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Old 09-04-12, 10:07 PM   #1
logflume
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2012 Cross Check Complete -- Stock Gearing Good Enough to Tour???

Hello All....first time poster here and I wanted to pick the collective BF brain. I am about to pull the trigger on a new bike and I've decided (at least for now -- ask me next week and I'll say something else) to get the Surly Cross Check. I would like to be able to use it for light touring. I prolly won't do loaded touring on it, BUT it would be nice to have the option if the urge arises. However, l will mainly use the bike as a commuter and for longer fitness rides.

It looks like the 2012 has a compact double with with an 11-32 cassette in the back. I've done a search of old threads which said that you'd need to replace the stock gearing on a CC if you wanted to tour to a triple, but those threads are old, dated from when the bike came with a 12-25 cassette (I believe).

I am working on a tight budget and really don't want have to make any modifications to the complete model. So my question is: could I get away with the stock gearing on the 2012 model or would I need to upgrade to a triple???

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Last edited by logflume; 09-04-12 at 10:09 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-04-12, 10:19 PM   #2
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Depends on the terrain, your load, and your fitness. I have done CC touring with a standard crankset and a 12-25 with no real issues. If I was loaded I would want lower gears though. If money is tight you can always talk your LBS into swapping the cassette for a 12-36 and have more gearing than you will likely ever need on the bike. There may be a small up charge for it but if you mention it before picking up the bike it will probably not be much.
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Old 09-04-12, 10:25 PM   #3
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Depends on the terrain, your load, and your fitness. I have done CC touring with a standard crankset and a 12-25 with no real issues. If I was loaded I would want lower gears though. If money is tight you can always talk your LBS into swapping the cassette for a 12-36 and have more gearing than you will likely ever need on the bike. There may be a small up charge for it but if you mention it before picking up the bike it will probably not be much.
Thanks for the tip!
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Old 09-04-12, 11:59 PM   #4
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personally 50/34 x 11/32t is totally doable for me touring light. racks and panniers? uh.. maybe. in bikepacking method, and sticking to mostly paved roads, that 34x32t with less than 20lbs of gear is doable.
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Old 09-05-12, 08:19 AM   #5
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It all depends on the road and your total load. My bike with camping gear, tools and spares, and several days of food is probably a total of maybe 100 pounds. On a 10 percent grade, I have trouble cranking up hills with my 24t front and 32 rear, but I also have trouble staying upright when I am slower than 4 mph so that also dictates my minimum speed. But, touring in flatter areas where you might not have a grade any steeper than say 5 percent, that gearing should work for you, especially if you are doing credit card touring. I have done some rails to trails type of trips where your gearing would work.



I do not know if there are any tripelizers made that would fit on your compact double that would allow it to be converted to a triple or not. If so, that might be cheaper than a new complete crankset. Also, I do not know if the shifter and derailleur would need to be changed for a triple.

You could start with the double and watch for a good price on a triple on ebay.
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Old 09-05-12, 08:39 AM   #6
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Here's what Surly says in its FAQs to answer the question of whether you can convert the Cross Check into a triple (it doesn't appear as if a tripleizer is needed):

"Yes, but you'll need to buy some stuff. The crankset that comes stock on our complete bike will accommodate a 74mm bolt circle granny ring. You'll need a 74mm BCD chainring, some bolts and spacers for it, and a longer bottom bracket (think 118ish) . You can probably get this done for around $100 at a bike shop. The stock shifters and front derailleur will work fine with it"

http://surlybikes.com/info_hole/faqs..._into_a_triple

Consider asking your bike shop how much the swap would cost -- might not cost too much.
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Old 09-05-12, 09:05 AM   #7
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Depends on load, terrain, and distance. If your tours are 30 miles on rail-trails, you might get by with stock gears. For any significant load in any significant mountains, I'd want a (mountain) triple crank on the bike. Or if you're going more than 25-30 miles every day.

On a multi-day tour, Murphy's Law says you'll hit the perfect combination of a heavy load and steep climb at the end of a long day, and you'll need lower gears. Just a 4 mile, 6% climb towards the end of a 50 mile ride this weekend had me headed for my granny -- almost the only time I've hit it this year!
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Old 09-05-12, 09:27 AM   #8
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For any significant load in any significant mountains, I'd want a (mountain) triple crank on the bike. Or if you're going more than 25-30 miles every day.
I will add that I have found that what is needed is not necessarily a triple, but just smaller rings. That might be as well accomplished with a double. The problem is that the bolt circle on road compact doubles is too large to allow that.

My solution recently has been to remove the big ring and use just two rings on a triple as an ultra compact double. I did that on my southern tier ride last winter and was very happy with it. In that case I used a 39-26 on the front.

There are now some MTB doubles that accomplish the same thing. Some of them can even be inexpensive. The Truvativ Blaze 2.1 AM crankset for one can be found for something like $70.

I have found that in some cases you can even get by with a short cage derailleur when you eliminate the big ring. The short cage is less likely to be damaged and allows crisper shifts.
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Old 09-05-12, 09:40 AM   #9
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I recently did a short ride on my Vaya with the compact double and the 11-32T cassette. this seems to match the 34x32 low gear and an approx 27.xx gear inches with the 26" rims.. I run Shimano 105s though so I can change to a triple if I feel the need for even lower gears but so far, so good. I am a very ultralight bike tourer as I'm already an experienced backpacker so I have all the nice fancy lightweight gear and I found I still had 3-4 lower gears to go on the biggest hills I experienced. None of them are long and most of them are not really steep, I would guess the steepest were at most 8-9% grade.

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Old 09-18-12, 09:02 PM   #10
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Thanks...I am definitely going to do this.
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