This bike is taking a lot more dialing-in than any other I have owned. The Pugsley was the first bike I specced and built-up from scratch and it was a perfect fit from the start - I haven't changed anything apart from hand-grips in almost four years.
The Cross-Check has some stuff I'm just not used to, like drop-bars and bar-end shifters and I didn't get things right on the first attempt.
The first problem was the beautiful Thomson stem I purchased by mail-order didn't get the bars high enough for my liking and I felt a bit stretched-out as well. The initial riding-position was no more severe than a typical contemporary road-bike but I wanted something a little more relaxed and suitable for riding off-road. It pained me to do so but I swapped it out for the ugly no-name stem on the Nasty-Evil-Bike and it felt better straight away.
Now that my position on the bike was okay and I was doing longer rides I was finding riding on the hoods was irritating the back part of my palm that rested on the bar. I would tend to move my hands from the hoods to the curve behind and then onto the flats and back again to get some relief. Not very satisfactory. I've cured that problem by rotating the bars up (and the hoods down) so the transition is dead-flat and also dead-level. I put an extra strip of cork tape behind the hood before wrapping the bars first in spongy cork and then a second layer of the original Fi'zi:k Mictotex. It looks a little portly now but is wonderfully soft and comfortable. I thought the angle the drop part of the bar ended up on would be a problem but it has proved fantastic going off-road on bumpy singletrack or grass, especially down-hill at speed.
Another thing that annoyed me from the start is that the cable-hanger for the front brake did not have provision for a barrel-adjuster. I ordered an inline cable-adjuster that is usually used for shifter cables on road-bikes and spliced that in while I had everything in pieces. These things are really easy to install and use and I'm very pleased with it. You could even adjust your brake or gear cables as you ride along.
I also bent the straddle-cables so they sat straight (this really irritated me) and increased the spring-tension on the Paul brakes so they looked better and felt a little snappier. You can see the difference in the photo above compared to an earlier shot below.
I am now a lot more comfortable on the bike and looking forward to some longer rides. I've not done more than two hours at a time which is not much of a test of long-term comfort.