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Jamis Nova vs. Surly Cross-Check(8 posts)

Jamis Nova vs. Surly Cross-Checkpawistik
Feb 15, 2003 8:49 PM
Hi folks,

I'm looking for a fast commuter that can handle rough roads, dirt, not-too-technical single track and the occasional road ride. The primary use of this bike would be a commuter. Cyclocross bikes seem to fit the bill nicely. The bike would be a complement to my old beater (but decent)mtb that will remain my ride for the winter commute (that darn salt, snow, sand mix is gotta be the worst combo for a bike) and those occasions when I'm doing a serious trail-ride.

My LBS can get me either the Surly Crosscheck complete bike or the Jamis Nova at the same price & so far they seem to be the leading candidates in my search. The Surly would probably take longer to order in (i.e. May), whereas the Nova can be here within a couple weeks (though I won't be on it until the snow clears up, sometime around April). Additionally he's gonna have a Nova in store for me to look at in the next week (though it's not my size). I'm in a small city a long way from everywhere so my options are a bit limited with respect to trying out different bikes to see how they feel.

The crosscheck seems to get really good reviews, but the nova seems to fair all right too. What are your opinions about these two bikes in a side by side comparison? What should I be sure to consider when comparing them? I like the idea of steel and am not racing so
b weight is not the primary concern whereas durability, quality of ride, comfort and versatility are very important.

Thanks in advance,
Biased Responsetxcross
Feb 16, 2003 5:10 AM

This is going to be bit biased because I have a Jamis Nova and absolutely love it. To be objective though, I check out the specs on the Surly. To me they look pretty close. One of the main differences I see is the Jamis has STI shifters and the Surly has barend. This is a matter of personal preference. I have never used them but quite a few folks out there do and love them. They both run full Tiagra drivetrain, with the Surly having Cyclone cranks. Weight looks close, my 53cm Jamis is about 23lbs. The biggest drawback to this years Jamis is the bike is UGLY. I have the 2001 model, a nice bright orange (just like my dad's 10-speed when I was a kid).

To be honest, it looks like a fit issue. But since in both cases your going to have to order that won't help much.

In the end, I truly enjoy the Jamis. I've taken on paved road, gravel road, double track and single track and there is really nothing it cannot handle. Good luck in your decision, with either choice I'm sure you will be happy.

Biased Responsepawistik
Feb 16, 2003 5:34 PM
Awww c'mon, it's not THAT ugly, is it?

What about the pedals that are included in the deal, the Ritchey Mountain Logic V3 Comp? I don't see any reviews for these pedals in the reviews section on this site and they aren't among the recommended pedals I've seen on this forum. Should I look at upgrading the pedals? I'm riding with toeclips now so I have no point of reference or preference.

Is there anything else on either of these bikes I should consider upgrading right off?

Biased Responsetxcross
Feb 17, 2003 6:03 AM
I'm not very familiar with the Logic V3 pedals, I do have the Logic V2's on my mountain bike and am very pleased with them.

Before you order your Jamis have the LBS call and find out what cranks will be shipped. At my LBS the first few 2003 models came in as described on Jamis' web site. The most recent they have received have one big difference... GOLD CRANKS. The owner of the LBS is not happy, he cannot give these things away, he's pulling the cranks and replacing all of them.

Regarding upgrades, I prefer to ride stuff till it breaks and then replace/upgrade. The only thing you may want to change are the tires to make them better suited for the type of terrain you will be on.

Jamis Novaweiwentg
Feb 16, 2003 6:50 AM
if you can both bikes for the same price get the Jamis - 631 tubing as opposed to 4130, and superior components. when it really comes down to that the Surly will be more durable, but few people, whether they race or not, will really be able to do in a steel bike (as long as it's not ultralight steel). I have heard one surly owner describe the handling as squirrely, but that may have been a function of the setup.
re: Jamis Nova vs. Surly Cross-CheckAlpedhuez55
Feb 17, 2003 7:24 AM
I am a cross check owner I bought a frame and built it up. But I would go with the Nova if I were to buy one today. I was in a friends shop who was putting a 2003 together over the weekend. It has STI shifters, Tiagra 9 speed drivetrain with Truvative gold finished Cranks. THe gold LX hubs are a little tacky though.

He sells them for the same as a Surly, about $900, but I think Nova is more versitile. It also has touring rack eylets. I would go with the Jamis.

Mike Y.
re: Definitely the Jamis Novajrm
Feb 17, 2003 3:32 PM
I like the steeper angles of the Jamis and you can get up to a 32c knobby on there but with a 28c road tire the bikes would be great for mcommuting. STI levers limit you brake options but at the same time there nice in traffic.
differences: frame material, color, shifters, tire clearanceGlowBoy
Feb 18, 2003 12:25 PM
Most of thse differences have already been mentioned, and they are not huge. Personal preference, really. Both have decent steel frames, Tiagra drivetrains and weigh about 23 pounds.

The Jamis' frame material is a little nicer, and I'm sure the frame is slightly lighter than the Surly. Personally I don't care for the current color scheme (I liked the 2001 orange a LOT), but it will go nicely with your gold-trimmed Lincoln Navigator.

Jamis has STI, Surly has bar-end: if you're going to race it, the bar ends are probably best, but if you aren't racing it's definitely nice to have the convenience of STI. STI does weigh marginally more, but bar ends have the kneecap-puncture factor. Tradeoffs and personal preference. Remember, switching from one to the other is expensive, especially if you get the Surly and decide you want to go STI, you'll have to spend $150 on a pair of 105 levers. (Although I do have some slightly scratched Tiagra levers I'm willing to sell).

Also, the Surly has a lot more tire clearance. You can squeeze in some of the 29" tire models if you don't need room for fenders, which I doubt you can do with the Nova. Just remember that it's still a 'cross bike and mountain bike tires will not turn it into mountain bike, but that could still be nice for moderate trail riding.