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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 05-27-09, 03:01 PM   #1
LeCollectif
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Surly Crosscheck Touring?

Hey Tourers!

First post here. I'm usually over in the fixed forum *ducks*. I love my track bike, but anything over 40km gets tiresome. I was looking for something on the more versatile side of things; specifically, something that will let me pack up all my camping gear should I ever be inclined. I was told that the Surly Cross Check is a great bike for all applications. However, I wanted to see if anyone in here has any extensive touring experience with it, including the addition of racks and panniers.

If not, perhaps someone can suggest a similar bike (with a similar price).

I'm sorry if the question has been asked before. I searched around and didn't find anything that directly addressed my particular enquiry.
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Old 05-27-09, 03:55 PM   #2
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I am not familiar with the Crosscheck, but for the kind of short tours that you mentioned, a cyclocross bike seems like it would work well. If you think you might try some longer tours (more than a week), I would recommend something with a more relaxed geometry. That being said, a friend of mine did ride all the way across the country last year on a Specialized Tricross, so it can be done.
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Old 05-27-09, 04:57 PM   #3
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That's why I got one. Though hopefully you will get to the point where 40k feels like nothing special.

If you plan to use a cross bike for touring, just make sure to set it up for low gearing -- e.g. a wider cassette, and set up the front either as a triple or compact double. Also the stock tires will be a little too knobby for road use.

Similar bikes to the Surly are the Bianchi Volpe (long used for tours), the Specialized TriCross, and the Jamis Aurora (a touring bike built on a cross frame).
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Old 05-27-09, 05:29 PM   #4
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I also take short tours on my cc. You do need wider gearing than what comes stock, as I discovered the hard way. Beyond that, I find it very comfy over the long term. It fits rear racks fine, and for short tours that is all you should need. Just make sure you get a saddle that you are comfortable with and you will be rockin and rollin.
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Old 05-28-09, 04:14 PM   #5
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i did san francisco to vancouver on my CC, using cyclo gearing... that #W@#$% bike is amazing.
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Old 05-28-09, 10:42 PM   #6
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I have a CC and have had no problems with it at all. Most ridden bike in my stable. I use the darn thing just about everyday. And the gearing, well, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger
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Old 05-29-09, 05:44 AM   #7
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I would change the gearing too. You're not going out and hammering on the hills for one day and then drinking beer that night. You might be doing it day after day after day in the heat and carrying 2 gallons of water like going from Nevada through Utah.
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Old 05-30-09, 06:53 PM   #8
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I just finished a southern tier solo tour a month ago on my crosscheck.

I put a MTB cassette on the back with some big cogs, but I left the front chainrings as they were.

I didn't have a granny gear, but the gearing was low enough that I could get up every hill on the route, usually with ease.
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Old 05-30-09, 07:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Spirald_out View Post
I just finished a southern tier solo tour a month ago on my crosscheck.

I put a MTB cassette on the back with some big cogs, but I left the front chainrings as they were.

I didn't have a granny gear, but the gearing was low enough that I could get up every hill on the route, usually with ease.
I actually have an 11-32 XT cassette that I thought about putting on mine. Did you have to do anything to the rear derailleur? Lengthen the chain? Or did it work right?
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Old 05-30-09, 07:21 PM   #10
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I don't have long distance touring experience with the Cross-Check but I have one and a LHT that I"ve ridden around town with weight daily. My touring experience has primarily been light/fast "sport touring" bikes from 20-30yrs ago.

It's a great choice for a "do everything" bike. Compared to the LHT there's more weight on the rear wheel so loading up the rear end further for touring doesn't work as well on the CC as it does on the LHT. I'd go for panniers on the front then load up the frame and top of the rear rack instead of big panniers on the back and no panniers on the front. Part of the geometry of a cc bike is control on dirt descents so a weighted back wheel makes sense. Loading up the rear wheel further isn't advantageous for higher speed paved riding. I'm setting up my CC with a light front rack for high mounted panniers in case I want to carry anything.
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Old 05-30-09, 07:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hot Rod Lincoln View Post
I actually have an 11-32 XT cassette that I thought about putting on mine. Did you have to do anything to the rear derailleur? Lengthen the chain? Or did it work right?
I put on a MTB rear derailleur too, plus a longer chain. This also reversed the shifter, which took a few big hills and shifting into a higher gear to finally get into my head!!

It seemed to give me low enough gears to get my 200lb self and all my self containing gear up the mountains. I think the smal chaining was a 36.
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Old 05-31-09, 04:29 PM   #12
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I toured japan a few years ago with my cross check. I had full rear panniers and a handlebar bag. The bike handled great. If you have one already don't hesitate at all to take it on tour. I agree with other people's advice to get a mountain cassette, 11-34. You may be able to get away with the double up front.
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