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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 04-14-10, 12:17 PM   #1
rjg001
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Mods to my Surly Crosscheck Complete for racing

I have a 2007 Surly Crosscheck complete bike that I bought new for use primarily for occasional commuting and to backup my road bike. I'm thinking about jumping into cyclocross this fall when the season starts up. I'm curious what people suggest would be the best bang-for-the-buck options to get the bike ready for cyclocross season. The complete specs on the bike can be found here: http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...heck&Type=bike

I'm not looking to spend a ton of money. Just advice as to the best things to consider to maybe lighten her up some and improve performance for $500 or less.
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Old 04-14-10, 01:11 PM   #2
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Tubular Wheel set and a good set of tires. Also moving to STI's would allow you to shift without moving your hands.
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Old 04-14-10, 02:59 PM   #3
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The "easy" button is to add proper cross tires and call it good enough.

The main thing from a user-interface perspective is the bar-end shifters - you'll have to move your hands to shift, which is a pain during a race, especially one where you're redlined the whole time and conditions might be slick. Throw on a 105 or Tiagra STI lever for the rear. Not too costly. The front can probably stay bar-end - you won't use it that much during a race.

From a pure bike performance perspective, tires and wheels are always the best upgrade. Something light, but still durable. Possibly tubular.
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Old 04-14-10, 03:03 PM   #4
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Some quich Googling...
Right 105 STI is around $150 new retail, less on ebay. Or find a used Ultegra version.
Williams Cycling cross tubular is $369
http://www.williamscycling.com/cyclo...yclocross.html
Or, find a used set.
Tires - take your pick from $30/tire up to around $100/tire

Tubular isn't required by any means. Most local racers are on clinchers. Tubulars might perform a bit better, but that's debatable, especially at our level.
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Old 04-14-10, 04:48 PM   #5
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Just take off the bottle cages and run it.
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Old 04-14-10, 06:05 PM   #6
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It's all about wheels. If you go the tubular route, I recommend the Williams cyclocross wheelset and Challenge Grifo 34 tires.
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Old 04-14-10, 06:43 PM   #7
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The only way to lighten it up, realistically, is to change the wheels to as light a pair as you can afford. Besides the wheels the only single component that you could swap out and save some non-negligible weight might be the bb/crankset. Or the fork, you could save some decent weight in the fork probably.
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Old 04-14-10, 09:46 PM   #8
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Aren't bar ends traditional for cross?

I would ride it as is until things break and then upgrade with the possible exception of tires to suit the race conditions, a new set of "race" wheels will certainly be a good investment and a useful reduction in weight..
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Old 04-14-10, 10:14 PM   #9
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Just take off the bottle cages and run it.
This is definitely what I'd recommend for just trying it out. If you have the money to spend on tubular wheels and tires that's almost certainly the best upgrade. Otherwise, you've probably worn the original tires enough to warrant replacement. I like Michelin Mud2's for clinchers (of course, we get a lot of mud around here -- ymmv).

I would also want to go with STI shifters, but that's kind of a personal preference thing. You can get Tiagra double shifters from Niagara Cycle for about $200 right now. If you went with recent Ultegra or 105 you'd also need to replace your cassette.

Above all, definitely jump in and race!
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Old 04-15-10, 06:22 AM   #10
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Thanks all. I figured wheels and tires would be what people recommended to start and what I had in mind. I'm going to stick with the bar end shifters at first until I get a feel for whether it works at all.
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Old 04-15-10, 07:35 AM   #11
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yeah stick with the barend. It would suck to have nice and shiny stis only to do a face plant in some mud and find out it is broken and gunked up.

Or you can do what i did... get a campy ergo shifter which is pretty much servicable..
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Old 04-24-10, 12:03 PM   #12
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Well, after reviewing the suggestions here, reading other threads, thinking about my own fitness and what I know about cross racing around here, I've got a plan. And so much for my budget.

Things I will definitely do:
-Williams Cyclocross wheels with some decent tubular tires - seems like this is the no brainer upgrade to start with
-Convert the double chainring to a single chainring - since I'll probably be wiping out a lot and think I'll be fine with something like a 40t combined with 11-28
-New saddle - thinking about Specialized Phenom since I've been very happy with other Specialized saddles on my road bikes
-Second set of tires to go on the stock rims for when its muddy
-Pedals and shoes, but undecided on what exactly

Things still on the table:
-New seatpost - any benefit to this?
-Lighter fork

I think a setup like this would be perfect and a blast for a cross newbie.

Last edited by rjg001; 04-24-10 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 04-24-10, 12:21 PM   #13
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A triple in a cross race is a complete waste. Pretty much most if not all cross bikes you see at races have compact doubles. The reason is because you will never go into the smallest chainring in a cross race because if you need to do that you just get off the bike and carry it.
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Old 04-24-10, 12:26 PM   #14
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A triple in a cross race is a complete waste. Pretty much most if not all cross bikes you see at races have compact doubles. The reason is because you will never go into the smallest chainring in a cross race because if you need to do that you just get off the bike and carry it.
Ooops - triple was a typo. Intended to say single. Between probably not needing to shift as much and laying the bike down a lot at first, seems like a single would be more foolproof.
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Old 04-24-10, 04:24 PM   #15
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Also, if anyone would know off hand what the seat tube diameter on a Crosscheck is that would be awesome. I can go measure it if I have to, but curious what size chain stops/retainers people have bought.
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Old 04-25-10, 12:59 AM   #16
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By the time you add the cost up of you current bike, new fork, brifters and wheelset you could have just bought a more suitable bike in the first place. This is going to cost less overall than what you're doing and it's a lot lighter. http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...oss_pro_IX.htm
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Old 04-25-10, 06:30 AM   #17
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By the time you add the cost up of you current bike, new fork, brifters and wheelset you could have just bought a more suitable bike in the first place. This is going to cost less overall than what you're doing and it's a lot lighter. http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...oss_pro_IX.htm
I'm not buying brifters, and really haven't shopped for or decided that I'm replacing the fork. And my experience is that pretty much any bike I buy for less than $2k is going to come with wheels, tires and a saddle that I'll feel like replacing, including the bike you posted. Combine that with some complaints about bikesdirect customer service and I'm not interested.

I haven't totally ruled out selling the Surly to buy something else, but I don't see myself saving any money doing that.
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Old 04-25-10, 12:51 PM   #18
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Also, if anyone would know off hand what the seat tube diameter on a Crosscheck is that would be awesome. I can go measure it if I have to, but curious what size chain stops/retainers people have bought.
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Old 04-25-10, 01:36 PM   #19
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I haven't totally ruled out selling the Surly to buy something else, but I don't see myself saving any money doing that.
Surly, while a tad on the heavy side, is a really nice bike. Most folks here love theirs. I was actually thinking about getting the wife a CC frameset. She's getting the Tri bug though. As versatile as the CC is, it isn't a great Tri bike.
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Old 04-25-10, 03:09 PM   #20
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Surly, while a tad on the heavy side, is a really nice bike. Most folks here love theirs. I was actually thinking about getting the wife a CC frameset. She's getting the Tri bug though. As versatile as the CC is, it isn't a great Tri bike.
That's why I got it in the first place - it was versatile enough to back up my road bike when it was in the shop, take out on gravel/dirt roads, cruise along with my wife when riding with her, etc. Now I want to give cyclocross a try and really the plan is to tinker with it to make it a little more race ready. And also to learn how to do some work on my bikes that I usually send them to the shop for. I'll probably spend more than I should but I think I'll have some fun with it in the end.
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Old 04-25-10, 04:18 PM   #21
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For two seasons I ran 1x10 with a Paul thumbie mount on top, which I preferred to bar-end. I also used sissy levers and rode from the tops a lot, it's a different style of riding than most, who tilt their bars up and spend 90% of the time on the hoods.

IMO tubulars are the biggest bang-for-buck improvement you can make. The ability to run low pressures with a much lower risk of pinchflatting is a significant advantage that goes way beyond what you get from gram-counting. It's worth the price and the hassle of gluing them. Squirt some Stan's sealant in them to protect from goatheads.

But to be honest I'd only make the tubular purchase after doing a couple races and seeing if cross racing is really your thing. (Or maybe just buy the tires and/or wheels over the summer, but leave them unglued and unused until you are sure.)
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Old 04-26-10, 04:50 PM   #22
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As for tubulars... yeah, if you find yourself getting really serious about racing 'cross, then go for it. Otherwise.... dude, a couple sets of clinchers (one for mud/slopy stuff, and one for harpack and grass) and you're good.

STI's are nice, but not necc. by a long shot.

as for the bike itself, I've seen quite a few people racing Surly's so I wouldn't sweat it. Like is said above, take the bottle cages off and go. Once you start placing in the top 10 in the B's, you might get serious about carbon fiber and the tubulars. Until then, it's more about the engine and less about the vehicle.
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