What’s your plan? Your next bike(s)…

I recently ordered my 2nd “real bike “, a Surly Cross-Check built up for commuting and touring. I like the Cross-Check because it’s the “Swiss Army knife of bikes”: it’s capable of doing so much – single track/cyclocross, singlespeed/fixed-gear, touring, commuting – due to certain features of the frameset , namely clearance and the horizontal dropouts. To quote Surly: “Think of the Cross-Check like an army jeep: tough as nails and used for everything”.

When I was considering the Cross-Check a lot of the cycling forums guys said “save up more money and get a custom frame”. The difference in cost is huge, however. If I get a custom frame built I’d be looking at ballpark 1,000 euros for the frame, because I wouldn’t accept half-measures. Paying 400 euros for the Swiss Army knife of bikes, I will accept half-measures. I know the TIG-welded 4130 Cro-moly tubing is heavier and uglier than 853 Reyolds with beautiful silver lugs (yes, I know lugs miss the point of air hardening the 853).

King of Mercia touring frameset from Mercian CyclesTo me the beauty of the Cross-Check is that a couple of years down the line when I decide to upgrade my commuting/touring bike to something special custom built for me (like the King of Mercia) then I can reuse the Cross-Check frame. My current plan is a fun single-trail capable fixed-gear bike, but maybe at that stage I’ll want a fixed commuter and keep the King for long haul – who knows?


  1. The other benefit of a less-expensive frame is that there’s more room in the budget for better components to hang from it. Which begs the question, how’s the component shopping going?

  2. I’m having my guy at the LBS build it up. I’ve gone over every component with a fine-tooth comb with him, comparing gear-inch ranges of the triple vs double vs compact (and the impact the choice will have on the bottom line), which headset (gonna go with BBB for the moment) to BB to post and bars. I’ll post up a complete component list and loads of photos on the weekend when I pick it up πŸ™‚

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