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Which Surly model?

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Which Surly model?

Old 09-10-12, 09:49 AM
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Which Surly model?

I've decided to get a Surly bike. I'd like to get steel for sturdiness and a less harsh ride. I would use the bike for riding on MUPs, bike paths and occasionally on roads that could range from terrible to good. No plans to ride on trails or do any touring, although I'd like to keep those options open. Not looking for a fast race bike (like my previous Cannondale CAAD 10) and not looking for a cruiser either - something in between. I'd like to be able to add racks and might want to carry a kid in a seat, so it has to be safe+sturdy for that. I figure I want a long wheelbase, larger trail, slacker seat tube and head tube angles, more upright riding position, would probably have the saddle below the handlebars, get a comfy Brooks saddle and put on some reasonable fat tires. For bars, I really don't want drop bars (too aggressive and less upright) or flat bars (makes my hands numb), so was thinking of a bar that allows multiple hand positions and quick access to brakes perhaps the trekking/touring and moustache bars but North Road bars look good too. I've considered other steel bikes like Soma (Doublecross, ES), Salsa (Vaya, Fargo), Jamis Aurora, Raleigh Port Townsend, Rei Novara Safari but I've found Surly to be the sweet spot for price and functionality for me. I also looked at some hybrids like the Specialized Sirrus and Trek FXs, but I'd like to go with steel. With gearing I don't have many needs, single speed (not fixed) or basic gearing would be fine. So I'm down to choosing between LHT, Surly Cross Check, Karate Monkey, Steamroller, Troll and whether to buy a complete bike and swap some components (like saddle and handlebar), or build the bike up or buy a used frame/bike. I was hoping to spend between $500 and $1200. While I don't plan to lock up the bike much here in NYC, I would like to have that option and a cheaper looking bike would certainly help a little. I won't be able to try out bikes for a few months as I am recovering from bike related injuries. Would welcome suggestions from people who have experience with Surly bikes or those who have been in my situation.
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Old 09-10-12, 11:07 AM
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Do you prefer drop bars or flat bars? Making that decision cuts your list of choices more or less in half.
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Old 09-10-12, 11:41 AM
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Not a fan of flat bars.
Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
Do you prefer drop bars or flat bars? Making that decision cuts your list of choices more or less in half.
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Old 09-10-12, 11:50 AM
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Looks like you've looked at all the major brands and offerings they have. Actually, there is one that I came across that might interest you: All City Cycles Space Horse.

https://trackosaurusrex.com/pblog/ind...y120602-120734

I can't get All City Cycles website to load though, and all related links seem to be down! Hope that's not a sign...

Just based on what you describe, I'd almost suggest the Surly Cross Check: that's what everybody suggested to me. I ended up with a Rivendell though with the moustache bars you describe. I know what you mean that you don't want to be too aggressive in your posture, but you still want some speed. The moustache bars let me achieve a more forward position but not so low that it's a strain after a while compared to drop bars.

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Old 09-10-12, 12:00 PM
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Some people say they don't like drop bars, but they really don't like them because on most bikes they are too low. Try drop bars with a stem riser on threadless stems, or stems with longer quills. I think drop bars provide enough possible hand positions for comfort. Just get them higher.
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Old 09-10-12, 12:59 PM
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I'd rethink this.

Originally Posted by cheap_skate
While I don't plan to lock up the bike much here in NYC
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Old 09-10-12, 02:03 PM
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Looking at getting a Cross Check when things pick up.
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Old 09-10-12, 02:29 PM
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Cross Check
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Old 09-10-12, 02:39 PM
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Road or some dirt? 26 or 29" tires? Big fat tires? with fenders? I'm 6'4" , 29ers fit me better. Racks and bags? With fenders. Disk brakes?
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Old 09-10-12, 06:39 PM
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had the albatross handlebar on my cross check, a practical compromise between flat and drop - worked well for commuting and utility riding
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Old 09-10-12, 10:02 PM
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So the Cross Check gets a lot of votes. Given my needs, should I buy the complete bike and change the handlebars, saddle, tires or do a custom build? Like I said, I'd like to keep the price between $500 and $1200, so please don't suggest another bike that is 'only' $1500+ or something. I can go used, and don't mind simple gearing and basic parts that function and are reasonably durable. For bars, I will try to see if I can check out albatross, moustache, north road and trekking bars in person.
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Old 09-10-12, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by cheap_skate
So the Cross Check gets a lot of votes. Given my needs, should I buy the complete bike and change the handlebars, saddle, tires or do a custom build? Like I said, I'd like to keep the price between $500 and $1200, so please don't suggest another bike that is 'only' $1500+ or something. I can go used, and don't mind simple gearing and basic parts that function and are reasonably durable. For bars, I will try to see if I can check out albatross, moustache, north road and trekking bars in person.
You mentioned wanting the bars higher than the saddle.
This will be difficult on a CrossCheck....its not really meant for that.
If you do go the complete bike route better make sure they can get one with the steerer uncut.
a tall stack of spacers will be involved; I find that mirror polished ones work best to offset the aesthetic disadvantage of excessive stacking....

Alternatly consider the Troll.
CrossCheck is my fast,fun,agressive bike.
Troll is my comfy,utilitarian,grocery-hauling tank.

I'd also say that given Trolls are wierd to begin with, its much less blasphemous to put a kids seat on one than a CrossCheck. Really though get a kid trailer instead....
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Old 09-11-12, 03:54 AM
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old spokes home in burlington vt did my cross check build, they had my size in a box so my changes were not a huge hassle. had it set up as a 1x9 with 11-34 cassette and stock smaller chain ring, install the albatross bar, a chain keeper, swapped cassette, uncut steerer tube with extra spacers. handle bar and chain keeper were additional $, plus an exchange for the cassette - that was half a dozen years ago. i also had then install studded snow tires and kool stop salmon pads (the cross check started as my winter bike). my military son has the bike now with drop bars, a new 12-36 cassette, 44 t chain ring and road tires. check out their inventory, then do a foliage visit
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Old 09-11-12, 04:37 AM
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How about a Pugsley?
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Old 09-11-12, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by xenologer
You mentioned wanting the bars higher than the saddle.
This will be difficult on a CrossCheck....its not really meant for that.
+1

The Cross Check has a very short head tube relative to the top tube. It's made for an aggressive riding position, and it take a lot of spacers and a rising stem just to get the bars level with the saddle.

You said you want a bar that "a bar that allows multiple hand positions and quick access to brakes." That's a drop bar. While a trekking bar allows multiple hand positions, the hand position by the brakes is usually the flat bar position. A moustache bar looks like it would offer multiple hand positions, but it really doesn't. A high drop bar will provide a comfortable riding position with two positions near the brakes and a variety of other options.

For a stock bike, the Salsa Vaya or Fargo would probably be a good fit, but they're a bit over your budget (but most of these bikes would be if you buy new). I think the Karate Monkey, Troll or Ogre could work for you.
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Old 09-11-12, 01:50 PM
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Talk to the bike shop you will buy it thru, they may be able to order
a matching painted fork at the same time, with uncut steering tube..
rather than the precut that is done with built bike.
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Old 09-11-12, 10:47 PM
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So the Cross Check might work for me with an uncut steering tube. Will check out Karate Monkey and Troll as well.
Salsa Vaya and Fargo look great, but a tad expensive and I don't if I'd be able to find an LBS in NYC that stocks them. Even if they can order one, I would not be able to test ride them. I am not looking for the best possible bike here, just something good enough for my purposes, so I'd rather spend close to the bottom of my range.
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Old 09-12-12, 09:58 AM
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If you want to go cheap, you could build something up based on an old rigid mountain bike.

This is my city beater:



It's a lot cheaper than a Surly and easily up to the tasks you described.
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Old 09-12-12, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
If you want to go cheap, you could build something up based on an old rigid mountain bike.

This is my city beater:



It's a lot cheaper than a Surly and easily up to the tasks you described.
Very cool... have to keep this mind for future bicycle scenarios.
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Old 09-12-12, 10:04 AM
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What frame and components did you use for this?
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Old 09-12-12, 11:11 AM
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The frame is a 1989 Specialized RockHopper (triple-butted chromoly steel). I kept the original seatpost, saddle, headset, derailleurs and crankset (though I replaced the BioPace chainrings). I could have kept the original bottom bracket, but I had a Shimano UN54 cartridge in the right size, so I used that.

The wheels are Mavic XM 317 rims with Shimano Tiagra hubs that I built myself (this frame had 130mm rear spacing, rather than the 135 that mountain bikes have now). The tires are 26x1.25 Panaracer T-Serv.

The handlebars are Salsa Poco. I used a Velo Orange threaded-to-threadless adapter and an 80mm Profile Design Aris stem. For a drop bar conversion like this, you need to shorten the reach, because mountain bikes have longer top tubes than road bikes.

The bar end shifters are Shimano SL-BS64 (8-speed). The brake levers are a pair of Ultegra 6500 STI levers that I picked up for $10 at a swap meet (they didn't shift, obviously) and gutted of the shifting mechanism. I splurged and spent $12 on new name plates. Gearing is 50-38-30 front, 12-28 rear. The brakes are Avid Arch Rival V-brakes with Travel Agents.

Altogether, counting bar tape, tubes, cables and everything, I've got about $575 in this bike, nearly half of which is accounted for by the wheels and tires. I had some parts, like the shifters, on the shelf so that helped. You could definitely do something like this a lot cheaper (for instance, I could have kept the original wheels), but even with what I spent you'd be hard pressed to find a nicer riding bike for the money.

When I bought the bike ($120), it looked like this (minus new tires and pedals):



Even like that, it would have done OK for what you have in mind.
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Old 09-12-12, 11:50 AM
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I'd consider an LHT 26" wheel version. disc brakes.. BB7.
get a center-lock front hub , so disc can be removed,
fairly easily, to keep it flat packed separate from the wheel,
when you start the trip somewhere you have to fly to..
and box up the bike to get it there..

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-12-12 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 09-13-12, 10:02 AM
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Old 09-13-12, 10:10 AM
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Holy crap it seems like there's a lot of spammers, lately.
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Old 09-15-12, 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by FunkyStickman
How about a Pugsley?
Not really my choice in a "one bike" stable, but I still want one.
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