Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Surly Cross-Check all but done

The longest bike build in history is almost complete. With the exchange rate being so good against the U.S. at the moment I purchased the last components I needed with money I don't have. 

This is the first time I've assembled a bike from scratch. I've just worked at it methodically at night and don't think I've stuffed anything up. The wheels were built for me and I had my LBS install the headset but I've done everything else myself. I don't particularly enjoy the wrenching part but there is a certain satisfaction to be had from it and I am saving money in the process. 

Only a few hiccups along the way: 

- The only front brake cable-hanger I could source in "silver" has no barrel adjuster so adjusting for cable-stretch will be a bit more fiddly. 

- I cut down the "long" brake cable inner when installing the front brake then was doubly stupid when I rushed out to the LBS to purchase another one when I had a spare in the bike cupboard that came with my secondhand bar-end shifters!

- I can't get the rear derailleur indexing properly. This is not the first time I have failed indexing school despite trawling the internet for how-to's. The gears work perfectly in "friction" mode so I will have another go later or visit the bike shop as a last resort.

My "work-stand". I'm sure when I get a proper bike workstand it will be one of those "why didn't I do this 15 years ago" moments like when I bought a track-pump for the first time. They are very expensive in NZ and impractical to mail-order so I am making-do for now.

Setting-up the drop-bars and controls. This was new territory for a mountainbiker and I won't tape the bars until I'm sure everything is in the right spot and comfortable.

The "shakedown" ride around the block and through a nearby park. Feels light and FAST.

The Cross-Check rides beautifully but I am a bit stretched-out and the bars are lower than I would have liked. I will see how I go but a post with no set-back will be in the next parts order. 

I kind of expected the bars to be a bit low as my legs are ridiculously long. Even on a big frame like this there is a lot of seat-post showing. Short of a custom frame there is not a lot I can do about this. If it had a threaded fork I could use a long quill stem but I like the strength and convenience of the threadless kind. I could extend the steerer with one of those clunky after-market bolt-ons (which I don't think I can buy locally) or I could buy a weird looking high-rise stem like they use on trials bikes. 

The riding position is fine on tarmac and not as much of a drop as on a modern road-bike. It's only when riding technical stuff off-road that it becomes a problem. The budget is used up for now anyway. Down the line I could always have a custom stem made with my exact measurements in mind. Fillet brazed steel with a built-in cable hanger sounds just right. 

So now I have a new road-bike, touring-bike, commuting-bike, city-bike, trailer-puller, cyclocross racer and geared-mountainbike and it's all the same bike ;^)

If it stops raining I'll get out there and ride it.


Paul Petch said...

That looks really hot mate. I'm keen to hear how it rides off road.

jumbly said...

Lovely! The cross-check is is just such a good bike, I love mine. It's a proper smile inducer.

Marla said...

Nice build:))

Mel said...

Nice build, and nice bike. I too left my midge bars unwrapped until I had everything "just right"... now I want to make a small change. You will get used to the new riding position too.