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Surly Cross Check for long distance/endurance/light touring?

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Surly Cross Check for long distance/endurance/light touring?

Old 10-19-20, 08:49 AM
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Tiestotti
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Surly Cross Check for long distance/endurance/light touring?

I used to do mostly all of my riding on an aluminum Trek Emonda which I sold, mainly because it was the wrong size, and ever since, I have been wanting to build a bicycle that I can use for long distance, endurance rides, and some decent fast rides on pavement and paved trails. I hope to be able to use it for brevets as well in the future. My wish list is basically as follows:

-Steel frame

-Rack eyelets

-Big tire clearance

-Shimano 105 group set

Before I go any further, I appreciate value, so I am not looking for expensive custom builds or unreasonably expensive fancy bikes. So with that in mind, I have been considering the Surly Cross Check for more than a year now, but I just have a couple of doubts based on the reviews I read, which are weight, chain stay length, and reach. I had the chance to test ride one earlier this year, and I did not feel too stretched at all, which I liked.

Again with the list above, and my desire for a value build, I was able to play around online with components, wheels, etc., and I think I can build a Cross Check as I desired, and still keep it to a very reasonable price tag. There are other, probably better options like Straggler, the Midnight special or the All-City Zig Zag 105, but they would be considerably more expensive than building up a Cross Check. Most other manufacturers are either too low-specced for my taste, too expensive, or given the current pandemic, are out of stock of pretty much anything, like Soma.

So I ask, is a Surly Cross Check worth building up in 2020 as a pavement bicycle for long distance, endurance, and rides on pavement, while still maintaining a decent speed? Are there any other, value-oriented alternatives that do not involve a 27" wheel and 126mm rear spacing? Thank you for any input!
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Old 10-19-20, 09:28 AM
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I don’t own a Cross Check, but it would certainly make my short list for such a bike and be a solid choice, The bike that currently fills the fast touring niche in my “fleet” is a Orange-Velo Passhunter. For All City I think I would favor the Space Horse over the zigzag. Rivendell Roadini, as they sometimes go on sale, might fit the bill depending on how set you on having 650B vs 700C, not as good a tourer as the other choices being a lighter frame but fast and lively on the pavement and perhaps a better choice for 200-400km audax than the other guys. That said, it is always best to buy what is the best fit for you today, and worry about what you might do in the future later. Almost any bike is capable of a 200km audax.

None of these builds will be particularly light. 105 and other mid-range components would probably get you around 25-26lbs before adding fenders and racks.
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Old 10-20-20, 09:46 AM
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Cross-check is one of the most versatile frames you can get, and I've seen a few of them on brevets, but if I were in the market for a budget brevet bike, I'd be looking at complete bikes, Masi Randonneur, Velo Routier, or one of the many gravel or touring bikes. If I were building a bike up from a frame it wouldn't be a cross check or have any shimano parts.
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Old 10-20-20, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
I donít own a Cross Check, but it would certainly make my short list for such a bike and be a solid choice, The bike that currently fills the fast touring niche in my ďfleetĒ is a Orange-Velo Passhunter. For All City I think I would favor the Space Horse over the zigzag. Rivendell Roadini, as they sometimes go on sale, might fit the bill depending on how set you on having 650B vs 700C, not as good a tourer as the other choices being a lighter frame but fast and lively on the pavement and perhaps a better choice for 200-400km audax than the other guys. That said, it is always best to buy what is the best fit for you today, and worry about what you might do in the future later. Almost any bike is capable of a 200km audax.

None of these builds will be particularly light. 105 and other mid-range components would probably get you around 25-26lbs before adding fenders and racks.
That is good point just realized. I definitely would want my build to feel a bit faster, and maybe a bit lighter when unloaded and without bags and racks.
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Old 10-20-20, 02:12 PM
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If you want a light bike with wide tires just get a gravel bike and strap on a 10-12 l saddle pack for brevets. Heckuva lot easier and cheaper than building your own bike from scratch.
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Old 10-20-20, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
If you want a light bike with wide tires just get a gravel bike and strap on a 10-12 l saddle pack for brevets. Heckuva lot easier and cheaper than building your own bike from scratch.
Not as much fun, however. But a good choice nevertheless.
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Old 10-20-20, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
... The bike that currently fills the fast touring niche in my ďfleetĒ is a Orange-Velo Passhunter. ...
There are several Pass Hunter versions. Bought my rim brake version frame in December, 2015. Widest tire I can fit under the fenders is 32mm. Based on that, I would not recommend my version of the Pass Hunter to the OP since he is looking for wider tires. That said, I really like my Pass Hunter but I have other bikes that can take wider tires.
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Old 10-21-20, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
Not as much fun, however...
I agree but at least do something interesting to make it worth the effort and expense. A105 crosscheck strikes me as a very ordinary bike. Nothing wrong with that, but if I want an ordinary bike, I'll just buy one the dozens available off the peg.
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Old 10-22-20, 08:32 PM
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I was about to hit the button on a demo Riv Clem. A super low mileage Cross Check came up local. Very similar, 1/3 the money. A year later, still very satisfied with the bike.
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Old 10-22-20, 10:17 PM
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Right now, there is a very real issue of what you can get your hands on. A complete bike that meets your needs might be better because parts availability is spotty
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Old 11-08-20, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Right now, there is a very real issue of what you can get your hands on. A complete bike that meets your needs might be better because parts availability is spotty
man I totally abandonded this thread for a while.

I agree with you. Iím not having much luck finding complete bikes. Iím still waiting for something decent to be back in stock that I can fet my hands on for cheap
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Old 11-08-20, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by gorillimo View Post
I was about to hit the button on a demo Riv Clem. A super low mileage Cross Check came up local. Very similar, 1/3 the money. A year later, still very satisfied with the bike.
very nice bike. I currently have a similar setup...on my single speed. I donít hate it but it would be nice to have more than one gear. That is why I was looking at building a CC
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Old 11-09-20, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Tiestotti View Post
... Iím not having much luck finding complete bikes. Iím still waiting for something decent to be back in stock that I can fet my hands on for cheap
Global supply chains are still a mess. I read an article yesterday that shipping containers for container ships are in short supply, delaying shipments of everything that has to cross an ocean. And bikes and bike parts are in extra short supply since people see that as an alternative to mass transit or a way to enjoy the outdoors.

Maybe come winter when there is snow on the ground in much of the US, things will get better and more stock can get in?
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Old 11-09-20, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Global supply chains are still a mess. I read an article yesterday that shipping containers for container ships are in short supply, delaying shipments of everything that has to cross an ocean. And bikes and bike parts are in extra short supply since people see that as an alternative to mass transit or a way to enjoy the outdoors.

Maybe come winter when there is snow on the ground in much of the US, things will get better and more stock can get in?
yea I got tired of calling stores and getting the same answer, ďsometime next year,Ē and then the few used bikes left on the marketplace or offer up are priced at a premium as well. I will just continue to ride my single speed until the the supply chain is restored somehow to pre-pandemic times and I can find a reasonably priced bike then
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Old 11-09-20, 10:08 AM
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A friend of mine just ordered a Masi Speciale Randonneur Elite. Steel frame, 105 drivetrain, 650b, and includes fenders and dynamo lighting for like $1700.

I don't think he's received it yet but it seems like a good deal.
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Old 11-14-20, 01:49 PM
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You might consider a vintage bike and then put a modern 105 group on it. A sport tourer built for 27 inch wheels will have room for pretty big 700c tires. There was a Fuji Del Ray on CL in your neck of the woods for 100 bucks. Double eyelets in back and single up front. I did have a CC for a few years and would still have it but it was stollen. I replaced it with a Milwaukee Road.
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Old 11-18-20, 10:43 AM
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I had a Cross Check as my do it all commuter/tourer/weekend group ride bike for 15 years. It was great mechanically ( I did wear out most of the original parts and replace them eventually), but the geometry is a little "different". In my 20's the long top tube and low stack height worked. Eventually I got old and fat and needed something with more stack height. I moved all the parts except the brakes from it to a Soma Pescadero frame a couple years ago. It is a nice comfortable road/touring bike, but lacks a little of the Cross Check attitude that makes you want to bomb trails and jump it off stairs. Maybe that is me getting old also...
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Old 11-18-20, 11:44 AM
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So I have a Soma Smoothie with carbon fork, 11 speed Compact Campagnolo group as my "go fast" bike. I've put thousands of miles on it and set many personal records (speed, length of ride, elevation, etc). A few years ago, one of my riding buddies bought a All City Space Horse and wanted to start focusing on gravel rides. The Soma with 28c max tire clearance was just not cutting it. I had a 9 speed Compact Campagnolo group in the parts bin so I bought a Surly Cross Check and built it up with 43c GravelKings. I had read about Surly frames being "beasts", but wasn't too worried about it as I'm a bigger guy anyway. Anyhow, the Cross Check absolutely slays and I've since matched or broken many of my efforts made on the Smoothie. Both bikes are great and serve their proposes, but if I had a time machine, I would have skipped the Smoothie altogether and just went with the Cross Check. It truly is a great "do it all" bike.
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Old 11-29-20, 04:15 PM
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I set up my Cross Check as a Brevet bike about 10 years ago. It seemed like an ideal choice at the time and I gave it a season of riding rando events. It wasn't really fun to ride though and I often felt that it seemed kind of "dead" while riding it. In the end I did not like it for that purpose and decommissioned it as a rando bike. I think that there are better choices for an entry to mid-level rando bike.
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Old 12-05-20, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by samkl View Post
A friend of mine just ordered a Masi Speciale Randonneur Elite. Steel frame, 105 drivetrain, 650b, and includes fenders and dynamo lighting for like $1700.

I don't think he's received it yet but it seems like a good deal.
I like it, but I would be nervous about the geometry
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Old 12-05-20, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
You might consider a vintage bike and then put a modern 105 group on it. A sport tourer built for 27 inch wheels will have room for pretty big 700c tires. There was a Fuji Del Ray on CL in your neck of the woods for 100 bucks. Double eyelets in back and single up front. I did have a CC for a few years and would still have it but it was stollen. I replaced it with a Milwaukee Road.
yea Iíve been exploring that route as well. Lately, it seems a few more bikes are popping up online so it may be worth to continue looking for a decent vintage bike
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Old 12-05-20, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
I had a Cross Check as my do it all commuter/tourer/weekend group ride bike for 15 years. It was great mechanically ( I did wear out most of the original parts and replace them eventually), but the geometry is a little "different". In my 20's the long top tube and low stack height worked. Eventually I got old and fat and needed something with more stack height. I moved all the parts except the brakes from it to a Soma Pescadero frame a couple years ago. It is a nice comfortable road/touring bike, but lacks a little of the Cross Check attitude that makes you want to bomb trails and jump it off stairs. Maybe that is me getting old also...
thank you for your comment. I actually found it really helpful. Yea I guess I havenít considered the long reach as an issue for when I get older, so I guess thatís something else to consider. Thanks again!
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Old 12-05-20, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
I In the end I did not like it for that purpose and decommissioned it as a rando bike. I think that there are better choices for an entry to mid-level rando bike.
I have actually read that a few times online. I understand there are better choices for rando bikes, i just figured it would he a decent platform for a do it all type of bike
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Old 12-24-20, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by samkl View Post
A friend of mine just ordered a Masi Speciale Randonneur Elite. Steel frame, 105 drivetrain, 650b, and includes fenders and dynamo lighting for like $1700.

I don't think he's received it yet but it seems like a good deal.
This would be an excellent choice for the OP! Also Jamis Renegade S2 or a Bombtrack Hook 2.

For the longer distances a carbon fork makes a huge difference in ride comfort.
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Old 12-25-20, 04:25 AM
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Veloci out of Taiwan has the disc steel frame&fork Disco 80's. Same frame with carbon fork in the DiscoKing.

Similar long'ish and low front end as the Cross Check, but with a 70mm bbdrop. Takes a 40mm or so.
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