I've had two bikes that fulfill all of my riding needs for the past couple years: Windsor Knight road bike, and my Santa Cruz Blur LT for the trails. But this past year I've been wanting to do longer training/adventure type rides up into the foothills close to where I live. Almost endless miles of gravel roads, levees, singletrack, and boondock country roads to explore. The road bike can't fit any tires wider than 25c, and the Blur is 150mm of travel and 30#. I needed a bike that could handle commuting duties, light trail, and still do some century rides a couple times a year.
I decided to build up a Surly Cross Check after many months of looking at bikes both new/complete and various frames. Others in the running were the Disc Trucker, Soma DoubleCross, Trek Cross Rip Elite, and the Motobecane Fantom Cross. Of all of these and more transferring over parts from my roadie as a donor bike, and buying a few other pieces was the most economical. In addition, I really like my old steel frame MTBs and the fact that the Surly can take up to 2" wide tire makes it a very versatile bike. So I ordered up the frame and some other parts through my LBS as I get a decent discount there, and built everything up myself.
Here's a link to the spreadsheet I used for parts ordering: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...3c&usp=sharing
Got the frame in on a Friday and put it together that night! It was probably the easiest and quickest build I've ever done.
New frame, fork, and misc. new parts:
Donor bike (great bike, but NOT for trails or gravel roads):
Headset installed (rubber mallet method
BB, cranks and pedals installed:
Pretty much done, just need to adjust bars, stem, saddle, etc:
Commute/Utility/Bike Path Mode (default setting!):