Surly Cross-Check Cyclocross Bike

Cross-Check

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User Reviews (44)

Showing 1-10 of 44  
Luke   Commuter [Jun 09, 2016]
Strength:

Versatility, versatility, versatility. Cr

Weakness:

Nit picking: canti studs are not removable.

I trolled Kijiji ads when my mystery metal beater frame cracked after years of pounding, hoping to stumble upon a replacement frameset on which I could install all my fallen beater's components. When a 2015 Cross-check SS popped up I pounced. I'm delighted with the results.

I subscribe completely to the design principle behind the CC. In two or three words, it's this: versatility, versatility, versatility. The Cross-Check does nothing superbly but does do everything well--or at least satisfactorily. There are ample bosses, braze-ons and clearance to accommodate fenders, racks and a wide range of tire sizes. Yes tourers will probably find the chainstays a bit short and geometry tight; and competitors, the frameset a bit heavy; and fixie riders, the look a bit too cluttered; but that's the price to be paid for a superb all-rounder. It's been said before: if you could only have one bike it would be a Cross-check or its like.

Here are my observaions of my 56cm CC built up as a fixed gear utility/commuter with 28c Schwalbe Marathons. I thought toe touch would be a problem but with 165mm cranks and 28c tires there's sufficient clearance--even with fenders installed. I suspect that 32c tires and fenders would result in some contact. I was pleased with the generous length of the horizontal dropouts--I didn't have to resort to half-links in the chain to achieve an optimal rear wheel position in the drops.

The tighter geometry (compared to my 25 year old beater) makes for more responsiveness and the CC is noticeably stiffer than my other steel bikes (Columbus Brain, Reynolds 531). Overall, the build is only slightly lighter than the straight gauge beater it replaced, all the fenders tires and accessories packing on the pounds. But weight is really not the prime consideration. If it is for you look elsewhere.

My only surprise--and complaint, though it is minor--is that the canti-studs are not removable. Strange that what is a trivial feature wasn't incorporated into the CC's frameset, especially given the extensive thought obviously put into every other aspect of the design. Minus one off the Overall rating for that oversight (I'm a curmudgeon).

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Al   Recreational Rider [Jun 22, 2014]
Strength:

Comfortable ride, versatile, tough, reasonably quick.

Weakness:

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.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
pavement, dirt roads, trails   [Jun 17, 2014]
Strength:

Frame/fork, great multi-terrain versatility

Weakness:

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.

Similar Products Used: Bianchi volpe
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
Kevin   [Mar 05, 2014]
Strength:

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".

Weakness:

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.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
crazy gal on a bike   [Jan 16, 2014]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Mike S   [Dec 05, 2012]
Strength:

Versatile, smooth steel ride, predictable handling, did i mention Versatile?

Weakness:

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.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Matt   Commuter [Oct 27, 2012]
Strength:

Very smooth riding, does well everywhere I have put it

Weakness:

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.

Similar Products Used: Trek 7000
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
James Roth   [May 13, 2012]
Strength:

Frame...Fattie Fitt Fine :)

Weakness:

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.
Beware !!!
Jim
Rochester New York

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
sprocket47   Recreational Rider [Nov 15, 2011]
Strength:

Ability to be single speed or geared. Steel! Handle bars, versitility, strength. Great bike for the price.

Weakness:

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
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
BikeShopBob   Recreational Rider [Oct 03, 2011]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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.

Similar Products Used: Raleigh RX-1
Bianchi Zurigo
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 44  

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