Here’s a list of the components on my new Cross-Check. It’s built up as a commuter/tourer/long distance machine and I hope to put serious amounts of mileage on it in the next year or three, before I eventually swap all the components over to something like a Mercian Cycles “ King of Mercia ” custom build frame or maybe something Ti 🙂
- Steel road bike/commuter/tourer hybrid – cyclocross?
- Novice considering first bike build
- Cross Check – too heavy?
- My original budget for self-building
- V brakes with Ultegra brifters?
Frame: Surly Cross-Check 50cm
Cost: 500eur (expensive compared to online but the package from the LBS makes it worthwhile)
Why: Several reasons: it’s cheap, it’s steel, it’s extremely versatile. With fat tyre clearance for touring tyres and mudguards (fenders), horizontal rear dropouts so it’s fixed-gear friendly, and a great price, for my purposes I think it can’t be beat. (2.018kg)
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 10 speed, Compact chainset
Cost: 500eur approx.
Why: I wanted a step up in quality from Sora and Tiagra. The 105 set would have been ideal but it was poor value for money compared to the Ultegra which was only 40 euros more. 172.5 cranks because I’ve been on a 175 MTB for years and 170 might be a shock to the system. I went for the compact chainset on LBS recommendation because I didn’t need to get long cage derailleur, change out the front for a triple which would have been at extra cost for them with little benefit. We went through the gear range on paper compared to a triple and I’m happy with, getting something like 34 to 112 gear inches (in steps of 3 to 6 averaging 4.5). Should be just fine for touring and fast commuting. (weight unknown)
Wheels: Mavic Open Pro rims (32spoke), DT Swiss double butted SS spokes, Ultegra hubs, Vittorio Randonneur 700×28 tyres
Cost: 200eur approx.
Why: These are great rims, light and very strong. I would have gone 36 spoke but my wheel guy reckoned I’d be fine with 32sp x DT Swiss. I picked the Ultegra hubs simply because I was going with the rest of the groupset (although I’m sure there’s a weight argument to be made for them, I’m more of a tourer than a weight weenie). These are great wheels, handbuilt, IMO, by one of the best wheel builders in the city. The tyre was my 2nd choice after the Continental Travel Contact, which the bike shop couldn’t source in the timeframe to get me on the road. Not a big deal since these are 28s I’ll probably be getting a set of 32s or (roadies avert your eyes!)even 37s for loaded touring and keeping these for the unloaded rides. (Wheelset: front 0.870kg, Rear 1.080kg, tyres & tube unknown)
Saddle: Brooks B17 Champion Special
Cost: 60eur approx.
Why: Find me a negative review of a B17 and I’ll show you a thousand positive ones. Leather, big, heavy and very comfortable. Allegedly I’m in the breaking in period, but I like the feel just fine. I got the Champion Special version for B17 price cos my shop are good to me! Black, because it shouts “steal me” in a slightly quieter voice than the Honey. (0.540kg)
Update: my LBS got the racing green version of the B17 CS in, so I changed to that as it fitted nicely with the frame colour 🙂
Seatpost: ITM Road Racing Alloy
Cost: 30eur approx.
Why: Bike shop recommendation. I didn’t want carbon fibre or to pay for a Thomson. That’s on the long finger. (weight unknown)
Bars: Ritchey WCS Logic Oversize, 44cm
Cost: 60eur approx.
Why: Shop recommendation. I wanted aluminium (I’m heavy and don’t trust carbon fibre, sorry). They went oversize for stiffness, and the 44cm because I’ve broad shoulders. Tape is unknown brand, black. I wanted the 3M reflective stuff but not in stock. Will eventually upgrade it. (0.235kg)
Stem: ITM Forged Lite Luxe 110MM, 10-degree rise/drop
Cost: 20eur approx.
Why: Shop recommendation, availability. (0.165g)
Cost: 30eur approx.
Why: I asked for “something good, but not Chris King expensive” (I didn’t win the lotto this weeK). Shop guy said they’d never any problems with the BBB headset and the price was right. (weight unknown)
Brakes: Tektro Oryx cantilevers
Cost: 30eur approx.
Why: Bike shop recommendation, online review confirmation – these seem to be great canti’s for the price (Rivendell use them on the Atlantis – can’t be that bad!). I initially explored different options, including going as far as to look at SRAM Force and the financially and availability-wise more realistic SRAM Rival . I’d read they could pull enough cable for v-brakes (or even mech disks!) which appealed to me. Eventually I decided on sticking with Ultegra integrated shifters and canti brake, the stopping power should be sufficient even though not equal to v-brake power. And I’m happy to say that they do seem to be quite good! There’s a fair bit of initial travel before they bite but when they do it’s very good stopping power. (0.166kg+0.166kg)
Rack: Tortec Expedition
Why: Strong lightweight rack and available at the bike shop. It’s a decent touring rack and very light weight for it’s strength and size. I like the extended stay to keep the back of the panniers off the wheels. (0.800 kg
Mudguards aka fenders: Tortec full length (model unknown)
Why: Availability. Mudguards are a must have for daily use in Ireland. (weight unknown)
Head Light: Light and Motion ARC HID NiMH
Why: Mainly because I’m going to do some night trail riding on my MTB, but this light will be great for some of the long haul stuff (double century etc) that I plan to do cross-country, and if I’m ever looking for a decent place to put my tent in the pitch dark. (0.170kg +0.550kg)
Update: It has arrived! See my initial review of the Light and Motion ARC.
Tail Light: 2x Planet Bike 5 LED Blinkies
Why: Great brightness for the price. I’ll convince my LBS to get some in too so I won’t have to pay stupid amounts on shipping from US next time! (weight unknown)