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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 06-24-09, 08:10 AM   #1
aharris
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You've driven me to a Crosscheck

Ok, I think I'm going to order a Surly Cross check. Mainly: It will accept wider tires for the winter and might be a step up from my 25 year old steel bianchi. (Still having fun but have limited tire choices and many minor issues as I've crammed fenders, racks and brakes all in the same point), I ride 16 miles in, 18 home (scenic, less traffic) on rural road (some rougher than others) and would like more speed than my wife's old mountain bike in the winter. My question is when dealing with the local bike shop (who I'd like to support) which is better: order the cross check complete from Surly? or order the frame and build it up? I have a bit above $1000 to spend and already have racks and lights (will probably need new fenders).

I am not concerned about most of the equipment on the complete bike, except I've never used bar end shifters (mine are friction shifters on the frame). I'm interested in the brake/shifters I've seen and tried out. Not a big issue but a slight preference.
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Old 06-24-09, 08:39 AM   #2
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sounds like a pleasant long term project to look forward to and occupy your time.
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Old 06-24-09, 09:08 AM   #3
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If you've got $1000 to spend you should definitely go for the complete bike. Building it up from a frame would cost far more unless you're willing to spend hours and hours bargain-hunting for used/NOS parts.
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Old 06-24-09, 09:22 AM   #4
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How much is the frame only?
If you can do a lot of the component installation and setup yourself, and if you're willing to look for deals, you can probably do it under $1000. For me, having a unique, one of a kind build is a great feeling...it feels like the bike is more personal. But if you're more of a no muss no fuss kinda guy, then a built bike is the way to go for sure.
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Old 06-24-09, 09:50 AM   #5
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Thanks for the reality check folks. I don't have much spare time, and I hate to shop. I couldn't find the price for the frame, and was hoping the LBS would be able to suggest cheaper components. Looking just now at prices on nashbar for just the shifters it doesn't seem like I figured that right.($80 for bar end shifters vs. several hundred for the brake/shifters)

My ignorance! I haven't bought a real bike since '84, nor ordered a new car ever. (Yard sale bikes for kids don't count, do they?) I recall my folks "dealing" for a new car in the 70s and asking for the radio to be deleted and other options changed, and a new car having many choices (i.e. with or without ac, power windows, automatic vs. standard shifting). Wouldn't it be nice to do the same with a bike?
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Old 06-24-09, 11:20 AM   #6
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From your description is sounds like a complete bike would be the best choice, and if you're using downtube shifters bar end shifters should certainly be no problem for you.

However, personally, having used brifters (the combined shifters/brakes combo) I will never ever go back to any other style of shifter. A lot of people agree with me, some disagree. But not having to take my hands off the brakes to shift is just soooooo much more fun than having to think about it and plan it every time I want to shift.
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Old 06-24-09, 11:48 AM   #7
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I don't have much spare time, and I hate to shop.
I think that what others meant is: complete bike is the cheapest, frame built up by your LBS would be more, and frame built up by you would be the most expensive.

Others may know more though.
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Old 06-24-09, 12:36 PM   #8
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Good choice on a commuter. Speaking as someone who has both an old Bianchi and a Crosscheck complete. The one improvement I made on the complete bike were different wheels. I use the Surly for nearly everything from road rides to bombing around trails but am still reluctant to use it for an actual commute for fear of it being stolen. I still use my old Mongoose MTB for that.
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Old 06-24-09, 01:25 PM   #9
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I think that what others meant is: complete bike is the cheapest, frame built up by your LBS would be more, and frame built up by you would be the most expensive.

Others may know more though.
I think this is correct.

I also love brifters, but bar-ends are not a huge step down. If you are used to downtube shifters, I think you'll love bar-ends.

Can't get a better deal than the complete bike. Ride it for a season and then change or upgrade what you don't like.
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Old 06-24-09, 02:28 PM   #10
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Well talked with LBS

He hasn't dealt with surly in the past and thinks he has a similar bike with the brifters (a rocky mountain SOLO CX) it seems fine for 1200 (the amount I was hoping to stay under...) any experience with this bike?
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Old 06-24-09, 05:51 PM   #11
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Rocky Mountain bikes are usually pretty dope. One major difference is going to be steel vs aluminum frame and fork. So that will be a change in ride characteristics. With the CrossCheck you're getting more mainstream (Shimano Deore) hubs. And it looks like a little more race inspired cockpit with the flat reach of the stem of the SOLO CX. However the fork on the SOLO CX has lowrider bosses, which is kinda cool, if you think you'd use them.
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Old 06-24-09, 06:57 PM   #12
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If you are not going to run fat tires to help with the ride I would highly recommend going with a steel frame over aluminum. The steel rides much better in my opinion. I have a cross bike ,Lemond Poprad, that I commute on and I really like it. If you tell your LBS you want a specific bike and they try to sell you something else, I would ask them again and if they don't want to order what you want get someone else to.
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Old 06-24-09, 07:10 PM   #13
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I love my cross check, only had it for a couple of weeks. sometimes I go out to get on my road bike and I end up on the surly. Sweeet bike. Actually I ahve less than 200 miles on it but I do just enjoy the heck out of it. I too was concerned about the bar end shifters so I got all 105 with brifters (STI ?) I had bar end shifters in the 70's, better than downtubes, but still I dont think I would like them nowdays. Much more expensive for the brifters by the way.
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Old 06-25-09, 11:16 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by aharris View Post
He hasn't dealt with surly in the past and thinks he has a similar bike with the brifters (a rocky mountain SOLO CX) it seems fine for 1200 (the amount I was hoping to stay under...) any experience with this bike?
Oh, that's an interesting conundrum. Given financial constrains, would I choose steel frame with bar end shifters, or alu frame with brifters?

I'd personally prefer former. It should be cheaper to get Tiagra brifters then a new frame. AND: if you've used downtube shifters, you may be fine with bar end shifters. I'd only recommend alu bike if you had strong preference for brifters, and no wiggle room financially.

Others may know more though.

Last edited by ch9862; 07-01-09 at 10:06 AM.
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