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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 08-03-08, 10:15 PM   #1
mc2600
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Help me build my "dream" Surly Cross-Check

All,

WIth a great deal of help from this forum, I have decided to have a Surly Cross-Check built as my "get back to biking bike." I'm a Clydesdale (6' and 290) ... so the steel frame and durability pretty much sealed the deal.

I realize it isn't a top-of-the-line performance cyclocross, but I do want to maximize its capabilities right out of the gate. That doesn't mean I want to waste money just to waste it ... it does mean that I'd like to maximize performance where it makes sense to do so --- and end up with a bike that'll last me until lose weight and go totally nuts for an IF bike.

I'll be using it 70% on pavement, 30% on towpaths (clay and crushed stone). Long rides are definitely in the cards. I get competitive with most things I do, and like to go fast. I am pretty busy in "real life" ... so (as much as is possible) I want to get the right components the first time around, instead of dealing with downtime and upgrades later.

I'm going to visit my LBS to talk over the build I want, so my question for the board is:

Given my needs, what should my "dream" surly build be?

I'm looking for specific component suggestions. I'm just returning to the biking world, and am an "ignorant consumer" when it comes to what to look for (though I'm reading everything I can find).

Here is the list I have been making as I read through the forum --- anything on here can be changed if you have a better suggestion.

* I know I'll need a heavy-duty wheel set, have read a lot about the deep-v.

* At a minimum, I think I want Shimano 105 (in black).

* Brooks saddle. At 290, a Thomson seat post?

* At 290, I'd like to be able to stop ... help w/brakes?

* Midge seems loved.

* Aesthetically, I love simplicity and the color black. That, combined with this thread --> A Child of the Forums (**Photos**) has me set on a black frame and as many black components as I can get.

Thank you in advance for the help.

I'll post progress and results.

Michael

Last edited by mc2600; 08-04-08 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 08-03-08, 11:16 PM   #2
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It's your dream. How can we help.
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Old 08-04-08, 04:52 AM   #3
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I just bought the complete in black. I'm 6'1", 270 so I'm one of the bigger guys here as well. I put the Tiagra STI shifters on it. I think I will get a different saddle because it's too narrow for me. I'm going to ride the rims for awhile but I am going to look at some bigger tires, maybe 700x35 instead of the 32's that came on it. Other than that, I will probably leave it as is and see how the upcoming season works out. I did one race last year and loved it so I'm going to try more this season.
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Old 08-04-08, 09:37 AM   #4
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caveat emptor, the brooks rails are such that even with it smashed all the way back, it tends to sit further forward than other saddles. couple that with a zero setback thompson and you might find it diffucult to get the seat far enough back to be comfortable. i know i did. the thompson setback post, however, seems to work well with brooks saddles, and that's probably why it was used on the bike you link to.

as for brakes, i've always found avids to be satisfactory and really like my ird cantis. in my experience, what's important is having good pads (koolstop are my favorites) and good adjustment. that's something worth learning to do right off the bat. check out sheldon brown's articles on cantilever brakes for some tips.

there's also the option of swapping out the fork for something disc capable, but i'd only go that route if i was dissatisfied with cantis (and i never have been).
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Old 08-04-08, 03:43 PM   #5
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There is nothing wrong with the prebuilt Cross Check. Just add a Brooks and you're ready to go. If you decide to race later on you can switch to STI.
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Old 08-04-08, 06:41 PM   #6
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How about Campagnolo Mirage or Veloce Infinite? 105 9 speed might be hard to find. Sram Rival will be black for 09. I really don't like black painted components, but if you do, these are happy days.

Now, to find some alloy Ergo levers :/
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Old 08-04-08, 09:34 PM   #7
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Here's mine:




Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtyphotons View Post
caveat emptor, the brooks rails are such that even with it smashed all the way back, it tends to sit further forward than other saddles. couple that with a zero setback thompson and you might find it diffucult to get the seat far enough back to be comfortable. i know i did. the thompson setback post, however, seems to work well with brooks saddles, and that's probably why it was used on the bike you link to.
+1

Even the Thomson setback post only has about 15mm of setback. I used a Ritchey Comp seatpost that had 25mm of setback on another bike and that was barely enough for a Brooks B17.

Also, in my opinion Midge bars (or similar bars like the WTB Mountain) don't work very well with integrated shifters because it puts them at such an angle that you can never use the brake hoods
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Old 08-04-08, 11:46 PM   #8
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taliesin,

Gorgeous bike ...

I can spot a few obvious things, but could you tell me what you upgraded from stock?

I'm ordering the bike this week, and really want to make the best choices I can at the start.

Thanks!

Michael
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Old 08-05-08, 12:54 AM   #9
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I bought the frameset and used a lot of components from a 2006 Felt F1X cyclocross bike to build it up: 105 brifters; 105 FD; Ultegra RD; Mavic CXP 22 / DT Swiss wheelset.

Also used:
Ritchey Comp seatpost
Thomson X2 Stem
and since this is a commuter and not a race bike I wanted a shallow drop bar so I could use the drops more often. This bar is a 3T Ergosum with a 84mm/125mm reach/drop. I really like the shape of it and I do use the drops more often now that they are a bit closer. The FSA Omega compact bar is basically the same and only costs $40.

Tires pictured are 700/28 Specialized Nimbus tires that I use when commuting. If I'm riding offroad, on paths, or on really mixed terrain I throw on some 700/32 Ritchey Speedmax cyclocross tires.

Good luck with your build!
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Old 08-05-08, 01:33 AM   #10
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I just payed the downpayment for a fixed Cross Check yesterday. After being ripped off by unfair price non-parity AND $170 in taxes, the bike ended up costing $1480, excluding tyres and saddle (provided by me). Canada sucks butt. The shop is giving me $80 in store credit and free lifetime tuneups (not needed).

* Black frame
* White Velocity fusion rims laced to Surly hubs with DT Competition spokes
* Shimano 105 crankset
* Syntace Stratos bullhorns
* Shimano cantilever brakes
* generic everything else (including mountain bike toe clips to fit winter boots)

I'm throwing some Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres and a Brooks Team Professional saddle on it.
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Old 08-05-08, 03:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtyphotons View Post
caveat emptor, the brooks rails are such that even with it smashed all the way back, it tends to sit further forward than other saddles. couple that with a zero setback thompson and you might find it diffucult to get the seat far enough back to be comfortable. i know i did. the thompson setback post, however, seems to work well with brooks saddles, and that's probably why it was used on the bike you link to.
I have a Thomson Elite on my Waterford. Not because it's good seatpost but it's the only 27.4mm I could find. My Brooks combined with the Thomson has almost no setback. That's a great point. In my case Thomson doesn't make a 27.4 setback.
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Old 08-11-08, 04:02 PM   #12
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i weigh 180 and my cantilever brakes barely stop me...
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Old 08-11-08, 08:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
There is nothing wrong with the prebuilt Cross Check. Just add a Brooks and you're ready to go. If you decide to race later on you can switch to STI.
This is just the discussion for me. I'm 6'3", 290# and I bought a Cross-Check complete this summer.

I was disappointed with the stock cranks. They're square taper and actually a triple. So, the chain line was poor and despite my tightening the non-drive side arm it spun off the taper.

One of the stock tires blew right off the rim. The stock pads do not brake well.

The saddle is for little people with little buts.

Other than that, it's a great bike. Since the bike was so cheap to begin with I didn't mind customizing right away.

I replaced the cranks with Shimano compact doubles. I replaced the tires with Panaracer T-Serves (35 width) and I replaced the saddle with a Specialized Avatar in my appropriate width.

I am VERY happy with this bike now.
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