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  1. #1
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Jake The Snake vs Surly CrossCheck

    I have decided to save for a new $400 commuting frame. The two I am thinking about are the Surly Crosscheck and the Jake The Snake. I realize they are totally different bikes. I already own two "commuters": a Major Jake and a 1982 Peugeot P8. I love both but feel like the P8 limits my tire/fender choices (28 max with fenders) and the Major Jake is a little too high end for every day commuting in my book. One other option is to just settle into commuting every day on the P8 (a wonderful bike in its own right for commuting) and to use the Major Jake on days I intend to go offroad or need the studded tire up front.

    I like the Jake The Snake because I LOVE my Major Jake's geometry for both on and off road riding. I am a little nervous about commuting full time on the scandnium frame and would prefer less of a loss if my commuter is stolen, so I am considering a JTS to replace the MJ as a primary commuter (of course, this is kind of silly because I don't race much and the MJ might just end up sitting).

    I like the cross check because of the amazing versatility and the steel aspect. I realize the steel is nothing special and that it may be overpriced. Plus, I have never ridden one. But for some reason I am still smitten by that frameset and think it would be an oustanding commuter.

    Of the two, what would you guys/gals pick? Or would you just shut up and ride what I have and enjoy them?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    GATC
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    By 'versatility' for the CC do you mean horizontal rear dropouts? That would be a bonus if you're going to run SSFG or IGH (or both, hey, it's versatile!). I googled JTS and it seems to come w/ a carbon fork, the total would have to be a couple pounds lighter than a CC. I could see that being an issue.

    I'm wondering about a Travelers Check which is heavier and more expensive than a CC. But versatile!

    Oh yes the 132.5 dropout spacing is also versatile. Not sure how much BB spindle play you'd need to really take advantage of that particular bit of versatility.

  3. #3
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I would buy the frame with the better geometry. If you like the JTS geometry based on your Major Jake experience, buy that.

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  4. #4
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    By 'versatility' for the CC do you mean horizontal rear dropouts? That would be a bonus if you're going to run SSFG or IGH (or both, hey, it's versatile!). I googled JTS and it seems to come w/ a carbon fork, the total would have to be a couple pounds lighter than a CC. I could see that being an issue.

    I'm wondering about a Travelers Check which is heavier and more expensive than a CC. But versatile!

    Oh yes the 132.5 dropout spacing is also versatile. Not sure how much BB spindle play you'd need to really take advantage of that particular bit of versatility.
    I forgot to mention that I am kind of looking for that "lifetime" frame that I will have around for a few years.

    The "versatility" for me is more about the tire size options and the way a cross check can be made into just about any bike you like (but really, just about any cyclocross-ish bike can do that, if you are flexible in how things are bolted/zip tied on). If I get the ss/fg bug again, I can just rebuild my P8 back into such a bike (probably would, in fact).

    That travelers check is very cool, but out of my price range. The whole point is to replace the liability of the expensive MJ on the bike rack and in the weather all day every day.
    Last edited by Sawtooth; 02-26-09 at 02:17 PM.

  5. #5
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    I would buy the frame with the better geometry. If you like the JTS geometry based on your Major Jake experience, buy that.

    Michael
    That is a pretty good point. Every time I swing a leg over the MJ, I get a "I'm home" feeling. And with the fat tires for commuting, the harsher aluminum ride would probably not be an issue over the steel.

  6. #6
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    I would also be interested in a Jake frame if I could find one used....(can't get just the frame, to my knowledge). For all I know, maybe they are the same frame.

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    I'm biased, I would go with the Cross-Check. I have one & it's my favorite frame/fork. I don't consider it overpriced when I compare it to other steel frames that we have & have had. It is built sturdier than any of the others I have had iregardless of the particular alloy. If you want something that will last & is versatile, I think it is an excellent choice. Looking at the geometry of both, they are pretty close as are most cyclocross frames. But, I'm not particularly sensitive to geometry as long as I get seat height set.

  8. #8
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    I’ve been riding a Jake for 3 years now, half of that time with a carbon Bontrager fork, and have had zero problems with it. If you like the MJ geo, then you’d probably be well served to stick with it.

    As for hunting for a Jake frame, I was under the impression that the Jake and JTS have the same frame, with the only difference frameset-wise is that the JTS has the carbon fork while the Jake has the P2 (which is heavy as all get out.)

  9. #9
    Fred Hipstaire
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    I've tried both a Jake (not a JTS) and a CC, both stock complete bikes. I'd go for the CC. Riding feeling is similar (i.e. the position on the bike), but way more comfy on the CC, as far as I'm concerned. The CC is no lightweight though; I don't consider it to be too much of an issue for commuting. Steel may be a better option if you want to keep the bike for years, just like your Peugeot.

  10. #10
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    I would never want two of what's basically the same bike.

    I wouldn't want the crosscheck either, but that's beside the point. I enjoyed my JTS, but after continuing to try different bikes I had no issues putting it on ebay.

  11. #11
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    I would never want two of what's basically the same bike.

    I wouldn't want the crosscheck either, but that's beside the point. I enjoyed my JTS, but after continuing to try different bikes I had no issues putting it on ebay.
    Any suggestions at the $400 range?

  12. #12
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kolossal View Post
    I've tried both a Jake (not a JTS) and a CC, both stock complete bikes. I'd go for the CC. Riding feeling is similar (i.e. the position on the bike), but way more comfy on the CC, as far as I'm concerned. The CC is no lightweight though; I don't consider it to be too much of an issue for commuting. Steel may be a better option if you want to keep the bike for years, just like your Peugeot.

    Thanks for the comparison. I would tend to agree with you on the steel thing.

  13. #13
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knucklesandwich View Post
    Ive been riding a Jake for 3 years now, half of that time with a carbon Bontrager fork, and have had zero problems with it. If you like the MJ geo, then youd probably be well served to stick with it.

    As for hunting for a Jake frame, I was under the impression that the Jake and JTS have the same frame, with the only difference frameset-wise is that the JTS has the carbon fork while the Jake has the P2 (which is heavy as all get out.)
    I think your'e right. I would do it in a heartbeat but there is that one little issue the JeffS brought up...the opportunity cost of having two of the same bike. That said, I am a kitchen knife freak and I love owning two of the same chef's knife model.

  14. #14
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveF View Post
    I'm biased, I would go with the Cross-Check. I have one & it's my favorite frame/fork. I don't consider it overpriced when I compare it to other steel frames that we have & have had. It is built sturdier than any of the others I have had iregardless of the particular alloy. If you want something that will last & is versatile, I think it is an excellent choice. Looking at the geometry of both, they are pretty close as are most cyclocross frames. But, I'm not particularly sensitive to geometry as long as I get seat height set.
    How has comfort been for you? Does it feel heavy when riding (slow to respond, etc)? I know that Wendy Simms won a lot of races on her pink cross check. The peugeot feels heavy and that is a bad thing, imo.

  15. #15
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    I say go with the cross-check, i love mine. I've never noticed it to feel heavy when riding and it is a dream to ride.

    And if you want a frame to last a lifetime it's going to be the cross-check, aluminum/scandium frames will not last as long as the steel, it's just the nature of the beast, it's light and strong but it will eventually fail.
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  16. #16
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    For everyday commuting, go with the bike that is lighter and more fun to ride. I have a Tricross comp and a Trek 520. I bought the 520 for the exact same reasons you are looking at the CC. While the 520 fits fine, I really don't like riding it. I love riding the Tricross. I even bought a Sport model because of the same reasons you stated you wanted the JTS. Ended up selling the Sport because it just didn't make much sense having two of nearly the same bike. I kept the nicest of the two. From someone that did the exact same thing you're talking about doing, keep the Major Jake.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  17. #17
    Share the road. bugly64's Avatar
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    For everyday commuting the CC is the better bike. It's steel and it will last. The trick with all bikes especially the CC is getting the right size frame. Are you going to race or do you want to be able to put fatties on it? Maybe some fenders/racks. I have a CC and I don't mind it's supposed heaviness.

  18. #18
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great feedback guys! I am going to have to give this some thought. I am kind of leaning away from the JTS right now just because I think the MJ might end up sitting and that would just be silly. I think JeffS and Knobster might be right here. I really love the feel of the jake series, but heck, I already have one! Have my eye on a used cross check frame right now. If I can get it for a good used price, I will probably pull the trigger.

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    You don't need two Jakes! Get a Cross Check!

  20. #20
    Senior Moment ontheroadid's Avatar
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    Man, you just can't stop, can you?

    Have you ridden a Cross Check? That might influence the decision. I rode one last summer at the State Street George's. Call them, ask for Ben, and see if he plans on building one up any time soon (be patient, they're not going to drop everything to do this).

    I rode it and really, really liked the frame. But I didn't like the componentry, and ended up buying a Jamis from Meridian Cycles. Message me if you want more details.

  21. #21
    GBR
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    Go for something different, maybe a steel touring bike. You already have a cyclocross bike.

  22. #22
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ontheroadid View Post
    Man, you just can't stop, can you?

    Have you ridden a Cross Check? That might influence the decision. I rode one last summer at the State Street George's. Call them, ask for Ben, and see if he plans on building one up any time soon (be patient, they're not going to drop everything to do this).

    I rode it and really, really liked the frame. But I didn't like the componentry, and ended up buying a Jamis from Meridian Cycles. Message me if you want more details.
    Ha, No, it is a disease, I tell you!!
    I have not ridden a cross check yet. I will check with Georges. I asked Mike at the downtown location how he felt about them and he was not very supportive (felt like they were overpriced).

    Very curious about what Jamis you went with. That had that green nova that was beautiful.

    By the way, I froze my butt off heading home against that wind last night! Dang!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sawtooth View Post
    How has comfort been for you? Does it feel heavy when riding (slow to respond, etc)? I know that Wendy Simms won a lot of races on her pink cross check. The peugeot feels heavy and that is a bad thing, imo.
    No, it doesn't feel heavy when riding. Handling is great. Actually, much better than an 03 Litespeed Classic that I used to own. The Litespeed was hit by a car (with me on it) & I replaced it with the CC. I'm really glad that car dented the Litespeed! I bought frame/fork & built it the way I wanted. I have several wheel sets from lightweight road racing with 23mm tires to heavy wheels with cyclo-cross tires. With lightweigh wheels & fast tires, it is plenty fast & I've ridden with some of the faster riders in the state without an issue. I'm not doing any road racing now, but I wouldn't hesitate to race on it. I'd be a lot more confident on the CC in a crit than the Litespeed.

  24. #24
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveF View Post
    No, it doesn't feel heavy when riding. Handling is great. Actually, much better than an 03 Litespeed Classic that I used to own. The Litespeed was hit by a car (with me on it) & I replaced it with the CC. I'm really glad that car dented the Litespeed! I bought frame/fork & built it the way I wanted. I have several wheel sets from lightweight road racing with 23mm tires to heavy wheels with cyclo-cross tires. With lightweigh wheels & fast tires, it is plenty fast & I've ridden with some of the faster riders in the state without an issue. I'm not doing any road racing now, but I wouldn't hesitate to race on it. I'd be a lot more confident on the CC in a crit than the Litespeed.
    Great feedback. Thanks!

  25. #25
    Senior Moment ontheroadid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sawtooth View Post
    Very curious about what Jamis you went with. That had that green nova that was beautiful.

    By the way, I froze my butt off heading home against that wind last night! Dang!
    Gawd, yeah, that was awful. It was colder at 5 p.m. than it was at 7 a.m. when I rode in. Had some numb fingers when I got home.

    I got an Aurora Elite. They wanted me to buy the Nova (which they had in stock), but I wanted a more touring-friendly setup.

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