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  1. #1
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    54" or 56" surly need help

    There isn't one built up surly in Chicago, which seems odd, so no way to test ride. I did test out a 56 Specialized Tri cross and it fit pretty well it has a 56 TT and 56 ST. The 56 crosscheck has a 56 ST but a 57 TT. The 54 crosscheck has a 54ST and a 56TT.

    I'm looking for a bike to use for commuting and light touring so comfort is a bigger concern than racing. So I'm trying to get a more upright position.

    I don't know if it would be better to get the 54 and add spacers to the stem to raise the bars up or get the 56 and a shorter stem to compensate for the longer TT?

    I've never really ridden road bikes so I have no real comparisson, my rough measurements are height 5'11, cycling inseam 32.5"

    any help would be greatly appreciated

    deacon

  2. #2
    Senior Member burbankbiker's Avatar
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    I was in the same exact position a couple months ago. I was in LA ordering a CrossCheck build and there were no Surly's in southern california to test ride (calling all the way down the coast to San Diego!).

    My choice was between a 54cm (based on standard geometry) or a 52cm to compensate for the longer TT. I threw caution to the wind and ordered the 52. Couldn't be more happy with it. After consideration and consultation, the general consensus was the 52 would feel more "snappy" and responsive to ride than the 54. Since I didn't ride the 54, I can't know if this is true. But... that's my two cents. I'd go the size lower and add spacers if need be.

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    Was in the exact same situation (and for the same frame). I ended up finding a Bianchi Volpe built up at my LBS, which has nearly equivalent sizes, tube lengths, and geometries as the XCheck. I Found the best size fit and bought the same size XCheck.
    I actually would have bought the Volpe if Fatties would have Fit Fine! (which they don't)
    You might also look for other cross bikes, except note the Poprad is an odd size (55cm), and the Soma DoubleX has a longer TT than the XCheck. The Jamis Nova would also be a good 'test model' as well.

  4. #4
    Senior Member concernicus's Avatar
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    i got a 56 cm surly steamroller and im 6 feet i would go with that. however, if its for your crossbike, you should go one size smaller, so go with the 54!

  5. #5
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Surly's have a very tall headtube... the only measurement that matters really is top-tube length. I am pretty certain you would be on a 54cm.
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

  6. #6
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    I'm just a pinch shy of 5'-9", with a real inseam of 32". Both my Cross-Checks are 54cm with 120mm 15 rise stems. My sizing choice was based on top-tube length. One is fixed (http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/2005...GearRider.htm), the other is set up as a commu-tourer.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

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    Thanks for the reply's, 54 sounds like the way to go but the two guys at my LBS say that I would have to raise my seat to high on the 54 throwing off the balance of saddle to bars. Another shop also thinks the 56 is the way to go, but I'm leaning toward the 54. man this is tough.

  8. #8
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    Any other people out there with cross checks and size stats they'd like to share to help me make an informed decision?

  9. #9
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the deacon
    Thanks for the reply's, 54 sounds like the way to go but the two guys at my LBS say that I would have to raise my seat to high on the 54 throwing off the balance of saddle to bars. Another shop also thinks the 56 is the way to go, but I'm leaning toward the 54. man this is tough.
    When faced with two sizes, err to the small. You can always get longer stems, stems with more rise, leave the steering tube long.

    My Cross-Check that's built up for commuting / touring has a double stem thing for my handlebar bag. This brings my bars up level with the saddle.

    http://img101.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img04596zf.jpg

    With the Midge drops it makes for a very comfortable ride.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  10. #10
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    Are you SURE about your cycling inseam? To measure your c.i. accurately requires two people. Attach the top of a retractable steel tape measure to a book that is a couple inches thick. Push the book up into the crotch until it is uncomfortable. Then push the book higher. Higher. Your helper checks the distance to the floor with your feet about ten inches apart. Repeat the process about five times. The highest of the five measurements is your cycling inseam.

    Most guys of your height will have a cycling inseam of about 34 1/2 or 35 inches (although their jeans may have only a 32 inch inseam). And, for commuting and touring, that puts them on a bike with traditional geometry of between size 58 and size 61.

    That taller size frame makes it easier to get the bars up as high as the top of the saddle (the correct height for touring and commuting). As the bars come up higher, they also come back closer to the saddle. That shifts weight off your hands and wrists, and provides a postion that is less stressful for your neck and back.

    The only way to be sure is to get the saddle height dialed in on each of the bikes you are looking at. Set the bars as high as the top of the saddle. Then, see which bike feels better on a road test.

  11. #11
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    That's a pretty good set up dobber, I'll have to keep that in mind in case by bar bag has space issues.

    I guess I'm long torso'd then. I might get 33" with some pain. Maybe this is why I'm floundering between the 54 and 56. I must have some mutant proportions.

  12. #12
    Yet another vegan biker
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    Find one that's comfortable.

    I'm 5'11 and ride a 60cm Litage and a 58 cm. I guess its an "old school" thing, I like them on the big side.

  13. #13
    Senior Member burbankbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the deacon
    I guess I'm long torso'd then.
    My experience from being measured is this: Everyone's a mutant when measured. We all look normal but once those sticks and devices come out at the LBS it becomes a circus side show. "See the freakish long torso'd man with arms shorter than a baby!!"

    Is there any other bike at your LBS with similar geometry to the Surly that you could ride to check out? I remember being in the same feeling you probably have now... totally worried to choose wrong. When I got my 52cm Surly and got on and rode it was a huge sigh of relief.

  14. #14
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    I hear you burban. Ya the Specialized 56 (56tt 56st), but it could cut both ways. 54 check is 54st and 56tt.
    56 check is 56st and 57tt.
    I also tried out a Volpe 55, which is 55st and 56tt. It fit pretty well to, but felt a little long though I suspect that had to do with the stem length and hieght.

    thanks for the feedback guys

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    I just ordered a 56 X-check a week ago. I am 6' even with an inseam of ~ 32-3/4". I know I have a long torso because I have a hard time fitting in many of my friends' cars. My head hits the ceiling in just about every japanese car out there. I couldn't ride in my last gf's Mitsubishi unless the sunroof was open.

    The way frames are measured varies alot between brands, that caused me a bit of confusion in comparing the Surly to other bikes I could actually sit on. The top tube measure is fairly obvious since it's center to center but, Surly measures the seat tube to the top of the top tube, not to the top of the seat tube. This makes the Surly 56 fit a tad bit bigger than my Trek 520, which is a 23" (58.4cm). Keep that in mind when comparing. The Surly also has a higher BB being a cyclocross bike so it has a higher standover than a typical 56 road bike, too. Which is not the main factor, but a factor none the less.

    I was measured and fit by my LBS. They use the Bike Fit Kit. With my long torso he said I could go for the 58 if not for zero standover clearance. Instead he recommended the 56 with a 120 stem, we'll see how it goes. I will be using a 17deg stem and spacers to bring the bars up since this will be mostly a commuter/city bike.

    My frame is supposed to be here in a few days, can't wait. New toys are always so much fun!
    The urge to buy terrorizes!

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  16. #16
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    great, let us know how the new bike feels.

  17. #17
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    Surly's have a very tall headtube... the only measurement that matters really is top-tube length. I am pretty certain you would be on a 54cm.
    So you'd say a 58cm bike with a 56cm top tube fits the same as a 56 with a 56cm top tube? I sure wouldn't.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Old_Fart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed
    So you'd say a 58cm bike with a 56cm top tube fits the same as a 56 with a 56cm top tube? I sure wouldn't.
    If the 56 is measured to the top of the top tube, and the 58 is measured to the top of the seat tube - which is 2cm taller than the top tube - then they very well could fit the same.


    Deacon, did you order the frame yet?

  19. #19
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old_Fart
    If the 56 is measured to the top of the top tube, and the 58 is measured to the top of the seat tube - which is 2cm taller than the top tube - then they very well could fit the same.


    Deacon, did you order the frame yet?
    True enough, but only the top tube measurement matters, right?

  20. #20
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    Nope not yet, I'm still trying to figure out the numbers. I hope to do it this weekend. So far I've gotten strong arguments for both the 54 and the 56. I think the reason why it's so difficult is that this is my first road/cross type bike so I have no real reference or preference for the fit.

  21. #21
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    It is a bit frustrating not being able to test ride the bike before buying. I finally took a bit of a leap of faith backed up by my trusty LBS mech/fit tech. Even so, I was still tempted to go make the rounds of the bigger bike shops with my little metric tape measure and do a bunch of comparison test rides. Since I had good numbers on the Surly and my current road(ish) bike, it wasn't so much of a guessing game.

    Surly was also very good with me about answering questions via email. They seem to understand the frustration of buying a bike sight-unseen.

    You hint that this is your first road bike. I would be tempted to take a lesser risk and find a bike (or three) on craigslist to test the fit for a week or two, or even a month. That way you can spend some real time on a frame that you can mess around with for far less risk. You can recover your investment easier that way.
    The urge to buy terrorizes!

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    I just filled out the competitive cyclist measurment chart and they say for the frech fit (most relaxed) I should be on a 57cc and a 61tt.
    I think I'm gonna go with the 56". I didn't get it at first but I'm relizing now that the bigger the frame the more upright and relaxed the fit will be which for touring and commuting is what I'm looking for

    After multiple checks I think I'm a 33 inseam so that might work better with the 56"

  23. #23
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    Wow, 61tt? Is that the tt + stem length, or cockpit length?

    From what I've read and learned shopping for my frame, my feeling is that the 56 is the right way to go for you, too. Close enough that stem choice will dial it right in for you. Yeah, maybe if you were actually cyclocross racing it, a smaller frame would be easier to handle, but since you're not, you'll be fine.

    I got my Cross-Check frame from my LBS yesterday. They got it a couple days ago but didn't have time to prep it for me for a couple days. They put in the FSA Pig headset for me, chased and faced the Head tube and bottom bracket, and sprayed Boshield or whatever coating it is they use inside the tubes. Picked up a handful of headset spacers, and will go back for cables and related bits when I figure out what will and won't transfer over from the 520.

    So... with a cold six-pack on hand, you can guess what I'll be doing tonight.
    The urge to buy terrorizes!

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  24. #24
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    I'm 5'10 32.25 inseam and my 54 XCheck fits just right. I like a more relaxed position due to back problems, with the bars up goofy high (60mm of spacers). I wish the XCheck had a longer head tube like the Jamis Nova, Bianchi Volpe, Poprad, but they don't fit fatties.
    The Soma DoubleX has a longer TT so no relaxed fit there.
    SF is a great city to find cross bikes to try out. I found built up XChecks, DoubleXs, Volpes, and Poprads all on 1 street. (The street should be called LBS alley)

  25. #25
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    Well, the Cross Check is built. I finished it at about 1:00 Sunday morning and took it out for a 20 mile test ride after getting some sleep.

    First ride impression; me likey new bikey!
    While the geometry is only subtly different than the Trek 520 doner bike, the ride is very different. It feels snappier than the 520, like there is less energy loss between the legs and the ground.

    So, first picture post here, let's see if I can get a picture to work right.

    I still have to put on the rack for commuter duty and a couple other minor details, but I think I just might keep this one for a while.
    The urge to buy terrorizes!

    Surly Cross-Check
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