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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I enjoy mountain biking more than road riding. For the longest time, I've always wanted to try a single speed bike and last October, I finally got one (Surly Karate Monkey). Honestly, during these last few months, I've enjoyed riding this bike more than I'd ever imagined.

It's time for me to select a new road bike and I don't have the financial funds to buy expensive bikes, so, this is a major purchase for me - especially as I spent ~$1200 on my KM. I am very seriously thinking about purchasing a Surly Cross Check built up as a single speed.

I figure the worst that could happen is that I have to cough up a little more dough and toss on some 105 stuff & get a new rear wheel if it doesn't work out as a SS.

Also, does anyone have any experience with the Cross Check? I know it's heavy, but that's not a problem for me.

Also, the dealer spec'd it out with center-pull brakes - I've never liked these things - should I recommend getting "regular", side pulls?

Thanks,

Steel_SSer
 

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Get what you want.

Steel_SSer said:
Also, the dealer spec'd it out with center-pull brakes - I've never liked these things - should I recommend getting "regular", side pulls?

Thanks,

Steel_SSer
Not what the dealer wants to sell. The customer is always right!

BTW something used is always going to be your best deal and value.
 

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CrossCheck good / other options

I've got some experience with the CrossCheck. I rode one across the US in 2004. It's a decent frame. Unless you go with aluminum you're not going to get something much lighter for the same price. I originally bought the complete bike that Surly offers. I changed the cassette and rear der. to mountain bike components for touring. I converted to singlespeed for around town. I put 44mm knobbies on it and rode singletrack. It's extremely versatile. The new frames even have rear rack mounts and downtube shifter bosses. Mine didn't.

The brakes on the complete bike were very disappointing. They were some cheap Tektro cantilevers. The frame is designed to run cantilever or v-brakes. Shimano br-r550 Cantilevers are the best I've ever used. The are powerful enough to send most forks into convulsions. They use v-brake catridge pads and are nicely made. If you're going to use cantilever brakes I would recommend you get these.

If you want to use v-brakes and road bike levers you'll want the Diacompe 287-v levers as they pull the correct amount of cable to operate v-brakes.

The CrossCheck frame is good but it's not your only option. Kona makes a bike called the Sutra which is a touring/commuting frame designed for disc brakes. It has sliding dropouts for singlespeed use and all the cablestops for running gears. They sell it complete or I believe as a frameset.

If you have a Bianchi dealer near by they offer the Volpe which is quite similiar to the CrossCheck. The complete bike has decent wheels and lots of gear range. The frame has dropouts similiar to the CrossCheck's but a little shorter. So you could run it as a singlespeed if you wanted. Bianchi has also introduced the San Jose for '06. It's basically the Volpe frame with rear-loading horizontal dropouts. It's a singlespeed and probably wouldn't be easy to run gears on but It sells for under $600
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Actually, the more I think of it, the more I think I might just get the fully-built Cross Check, swap out the tires & brakes and ride the snot out of it "as is".

I can always either upgrade it or convert it to SS later, right?

For only ~$850 in its "stock" configuration (on sale), it's hard to resist - I could have the parts swapped before it's shipped.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of Tiagra stuff, but when new, it usually performs adequately - IMO.

More food for thought, I guess.

Happy riding,

Steel_SSer
:)
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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You could do a lot worse than a Cross Check. Yeah, it's a tank, but that's sort of cool, right? It's just so flexible that it would be hard to not end up with something that works for you. Whenever I ride my Cross-Check on the road, I sort of think, "why am I riding this beast?" Then I bash over some potholes or ride into dirt or gravel or over a curb and I think, "hey cool. Let's see you do that on a light bike." The complete bike looks like a deal even if you end up swapping a few things around. This summer I took my Cross-Check to Glacier National Park and Waterton in Canada. One day I rode it on a real mountain trail with a bear bell. The next day I put on a really light set of wheels and climbed the Going To The Sun Road. How many bikes can do that?
 

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Isn't the only thing that is tiagra the rear derailleur? I would think that with the bar end shifters you should have no issues. I want one!
 

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Downhill Juggernaut
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I was sort of in your situation. I was riding my road bike to work every day and didn't like the wear and tear I was putting on it.

I looked at the Bianchi Volpe, Surly Cross Check, Giant OCR Touring, and some much older used touring bikes. I went with the Cross Check. I bought mine used and got a fantastic deal on it. Of course it's only been a week, but now when I ride to work I have a bike that just soaks up the potholes and bumps. I know my route bump by bump, but I don't worry about hitting them nearly as much now.
 

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While I'm nuts about Surlys, for about $550 you can get a Bianchi San Jose, already a singlespeed, with knobbies and V brakes (probably Tektro, however). I don't think you can do a Crosscheck for much less than $900, just for comparison.
 

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fat tire rider
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Why not just put some road/trekking tires on the KM? Or a spare wheelset if you have the $

KM's are great commuters especially is you lean towards the mountain side of the equation. I ride mine almost daily, and go pretty much anywhere that doesn't require extreme traction with Schwalbe Big Apples.

The weight would probably annoy those used to a road bike, but I think a 25-30lb bike is simply "normal".
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Having an extra set of wheels for the Karate Monkey is an excellent idea but I am reluctant because of the chainring - wouldn't that have to be swapped out with the wheels? If so, this is too much hassle. The gear ratio on my KM seems perfect for off road - I don't think it would be very suitable for on road performance.

The weight issue is usually going to correspond with the durability factor. I'm cool with a "heavy" bike - that just means I get a better workout. ;) Seriously, it really might mean the bike is a tank and can handle the potholes, curbs, gravel, et cetera that'll eventually get thrown at it.

I'm going to order the bike "completely built" and swap out the brakes & tires. The more I think about the occasional venture into the mountains of North Georgia, the more I realize I will probably need those gears.

Maybe I should just get two of 'em - one with multi gears and another built as a single speed. And yes, I've genuinely considered the Bianchi San Jose - for the money, it seems like a fantastic ride.

Hmmmmm . . .

Thanks,

Steel_SSer
 

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Steel_SSer said:
I'm going to order the bike "completely built" and swap out the brakes & tires. The more I think about the occasional venture into the mountains of North Georgia, the more I realize I will probably need those gears.

Sounds like a good plan. When I was choosing my new bike, the Crosscheck made it to the final round of consideration (and was beaten out by another Surly). The versatility is hard to beat; should you decide to go single or fixed, road or off, full-rack touring or just cruising through town, it can do it all. Post pics when it comes in - and Surly has all sizes in stock as of last week!
 

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tire clearance

if you like big tires, the cross check is the only road/cross bike that can fit up to 45mm tires plus fenders. These are Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0s with Freddy fenders. (The tires need to be deflated when installing in the rear dropout and to get past the v-brake pads.)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
OK - the Cross-Check arrived this afternoon & I gotta tell ya, I already love it!!! :) :) :)

Unfortunately, I was in a hurry to remove the zip ties holding everything together and didn't use common sense or patience - I took an X-Acto blade w/pliers and sucessfully removed all but the last nylon tie wrap - while removing the last tie wrap I slipped and . . . OUCH!!! I've honestly never bled that much before - it was incredible!

I think I'll have to get a few stiches . . . but my thumb will be okay . . . I hope (anyone want me to post photos - yechhhh!)

Anyway, about the bike - I got some Shimano pedals and a Selle Italia seat, 2 bottle cages, some road tires and a bell - other than that, it's pretty stock (the bell is because I ride often on rails-to-trails and come up on walkers, recumbent riders, & various other slow pokes & so I don't like to scare them by just whizzing by & blah, blah, blah).

I really like the tires - they have a reflective side wall that's pretty nice (this is primarily going to be a commuter). Hopefully, I will be riding this bike soon - I almost dread telling the wife about it - she just doesn't understand why I need another bike. (sigh - keyword here is need, not to be confused with want - preachin' to the choir again) :(

This is the 2nd bike I've purchased from Webcyclery and I totally believe in supporting the local bike shop, but I don't have a lbs that caters to my biking needs - I live in a very small town & I love certain types of steel bikes & blah, blah, blah. The person I dealt with at Webcyclery has been really, really awesome with pre-sale customer support. I hope it's okay to mention their name - I don't think they advertise here, but I totally admire how they've treated me with these purchases & can highly recommend them to any of my friends.

So, hopefully, tomorrow I'll be able to finish putting the bike together (it's in the storage room, next to my office at work) and then on Friday, I'll get in a 30 miler, or so.

Thanks everyone - photos will soon be posted, although there's nothing really different or new about this bike - it's my new baby and I'm excited! :)

Happy, safe riding,

Steel_SSer
:) (again)
 

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eric said:
Strobon:

Where did you find that stem. I love it, and need one.

Eric,
the stem is a salsa. I think it's 45 degrees 130mm long, something like that. It came with the handlebars which I bought used from mtbr.com classifieds. You should be able to find them around.

steve
 

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Steel_SSer said:
OK - the Cross-Check arrived this afternoon & I gotta tell ya, I already love it!!! :) :) :)

Unfortunately, I was in a hurry to remove the zip ties holding everything together and didn't use common sense or patience - I took an X-Acto blade w/pliers and sucessfully removed all but the last nylon tie wrap - while removing the last tie wrap I slipped and . . . OUCH!!! I've honestly never bled that much before - it was incredible!

I think I'll have to get a few stiches . . . but my thumb will be okay . . . I hope (anyone want me to post photos - yechhhh!)

Anyway, about the bike - I got some Shimano pedals and a Selle Italia seat, 2 bottle cages, some road tires and a bell - other than that, it's pretty stock (the bell is because I ride often on rails-to-trails and come up on walkers, recumbent riders, & various other slow pokes & so I don't like to scare them by just whizzing by & blah, blah, blah).

I really like the tires - they have a reflective side wall that's pretty nice (this is primarily going to be a commuter). Hopefully, I will be riding this bike soon - I almost dread telling the wife about it - she just doesn't understand why I need another bike. (sigh - keyword here is need, not to be confused with want - preachin' to the choir again) :(

This is the 2nd bike I've purchased from Webcyclery and I totally believe in supporting the local bike shop, but I don't have a lbs that caters to my biking needs - I live in a very small town & I love certain types of steel bikes & blah, blah, blah. The person I dealt with at Webcyclery has been really, really awesome with pre-sale customer support. I hope it's okay to mention their name - I don't think they advertise here, but I totally admire how they've treated me with these purchases & can highly recommend them to any of my friends.

So, hopefully, tomorrow I'll be able to finish putting the bike together (it's in the storage room, next to my office at work) and then on Friday, I'll get in a 30 miler, or so.

Thanks everyone - photos will soon be posted, although there's nothing really different or new about this bike - it's my new baby and I'm excited! :)

Happy, safe riding,

Steel_SSer
:) (again)
Probably too late now but if that was a clean cut and not too deep get it to stop bleeding and superglue it together.
 

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Kona Sutra

I've got a Kona Sutra, use it as a commuter/psuedo mountain bike.. it will take a 44c tire and has disc brakes.. pretty nice set up really. goes single or geared easily
 

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Bike Dude
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What about...

a used SOMA 'cross frame or the SURLY Long Haul Trucker? Both have plenty of eyeletts and long chain stays. I'm not a big fan of the Cross Check but the Long Haul Trucker is very nice in my opinion.
 
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