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Old 07-15-12, 03:10 PM   #1
thenomad
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To keep or not '85 Trek 620 vs Surly Cross Check

Just grabbed this Trek 620 1985 today. Great condition but not complete.

I have older Shimano 600 components I can rebuild it with easily to make it complete.

BUT...
My problem with any of these bikes i bring home is that I like them too much myself! I set it up to fit me and I can see really enjoying this thing. Should have never thrown my leg over it.

Here's the main dilemma, my Surly Cross Check frame (bought for a steal at $175) is basically the same size just with a shorter headtube/standover. So I compared them both:

Trek is 56st x 56tt, BB is .5 inch higher, 531cs lugged frame (beautiful!), rear chainstays are the longer, standover is right 'there' but can be flatfooted, all the brazeons you want incl front lowrider, can be converted to 700c...(I've always sort of missed my 56cm Trek 760)

Surly 53st x 56tt, BB lower slightly, 4130 frame Tig welded, lots of nice brazeons, threadless, 700c Wiiiiide tires can fit, wanted as SS 'cross bike, rode it as a loaded SS commuter all year last year and loved it and have told myself I'd keep because of versatility etc!

I can build the 620 and make a pretty penny or sell the Surly and make less money while keeping something worthy of keeping for a long time.
I know what this forum will say but I have to ask anyhow, for my own sanity!


Was also going to build it for my dad to ride but. . .
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Old 07-15-12, 03:40 PM   #2
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Lugged steel trumps paper scissors and stone every time.
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Old 07-15-12, 03:55 PM   #3
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Touring bike vs cross bike. Which serves your purposes better? I like Surlys, but they are burly and feel sluggish to me. Much better at being utiliarian bikes than inspirational riders, but you are comparing it to a touring bike.

I would go with the Xcheck, but I don't tour.

The trek is way classier.
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Old 07-15-12, 03:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
Just grabbed this Trek 620 1985 today. Great condition but not complete.

I can build the 620 and make a pretty penny or sell the Surly and make less money while keeping something worthy of keeping for a long time.
I know what this forum will say but I have to ask anyhow, for my own sanity!


Was also going to build it for my dad to ride but. . .
You already have 4 bikes, what's a 20% increase in fleet size, NADA! Keep them both.

Surly frames go for stupid big bucks on ebay, ANY Surly frame.
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Old 07-15-12, 03:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
Just grabbed this Trek 620 1985 today. Great condition but not complete.

Here's the main dilemma, my Surly Cross Check frame (bought for a steal at $175) is basically the same size just with a shorter headtube/standover. So I compared them both:

Trek is 56st x 56tt, BB is .5 inch higher, 531cs lugged frame (beautiful!), rear chainstays are the longer, standover is right 'there' but can be flatfooted, all the brazeons you want incl front lowrider, can be converted to 700c...(I've always sort of missed my 56cm Trek 760)

Surly 53st x 56tt, BB lower slightly, 4130 frame Tig welded, lots of nice brazeons, threadless, 700c Wiiiiide tires can fit, wanted as SS 'cross bike, rode it as a loaded SS commuter all year last year and loved it and have told myself I'd keep because of versatility etc!

I can build the 620 and make a pretty penny or sell the Surly and make less money while keeping something worthy of keeping for a long time.
I know what this forum will say but I have to ask anyhow, for my own sanity!

Was also going to build it for my dad to ride but. . .
Well, I'm kinda new here, but I believe the correct answer would be: "Keep both!" Leave the Surly an SS commuter, build the 620 lighter with gears for non-commuting rides. Find something else for dad.

If space/budget/spouse impose a different choice, I think the Trek will ride nicer than the Surly, which makes it the keeper. As long as you don't really need clearance for mega-wide rubber or you want a beater you don't have much $$ into and don't worry about crashing, keep the Trek. You can always find another CrossCheck for cheap. I've had two, didn't pay over $250 shipped for either, sold the first for more than I paid, still have the second built as a studded-tire snow bike.
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Old 07-15-12, 04:02 PM   #6
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You already have 4 bikes, what's a 20% increase in fleet size, NADA! Keep them both.

Surly frames go for stupid big bucks on ebay, ANY Surly frame.
+1 on the correct choice being keep both!

I guess I've been lucky with Surly on ebay, I've landed two CrossChecks and a Steamroller pretty darn cheap. Maybe frame size, seasonal timing, etc factor in.
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Old 07-15-12, 04:03 PM   #7
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Anyone can go down to the bike shop and buy a surly. Not everyone can have a nice lugged steel bike. I personally would love a nice trek from that era because of all the great craftsmanship and little extra touches on it.

Like the shifter cable through the stay, not to mention the stay caps on the dropouts.



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Old 07-15-12, 04:11 PM   #8
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I've got more than 4 bikes and like to turn them around and ride something different. I put all the "light" parts I had on my cyclocross bike and have been riding that as my fast 18lb bike. I have a Schwinn Peloton waiting to be built as a steel roadie. I keep trying to get more time to race cross and single speed was a way to justify my CC purchase.

May research what prices the CC are going for so I can make some money. I've always loved vintage so this could stand the test of time. 700c and lighter is what I like for a vintage frame (IMO).

But, I don't do touring, my commute is now going to be much shorter, I can ride single track on the Cross Check and I was trying to sell off some bikes to make some mad cash for some other things.
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Old 07-15-12, 04:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Anyone can go down to the bike shop and buy a surly. Not everyone can have a nice lugged steel bike. I personally would love a nice trek from that era because of all the great craftsmanship and little extra touches on it.

Like the shifter cable through the stay, not to mention the stay caps on the dropouts.
I prefer the earlier Treks without the fastback through-bolt lug, socketed dropouts, etc. The socketed drops and fastback socketed lug were all done to decrease production costs and build time. Machine/automated brazing crept in, the heavy one-piece faux headtube/lug debuted, etc. John Thompson can probably correct me if I'm off, but I think the earlier frames required and showed more skill and workmanship. Don't get me wrong, I'd still rather have this 620 than a Surly CC, but brazed seatstay caps and slotted/domed stay ends float my boat better than square-cut tube ends stuffed into sockets.
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Old 07-15-12, 04:39 PM   #10
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I do like the brazed TREK seatstay caps too. Just traded a 53cm 1978 frame to a commuting buddy. Very nice long campy dropouts and nice long lugs.
However, I have a thing for lining the lugs as well and the more the better. May have to keep it just for the visuals of it all.

Just saw where one person did SS cross on a 620, I'd bet theres still a bit of fun in the old girl too. hmmm

Not big on triples either
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Old 07-15-12, 05:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
Just grabbed this Trek 620 1985 today. Great condition but not complete.

I have older Shimano 600 components I can rebuild it with easily to make it complete.

BUT...
My problem with any of these bikes i bring home is that I like them too much myself! I set it up to fit me and I can see really enjoying this thing. Should have never thrown my leg over it.

Here's the main dilemma, my Surly Cross Check frame (bought for a steal at $175) is basically the same size just with a shorter headtube/standover. So I compared them both:

Trek is 56st x 56tt, BB is .5 inch higher, 531cs lugged frame (beautiful!), rear chainstays are the longer, standover is right 'there' but can be flatfooted, all the brazeons you want incl front lowrider, can be converted to 700c...(I've always sort of missed my 56cm Trek 760)

Surly 53st x 56tt, BB lower slightly, 4130 frame Tig welded, lots of nice brazeons, threadless, 700c Wiiiiide tires can fit, wanted as SS 'cross bike, rode it as a loaded SS commuter all year last year and loved it and have told myself I'd keep because of versatility etc!

I can build the 620 and make a pretty penny or sell the Surly and make less money while keeping something worthy of keeping for a long time.
I know what this forum will say but I have to ask anyhow, for my own sanity!

Was also going to build it for my dad to ride but. . .
Looks as if you've answered your own questions there. The 'cross component is your biggest factor in keeping the CC over the 620, and your
original intent was to flip the 620 anyway for funds.

If you have a bonafide use for the 620 then by all means keep it, but if you deep 6 the CC instead you'll be hard pressed to make the 620 do what the
CC was designed for.

It all comes down to your riding needs.

(and this is coming from a literal Trek junkie the past couple months... )
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Old 07-15-12, 06:41 PM   #12
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The 620 could make a decent commuter if so equipped. The surly proceeds would certainly leave you with a nice bike (700c conversion, fenders, etc). 30 years from now find a CC and be retro cool then too.
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Old 07-16-12, 12:45 AM   #13
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Well crud, the tide is turning after the initial thrill of the chase. I like every bike in my size, its a curse.

It's going to be a beautiful touring bike for commuting or long tours. But my commute is going from 23 miles r/t to 8 miles r/t and I wont be doing any long touring for many years. The 620 should fit well but 1 cm lower on the height it would be perfect.

The CC on the other hand is just versatile enough to use as a commuter, geared or SS CX, loaded tourer or century road bike.

I'll sleep on it and see how I feel once I get it all built up.

Quote:
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Looks as if you've answered your own questions there. The 'cross component is your biggest factor in keeping the CC over the 620, and your
original intent was to flip the 620 anyway for funds.

If you have a bonafide use for the 620 then by all means keep it, but if you deep 6 the CC instead you'll be hard pressed to make the 620 do what the
CC was designed for.

It all comes down to your riding needs.

(and this is coming from a literal Trek junkie the past couple months... )
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Old 07-16-12, 01:37 AM   #14
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I vote for the CC. I love nice quality lugged steal, and I know people have done CX races on them for years, but I'd be worried about bending a fork leg on an old 531 tubed bike. I've seen so many bent vintage forks, and the fork on my butted 531 bike seems flimsy/flexy compared to most others I've ridden. And I feel like it would be kind of a shame to bash up an old Trek of that quality. And it sounds like your CC suits your needs well and fits you a little better. I know I would have trouble letting it go, but would definitely sell the Trek and enjoy the CC. It's also a nice quality bike.
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Old 07-16-12, 12:00 PM   #15
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I parted with the same year 620 only because it was too small for me. Even so it had a great ride. I'd keep the Trek since 1985 is the only year they had the extra long chain stays and is a true touring classic. But then I'm a sucker for touring bikes.
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Old 07-31-12, 09:00 PM   #16
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Took it from a frame, parts and wheelset to a full bike. Still waiting on a rear cable hanger to come in.

I'm going to ride it on some longer rides and see how it feels. The only thing is that I'd like to swap the wheelset and try out 700c which will be easy with the 983 brakes I sourced for it.

I've got it for sale but I may change my mind once I ride it. I really like the way these bars feel too.
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Old 07-31-12, 09:20 PM   #17
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Sell both and buy a Soma DC. 27" is a deal breaker, you will never get as much stopping power out the trek with 700c as you will from the Surly and you are bound to feel the rear end sway when you get up and hammer. That said I still think that it will be more lively than the surly but I have never ridden a cross check, I just know my LHT was a dead ride and my Soma Saga is at least a couple notches about. It is Tange Prestige vs. surly chromo though. It sounds to me like you're better off with the surly. Sometimes the most pedestrian bikes are the ones we love the most. I sold my redline conquest pro. I had so much fun on that bike, I probably shouldn't have sold it.
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Old 07-31-12, 09:52 PM   #18
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I'll bet the Trek is lighter.
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Old 07-31-12, 10:54 PM   #19
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well, the surly has a scandium fork from my conquest and i hear the stock fork is heavy so I can't really compare apples to apples. I think they may be within 1lb with the same equipment.

I may end up selling the CC eventually but for now I'm going to change it to a monstercross style, either ss or geared.
I suppose that's the beauty of it though, it may not be perfect but the ability to keep changing it makes it fun.
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Old 07-31-12, 10:58 PM   #20
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If there's a weight difference it's probably nominal. Certainly it wouldn't be enough to base a decision on, anyway. I had a 54cm CC that weighed in at about 21lbs - not terrible. Others scoff at them but I had a blast on my CC. My biggest quibble with them is the tiny head tubes in relation to their top tubes - they have way too much standover clearance and you're forced to use a big stack of spacers or a positive rise stem to get the bars up to a useable height for most people.

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I'll bet the Trek is lighter.
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Old 07-31-12, 11:19 PM   #21
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yeah, not a fan of the short headtube but my fit is dialed in and I feel good on it. The standover is nice if you are on the dirt and put feet down on uneven surfaces.
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Old 07-31-12, 11:40 PM   #22
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Ride the Trek for a bit, since it's almost completely built up. That's the only way real you will know how much you like it. It's definitely a cult favorite, but try to forget that when you ride it.
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Old 07-31-12, 11:57 PM   #23
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I'd keep the Trek or sell both if you are looking for an cx/all rounder. Every Surly I've ridden I thought was turd.
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Old 07-31-12, 11:59 PM   #24
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldnt changing to 700s from 27s drop your stand over height a tiny bit?
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Old 08-01-12, 04:32 AM   #25
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The 620 should fit well but 1 cm lower on the height it would be perfect.
You are in the same situation with Trek that I am and I have been longingly looking at Treks for some time. My good fit size is 54 to 55 and that is exactly in between sizes on almost all Trek models from the 80's. I can't go smaller than 22.5 to the 21 inch size and 22.5 really pushes the height factor and top tube length a little although seat placement with the slack seat tube angle would address most of the top tube issue. I have looked at 620, 720, 660, 300 series, too many to list, and never pulled the trigger on one yet. What is the stem length on this?
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