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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.
Date Reviewed: October 27, 2012
Strengths: Very smooth riding, does well everywhere I have put it
Weaknesses: Headset loosens frequently, front derailuer won't adjust perfectly, as others have noted the brakes are a bit weak.
For me, this bike was love at first ride. It replaced my 12 year old Trek mountain bike as my everything bike, but is primarily a commuter. I got it in part to upgrade in preparation for my first century ride. I did 3 of them in 5 weeks, and it performed well in each. I have owned the bike for 4 months now, and have put 2000 miles on it commuting and on other pleasure rides. Cycling is fun again, and this bike is the reason why. I can not speak to component quality, although my two gripes are component related. Perhaps you can build a better one for the same price if you are so inclined, but for me this bike rocks right off the LBS floor.
Who should buy it? Anyone that wants a great all around bike
Who should not buy it? Bike snobs that complain about everything that is not perfect in their eyes
what is good about it? It is a steel bike. You won't win the Tour on this bike, but you will have fun. Even at 20+ pounds, I took this bike on the 6 mile climb of Gibraltar Road in the Santa Barbara Century and placed 33 out of over 300 riders. Not bad for a 50 year old dude. Once up top, guiding it across Camino Cielo and down Painted Cave / Old San Marcos Road is a dream.
Favorite Ride: Up Gibraltar, across Camino Cielo, down Painted Cave/Old San Marcos
Purchased At: LBS, Velo Pro
Similar Products Used: Trek 7000
Bike Setup: Stock, except with 23mm diamonte tires + rack for commuting, soon to add fenders
Date Reviewed: May 13, 2012
Strengths: Frame...Fattie Fitt Fine :)
Weaknesses: Stock components are crap...don't buy the hype !!! Garbage Garbage Garbage...
Frame and Geometery are excellent. I wanted a commuter Bike since at 49 years of age I have no plans to be the winniner of the Tour De Anything. I simply ride on my off days mostly on a local canal path. I have read reviews that say the Cross Check is a good value. NONSENSE. Don't make the same mistake I did...buy the frame and build the bike yourself. The Frame is $400 and the complete bike is $1150. For the additional $750, you could build a sweet bike. There is no way those garabe components ARE WORTH $750. You are going to have to upgrade anyhow!! That said, this is one really nice frame. I have ridden it every day this week and I love the way the frame fits me. Switched out the Lance Armstrong bars for a set of Upright bars and bought a new braking system. Replaced those garbage stock tires with 700 x 35 kevlar tires. I am going to have it painted during the off season. Otherwise I expect this will be my bike for a very long time to come. I love the fact that for the first time I have a frame that can handle anything I want to do with it..."Fatties Fitt Fine". I am very savy at spending my $$ Wisely...I admittly got taken for a ride on this bike. For $750, I could be shifting Ulegra. First and last time I ever buy an off the rack build.
Rochester New York
Strengths: Ability to be single speed or geared. Steel! Handle bars, versitility, strength. Great bike for the price.
Weaknesses: Stock tires. Brakes are weak. Not real fond of the forks - they seem to flex a lot when offroad.
Love this bike. It's my first CX and hoping to meet multiple uses and it does that wonderfully. I put on a lot of road miles and an occational century but then I get out on single track where I used to ride my ss 29er. Handles great considering it isn't a mountain bike.
Similar Products Used: Motobacane Cliff 29:1 SS 29er. Novara Randonee
Bike Setup: Brook B17, SPD pedals, recently converted to single speed with 34x18 gearing for trails, and bullhorn bars.
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: October 3, 2011
Strengths: One word: Steel.
This bike is made of it, and it’s made to last. You can do stupid crazy stuff with it, and it just begs for more. I love that when I'm out for a road ride, or when I'm commuting to work, and I happen to see a MTB trail, or an off beaten path through the woods, I can kick my crosscheck into low gear and go play in the mud. A steel frame also feels the best. It doesn’t transfer all the harsh feel of the road to the rider like an aluminum or carbon bike does. Also, if you tear the bike apart when you first get it and hose the inside down with frame saver, your bike will most like last longer than you do.
Now, if you're looking for a second word: Versatility.
This bike can do it all.
-Cyclocross? Yup, see Wendy Simms (http://wendysimms.blogspot.com/).
-Lighter/Medium MTB? Yerp.
-Touring? With all those mounting points...You betcha.
-Fixie? If you're into that thing, most definitely (See Tim: http://bikegeekbrown.blogspot.com/2008/07/surly-cross-check.html).
-Recreational Road? Easy.
-Road Race? Yes, believe it or not (See Wendy Simms for that one too.)
-Commuter? This bike loves it.
Weaknesses: The original crank. Throw away that junk and put in a tiagra level crank arm to match everything else. You'll be happy you did.
Also, if you plan to go out and hit some serious trails, get yourself a granny gear, it will make things so much easier.
I've been a bike shop employee for about a year and a half now, and I've been riding bikes (somewhat seriously) for about 4 years now. I had always ridden on yard sale deals, or bikes that were given to me as a gift. Those in included a 2003 Giant Iguana, a 1973 Schwinn Continental, and a 1984 Trek 420. All of those bikes were way big for me, but I just went with it because I didn’t know any better. Once I got a job at my LBS, I decided to start shopping around and trying out some new stuff since I now had an employee discount. I was more into the true road bike scene and I was about to get a Raleigh Revinio, when one of my co-workers told me to simply try out the crosscheck, just for kicks. I did, and I instantly fell in love with it. Within a week, I ordered my own in, and it’s my favorite bike to date. I ended up buying a road bike later on, but to this day, my crosscheck is my favorite bike as well as the one I ride the most.