Thursday, June 2, 2011

my new favorite bike

Most bicycle enthusiasts I know are continually on the hunt for the perfect bicycle. Since every bicyclist is different than the next bicyclist, and every mile is different than the last mile, the quest for universal perfection is, by definition, in vain. I am lucky to ride many different bicycles, and on a surprisingly infrequent basis, I find one that hits most of the right notes, most of the time. Such is the case with the Surly Cross-Check. When I saw the 2011 model had this swanky Robin-egg blue color, and mid-fork rack braze-ons, I quickly scrounged up the dough to get one off the first shipment. I put parts from my old fixed-gear on it, along with a few new bits, and here is the result.
At the moment I'm using Schwalbe Marathon Racer tires in 700x38, which are my ideal compromise between light weight, low rolling resistance, high volume, and toughness. I ride these on potholed streets, gravel, dirt, grass, and moderate single-track, which comprises about 99.9% of my riding. The Cross-Check's hallmark is tire-clearance. With 700x38, there is ample room for fenders, but I could easily go much bigger into "monster cross" or 29er territory if fenders weren't a priority. The BB is high enough for pedal-clearance in fixed-gear cornering without being so high that handling is weird. The frame geometry makes for a comfortable and stable ride. The funny thing is that there is nothing about the frame that is technologically advanced or unorthodox or gee-whiz - it's just a simple common-sense design that is too ordinary and too hard to hype/market in a world where often meaningless "innovation" is what sells.


Doug said...

Cross Check owners know what you're talking about.

I've been riding Cross Checks for 6 years now. I absolutely loved it this winter with the 700 x 40 Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires I bought from Hiawatha Cyclery. Amazing to ride a 700c wheel with that big of tire and still have plenty of room for fenders (VO Zeppelins).

Welcome to the club Jim.

Anonymous said...

Jim - will you be using that bike at the Dirty Benjamin?

Anonymous said...

I've had a CC for years, it's a great versatile frame. Still, I prefer the LHT frame I recently picked up. It shares many of the characteristics along with a taller HT so it's easier for me to get the bars where I want them. Surly is a great company.