Author Topic: Surly Cross-Check off-the-shelf gearing  (Read 12723 times)

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Offline peterharris

Surly Cross-Check off-the-shelf gearing
« on: January 09, 2012, 08:38:42 pm »
I really like the way the Surly Cross-Check feels and rides. I'm leaning towards it as a light touring and weekend back-roads bike. But I'm not totally thrilled with the gearing and don't know if it can be fixed inexpensively.

I currently ride a hybrid with MTB components. 26-36-48 triple in front and 11-34 or 11-36 9-speed in the back. That gives me a low gear-inch figure of somewhere in the very low 20s, I think. The exact number isn't that important but it's definitely down in granny-gear range. I like it that way. The rural area where I live has some short but nasty hills.

As listed on the Surly website, the Cross-Check has a 36-48 double in front and a 11-32 9-speed in the back. That gets me maybe into the lower to middle 30s for lowest gear-inches, I think. The bar-end shifters are capable of handling a triple (from the Shimano website). The front derailleur (Shimano Sora FD-3403) also appears to be able to handle a 3x9 combination. The technical documents on the website list it as being able to handle 27 gears with a 9 cog cassette so I'm drawing that conclusion. The crankset (Andel RSC6 36/48) appears to be available as a 26/36/48 (Andel website). And when you look at the Andel crankset on the Cross-Check, there are clearly a set of "empty" bolt holes that look like they're intended to hold a third chainring (the 26, I assume).

So ... I don't know much about these types of things but it APPEARS, based on what I'm seeing on a few websites, that I could possibly add a third ring to the crankset and get my 3x9 combination. Is it really that simple or am I deluding myself? The LBS guys said, without any hesitation, that I couldn't do that. Are they right or are they just spouting conventional wisdom? Or maybe they just don't know?

I know a lot of you build out your own bikes. I have neither the time, patience, nor money to do that. I'm going to basically buy "off the shelf" and tweak a few things. Many of you make extensive modifications and swap-outs on your bikes. I'm turning to you to enlighten me. If I can make these changes reasonably inexpensively, that would be cool. If I can't, I'm not ruling out the Cross-Check ... it just makes the decision a little more difficult.

The other bike I'm considering is the Salsa Casseroll which I have test-ridden and also like a lot (feels very much like the Cross-Check and the geometries are almost identical, thank you QBS). It already comes in a 3x9 combination but, quite honestly, the color scheme is pretty ugly, IMHO.

Thanks in advance.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Surly Cross-Check off-the-shelf gearing
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2012, 09:43:28 pm »
Only your dealer can tell you how much changing the crank is going to cost you, assuming you start from a complete stock bike.  Without knowing the exact crank models in question, I'm guessing you're looking at a swap.  Some LBS may give you credit for the list price of the take-off crank, and charge you for labor plus the new crank.  Some will give you the take-off, and charge you full price.  Some may figure out a way to work in between.

If you're going to buy the CC with modification, do it soon.  Bike shops are usually desperate for business in January and early February, but when spring is coming, they'll be full and won't deal as much.

Offline DaveB

Re: Surly Cross-Check off-the-shelf gearing
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 10:36:23 am »
Contact Surly and ask if the Cross Check's OEM crank will accept a third chainring.  If so, your problem is solved at low additional cost.  You could even use a 24T chainring  if you wish.  And, yes, the bar end shifters will easily hande a triple crank.

Offline peterharris

Re: Surly Cross-Check off-the-shelf gearing
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2012, 08:46:20 am »
Thanks for the suggestions!

Lesson learned: do a little more digging before posting.

As it turns out, based on the Surly website, the drive train components on the C-C and the LHT are almost identical. Same bar-end shifters, same front derailleur, same crankset (except that the C-C is only a double), same brand/model bottom bracket (except the LHT is a little longer due to the third chainring), same brand/model cassette (except the LHT is 11-34 and the C-C is 11-32). The rear derailleur on the C-C is a Deore M591SGS which, according to the Shimano service document, can handle either an 11-32 or an 11-34 cassette with a maximum chainring difference of 22 teeth (which is weird since the very same service document also says it can handle an 11-34). It appears it's as straightforward as buying the third chainring and replacing the bottom bracket with a longer one to convert the C-C's double set-up to a triple.

And, as pdlamb pointed out, this is the off-season for bicycle sales. The LBS should be able to get me a good deal on the bottom bracket and the chainring and - one would hope - swap them out for no labor charge if they're really hungry.

I'll let you know what happens!

Offline DaveB

Re: Surly Cross-Check off-the-shelf gearing
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2012, 10:59:28 am »
Just for fun, fit the third chainring to the CC's crank and see if it clears the chainstays with the current bottom bracket.  If it does, you will not need to change the bb.  If it's too close, then go ahead and replace the bb.  I always try the low cost approach first and it's amazing how often it works.