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Newbie (to cyclocross) asks: Rebuild with Surly or Gunnar?(32 posts)

Newbie (to cyclocross) asks: Rebuild with Surly or Gunnar?Me Dot Org
Nov 1, 2001 10:29 AM
First of all, I'm a true roadie, so if I'm asking some obvious questions with respect to cyclocross, I apologize.

I bent the frame of my Bianchi Veloce in a crash. I replaced it with an entirely new bike (Carl Strong Road Frame w/Campy Chorus) and I was thinking of using the parts from the Veloce as the basis for another bike.

This bike would be one I wouldn't be afraid to take downtown, in the rain, or on gravel roads (I don't think I'll ever be a true off-roader). So primarily a tough street bike, with occasional gravel road duty.

I was thinking of a Surly Cross-Check or the Gunnar Cross-Hairs. A couple of questions:

Can I use the Campy Veloce Triple Drivetrain with these bikes?

The Bianchi has a 1" carbon fork, for which I recently purchased a Chris King (threaded) headset? Would there be a way to salvage these for a new frame?

What recommendations for (canty) brakes?

Any other thoughts or suggestions appreciated...
re: Newbie (to cyclocross) asks: Rebuild with Surly or Gunnar?Old Gramps
Nov 1, 2001 12:26 PM
Both frames should be able to handle a triple. Whether or not you use the inner chainring in cross is debatable though.

Cantis -- any work okay basically. Stay away from v-brakes as you'll need the travel agents to make them work with road levers. Get some old ones from a shop for cheap as most mtn bikes have v-brakes now and cantis are plentiful and cheap.
re: Newbie (to cyclocross) asks: Rebuild with Surly or Gunnar?Wally
Nov 2, 2001 8:17 AM
I recently built up a Cross Check, so all of the details are reasonably fresh in my mind. One thing to look at is that the Cross Check takes a 110 mm bottom bracket. Now, I don't know if the triple is compatible with this size, but I just thought I would throw that little bit of info out into the fray. Good luck and have fun, I know that I have.

re: Newbie (to cyclocross) asks: Rebuild with Surly or Gunnar?BAM
Nov 2, 2001 9:10 PM
The Surly requires a 68mm bottom bracket, the spindle length depends on the crank being used. I had an RSX triple whiched used a 122mm spindle length, now I am using an older LX crank with a 118 spindle. The bottom bracket shell width is set (68 mm) and the crank will ( I repeat) determine the length of the spindle. The Surly is designed to be able to use a road double/triple or mountain double/triple. The choice is up to you.
price is nicePablo
Nov 2, 2001 9:33 AM
I would think for a downtown/rain/gravel machine the price of the Surly would be hard to beat. Every post I've read calls it a great value for the bucks. Of course you'd lock it, but a downtown bike prolly shouldn't be too high-dollar just to be on the safe side.

Have fun building and riding!
fork included, toonfm
Nov 2, 2001 9:54 AM
do a search for brakes, that been covered enough
Gunnars also come with forksflyweight
Nov 2, 2001 1:02 PM
according to website you pay extraJiggy
Nov 5, 2001 6:05 AM
We've sold dozens w/out charging extra for the fork!flyweight
Nov 5, 2001 12:32 PM
how much? 600 or 780?nm
Nov 5, 2001 12:52 PM
how much? 600 or 780?flyweight
Nov 5, 2001 4:20 PM
With a Reynolds fork they're going for $750-800 depending on where you're at. Our shop was selling them for $750 but we just had to grudgingly raise the price to $800 to cover the shipping costs from Waterford. Even then we hardly make anything selling them.
Nov 6, 2001 5:20 AM
So you DO pay for the fork.
MORE than MSRP?!flyweight
Nov 6, 2001 11:11 AM
You need to understand that MSRP is based on a nationwide average. That's a problem for us because:
1) We're in the San Francisco Bay Area and pay more for real estate than anyone else in the country
2) We pay more for delivery charges ($40/frame) than anyone outside of Alaska or Hawaii

We're not thrilled about having to raise the cost either. However if we didn't selling them would almost be a break even situation. We probably make more money selling a piece of clothing or $350 hybrid than we do selling a Gunnar. On the upside selling a Gunnar is a whole lot more fun because you're selling the customer something out of the ordinary and even with the extra cost a Gunnar is still a great value compared to a stock off the shelf bike with all the compromises they come with.

Selling a bike like a Gunnar or Merlin or Colnago isn't the same as selling a Trek, Cannondale or Specialized. On average it takes 4 times as much time for the sales person because not only do you have to get the right frame size but you also have to go over every single component. It also takes far more of the mechanics time than a stock bike (which comes partially assembled) Labor costs are the single most expensive cost any business usually has when you factor in salary, benefits, payroll taxes (which are really high in our neck of the woods), libaility insurance, etc, etc. When you add these costs to the wholesale price of the frame (including delivery) there's not a whole lot left over. People don't open bike shops to make money. It's an extremely difficult business to be in and most shops barely scrape by these days (used to be very different back in the 70's) Unlike almost every other retail business bikes don't arrive ready to be sold. Shops have to include the labor cost of assembling the bike into the final price. This is why you don't see nationwide chains of bicycle shops. There is no bike equivalent of The Gap, Olive Garden, Starbucks, Pottery Barn, Comp USA, etc, etc.
what a RIP!!!T Roll
Nov 6, 2001 12:15 PM
and you're qualificatons are what exactly??flyweight
Nov 6, 2001 1:23 PM
How long have you worked in a shop? How many frames have you built from scratch? If you don't have any experience in either field you don't have the knowledge to intelligently criticize. If you think it's so easy go and start your own bike company.
Nov 6, 2001 8:45 PM
Hey people, Flyweight is 100% correct. Building a frame/bike from scratch is much, much, much, more time consuming than slapping together a complete bike out of a box. Headset,bottom bracket,deraillers,shifters,fork(including cutting to size),etc. all need to be installed, this is not so with companies like Giant,Specialized,Trek,etc. The latter have all this already installed the mechanic only needs to install stem,bar,front wheel,maybe cables and bar tape(road/crossbikes) then do final adjustments. This takes 30-40 minutes and the bike is ready to leave the store (normal build with no problems). You can spend 1 1/2 to 2+hours( if the frame is properly prepped) or longer if your also building wheels on a Gunnar,Independent,etc. This costs the shop money in a business were your mark up is very small and overhead (rent in particular) is out of control. Consider a company like Independent Fab where if you do not purchase at least 15 frames, you get raped. Take the msrp of a company like this and the dealer makes around $100 a frame and out of this comes shipping, time spent with the customer and your friendly inside sales rep getting exactly what the customer wants. The bike industry sucks, if you want to make money get into another business. You have to love what you do to put up with whining customers, low pay, and other headaches. Pay your respects to your LBS and its employees, otherwise your favorite mechanic and shop will disappear. The mail order companies can not get your bike running the day before your race , group ride, or vacation.
Stepping down from my mile high soapbox,
One other option...flyweight
Nov 2, 2001 1:03 PM
If you're looking at a Surly consider a SOMA Double Cross. Made in the same factory as Surly but with slightly nicer tubing and more braze-ons. Price is about the same.
re: Newbie (to cyclocross) asks: Rebuild with Surly or Gunnar?Cliff Oates
Nov 4, 2001 2:32 PM
I'm running a Campy mix on a Gunnar CX frame -- you can look at specs & pictures here. So, yes to Campy.

FWIW, I'm presently having customer service problems with the Gunnar folks and do not recommend purchasing from them at this point in time. If they make it right, I will probably change that recommendation. I don't really have recourse through my LBS as they sold the frame to me at a substantial discount. FWIW, I don't think it's possible to compare a $780 frameset with a $390 one, so comparing the Gunnar to the Surly is not a worthwhile exercise. Nobody can really compete with Surly at their price point, nor do they seemingly want to. Mikkelsen over in Alameda will do custom in the same price neighborhood as the Gunnar, and Strong has a sale going on CX frames at the moment at $800 for a frame plus $250 for a fork.

Gunnar uses a 1" threadless headset, so you could reuse the CK part. Surly is a 1 1/8" headset, so no go there.

I started with Avid cantis, they died and were returned under warranty, and I switched to Paul touring cantis. The Pauls are expensive, but hey, brakes are pretty important. I'm impressed with the Pauls and their ease of adjustment and general level of quality. MB1 also uses Paul brakes on his new Streetdog.
re: Newbie (to cyclocross) asks: Rebuild with Surly or Gunnar?flyweight
Nov 5, 2001 12:42 PM
First, all Gunar Crosshairs now come with 1 1/8"

Second, I would try working through a different shop. Bicycle Odyssey in Sausalito and American Cyclery in SF are also Bay Area Gunnar dealers. While it's not entirely unusual for a tire to be closer to one chainstay than the other I do know Gunnar's shouldn't be that way. Plus the wheels should always be in-line!
re: Newbie (to cyclocross) asks: Rebuild with Surly or Gunnar?Cliff Oates
Nov 5, 2001 2:09 PM
They must have changed the steerer diameter in the last 2 months because that's how old my frame is and it has a 1" steerer. I don't see how working with another shop is going to resolve my problem. The frame has already been inspected by someone at Gunnar and pronounced as being within their tolerances.
re: Newbie (to cyclocross) asks: Rebuild with Surly or Gunnar?flyweight
Nov 5, 2001 4:17 PM
The move to 1 1/8" is a 2002 thing. We got our first ones a couple months back.
Don't salvage the forkgust-of-sun
Nov 5, 2001 6:03 AM
If you bent the frame in a crash, chances are that carbon fork took some of the forces, too. Carbon forks have a nasty habit of not telling you when they're about to fail like steel and aluminum forks do. The general rule with carbon forks is: if you crash the bike enough to bend or brake stuff, the fork is probably damaged too. Damaged carbon forks seldom show the damage and will fail without warning. Of course, if you get the surly, it won't fit anyway.

My personal opinion is for the Gunnar. Its much lighter and the ride of the 853 tubes is nicer than the 4130 steel in the surly.

my $.02

Nov 5, 2001 7:35 AM
how you gonna put canti's on it? Gunnar is listed at 600 for frame, 780 with fork- twice as much as the SUrly. Both use 1-1/8 for 2001-2, almost any bike can accomodate a triple (although no good reason to use). You gotta consider BB dia/width/spindle length, front der clamp dia, post dia (both are standard 27.2), etc.
topline CX can be cheapJack S
Nov 5, 2001 8:41 AM
Empella Bonfire is $575, add Kinesis alu fork for $150 and you're still cheaper than the Gunnar.
oops, frameSET for $575Jack S
Nov 5, 2001 8:44 AM
WAAAAY cheaper than steel Gunnar. Can be had with 1" HS too.
Empella limitationsflyweight
Nov 5, 2001 12:50 PM
The Empella's are perhaps the best value in a cyclocross RACING frame. Emphasis on racing. They lack bottle braze-ons so unless you use a camelback don't plan on doing any long rides on one. They also don't have as much clearance for fatter tires as the Surly, SOMA or Gunnar. Most of the Euro bikes are designed around 27-30mm tires, not the fatter 30-35mm tires that are more common in the US.
Not a cross frame but . . .swede16
Nov 5, 2001 11:15 AM
Chuck's bikes,, is selling Ultimate Prestige steel road frames for $45.00 in 56cm, 58cm, 60cm, 62cm sizes.
Nov 6, 2001 10:10 AM
I have a gunnar with triple ultegra. That works fine. I have ridden the Campy racing Triple on a gunnar, and that was fine also. Both gunnars were slow, flexy bikes that are quite comfortable. I would never reccomend them for road racing, but it works great as a commuter or off-roader where shock absorbtion is a key item. Just do not expect a springy, shoots off the line feel, they made it too soft for that. Also, consider the carbon fork, as the waterford fork is the flexyest noodle on the road (another shock absorbtion thing). Look at the reviews, and you will see the fork is the number one complaint.

I use the SRP Grumpy canti's and they are the lightest and coolest cantis on earth (outside of paul's). Avid shorty's were what all the cyclo bikes had on at Interbike.
Nov 6, 2001 11:15 AM
The fork has been changed for 2002. They went with a 1 1/8" steertube to help take some of the flex out of the front end. Also I wouldn't call them slow bikes. Bikes are not slow, only riders are. Alex Candelario races on a Gunnar and he's a whole lot faster than you or I will ever be!

If you like the SRP brakes check out the Redline Radius brakes. Better than the Avid's (no squeel!) and better pad adjustment than the SRP. They work really well for such a cheap brake. Paul's are great too though my favorite is still the Deore XT low profile canti.
Gunnar? Candelario?climbo
Nov 6, 2001 1:07 PM
He's been on a Trek every time I've seen him this year. You're right, he's fast no matter what bike !!
Gunnar? Candelario?flyweight
Nov 6, 2001 1:29 PM
Prior to 2001 he was on a black Gunnar. Rode it in the World Championships in 2000. Also competed in several European WC races on his Gunnars.
how many timesHA
Nov 6, 2001 2:12 PM
will the "flyweight" reply? 11 so far, I bet he/she replies to this............