Surly Cross Check Reviews – Detailed About This Bicycle

They say sitting is the new smoking, and that goes for all of the sittings we do in our daily lives, including sitting in our cars, in traffic, across this great country. When I gave up my car for a year, rode my bike, and took buses, shuttles, and trains everywhere, I was categorically more fit than I ever was in my life. It was during this time that I found Surly Cross Check.

A neighbor, whom I deemed to appear akin to “Batman” flew by my high-rise apartment building on his “Big Easy” bike. It was such a fine machine, allowing him to easily tackle the inclines in our hilly neighborhood with this electric-hybrid dream.

I would only find out about the amazing Surly as I was waiting for him, and would urge him to slow down as I had to know more about that bike! He was very excited about it and all that it could do for him. He liked riding his bike to work and pretty much used it to do most everything.

Few About The Surly Bike Brand?

Living in the Northeast, dreadfully inclement weather would cause him to occasionally take a local bus, which carries with it the added bonus of bike racks on the front of each. We need to ride more bikes, the country as a whole, and Surly is about the best of the best when looking to stop using your car. Sitting is indeed the new smoking: we need more forms of exercise that are blended into our fundamental existence.

After I commandeered my neighbor by flagging him down, I was equally excited to run inside and do research on Surly. Nerds do indeed make their presence known in every industry and I found out that with Surly, they refer to themselves as “bike nerds,” completely stoked about their product, and very much in tune with what is needed to make it a great success. They undoubtedly make great bicycles, and those bicycles are just the caliber of bikes that will encourage someone to park their car.

Surly makes such great transportation machines, they could well galvanize many to give up their cars, or at least in part. In the fullness of time, a company like this could well take some ownership over having had an impact on reducing obesity rates simply by giving people a very nice alternative to sitting in their cars commuting to work. There should be a campaign called “one day a week” where people are encouraged to ride to work. The Surly bike artists could champion that cause. They make nice bikes.

surly cross check reviews

Surly Cross-Check Reviews

I’ve been using this bike for several years. From my personal experience about this bike, I am going to review Surly CrossCheck bicycle with you, Keep reading…

Feature of Surly Cross-Check Bicycle


When it comes to commuting, of course, people need a bike that is “pavement” friendly. The Surly Cross-Check is just that. They realized when making this fine machine that although it would need to be pavement-friendly, they also know that people are going to be traveling on different surfaces.

Often called a “gravel crusher,” the Surly Cross-Check indeed allows commuters a great alternative to a car and a bike they can count on to get them through most any terrain they may encounter during their commute. This bike can make getting out of your car and riding to work a very easy decision.


The tires on the Cross-Check are 700cc x 42m, and although those numbers might not mean much, what a consumer should know is these are designed for all-weather, comfort and definitely designed to navigate through gravel surfaces. They are lightweight, so there is no additional drag, yet they are designed to get riders through the worst of it.

Around Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, Surly bikes can be seen being ridden in all weather, including snow, and those tires come in handy in those circumstances because the rock salt treatments of roads are equivalent to gravel mixed in with snow. This allows for a manageable ride in the worst weather conditions. There is clearance on the Cross, with or without fenders, for that tire that really makes the bike the special machine it is.


Dropout spacing on bikes is the space between the supports where the rear axle sits. The supports are found on both sides of the rear tire, and the rear tire is secured to the bike frame at this location. This is like a fork and it also allows the rear tire to be removed without disrupting the chain.

The Cross-Check has a special type of dropout called the “Gnot-Rite,” which allows for the installation of 130-135mm hubs. This is a key feature that seasoned riders looking for as they can switch to thicker, “fat boy” tires if they choose to.


The Cross-Check, designed with commuters in mind, has the ability to have both front and rear racks added to the frame. This is a key feature, and not found with many bikes. Relative to safety and security, many like a front rack. The back rack is great for hauling if the rider has stronger quadriceps than hamstrings.

Having the opportunity to have racks on either the front or the back of the bike also allows riders to have more balance and a steadier ride for longer trips where cargo is secured on both ends of the bike. In the end, it is just nice to have so many options.


This model, the Cross-Check, was the first model that Surly ever made. They made it with riders in mind who would be using this bike in many different ways, so they included the option to be able to modify the bike in almost any way they might need to get maximum use and efficiency from this bike. Surly rates this bike as being best for commuting with tire clearance and gravel navigation being a close second to the features that make this such a great bike.


There is a 30mm shaft post for the seat, all of the drivetrain is from the venerate “Shimano” line of products, including front and rear derailleurs and crankset, and the brake levers are “Tektro” M730 V-Brakes. The wheels are also Shimano and the rims are Alex Adventurer 2, which are tubeless-ready.

With offices in Brooklyn, NY, and Silver Spring, MD, they have commuting and city-dwellers in mind. All the frame parts are made of CroMoly steel and there is a chainguard for added protection in city riding.

surly crosscheck flat bar

The Pros and Cons

There are a lot of positives to the Cross-Check as durable, with the ability to carry a lot of cargo and equipped with the sought-after clearance to add larger tires. Reviews call it one of the most versatile bikes in the Surly line and that it is very much designed for and used by commuters.

The one negative, when it is compared to other commuting-friendly bikes, is that it is on the heavier side as this class of bikes go. Of course, that is because of the amazing frame that Surly-designed for this bike, and the strength and durability necessary to be able to navigate even the most difficult city streets and terrain. The main triangle is double-butted and TIG welded for maximum support and endurance, which adds a bit to the weight as well.

Some have also said the tires are not as nimble as other tires for those that might like a sportier, perhaps more nimble ride. Other riders have mentioned may be swapping out the crank if opting for the “stock” set of components. A few pros include toughness and durability of the frame and the “Fattie-Fit-Fine” frame style is nice if that is a sought-after option.


Surly bikes are not the cheapest on the market, that is for sure, but this purchase will fall squarely under the aegis of “you pay for what you get.” When commuters realize how much money they spend in gas, metro cards, wear and tear, and the very unquantifiable factor of damage to our bodies while we sit in our cars, or what can classically be called a vehicle of mass destruction.

The sitting in the cars needs to come to an end and using the money one is saving on all the associated car bills and gas is just a bottom-line way of calculating costs. The costs that can never be calculated by getting out of one’s car and getting onto a bike is the carry-benefit of a reduction of medical expenses. Riding brings benefits in the form of better health and that which just cannot be calculated. Although the Cross-Check will set you back a bit, it is going to launch you into a healthier life. The costs can easily be mitigated when the value is correctly calculated.

Where to Buy

Surly bikes can be found at specialty bike shops in many major metropolitan areas. In the event there is not a Surly dealer in your area, perhaps traveling to a dealer to try out the bikes, deciding which one works and then ordering online might be the way to go. In New York City, there are literally bike dealers in all the boroughs that carry these venerated machines.

People that ride and are interested in using a bike to get to work are just the kind of people that will go far-and-wide, if needed, to find that a great bike, so as the old adage goes: if you build it, they will come. Surely has built it. They do encourage purchase at local bike shops to both support their mission and make sure a relationship is begun that will give buyers a place to go for future needs.


The maximum weight limit for riders on Surly bikes is 300 pounds. The maximum weight-limits for touring or trekking bikes made by Surly is 55 pounds, and for most other model bikes, the weight limit is 30 pounds for luggage.


Keeping your Surly bike free from grime and grit is important. Dirt can become abrasive leading to a marring of the finish on bikes, so it is important to get it cleaned off ASAP. Also, wiping it and spraying down the frame, even in the shower, is a good way to keep the gears and chain clean so the bike continues to perform at maximum efficiency. Drying your bike off after cleaning, or riding in rain or snow, is important to keep it in good condition.

Surly also recommends, in the event, the bike is exposed to a lot of water, that riders take the seat off and let water drain off and out of the bike overnight. If that water is not drained out of the frame, it can turn to ice and potentially crack the frame during that expansion process.


Surly recommends applying “J.P. Weigle’s Frame Saver” to the inside tubes, before assembling, to have maximum preservation of the frame from the inside out, which will go a long way to protecting this investment. Bikes are exposed to every element in the universe when being ridden, and so care for bikes is crucially important as those elements can be corrosive.

Your Surly bike can be assembled by a bike shop, or it can be assembled by the buyer. Professional assembly is oftentimes best. During assembly, make sure the serial number is made note of, and perhaps both in your phone as well as in a file, which should be made when you buy a Surly bike. It is good to have the serial number stored in a few safe places.


It is a good idea, if storing your bike during a period of non-use, to take some steps to preserve it during this time. Lubricate the frame with some wax and maybe even a polish before storing it for an extended period of time. There are also some bike frame protection products on the market that should be considered before storing it away.

It is recommended not to store it near motors because emissions from a motor can damage the frame, both aesthetically as well as potentially hampering the integrity of the frame. Also, after storing the bike for a long time, consider accessing the Surely checklist on safety before riding again. It is a good additional step after the bike has been stored.

Best Sellers

Under the Surly “Haulin” category, the “Big Easy” is a big seller. It is an electric cargo bike with a lot of performance features and is designed for those that want are carrying cargo while biking. The electric feature is always helpful on hills when perhaps your body cannot move the haul uphill.

This is a two-wheeled answer to commuting and hauling with ease. The frame was integrated with a special type of trailer, the Surly “Bill and Ted” trailer, so riders could carry maximum cargo. This model will also run dual batteries for long trips.

They have a “Lowside” single-speed trail bike, which they market as the grown-up version of the style of bikes we rode as kids! Single-speeding is the hallmark of many Surly bike models, and this one is no exception in addition to being strong and durable for inner-city riding. It was also designed to be compatible with most mountain bikes, so finding parts will be easy.

The “Disc Trucker” is a standout in their touring bike category. This model is marketed as being pavement-friendly all over the world. This is called a long-haul trucker as touring bike packed with value and practicality. It also has a pump-peg and a water-bottle boss, which are 2 coveted features on touring bikes.

In this category, there is a “long-haul trucker,” which is further defined as both a touring bike as well as a solution for “extreme commuting” where riders may want to bring both their laptop and change-of-clothes with them.

The Cross-Check is a standout in their pavement-friendly category, for all of the reasons outlined here. This bike has a reputation of its own on the streets of New York. They easily take Manhattan in stride, keeping riders on these great machines safe and going places.


  • There was a question about the width of the tubeless rim tape and there appears to be a 21mm internal width and a 26mm outer width; 21mm is the absolute thinnest that can be used.
  • Regarding touchup paint, there is a RAL code for each bike color, and it is important to know that color in the event you want to do some painting to cover scratches or blemishes on your Cross Check.
  • Comparing a current bike, one buyer questioned if they are currently comfortable on a 55cm bike, should they get the 54cm or the 56cm Cross Check. The answer was to go with the 54cm as the 56cm seemed to possibly be too big for this person.
  • There is a bottom bracket on the Cross-Check on the flat bar and that is a 68 x 118mm bottom bracket.
  • The Cross-Check has a sloping tube and the smaller the size of the frame, the tube slope will be increased to provide for smaller riders with a lower standover height.

Final Words

The Cross-Check is a great bike for those looking to commute, use it for leisure riding while increasing the amount of exercise they are getting. It is a model that can be counted on to perform for a long time and in most weather conditions. The gravel traction provided by the tires and design is a wonderful feature that cannot be overstated when the community in major cities with parks and other terrains that might benefit from knobby tires designed to easily navigate through variations in surfaces.

With all Shimano parts in the drive train, this single-speed alternative to a car is not going to let you down. The ability to put luggage racks on both the front and back of the bike makes it a smart option for city commuting and bringing home a bag of groceries or to store a backpack for the ride home.

Once committing to commuting by bike, the initial bike one purchases is normally the “tester” bike used to figure out if this is something they can commit to. Once that decision is confirmed, the Cross Check is the model that most people should be looking into as a means to have a bike they can rely on and a mode of transportation designed for commuting. So sitting is definitely the new smoking, and Surly, with their great bikes, are giving options in a space where better modes of transportation are needed.

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Last Updated: August 24, 2022

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