Is Surly Cross-Check Splendid? – [Surly Cross-Check Review]

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Surly Cross-Check Review

  • Price: $1,099
  • Frame: Steel
  • Tire: Steel
  • Gear: 1 × 8

What we like about it: The retro exterior styling can catch the eye of many people.

What we don’t like about it: The steel frame, the weight makes some riders not comfortable with it.

Rating: (4.8/5)

Surly Cross-Check
Surly Cross-Check

The Surly Cross-Check is the first complete bicycle offered by Surly. Since then, Surly has made hundreds of modifications to accommodate different riding styles and preferences.

We will analyze the riding experience, key features, components, specifications, and other versions of the Surly Cross-Check.

In the second half of this article, we will also compare several top bicycle models. If you want to learn more about bike reviews, you can follow us.

Riding Experience

Surly Cross-Check

The Surly Cross-Check is a bike that fulfills all my ideas about a commuter bike. First, its vintage frame attracts a lot of attention on the streets. It is equipped with carefully selected components that meet my daily riding needs.

Therefore, I plan to take my Surly Cross-Check for a ride on California State Route 1. The road conditions there are excellent, with smooth surfaces and no steep inclines or declines. I have also booked a hotel through IHG and intend to stay there for a few extra days to explore the area further.

Road Cycling

When I ride on this coastal route, the 40T chainring and 12-42T freewheel unconsciously increase my riding speed to a fast level. The slightly aggressive geometry also helps me achieve a more aerodynamic riding position.

Then, as the gradient descends, the 700c wheelset of the Surly Cross-Check allows me to maintain a fast speed even without pedaling on this long downhill section. I can even feel the breeze blowing on my face, which is very pleasant. The Tektro M730 brakes also provide reliable safety.

I rode here for several hours, enjoying the beautiful scenery and the refreshing sea breeze. The comfortable WTB Volt 142 saddle of the Surly Cross-Check provides good support and a comfortable sitting experience, making my long hours of riding feel comfortable. I am also happy to have a pleasant riding experience.

Commute to Work

Later, I used the Surly Cross-Check as my commuting tool, and riding in the city is where it truly shines. The vintage frame design and paint style attract various gazes throughout the journey.

Its excellent comfort is also something I appreciate, as the steel frame absorbs most of the road vibrations. This helps me stay alert and focused throughout the entire ride.

The Surly Cross-Check’s Kenda Kwest 700c x 35mm tires have excellent grip, and when inflated to the appropriate pressure, they have minimal rolling resistance. Even when encountering rough road surfaces, this bike can roll over them smoothly.

As I approach the office, I can’t help but feel excited about my Surly Cross-Check. It makes the entire commuting process enjoyable and comfortable.


The Surly Cross-Check offers 6 sizes (XS to XXL) of steel frames, which can absorb some of the vibrations during riding. Additionally, the 700c wheelset provides excellent balance and faster riding speed during high-speed cruising.

The Surly Cross-Check features multiple mounting holes for racks and fenders, enhancing the bike’s load capacity and adaptability to various weather conditions.

Furthermore, the wheelset supports quick release, making it convenient for wheel removal during maintenance or transport.


Other Versions

The Surly Cross-Check is a sturdy and reliable steel commuter bike with responsive handling. Its vintage look is particularly eye-catching.

For this reason, we also offer a similar steel-framed bike. It has a similar vintage appearance but features wider tires, providing stronger off-road performance.

Surly Bridge Club Black, 700c

Surly Bridge Club Black, 700c

The Surly Bridge Club Black, 700c, and the Surly Cross-Check both have steel frames. They both belong to the vintage-style bike category.

In terms of drivetrain components, this bike is equipped with the Shimano Deore M5100 11-speed groupset, offering excellent climbing performance. On the braking side, the Tektro HD-M275 brakes paired with front and rear Tektro 160/160mm rotors provide powerful braking capability.

Finally, the Surly Extraterrestrial 700×41 tires are wider, absorbing some of the vibrations on bumpy roads and providing a more comfortable riding experience.

So, if you are looking for a bike that can handle rough terrains, the Surly Bridge Club Black, 700c would be a good choice.

Next, we will provide detailed specifications of the Surly Cross-Check and list some other brands of commuter bikes with similar prices for your reference.

What do we like about it?

  • Gnot-Rite dropout spacing allows the installation of 130mm and 135mm hubs.
  • Full bike support for rack and fender installation, enhancing load capacity and adaptability to various weather conditions.
  • Multiple frame sizes available, catering to riders with heights ranging from 5’0″ to 6’8″.
  • Equipped with 700C wheels throughout the entire range, providing faster cruising speed and better stability.
  • Maximum clearance for 700c x 42mm tires, offering more options and enhanced riding comfort.

What don’t we like about it?

  • The steel frame and weight may not be suitable for some riders.


  • What wheelset does this bike use?

The front wheelset is Novatech 32h, 100mm, w/QR and the rear wheelset is Novatech 32h, 135mm, w/QR.

  • Is this bike suitable for long-distance rides?

It has multiple additional mounting holes, which enhance the bike’s load capacity, making it suitable for long-distance rides.

  • How to choose the right size?

We provide a size chart for your reference. However, it’s always best to try different sizes to find the most suitable fit.

Rider heightSIZE
5’0″ – 5’5″XS
5’4″ – 5’8″S
5’7″ – 6’0″M
5’11” – 6’3″L
6’2″ – 6’6″XL
6’5″ – 6’8″XXL



FrameSurly 4130 CroMoly steel. main triangle double-butted. surly 4130 CroMoly steel. main triangle double-butted. tig-welded. ed coated.
Color: Bluegreengray
ForkSurly Cross-Check, 4130 CroMoly, lugged & brazed. Surly Cross-Check, 4130 CroMoly, lugged & brazed. Sloping crown w/threaded eyelets. tapered & butted curved blades w/mid-blade rack eyelets, dual dropout eyelets
Bottom Bracket68×110.5mm
HeadsetCane Creek 10
StemProMax, 31.8, 4-Bolt
HandlebarDimension Mountain
SaddleWTB Volt 142
SeatpostProMax, ProMax SP-2019 non-offset (42-50cm), SP-2016 offset (52-62cm) 27.2 x 300mm


Rear DerailleurMicroshift RD-M5185M
Front DerailleurN/A
CrankSamox 3pcs, BCD110 Square taper, 40t chainring
ShiftersMicroshift Acolyte Xpress
CassetteMicroshift CS-H083, 12-42, 8-speed
ChainKMC X8
BrakesTektro M730


RimsTektro M730
Front HubNovatech 32h, 100mm, w/QR
Rear HubNovatech 32h, 135mm, w/QR
TiresKenda Kwest 700c x 35mm

Comparison Table

BicyclesClick viewWheelsetFrame materialBrake TypeFront fork material
BMC Alpenchallenge AL FOURClick View700c AluminumAluminumSHIMANO BL-MT200 Hydraulic DiscAluminum
CUBE TRAVEL, PROClick View700c AluminumAluminumShimano BR-MT200 Hydraulic DiscAluminum
Kona Dew DeluxeClick View650b AluminumAluminumTektro HDM275 Hydraulic DiscAluminum
Canyon Commuter 5Click View650b / 700c AluminumAluminumShimano MT200 Hydraulic DiscCarbon

Surly Cross-Check vs BMC Alpenchallenge AL FOUR

BMC Alpenchallenge AL FOUR
BMC Alpenchallenge AL FOUR

The Surly Cross-Check and BMC Alpenchallenge AL FOUR are two different-styled commuter bikes. The former has a more vintage look, while the latter is more modern.

In terms of frame material, the Surly bike features a steel frame, which can absorb some of the ground vibrations, providing a more comfortable riding experience. On the other hand, the BMC bike has an aluminum alloy frame, which is lighter and more energy-efficient for long-distance rides.

In the drivetrain department, the Surly Cross-Check is equipped with a Microshift RD-M5185M 1×8-speed groupset, while the BMC Alpenchallenge AL FOUR features the SHIMANO Deore RD-M5120 11-speed groupset. The latter offers higher speeds and more gear options to choose from.

In conclusion, if you prefer faster riding, the BMC Alpenchallenge AL FOUR would be more suitable for you. If you appreciate a retro design, the Surly Cross-Check will cater to your preferences.

Learn More: Is BMC Alpenchallenge AMP AL CITY ONE Worth Buying? [BMC Alpenchallenge AMP AL CITY ONE Review]

Surly Cross-Check vs CUBE TRAVEL, PRO


The Surly Cross-Check and CUBE TRAVEL, PRO are both comfortable commuter bikes. However, they have different frame materials. The former features a steel frame that can absorb some vibrations, while the latter has an aluminum alloy frame that is lighter and provides more direct power transfer during pedaling.

In terms of drivetrain, the Surly Cross-Check has an 1×8-speed setup, while the CUBE TRAVEL, PRO is a single-speed design. Therefore, the former would be easier for uphill rides.

When it comes to braking, the CUBE TRAVEL, PRO with Shimano BR-MT200 hydraulic brakes performs better in long downhill descents and wet weather compared to the Surly Cross-Check’s Tektro M730 brakes.

Considering these factors, I would recommend the Surly Cross-Check. It has a unique appearance and comes with a gear-shifting system.

Learn More: Is CUBE NUROAD PRO FE Worth Buying? [CUBE NUROAD PRO FE Review]

Surly Cross-Check vs Kona Dew Deluxe

Kona Dew Deluxe
Kona Dew Deluxe

The Surly Cross-Check and Kona Dew Deluxe are two commuter bikes that I like in terms of their appearance and paint job. However, they have their advantages due to differences in frame material and components.

The Surly Cross-Check features a retro frame design with a steel frame, allowing it to absorb some road vibrations during rides. Its Microshift RD-M5185M drivetrain offers efficient power transmission, and the gear shifting is responsive and quick.

The Kona Dew Deluxe has an aluminum alloy frame that is lighter, providing a more direct power transfer during pedaling. It is equipped with Tektro HDM275 hydraulic brakes, which offer strong braking power. Moreover, it provides stability and reliability during long downhill descents and rides in wet weather, ensuring higher safety levels.

In conclusion, both bikes are excellent commuter options. The Surly Cross-Check is more suitable for riders who appreciate a retro design, while the Kona Dew Deluxe offers a more modern and practical approach.

Learn More: Is Kona Dew Worth Buying? – [Kona Dew Review]

Surly Cross-Check vs Canyon Commuter 5

Canyon Commuter 5
Canyon Commuter 5

Surly Cross-Check and Canyon Commuter 5 are both excellent commuter bikes from their respective brands. However, they have distinct differences in frame design.

In terms of frame, the Surly Cross-Check features a steel frame that offers better vibration damping and has a more aggressive geometry. On the other hand, the Canyon Commuter 5 has an aluminum alloy frame that is lighter and provides a more upright riding position.

Regarding the drivetrain, the Surly Cross-Check offers more options with its 1×8-speed gearing, while the Canyon Commuter 5 has fewer gears. This allows the former to ride faster and climb hills more easily. However, the latter’s belt drive system reduces noise during riding.

In conclusion, the Surly Cross-Check is more suitable for quick riding, while the Canyon Commuter 5 offers a more comfortable riding experience.

Learn More: Is Canyon Grail 7 Worth Buying? [Canyon Grail 7 Review]


Above is my review of the Surly Cross-Check ride. In our opinion, it is an eye-catching commuter bike with reliable components, which is why we give it a rating of 4.8.

Of course, if you are interested in other commuter bikes, we also evaluate a wide range of bikes with various price points, which can be equally interesting. Feel free to check out our other reviews.

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