Surly Cross Check

Surly Cross-Check

Click on images to enlarge.

After a lot of anticipation, I am finished with my new Surly Cross Check. This bike rides better than I could have imagined. Whether it’s the comfortable steel frame, or the smooth rolling Phil Wood hubs, this bike operates as if each individual component was made for one another. When I was selecting the ensemble of parts to complete this build, I had two major goals in mind:
Modern Performance & Classic Aesthetics.


Though it is becoming increasingly difficult to find classy polished silver components, there are thankfully still a few companies out there that give consumers the option. I am anxiously awaiting each and every ride this bike and I will set out on. I will continue to post to this blog as I discover new information about the frame as well as the parts as I put more and more miles on them. Below you will find a detailed list of components. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me.


The frame, as well as all the components, were purchased at The Bike Smith in Carson City, NV. Big thanks to them!

Surly Cross-Check frame set.
4130 CroMoly steel
Size: 46cm
Color: Robins Egg Blue
My build, as most all do, began with the frame. I knew I wanted something versatile that could take fenders and carry a load for overnight trips, but still looked settle with drop bars a rando-style components. The Surly Cross-Check, described by Surly as their swiss army knife of bikes, fit all my needs and then some.

Hubs: Phil Wood Touring 36 hole f&r
Rims: Velo Orange Raid
Spokes: DT Swiss Competition
Skewers: Velo Orange
rim hub
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I was seeking a reliable and strong wheel set and I had little to no concern for weight. The Phil Wood hubs, made in Northern California, are indescribably smooth and no picture does justice for the beautiful craftsmanship put into these hubs. They are very friendly when it comes to on-ride maintenance. There are definitely lighter options on the market, but if that’s not your main concern, I highly recommend looking into getting yourself a set of these hubs. I’ve always been interested in Velo Orange products, and these rims were the first component I had purchased from them. Offering double eyelets on a 22mm wide rim offers tons of strength and a wide range for tire sizes. DT Swiss spokes are very well made and reliable, the perfect finish for my wheel set.
Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace 9-speed bar end shifters
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra Long Cage
Front Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra Triple
Bottom Bracket: Phil Wood Square Taper
Crankset: Sugino Alpina 2 Triple 48/36/24 170mm
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 6500 9-speed 12-27
Chain: Wippermann Connex 9sx
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Finding high end 9-speed components is a near impossibility in today’s cycling industry. Luckily, after a lot of searching, I was able to hunt down a drivetrain that is low-maintenance and solid. A number of my previous bikes were put together with 9-speed components. I find 9-speed to be a nice median between smooth gear jumps and components with longevity. It is my opinion that the Wippermann 9sx is the nicest 9-speed chain on the market. Its quality alone can improve the shifting performance of many drivetrains. I generally use Shimano components, I have no opposition to other companies, Shimano has simply suited my needs and I will likely continue using their components on future bikes.
Calipers: Paul Components Neo Retro(Front), Touring(Rear)
Levers: TRP RRL SR
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I am completely blown away by this brake system. The stopping power is, in my opinion, unmatched in the world of cantilever brakes. The Paul calipers are lightweight, machined in California, and have a simplistic look that is eye-catching. The levers, much like the calipers, look just great as they function. The drilled levers give a classy look and also offer a modern ergonomic fit. The levers are built with a cable tension release button to make releasing the calipers as easy as, well, pushing a button. If you are currently building a new bike, or looking to upgrade a current ride, definitely check into both of these products.
Saddle: Brooks B17 Special Honey
Seatpost: Ritchey Classic 27.2
Stem: Ritchey Classic 100mm
Handlebars: Ritchey Classic 44cm
Bar Wrap: Brooks Leather Honey
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This is my first Brooks saddle. I had already begun the breaking in process on another bicycle of mine. I can honestly say that I wish I had purchased a Brooks Saddle long ago. Set aside the fact that this saddle may easily be the well deserved focal point when I look at this bike. The seat feels amazing. I even had fun breaking it in, I wanted to ride more miles just to see how it would feel at the end of each week. It keeps getting better and better! I’m glad that Ritchey still offers their line of Classic components. They are of high quality and visually help make this bike what it is. I really like the feel of my Brooks leather bar wrap. I have ridden it both with and without gloves and it’s comfy either way. I was able to insert one gel pad on each side of the upper section on the handlebar. There was barely enough wrap to achieve this. The bar wrap, unlike the saddle, is not made in England. It is imported from China and there is a noticeable color difference from the saddle to the bar wrap. I’m hoping that, over time, the wrap will soak in some color and slowly begin to look somewhat similar to the saddle.


Headset: Chris King NoThreadSet
Headset Spacers: Chris King Headset Spacers
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I knew long before I built this bike that it would have a Chris King headset. I’ve always wanted one and I’m glad I finally put one on one of my bicycles. The headset is machined with the highest quality in Oregon. There are endless color options when it comes to Chris King headsets, but the basic silver looked perfect on my build. Chris King headsets are built to last, plain and simple.
Pedals: Velo Orange Touring
Toe Clips: MKS Deep Large
Toe Straps: Brooks Leather
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I’m a big fan of riding in whichever shoe I feel most comfortable in. That happens to usually land my feet in a pair of beat up Vans. This pedal setup works great in regards to keeping my feet secure and allowing a quick exit when hopping of my bike to take pictures of the scenery. The Velo Orange Touring pedals are impressively light. And with the sealed bearing design, equally as smooth. The MKS toe clips are pretty straight up and nice quality. Remember my issue with the color distinctions between Brooks England and China? Well it’s back. The Brooks toe straps are made in Italy and, much like the bar wrap, don’t resemble the color of the saddle enough to even refer to them both as ‘honey.’ They do, however, match the bar wrap pretty closely.
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I’m not going to lie, these tires were 90% purchased for their color. I think they help set the looks of this build off. The max psi is 65. However, I’ve been running them a little higher, around 80psi, and they are still very comfortable on the road. I have also taken them on dirt paths and they handled surprisingly well. As with any lightly colored tire, they do get dirty. A rag and some window cleaner gets them looking pretty new again. This is my first pair of Schwalbe tires and they have been great to this point.
Fenders: Velo Orange 45mm Hammered Fenders
Housing: Jagwire Road Pro Kit Orange
Cages: Tanaka Copper Bottle Cages
Cable Hanger: 1 1/8 Problem Solvers
Rim Tape: Velox
Tubes: Specialized Standard Valve Length
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The Jagwire Road Pro Kit was a great purchase. They do offer a “XL” Road Pro Kit that comes with extra housing. This is something I wish I would have purchased. I had to use the 5mm brake housing to finish the rear shifting which should have been 4mm like the rest of the shift housing. Luckily the 5mm brake housing wasn’t coiled, as often found in brake housing, so it worked out fine in the end. Just something to keep in mind based on how much housing your bike may require. The Velo Orange fenders look incredible on this bike. The installation was smooth and they attached securely. The leather washers were a cool touch to the fenders. The only problem I experienced, and this is a frame size issue, is that there is a serious issue with toe overlap. Again, this is due to the frame size, but my foot has came down several times on top of the fender eyelet bolt that is placed on the outside of the fender. It is slowly becoming a safety concern and I’m not sure how long I will continue to run fenders on the bike. We’ll see how it goes as I will update this blog with any info that changes to any of the information I just listed.
Thanks for taking the time to read this page. I hope you enjoyed the information. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments
*I am in no way affiliated with any company mentioned in this blog, I am simply a cyclist who wanted to share my bicycle with fellow enthusiasts.

2 thoughts on “Surly Cross Check

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