Surly dealers are prohibited from shipping complete bikes to the following countries: Canada, Australia, the UK, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Finland, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Ital...
Weaknesses: It's heavier than many bikes, but it's just not that big of a deal. The stock saddles are crappy. My first crosscheck was a beautiful shade of red, the newer 62cm frame is black which I'm not crazy about, it's not as visible in low light and it shows dirt easily. I also don't care for the Surly graphics and lettering on the bike. But these are minor complaints and when I'm on the bike enjoying the ride it's all good.
I'm 62 and ride 25-60 miles a week, now training for longer rides. I got my first cross check about ten years ago when my old Trek road bike was stolen. My brother is in the bicycle business and he got me the Surly for wholesale, lucky me. I originally had a 2004 model, 60cm frame, and although I liked the bike a lot, the fit never felt quite right, even with a pro fitting. Last year I found a used 62cm frame and swapped it out and I'm much happier with the fit and performance. People talk about buying this bike in a smaller size because of the top tube length, however it really depends on your build. I'm 6'1", 175 lbs, but much of my height is in my torso rather than my legs, and the 62cm frame instantly felt better to me. I replaced the stock saddle right away as they are not very good, and recently upgraded the original tires to slightly wider 35mm Panaracer T-serv. (great, bullet-proof tires). I replaced the brake pads with Kool-Stops, a cheap upgrade which made a big difference in stopping power. I will probably upgrade the wheels and drive train components over time as they start to wear. The new tires definitely give a more secure feeling ride and as a result I'm spending more time riding on dirt and gravel, the bike seems to love it. I also changed the handlebars to a slightly swept riser style and added spacers to put me more upright. The handlebars are fitted with twist shifters, which I am addicted to, and I added handlebar extensions so I can have an alternative grip... it's more like a mountain bike setup that way, although I don't do that type of riding. If I had to do it over again, I'd buy the frame only and build it up myself. I recently bought a Cross Check for my wife (in the smallest frame size as she is petite) and she really loves the bike, the only thing we changed out was the saddle.
Similar Products Used: 80s vintage heavy steel Trek road bike, when it was stolen I got the Surly. No comparison, the Surly is a blast to ride.
Bike Setup: Panaracer T-serv 35mm tires, Kool-stop brake pads, upright handlebar setup with twist shifters, upgraded saddle & pedals.
pavement, dirt roads, trails
Date Reviewed: June 17, 2014
Strengths: Frame/fork, great multi-terrain versatility
Weaknesses: Almost every important stock part has frustrated or failed me in some way: shifters, brake hoods, both front & rear derailleurs, rear cassette
this bike is able to overcome the problems with highly terrain specific & stratified designs of most bikes today, especially non road bikes. You can ride this bike thru the city, on neighborhood cruises, for commuting, and on trails in the forests and mountains (trails with roots, rocks, drops, challenging climbs, and fast, turning descents) in the way a good 90s mountain bike would ride. I would STRONGLY caution buyers to only buy the stock complete if they know for sure they will be riding mellow terrain at a moderate level. If you plan only to ride roads, I'd image a lighter, better functioning, more streamlined setup would work better for you. If you are riding off roads in any way, I think the stock setup will fail, frustrate, and disappoint you. Almost all aspects of the drivetrain have required repair at some level, shifters have come loose and fallen out of the bars, rear derailleur and cassette are ghost shifting and failing to shift, and front derailleur has had problems involving my being unable to ride home in the bigger ring. Frame and fork ride superb and smooth, making riding fun, challenging, and progressive, but if you are able to build this bike up with better parts that you know will work for your needs, and not buy the stock complete, definitely do that.
Bike Setup: Stock, with Bruce Gordon rock n road tires, 43c (which are working out great for me on the all terrain)
Date Reviewed: March 5, 2014
Strengths: Steel frame, a bit heavy... if you push a pencil around all day. The frame rocks, as do the parts that come w/ the stock bike. It's called getting a stand and getting your hands dirty every 2 weeks. If that's not your style bring it in + have a minimal tune-up (major $80 tune-ups are wastes unless you have a major issue) every 6 mos. to a year. the Shimano parts haven't failed me once and I love the bar end shifters. Also you can arrange the seat for (x)positions depending on what your doing. Finally, I love Surly and their attitude. It's like "just ride + quit the complaining".
Weaknesses: At first I thought the lack of color choices, I mean gravy brown? Now I get it. The saddle is poor + I replaced it. I bought Continental all weather tires b/c they're faster in the city and won't slide out from under you in the rain, but kept the stock tires.
I've never been on the road (mostly city riding in Bay Area) with a problem I couldn't fix. The bike is light for steel unless weighed down with panniers (get a biking bag). I love clipless steel Shimano pedals on mine and keep it clean and lubed. I don't forsee ever ridding myself of the Surly. I love it's ability to be anything you want, accommodating the rider in all weather and road/path conditions. Stop the whining.
crazy gal on a bike
Date Reviewed: January 16, 2014
Strengths: The steel frame. Yes - steel. I've ridden everything but titanium, and steel just flat out works. This bike is no exception. The fit - This frame fits great - no problems there. Versatility - there isn't anything I can do on this bike that doesn't work - tour, ride, road, fire trails, single/doubel track.
Weaknesses: Mine was not a stock build - so no issues with brakes or cranks.
Overall - gotta say I love this bike. Bought it off craigslist - got a great deal on a full build. It is great!!! I put different tires on it from what came with it - Schwalbe smart sams in 700 X 40. Great ride, handles great - makes me smile while riding it. Bought with plan to ride on fire roads near my home - it does this beautifully. It will also see some canal work and singletrack work as well. I may even take it on a short tour. Can't say enough nice things about it.
Date Reviewed: December 5, 2012
Strengths: Versatile, smooth steel ride, predictable handling, did i mention Versatile?
Weaknesses: Heavy, Even with versatility and durability in mind, 7lbs for a 52cm frame set seems a bit under achieving. Stock parts are weak
This frame set embodies versatility like no other. That being said, it does everything well, but nothing excellent. (well, I dont think i'd take it down hill mbt) I built this up as my commuter to keep my 6700 series equiped Ti bike from getting stolen. I purchased this frame from my LBS and built it up mostly with NOS 6500 ultegra components(chain, cassette (12-27), hubs, shifters), the crank set (compact road) f/r derailluers are 5600 105. The wheels are Ultegra hubs on 32h open pro's with 28c panaracer T-serve's. I built it with a fairly relaxed geometry, it is the same length saddle to hoods as my other bike but the bars are about 2 inches higher. Every now and then I find myself wondering if the 5-6 lb differance is worth the 3k differance in price between the bikes. I kept the stock breaks and they work well but are a bit of a pain to adjust correctly, or so you dont have to deflate the tire to remove a wheel.
Strengths - Rides real nice, stiff but not abusive, and versatility. I tossed an 11-32t sram 970 cassette and some 35c tires on this thing (looked like a burly rigid 29'er) and took it on a 180k dirt road/jeep track/goat path ride and it did great. I wished I had a granny gear a time or two, (15000ft + climbing :/ ) but that isn't the bikes fault. I ride it to and from school everyday averaging 20-21 mph over 14 miles on flatish pavement. It really does anything within reason. Once it gets rolling, it keeps speed well.
Weaknesses - I might be spoiled by my other bike, but this thing is dense. Takes a minute or two to accelerate, but it does keep the speed once it gets there. Frame saver is a must if your riding in areas/at times that use salt on the roads. (I'm in New England) there are a lot of little holes in the fame for salt/water to get in. Fast (30+) descents on dirt .... I dont know if it was my tire choice (35c kenda couriers) or the relatively higher body position to a MBT but it seemed to "under steer" or plow into hard corners a bit. like a "oh s#!%, oh s#!%, oh s#!%, phew" bit
Bottom line - If you don't care to much about weight, the frame set is recommended, especially if you can get it for less than retail. Build it yourself though, square taper bottom brackets and bar end shifters might have been cool in 1973, but there are much better options now.