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  1. #1
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    Cross Check vs LHT and their brakes

    Hello,

    I am beguinning a built of what I would describe as a "very general use" bike.
    No CX racing, but instead commuting, some touring and lots of trails (with singletrack).
    Because of this, I am planning to mount 42 or 45mm tires.

    The two contenders are the Surly Cross Check and the Long Haul Trucker (LHT).
    The LHT seems to be stouter, but the BB drop looks quite big for singletrack and the vertical dropouts put me a little off in case of a derailleur failure.
    The Cross Check seems a little better in trail/offroad, the dropouts are derailleur-proof but I'm a little afraid of lack of strengh when loaded for touring in harsh conditions.

    What do you think?


    Regarding brakes, I never installed cantis before.
    Considering the kind of use I intent and the tires (42 - 45mm) should I go for v-brakes instead? Would they look a little weird on this otherwise classic looking bikes?


    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    With my cross check there was some flex in the back when loaded down, but nothing tremendously worrisome. My frame was also 62cm so more flex than a smaller frame would have. I think I've seen your other bikes on MTBR. Would you be on a 60cm?

    The Cross Check was great in the trails and awesome for commuting and general use. Will touring be a priority or just a small portion of the bike's usage? If I were to take it touring in rough stuff extensively, I would use a big frame bag and pack panniers lightly, but wouldn't be worried about the frame's ability to handle the task. Plenty of people tour a good bit with their cross checks.

    As for brakes, I don't mind cantis. With some fiddling they work really well, but v brakes are also great if you get levers that can handle the longer pull. V brakes won't kill the classic look to me, especially if the bike looks ridden and not just for show.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by vaultbrad View Post
    I think I've seen your other bikes on MTBR. Would you be on a 60cm?
    Yes, I usually roam around MTBR, but I am finding bikeforums increasingly rich in information.
    I am 6'1, 33" inseam and plan to use a 90mm stem with Salsa Cowbell bars. I have been advised to go for the 58cm size.

    Quote Originally Posted by vaultbrad View Post
    The Cross Check was great in the trails and awesome for commuting and general use. Will touring be a priority or just a small portion of the bike's usage?
    We all say/plan to tour a lot more with our bikes than we actually do, don't we? So let's keep this realistic and say that the bike will be used mostly mixed road/path riding and trail/singletrack. But when I tour, I want it to perform to minimum standards and not worry about the frame.

    Quote Originally Posted by vaultbrad View Post
    As for brakes, I don't mind cantis. With some fiddling they work really well, but v brakes are also great if you get levers that can handle the longer pull. V brakes won't kill the classic look to me, especially if the bike looks ridden and not just for show.
    Tektro RL520 levers work great with v-brakes. I had a pair on my drop bar Singular Swift some years ago.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Seems to me you are describing the Salsa Fargo 3. 2014 Fargo 3 | Bikes | Salsa Cycles

  5. #5
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    Not interested in the Fargo, I really want a classic geometry, rim brake bike this time

  6. #6
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    Gordon Taylor rode many thousands of loaded miles on his Cross Check. I would not be concerned with frame longevity and touring. He used V brakes and Magura hydraulic rim brakes.

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    I do not own a Cross Check (CC) or LHT, but have many friends who have done cross country trips on the CC with no complaints - it seems as capable a tourer as it brethren. IMO, the CC seems more versatile and if I was in the market for a new bike, it would be high on my list (higher than the LHT).

    regarding canti's vs V's. I have 2 bikes, one with each. V-brakes are easier to set-up, easier to adjust, and feel like they have more stopping power. That said, I prefer the aesthetics of canti's. Maybe look into mini-v's they seem to have the best of both (Great application and good looks).

  8. #8
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    Don't mini-vbrakes have some tire clearance issues? Mind that I plan to run 42 or 45mm tires

  9. #9
    Member furiousbox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ze_zaskar View Post
    Don't mini-vbrakes have some tire clearance issues? Mind that I plan to run 42 or 45mm tires
    I swapped the front tektro oryx cantis that came stock on my cross check for the CR720s and had good success with better stopping power. After putting on a carbon fork I moved to the Paul mini-moto. It brakes much better than the cantis. Not sure how much clearance it has for 42s as I run 33s.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    brakes are pretty interchangeable v or cantilever, though older bikes set the fork posts closer together .. so the fit is a bit different.

    Give Maguras hydraulic rim brakes a + vote, they're just not offered with drop bar levers ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-13-14 at 04:34 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by furiousbox View Post
    I swapped the front tektro oryx cantis that came stock on my cross check for the CR720s and had good success with better stopping power. After putting on a carbon fork I moved to the Paul mini-moto. It brakes much better than the cantis. Not sure how much clearance it has for 42s as I run 33s.
    The only reason switching to CR720s gave you better stopping power is because the Oryxes were set up very badly. Low-profile cantis like the Oryx have much better maximum braking power than low-profile cantis like the CR720 when set up correctly. The Oryx is a very powerful brake, I had no problems with them.

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    Biggest doubt remain to be with the brakes.
    The current questions are:

    a) will regular v-brakes interfere with the installation of the rear rack (Tubus Cargo or Vega)?

    b) would the cross cable of mini v-brakes touch the big 42 or 47mm tires?

    c) are cantis (Tektro CR720) that hard to install?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Nick The Beard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ze_zaskar View Post
    Biggest doubt remain to be with the brakes.
    The current questions are:

    a) will regular v-brakes interfere with the installation of the rear rack (Tubus Cargo or Vega)?

    b) would the cross cable of mini v-brakes touch the big 42 or 47mm tires?

    c) are cantis (Tektro CR720) that hard to install?

    I ride mostly as a commuter with full fenders and Schwalbe Big Bens which are labelled as a 50 but measure out to 47 on stock rims. I've also done some mellow singletrack and dirt road riding with the Big Bens, Bontrager 29x2.0, and the stock Kendas. On a 52 the toe overlap with the Bens and fenders makes tight turns obnoxious, but is easily managed with the big tires and no fenders, and nonexistent with the stock tires.

    With the stock brakes I have only wanted more stopping power a couple times when I was riding through stormy weather. Even then it wasn't too bad, I just had to squeeze a little harder. I don't have to deal with much in the way of hills but our thunderstorms are legit. I bet a pair of Koolstops salmon pads would satisfy me on stormy days. In dry weather I've pedaled my rig with about 120 lbs of dog and adventure cargo in tow and been totally satisfied with my stopping power even going down the steepest/longest hills I could find in the area.

    I have used it with a seatpost rack with panniers and a light laptop and textbooks was enough to make the handling suffer noticeably. After reading something on here I got a Tubus Duo and am carrying the weight low and forward instead of high in the back, and the handling is way better even if I'm carrying 3 times the weight or have all of it on just one side. I'm not sure how low slung panniers (Cosmo/Logo) on a rear rack would go, but I think this bike just carries the weight better up front. Either way I wouldn't recommend the Cargo or Vega for this bike. I'm guessing you'd have clearance for v-brakes but could see it being close and I've never done it myself so I'm just looking at my frame and guessing sizes. Also think about heel strike since it doesn't have super long chainstays.

    These brakes are a little tougher than v brakes to install but not by much and you can learn how to fine tune them real quick. I've found that having the cross cable slung low gives me good stopping power with minimal slop. I the cross cable across the two posts and adjust its length so that I just have enough clearance for my tires and fenders and then I run the main cable and adjust it's length so that I'm happy with rim/tire clearance and level throw. Nothing scary.
    http://instagram.com/nickandbruce

  14. #14
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    I'll go with the Tektro CR720, if not just to try something different.

    One more question, the front derailleur. My crankset will be 22-32-44(or46). I'm using Dura Ace bar end shifters (friction FD) and would like to go for down swing for durability's sake.
    However, my supplier is not stocking any Shimano road triple FDs, and I'm afraid a mtb FD would look awful and have clearance issues (tire, chainstays and bottle bolts). Do you think a road double FD would work?

    Thanks for all the help so far

  15. #15
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ze_zaskar View Post
    Biggest doubt remain to be with the brakes.
    The current questions are:

    a) will regular v-brakes interfere with the installation of the rear rack (Tubus Cargo or Vega)?

    b) would the cross cable of mini v-brakes touch the big 42 or 47mm tires?

    c) are cantis (Tektro CR720) that hard to install?
    a) No

    b) Possibly

    c) Not really, especially with a wide profile brake like the CR720. They are harder to install than V-brakes with matched levers. The biggest issue is that with narrow profile cantilevers it's possible to make them work badly in a way that isn't possible with most brakes.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the help guys.

    It's ridiculous, I've never been so undecided between two bikes before.

    The Cross Check seems to be a versatile bike, and looks to be great fun on the trails with both 45mm or even 35mm CX tires.

    The LHT however has a special appeal, it just looks like the ultimate "throw anything at it", do everything with confidence, utility SHTF proof bike.

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