Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Bikes: Kona Jake, Kona Jake the Snake, Kona Major Jake, Kona Kula, Ridley Excalibur, LeMond Buenos Aires, Pinarello Gran Turismo, Pinarello Montello, Trek 614, Austro-Daimler Team, Motobecane Grand Record, Schwinn Voyageur, Nishiki Olympic, Steyr Clubman
Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
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I'm always a little skeptical of online fit calculators. You can get a Surly Cross Check with a 42- or 46-cm seat tube, but the 42 has a 52.2 cm effective top tube (50.5 c-c, but that's kind of arbitrary depending on slope of the tube) and the 46 has a 52.9 cm effective top tube. I'd try those out and see how they fit.
Another option is to buy an early 90's Specialized Rock Hopper or Hard Rock and adapt it for CX use. I bought my daughter a Rock Hopper for this very purpose for $40. It was a 13.5" model. It came with cantilever brakes and a rigid fork. Put drop bars on that and skinnier tires and you've got yourself a cross bike. The only major disadvantage is that in these small sizes the top tube is sloped too much to properly shoulder the bike, but I think that 26" wheels make so much more sense for a small bike like this that it kind of balances out the shouldering issue, which can be worked around by grabbing the bike by the down tube.
Of course, after I wrote all that, I remembered seeing some really small Redlines at the local races last year, so I looked it up. This may be exactly what you want:
It's got a 35.5 cm seat tube (though you can always change that with a longer seat post) and a 45 cm top tube.