Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Surly Cross-Check hootenanny

Three Surly amigos.
This evening I participated in a mini gathering of the tribe of Surly Cross-Check owners. Sandy and Tracy have each recently drunk the Kool-aid and are now full fledged CC riders. We met at Great Divide to sample some of their fine beer, then were off to Biker Jim's for some fine tube-shaped cuisine. Both were ideal accompaniments to the ferrous goodness of our Surly steeds.

I've always thought of the Cross-Check as being the chameleon of bikes, able to do just about anything and to adapt to changing surroundings at will. Depending on the components it has worn, mine has spent portions of its life as a cross bike, a road bike, a mustachioed ersatz Rivendell, a svelte-tired 29er mountain bike, and a few other iterations in between. Taking a look at the differences and similarities of our three Cross-Checks and their individualized builds further supports the chameleon hypothesis.
Jack of all trades. My 2001 58cm bean green Cross-Check, set up as a single speed upright townie. I've been enjoying the recent addition of a Surly Open Bar and Ergon grips. This bike is reborn into something even better every couple of years. However, it is a bit envious of the greater quantity of braze-ons found on its modern siblings.
Stealth with flair. Sandy's 2011 58cm gloss black Cross-Check, with a mostly stock build of wisely chosen parts. Additions include an Old Man Mountain rack and snazzy aluminum fenders. Some bikes adopt characteristics of their owners, and I wouldn't be surprised if this bike had a beard the next time I see it.
Rolling artwork. Tracy's 2011 54cm robin's egg blue Cross-Check, fixed and color coordinated like nobody's business. The silver components underscore the sophisticated blue and umber hues. Don't think I didn't notice the bottle, Tracy. Topped off with a couple of Schwalbe 40s, this is functional form at its finest.
The three of us talked about the finer qualities of the venerable Cross-Check and took each other's bikes for a little spin. So similar, yet so different. It's amazing how little has changed during the ten year interval between production of these bikes, indicating no pressing need to change a good thing.

My Cross-Check still rides like new, and whenever I revamp the components or shuffle between gearing formats, I get a new bike all over again. For a bike addict, that could just about be the perfect situation. Now if only I could figure out a way to run the recently announced 4.5 inch Surly Big Fat Larry tires on my Cross-Check, I could stop daydreaming about adding another bike to the ranch.

Upon my return home, I took out my other Surly for a ride, carrying the whole family with me on the Big Dummy.

This unusual point of view was afforded by the rear-most rider.
My co-pilots on the Big Dummy for the evening.
Self portrait by Goldilocks.
This captures the mood after a circuit on the dirt trail.


  1. After seeing your bike again, I am convinced that the pea green of your CC is the best color Surly has offered...

  2. Not that the color makes the bike, but I'll have to agree. It's a good thing that Surly doesn't offer all of their bikes in this color, otherwise I'd probably have one of each.

  3. hi these look great. can I ask what height Tracy is? bizarre question I know but I haven't been able to compare a 54 versus 56 cm crosscheck, and have to order one or the other...

    1. I think Tracy is about 5'9". I'd have to refer you to her to be sure. Her blog is at: The Cross-Check is a great bike. Good luck with your quest!

  4. I have a friend with that lovely 2011 blue, I did a few mods for her since I am the local bike nerd.

    1. The CC is certainly one of the most adaptable bikes out there, and that powder blue is terrific.