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  1. #1
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    Got my new Cross Check...handlebars too low!

    I just picked up my new Cross Check from REI size 54. Got it home it felt like a bike for a little person. Of course REI did no kind of set up for me. When I straddle the top bar I clear it by a little over 2" so I think the frame is the right size for me. I got the seat adjusted to a good fit for me but the handlebars feel way too low. I can ride the hoods ok but if I go to the drops I feel way too low even in the middle of the drops where the brakes are (not true drops). Of course I am used to bullhorns and flats so maybe I need to get used to the drops more. But how can I raise the bars? There are 3 spacers on the stem and anther piece holding the brake cable which I guess counts as a spacer. can I add more spacers or get a new stem? Do you think I should return it and get a bigger frame?

  2. #2
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    If you think the top tube is about correct for you, the best method would be to get a shorter stem with a higher rise. That should get you up an inch or so. Or if you need more, you can also get a stem riser that will give you even more. Adjusting the stem is pretty common for a new bike.

  3. #3
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    Look at the spacers in your stem. Normally they are different widths. So if the wide one is above the handlebar, and the thin one is below, switch places and that will raise your handlebar.

  4. #4
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    A bigger frame is probably not a good idea and it might not actually get the bars higher. The Cross Check top tube length might get too long for you with a bigger frame. I am guessing that you bought a complete bike (not a bare frame) and the bike build process chopped down the steering tube. The suggestion of experimenting with shorter stems and stems with greater vertical rise is a good one. Try Dimension stems, they are relatively inexpensive ($20) and good quality. I have one with a 25 degree upwards tilt and it adds about an inch of extra height. Another more expensive option is to buy a Cross Check fork from Surly (steering tube "uncut") and it will have a whopping 300 mm steering tube length.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    might check on getting another fork, uncut, then get lots of spacers,

    ride it for a year, find your best height, , then .. cut the steerer.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the replies. Yes I did buy a complete bike. I'm trying to upload a pic but having issues doing it on my phone. No spacers on top and 4 1/2 inch on the bottom

  7. #7
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    2" standover clearance is Totally NUTS.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
    2" standover clearance is Totally NUTS.
    Sarcasm?

  9. #9
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    The 54 will never fit.
    If there really is 50mm clearance, a 56 frame would still be plenty loose, a 58 would be worthy of trying.

  10. #10
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    IMO, this is a flaw in the Cross Check geometry. The head tube is too short relative to the top tube length.

    I'm 5'9" and used to have a 54cm Cross Check. I felt like the top tube was too long for me, but I still had to use a stack of spacers and a 25 degree stem to get the bars as high as I wanted them.

    This was my Cross Check:



    Notice the stem.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    IMO, this is a flaw in the Cross Check geometry. The head tube is too short relative to the top tube length.

    I'm 5'9" and used to have a 54cm Cross Check. I felt like the top tube was too long for me, but I still had to use a stack of spacers and a 25 degree stem to get the bars as high as I wanted them.

    This was my Cross Check:



    Notice the stem.
    Yeah. I'm 5'10". When my hands are on the hoods my arms are fully extended so I don't think a longer top tube would be good for me. I can adjust the seat to a good height. I guess I should put some miles on it and see if I get used to the bar height and if it's not comfortable I will modify it. My other bike is a 57 and I think it's a little too tall so 55-56 road bike is probably my correct size and I was told by most people to size down for the cross check.

  12. #12
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    I also had to change to a shorter stem on my CC. For me, a stem 20 mm shorter did the trick

    I'm surprised that REI didn't set up the bike for you. They're usually helpful. I see that you're in Glendale, CA. I go to the REI in Northridge and the guys in the bike shop are pretty helpful.

  13. #13
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    Yeah, I was going to comment on the

    Of course REI did no kind of set up for me.
    When my wife got her bike at REI, they adjusted the seat and made sure that the handlebar height was right for her. It wasn't a professional bike fitting, but it also wasn't hustling you out the door once they got their money, either. Maybe things are a little crazy now because of the anniversary sale, but go back in and ask for them to take a look at you on the bike. REI prides themselves on their customer service, ask them to help you out.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by YellowWolf View Post
    I also had to change to a shorter stem on my CC. For me, a stem 20 mm shorter did the trick

    I'm surprised that REI didn't set up the bike for you. They're usually helpful. I see that you're in Glendale, CA. I go to the REI in Northridge and the guys in the bike shop are pretty helpful.
    I went to the one in Arcadia. I got there around 8pm and they had a couple of other customers in the bike shop and my bike was ordered and paid for on line so I think they just wanted to hand it over to me and get me out.

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Or a Stem-Raiser under the bars, but then you need to re Cable and Housing
    the gears and Brakes because they are likely, thereafter, too short.

  16. #16
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    CAM00150.jpg

    Here is a picture of how the stem is set up.

    I measured the effective top tube on the 57 bike I had been riding and the top tube on the CC is actually about 1/2" longer. But looking at CC geometry if I went to a 56 the top tube length doesn't change much (only 0.4") but the seat tube goes up almost 1" so I probably wouldn't have an issue riding a 56. But if I can adjust this bike to fit me I would rather just keep it. I had my girlfriend measure the stand over last night and I actually clear by almost 2 1/2" but I am confused because this is a cyclocross style frame and I have read that 2-3" stand over is ideal for cx

  17. #17
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    This can be easily remedied with a more upright stem.

    see this for example:

    http://www.biketiresdirect.com/produ...FWNxQgodrl4AWg
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  18. #18
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    I was in the same position, and fixed it with this:
    http://store.somafab.com/sohiristadts.html

    This isn't the best picture, but you can get an idea what it looks like.
    photo.jpg
    I'm very happy with it, and have since put one on my other bike too. They used to (and might still) have it in black too.
    Last edited by PennyTheDog; 05-24-13 at 11:55 AM.

  19. #19
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    IMO, this is a flaw in the Cross Check geometry. The head tube is too short relative to the top tube length.
    It's kind of strange to hear of the head tube being "too short" or "too long" on a bike with a level top tube. It can only be what it is.

    It would be nice if Surly used shorter top tubes across the board, though -- there wouldn't be nearly as many "foot of spacers" builds needed to set them up right.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    CAM00150.jpg

    Here is a picture of how the stem is set up.

    I measured the effective top tube on the 57 bike I had been riding and the top tube on the CC is actually about 1/2" longer. But looking at CC geometry if I went to a 56 the top tube length doesn't change much (only 0.4") but the seat tube goes up almost 1" so I probably wouldn't have an issue riding a 56. But if I can adjust this bike to fit me I would rather just keep it. I had my girlfriend measure the stand over last night and I actually clear by almost 2 1/2" but I am confused because this is a cyclocross style frame and I have read that 2-3" stand over is ideal for cx
    I'm about your height, and ride a 54cm cross bike (and road bike...), so you're not out of the ball park in sizing. The cheapest/fastest route would be to do as others suggested and buy a stem with greater rise. Compact bars might help too (decreasing the distance between the drops and the top of the bars). You're not complaining about feeling scrunched, so it sounds like the size is ok.
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  21. #21
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    Not that it too relevant here, but my Crosscheck was the biggest bike Ive ever had.
    I usually prefer a 60cm in anything, but when I ordered my CC, they only had a 58.
    At 58, it felt to me like someone else's 62 or so. The only time Ive ever been so far off
    ordering online.
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    As much as I love REI, I don't think I'd buy a bike (or skis/ski boots from them). There just is no way that they can be knowledgeable enough about all the ins and outs of fitting the bike. This is where a good LBS is so very important and why it's really a good thing to find one and then stick with them. Fitting a bike (or ski boots) takes a lot of experience and training that REI just doesn't have. They can tell you what is a good product and they understand the products but they really can't do the next step in fitting. So, I'd guess that they got the bike thing right based on what you told them and selected the right one but they just can't fit it.

    I'd suggest taking the whole thing to a good bike fitter at an LBS and just paying for the fit and getting it set up right. Otherwise you're going to be spending a lot of time fooling around trying to get it right on your own and from what you are saying, you probably know less about bike fit than do the REI people. The shortest path to getting this right is to get the fit done properly.

    J.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    It's kind of strange to hear of the head tube being "too short" or "too long" on a bike with a level top tube. It can only be what it is.
    Well, yeah. It's a matter of proportion. If the top tube were shorter, then the head tube might be just fine. Of course, the level top tube is mostly an aesthetic decision. They could make it slope.

    I think an instructive comparison is the Handsome Devil. It only comes in three sizes, so it's a bit more limited, but except for geometry it's got a lot of similarities to the Cross Check. The 55cm Devil has a 554mm top tube and a 135mm head tube. Compare to the 54cm Cross Check, which has a 560mm top tube and a 102mm head tube.

    Obviously you could argue that the Cross Check is just designed to be more stretched out, and that would be quite reasonable except that a quick glance at typical setup by Cross Check owners suggests that it isn't what Cross Check users actually want.

  24. #24
    Senior Member megalowmatt's Avatar
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    This is one thing I've always wondered about Surly and the crazy amount of spacers. Why do so many end up that way? For example, in PennyTheDog's picture above, it seems as if judging by the long stem, a larger frame would be in order. Maybe I just don't understand the geometry of these particular frames

  25. #25
    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
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    Surly ships some of their frames/bikes with uncut steer tubes so the owner can dial in the fit and have the LBS cut the steer tube to suit. Many people simply don't bother (laziness, "don't care", whatever reason...) taking the bike back to have the steer tube cut which is probably why you see them like that all the time. I've been putting it off on my own LHT for like 5 years, so I have a ridiculous stack of spacers both above and below the stem, but I'm going to get a new stem soon and have it cut then...

    EDIT: just noticed Penny;s bike with the stem extension -- this is why surly ships bikes with uncut steerers, so people don't necessarily need to do that..

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