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Old 08-30-10, 07:50 PM   #1
Belladonna
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Suggestions on what to put on my Surly Cross Check Frame?

I'm buying the Cross Check, this I know for sure. I'm leaning toward buying only the frame and building it up from there. I'm a novice at bike building but have plenty of bike know-how friends/people willing to help me with it. Plus putting my own bike together is a great way to learn more about it. Any suggestions on what parts to get?

Circumstances:
I'm going to be commuting with it every day, but will go on monthly touring excursions. Rainy, uphill conditions with mainly decent roads but 1/4 of it will be a tad... bumpy.

Tires: I'm looking at 700 x 35C Schwalbe Marathon tires
Headset: I was recommended a Chris King but damn is it expensive. Has anyone here who tours/commutes had that brand?

My list of bike parts is small yet, I know, but I'm working on building my knowledge up for it. So all suggestions are welcome. What do you have on your bike? Do you like it?


(I have approx. $750 for everything AFTER buying the frame.)

Last edited by Belladonna; 08-30-10 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 08-30-10, 09:07 PM   #2
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I just finished building up a cross check as a platform specifically set so that I can switch it between touring and cross racing. I have 6700 Ultegra on it, compact, but can easily swap out the rear wheel with a 29er wheel/mtb cassette, and long cage XT derailleur. The rack is staying on it for now, but takes five minutes to take off.
I have a cane creek headset, and I know a lot of people have a lot to say about headsets but in 20 years of riding and racing I have never broken one, or worn one out that I can remember, so I figure any decent one is going to be plenty good.
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Old 08-30-10, 11:29 PM   #3
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Depending on what you want for gearing, This setup works really well for putting a mountain bike crank on a road bike while keeping the 45-47mm chainline. I've used it on four bikes now and it should work on any bike with a 68mm bottom bracket shell. An 103mm bottom bracket (Harris Cycles), Sugino XD 500 44/32/22 crank (square taper), Tiagra STI shifters, Tiagra 4503 9 spd triple front derailleur, LX rear derailleur, and an 11/34 cassette. I just finished a LHT with this configuration, and am really pleased at how well it works. The combination spins out at about 90 rpm at 28 mph, but can climb a hill at 3.5 mph at the same cadence.

If you want higher gearing, a "trekking crank", Sugino XD 600, 48/36/26 with an 110 bottom bracket will also work with all of the above.

My wife's bike has a Kris King headset. It takes some special tools to install , so I had the shop that built her frame install it. It does go together nicely, and has sealed bearings. I also put the 44/32/22 cranks on her new bike. Like benejah said, headsets don't seem to wear out, so I just put a FSA headset on mine. Without the KK headset you might be able to come close to your budget. Wheels can be fairly significant cost items. As you probably know, building a bike is not usually less expensive than buying a built bike. However, you do pick the parts and when you are finished it is a "custom" bike.

Good luck on your build. Keep us posted on your progress
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Old 08-31-10, 07:15 AM   #4
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Fenders. SKS P45 or P50 fenders. P50 will accommodate most any tire size, but P45 will work for 700x35 tires. With fenders, it doesn't matter so much what sort of headset you have, the headset isn't going to see a lot of mud or grit. Cane Creek S-3 headsets work pretty well. Use the money that you save to get bags that keep your stuff dry and lights that allow you to see and be seen in dark, rainy weather.

I like bling just as well as the next guy, but the less bling you have on your commuter bike, the less likely that somebody is going to try to swipe it. You're the only person who needs to know how special your bike is.
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Old 08-31-10, 08:21 AM   #5
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Just for the record, I have a Shimano XT touring drivetrain (mostly). It was the end of the season and I was able to get those parts for less than extremely expensive.
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Old 08-31-10, 09:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ploeg View Post
Fenders. SKS P45 or P50 fenders.
I've used both SKS and Planet Bike fenders. Between the two, I greatly prefer the Planet Bike fenders; they seemed much less fiddly to install (no hack-sawing of struts necessary). Both brands seem like over-priced plastic, though I haven't had a problem with either...

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Originally Posted by benajah View Post
I have a cane creek headset, and I know a lot of people have a lot to say about headsets but in 20 years of riding and racing I have never broken one, or worn one out that I can remember, so I figure any decent one is going to be plenty good.
If you're going to ride around the world off-road in a continuous monsoon park outside and never do any maintenance on your bike, buy a Chris King headset.

Otherwise, save your money and buy a Cane Creek, FSA, etc. for 1/3rd of the price. King headsets are beautiful, but they're also complete overkill for the vast majority of riders...
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Old 08-31-10, 10:26 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
I've used both SKS and Planet Bike fenders. Between the two, I greatly prefer the Planet Bike fenders; they seemed much less fiddly to install (no hack-sawing of struts necessary). Both brands seem like over-priced plastic, though I haven't had a problem with either...
Agree that you don't need to hack-saw the PB struts, though many would probably want to. A Dremel tool with a cutting disc works well for that, and when you're done, you're done. I would get the Planet Bike 45mm Cascadia fenders with the v-struts (three support points in the front and four in the back).
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Old 08-31-10, 10:28 AM   #8
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Rohloff rear hub, internal 14 speed, whole mountain bike gear ratio set, without all those external parts.
Schmidt front hub... all weather lighting .. low rolling resistance ..
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Old 08-31-10, 07:52 PM   #9
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if you don't have money to burn get a Cane Creek or other lower cost headset. There are lighter/cheaper tires than the Schwalbe Marathon tires, pick any one. I don't understand why you're buying a frame and building up if you don't already have parts or are concerned with cost. Buying a complete Cross-Check would be the cheapest way to start.
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Old 09-07-10, 04:17 AM   #10
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I second LeeG - Just buy a complete. It is the best deal. Building a bike from scratch will be more expensive (unless you already have a number of components or a wheelset) - especially if you are already looking at Schwalbe and Chris King....but if you must....

For tires I strongly recommend Vittoria Randonneurs. Best tires I have ever had the pleasure to ride. They are fairly cheap and super durable. I have had 1 flat out of 6 tires used (and that was a construction staple)!

And as for the King...don't waste your money. They are NOT worth it. Get a FSA Pig DH Pro off ebay for 1/3 the cost. I own both. The Pig uses a metal split ring while the King uses an o-ring! Granted the King hasn't failed me in the last year but the Pig is three years old and going strong year-round in MN.
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Old 09-11-10, 02:33 AM   #11
Belladonna
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thanks guys, some of that is very helpful. I'm definitely re-thinking the KK headset. I'm light weight (115lbs) and I don't do a lot of off road, so I think a cheaper one will do.
and yes, I know it's cheaper and easier to buy the full bike, but really, where's the fun in that? I think half the fun of riding the bike is knowing I put it together
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Old 09-11-10, 10:00 AM   #12
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if you're building it from scratch, might as well build a wheel with a dynamo hub.
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