Featured User Review: Surly Travelers Check

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Featured User Review: Surly Travelers Check
by Little Bunny Foo Foo

Price: $1050.00 at LBS
Overall Rating: 4 of 5
Value Rating: 4 of 5

Bike Setup:
This always changes. Sometimes it’s a 48/36/26 for loaded touring, 3×7 gearing with 38mm tires. Sometimes it’s got aero bars, 2×9 with lightweight wheels. Depends on where I live and what I’m doing will decide the setup.
Common parts are always bs77 bar end shifters, Shimano SLX rear derailleur, Sora Front, Tektro R200a brake levers, Diacomp 987 cantilever brakes, Brooks B17 saddle

Summary:
I don’t love this bike. That’s really the first thing that comes to mind with it. However, this is my only bike. With my lifestyle I can only have one bike now and I am as varied as any rider can be. I will do everything from loaded touring to triathlons (even some mild mtb stuff) and be able to travel around the world. This is the only one bike that can meet that criteria.


Every once in a while I find myself longing for something else; a Surly LHT, a carbon TT/Tri bike, a 29er mtb, classic steel road frame, ect. However, once I start putting a list together of parts I will need to get I always end up glancing back at the Travelers Check and end up thinking, “Nah, this bike can do that well enough” and scrap my plans.

When it comes down to it, I always wanted a good steel road bike again, I always wanted a cyclocross bike and I wanted a bike that can travel with me. It’s stiff enough that I can do some good sprints with it. It’s comfortable enough that I enjoy it more than my T500 and I’m not afraid to ride it over any terrain because I can equip it with the proper tires. While I said I don’t love this bike (like when I want a red equipped tri bike), when I’m actually out riding the bike and the only thing that matters is me and the experience this bike fulfills that every time.

Strengths:
Ridiculous flexibility. I’ve done week long self supported touring rides, low and high speed group rides, triathlons. For a rider who doesn’t have the ability to have multiple bikes, this is the only choice.

Weaknesses:
Long head tube. I need a 46cm frame, so I am limited in how much drop I can get. Seat tube water bottle mounts a little too high so I can’t fit all 24oz bottles there. Frame design always wants me wanting more for whatever situation I’m in, ie twitchy handling when fully loaded, heavy for a road bike, ect.

Needs a heavy duty skewer for the wheel (like one used on trainers) to keep wheel from sliding forward under hard pedaling.
Huge pricetag for an off the shelf steel frame, but that’s the couplers.

Similar Products Used:
Felt F90, Cannondale T500, Marin Muirwoods, vintage Takara 12 speed. This bike has the soul of every bike I’ve ever ridden.

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About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.


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