system. Its elliptical shape makes pedalling easier.
Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes with blue Hope Pro 4 hubs and blue Hope floating rotors. Hydraulic brakes are the gold standard of bicycle brake systems, and Shimano make some of the best. They provide excellent power and modulation, as well as consistent braking in both wet dry conditions.
Hope Pro 4 wheels with Schwalbe Marathon tyres 700X32mm. Cross-country mountain-bike wheels are well-suited to commuting duties, as they are both sturdy and lightweight. The result is a wheelset that can be relied upon for daily duties but retain a lively and enjoyable ride. Schwalbe Marathon tyres remain our most popular choice for commuters due to their value and puncture resistance, as well as their fast-rolling, all-surface tread, and reflecto striped sidewall for visibility.
Chris King headset and bottom bracket in blue (of course). Superb quality bearings for buttery smoothness and long service life. What more can you say?
Thomson finishing kit: stem, handlebar, and seat post. Lightweight, high quality, and durable. Looks sweet too!
- Frame: Soma Double Cross 54cm Slick Black
- Wheels: Hope XC Pro 4
- Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon 700X32
- Groupset: Shimano SLX Hydraulic 1X11
- Chainring: Woolftooth Oval 42t
- Cassette: 11-42
- Headset: Chris King NTS Navy
- BB: Chris King Threadfit Navy
- Stem: Thomson Elite 80mm
- Seat post: Thomson Elite 27.2 setback
- Disc rotors: Hope floating rotors Blue
- Rear Rack: Tubus Vega Evo – added after we did this photoshoot