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Old 07-22-09, 09:26 AM   #1
steveklebanoff
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Configuring a Surly Cross Check for a small tour?

I've been riding an old heavy rebuilt 80's schwinn world sport for a while. I've been getting into doing longer distance rides on the weekend and i'm planning on going on a 4 or 5 day tour (~50 miles each day) at the end of next month, and I need a new bike for it.

I've ridden the jamis aurora, fuji touring, trek 520, long haul trucker, and the cross check. I've enjoyed riding the trek 520 and the cross check the most. I'm pretty set on a cross check as it felt slightly faster and zippier than the trek 520 and seems more appropriate for my use -- an 'everything' bike for commuting in the city, weekly 60ish mile rides, and the occasional few day tour.

I'm looking at two options -- having my LBS modify a '08 build up they have, or buying parts from a '06 buildup someone has on craigslist and having my LBS build up the rest. I've got a few questions about the configuration though which people may be able to help out, as I've seen some people describing touring on a cross check on this forum.

I'm planning on swapping out (at least the rear wheel) with a 36 spoke wheel that can handle a load. I'm planning on touring with a tent and sleeping bag and a decent amount of provisions. It seems necessary to have a better rear wheel than the stock one, correct?

Also, I realize that the stock buildup doesn't seem to have enough gear options for riding loaded with stuff. I plan on having my LBS add a third chain ring to the crank and a new bottom bracket and front derailler to accommodate it. My question is -- could I get away with just adding the 3rd chain ring, or to be able to carry a load comfortably do I need to get a wider rear gear cluster (which I think means a new rear derailler as well?)

Also, with the 06 cross check setup I'm looking at buying parts from on craigslist, I have the option of either getting it with a CC fork or a LHT fork. I kinda want the LHT for the front eyelids, but would it make the handling/ride feel less quick and zippy like the LHT is? Anyone ridden with this setup?

Has anyone on here modified their cross check to handle what I'm describing, and have any thoughts on this stuff, as well as any other thoughts on things I may have missed?

Muchos gracias

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Old 07-22-09, 09:37 AM   #2
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I'd be surprised if there was any difference between the forks other than the lo-rider mounts. I can't see specs on the Surly website, but they look extremely similar through the legs, crown, rake and drop.
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Old 07-22-09, 09:54 AM   #3
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I'd be surprised if there was any difference between the forks other than the lo-rider mounts. I can't see specs on the Surly website, but they look extremely similar through the legs, crown, rake and drop.
Okay, cool, that's what I expected. If I go with the craigslist deal i'll likely get the LHT fork then
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Old 07-22-09, 11:10 AM   #4
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I think the LHT fork is beefier. The Cross-check is a good candidate for a small front rack and saddle bag or front panniers and light rear rack with gear strapped on top. That way you get to enjoy the bikes handling compared to hanging panniers way off the back.

I'm installing this rack on the front of a cc

http://www.velo-orange.com/vochplcofrra.html
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Old 07-22-09, 02:58 PM   #5
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I've set up my CC for touring. A few quick considerations:

Gearing
Fairly easy to change. The stock CC crankset can be set up as a compact double or a triple. If you go for a triple, you will also need to swap out the BB and FD. Shop should do this for free.

You may also want to go for a different cassette. Stock is 12-25, so unless you go very low with the front rings, you will probably want something wider. In my case I went for an 11-34, which pretty much required a different RD. I don't know if this would be a freebie from the shop; in my case, I did it later and took the parts, so it wasn't.


Position
The CC will have a less upright position than the LHT. CC position should be more than sufficient for a 4-5 day tour, but in general if you want a more upright position, LHT is better; if you want a lower position and thus a little more speed, CC.


Everything else
Unless you weigh 250 lbs, I think the stock wheels should be fine; just have the LBS check 'em to be sure.

You may want to upgrade the brakes; I wasn't fond of the Tektro Orxy and went with an Avid Short 4. Properly set up, they're about as good as calipers IMO.

I don't think front eyelets are all that critical. You can either get P-clamps, or use a front rack that attaches to the brake bosses (e.g. Old Man Mountain).

I recommend Fizik bar gels, by the way.
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Old 07-22-09, 05:58 PM   #6
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I've set up my CC for touring. A few quick considerations:

Gearing
Fairly easy to change. The stock CC crankset can be set up as a compact double or a triple. If you go for a triple, you will also need to swap out the BB and FD. Shop should do this for free.

You may also want to go for a different cassette. Stock is 12-25, so unless you go very low with the front rings, you will probably want something wider. In my case I went for an 11-34, which pretty much required a different RD. I don't know if this would be a freebie from the shop; in my case, I did it later and took the parts, so it wasn't.


Position
The CC will have a less upright position than the LHT. CC position should be more than sufficient for a 4-5 day tour, but in general if you want a more upright position, LHT is better; if you want a lower position and thus a little more speed, CC.


Everything else
Unless you weigh 250 lbs, I think the stock wheels should be fine; just have the LBS check 'em to be sure.

You may want to upgrade the brakes; I wasn't fond of the Tektro Orxy and went with an Avid Short 4. Properly set up, they're about as good as calipers IMO.

I don't think front eyelets are all that critical. You can either get P-clamps, or use a front rack that attaches to the brake bosses (e.g. Old Man Mountain).

I recommend Fizik bar gels, by the way.
Many thanks for all the detailed information, this is exactly what I was looking for. Just curious -- Have you taken it out for a tour-- and what tires did you use?
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Old 07-22-09, 10:05 PM   #7
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Many thanks for all the detailed information, this is exactly what I was looking for. Just curious -- Have you taken it out for a tour-- and what tires did you use?
I have a stock CC with the exception of wheels because I am 260 lbs. I laced DT Swiss 700c rims to xt hubs using double butted spokes. I also am using Schwalbe Marathon 700cx28s for around town and the same tire in 32 for touring. Here is my set-up with Nitto Campee racks front and rear











This was before I got the bags and Campees





I have several bikes but the Surly is my go-to bike for everything. I ride it more than I ride my mtb's. I am touring on it and it is set-up just right for me with the exception of the drivetrain which will be made into an XT level mountain triple
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Old 07-22-09, 10:57 PM   #8
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I put the LHT fork on my CC and it works fine. I use the Surly Nice Rack front and rear with TransIt pro's on front and Lone Peak P-500 panniers on the rear.

LHT forks on my Cross Check
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Old 07-23-09, 08:48 AM   #9
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I put the LHT fork on my CC and it works fine. I use the Surly Nice Rack front and rear with TransIt pro's on front and Lone Peak P-500 panniers on the rear.

LHT forks on my Cross Check
cool bike. What kind of tires are those? Look almost like TransWorlds. Never mind, I noticed in your OP in that thread, Transit Pro's
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Old 07-23-09, 09:58 AM   #10
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Just curious -- Have you taken it out for a tour-- and what tires did you use?
No tours yet, the fates are conspiring against me. However I have done a quick test loading the bike; seems to me that unless you're going very light, the bike handles better with some weight on a front rack. I might switch to a trailer, haven't decided yet.

Using 700 x 28c Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons. Very good all-around performance tire.
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Old 07-23-09, 11:02 AM   #11
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Awesome, thanks for the info guys.

For the people that have ridden their cross checks loaded with stuff -- do you think I need a wider gear cluster that warrants a different rear derailler than the stock shimano tiagra?
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Old 07-24-09, 03:56 AM   #12
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The tires are Sweetskinz's.
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Old 07-28-09, 09:19 AM   #13
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I have my CC set up as a flat bar do-all bike. I toured Yellowstone last year with just reat panniers and a handlebar bag and it was great. I have also put on 38mm dual sport tires and spent a weekend riding trails and gravel roads in the Allegheny. The bike does everything well.

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Old 07-28-09, 09:42 AM   #14
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Here's my CC set up for touring. Jandd mini-mountains in back, Topeak Dry Bags up front (these will be replaced), pad, tent and misc. stuff items on rear rack. Handles fine once you find the right load balance. Too much weight on the rear rack lead to some early wobble. Gearing wise I ran a 30t small chainring with a 12-27 cassette and was in dire need of lower gearing. One of those things on my to-do list before leaving and just never got around to it, some Pa. hills made me pay.
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Old 07-28-09, 10:02 AM   #15
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hot rod lincoln, what kind of brakes do you have on your CC? my 6 year old shimanos are starting to go and i wanted to replace with these (http://www.velo-orange.com/tebrler2r1.html) , do you think they'll work??
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Old 07-28-09, 11:19 PM   #16
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Here's mine on tour this past weekend. The bike was built from parts. Here's a breakdown:

* 2009 Cross Check frame
* Nitto noodle bars; 42 cm
* Tektro R200 levers
* Syntace C2 aerobars
* Velo Orange 72 deg stem
* Cheapie FSA headset
* Shimano BR-550 cantilever brakes
* 9 speed Dura Ace barend shifters
* Shimano 105 road triple crankset (130 & 74 BCD), with 48-38-24 TA chainrings
* 9 speed Tiagra front derailleur (supposedly the best one according to some here)
* Shimano XT Shadow rear derailleur
* Spare wheelset shown in photo, with 7 speed cassette shifted with barends in friction mode. I find the 13-25 range of the 7 speed cassette to be just barely low enough.
* Will eventually be 36 spoke XT hubs with Mavic CXP33 rims (awaiting shipment), with 11-34 cassette.
* Cheapie random seatpost
* Brooks Team Professional saddle
* Cheapie 6 Euro Sram chain (no problem yet)
* Jandd Expedition rear rack
* Old Man Mountain AC Lowrider front rack
* Mec rear panniers; Axiom front panniers (no problems with either)

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