Sometime it takes looking around the streets of Berlin to get a closer look at a bike that we really had only seen as a prototype from a US-based company. That was a bit of the case with one new and one recent Soma frameset, each of which we encountered while riding around on the gravel & cobbles north of the German capital over the weekend. Then when we came back into the city for the Berlin Bike Show we got an up close look at both bikes, all cleaned up. The first one above is Soma’s new Fog Cutter. The steel-framed, disc brake bike is the latest generation of Soma’s long-running concept of a large volume road bike capable of all day rides, with a bit of speed and thirst for adventure thrown in for good measure. Then after the break we get a glimpse of the off-road touring Wolverine that took their super popular Double Cross and popped some even wider tires inside for truly limitless adventure…
Getting it’s seattube design from the Pigeon Point Lighthouse southwest of Soma’s Bay Area, CA home, the Fog Cutter is in essence a simple disc brake update to Soma’s sport/endurance ES road bike with its typically 73° headtube & 73.5° seattube. But since disc brakes freed up space around the old brake caliper, Soma decided to add a bit more tire clearance and ended up growing the chainstay length by 6mm to 424mm to make more room. That means that the bike will fit up to 42mm (or 47mm tires on a 650b wheelset) or 38mm tires with fenders so it needed a new fork too. That comes by way of a straight blade carbon fork with a straight 1.125″ alloy steerer from tubing maker Tange, but goes with a cross standard 395mm axle-crown opening up the possibility to use other forks.
Soma has designed the bike to be their ideal gran fondo bike, with enough flexibility built-in for credit card touring as well.
The Fog Cutter frame gets built from a full heat-treated chromoly Tange Prestige steel tubeset, double-butted on the main triangle and single-butted on the stays. Disc mounts stick with the IS standard, and while intended for 160mm rotors, can be adapted down to 140mm.
The frameset is designed to work with full coverage fenders front & rear, but also builds in rack mounts in the back if you want to carry some heavy loads out on an adventure.
The Fog Cutter sticks with a standard BB and round seattube, so it can get most any drivetrain setup you can think of. This bike goes the simplest 1x route, but since it is sold as a frameset, it is really up to your imagination. The frame itself can max out with a standard road double 53/39 with a 48.5mm chainline or a max 52/39/30 touring triple and a 45mm chainline.
The Fog Cutter sells separately in seven sizes from 48-66cm for the $490 frame & $250 fork, both in matching deep, dark Rosso Red. Frame weight for a 58cm is claimed at 1925g/4.25lb for the smallest, or 2040g/4.5lb for a 58cm, and pairs with the 775g fork. While details rolled out last summer, it has just recently become available to buy.
In fact the Wolverine isn’t really even remotely new, but we kinda couldn’t resist, since we hadn’t taken a look at the bike in a couple of years since it was a prototype. Even though this bike started out as a Monstercross on their drawing board, it has really evolved into more of an all-around off-road touring machine. And with a good bit of flexibility and thru-axle compatibility built-in, this bike still can hold its own with most of the newer, more-expensive crop of off-road adventure bikes.
With a quality chromoly steel frame with a heat-treated Tange Prestige front triangle and a matching flat-crown, lugged Tange Infinity fork, the Wolverine is a mix of durability and that comfortable steel ride quality everyone is talking about. Key to the Wolverine is flexibility. The bike gets a nice set of IRD/Tange slider dropouts and a seatstay break that means you can set it up as anything from a single speed, to a belt-drive internal gear hub setup, or pop on a slider with a hanger for a traditional derailleur drivetrain. You can even swap in thru-axle slider drops in the back if you so desire, and since the fork is sold separately you can pick this lugged version, or get a matching orange unicrown fork that has a 15mm thru-axle (and typical rack & fender mounts).
A whole host of braze-ons mean you get full front & rear rack and fender compatibility, down-tube shift bosses, full external housing for the disc brakes. The lugged fork even adds both double eyelets for a standard pannier rack and mini rack mounting points. Both frame and fork are designed to clear a 45mm tire with fenders, or about a 50mm tire without. This bike was setup with Soma’s own Japanese-made 42mm skin wall Cazadero fast-rolling, meaty shouldered tires.
The $530 Wolverine frame comes in a wide size range from 50-66cm and this orange or a black. It claims a small size weight of 2170g/4.79lb for the frame & 1040g/2.3lb for the fork. Adding on the lugged fork will cost another $126, while the thru-axle unicrown version sells for $220.