Everyone is freaking about about the Surly Straggler
and we're lucky enough to have them. "It's a Cross-Check with disc
brakes!" But it's not. It's a different bike that can still do all the same crazy stuff as a Cross-Check and then some.
It's fairly well accepted general opinion that the Surly Cross-Check is one of the raddest, most versatile bikes on the market. You can use it for just about anything. Riding it on single track with fat knobbies, throwing studded tires and full fenders on it to make it the ultimate foul weather commuter, turning it single speed and using it as your trusted townie or even light touring, the Cross-Check can do it. It can fit a wide variety of tire widths and uses common sizes for all the parts making it really easy to switch things around. Basically it's a really good Jack-of-all-trades, and everyone I've ever met that has one loves it and claims to never want to sell it ever
. So of course, when word got out that the Straggler was pretty much a disc brake Cross-Check, the cycling world collectively messed itself.
So yes, the Straggler has and can do all of the things everyone loves about the Cross-Check, but it definitely has a few new tricks up its sleeve beyond the obvious addition of disc brakes. For one, the build kit on the complete bikes are totally different, the only things they actually have in common are the headset, 700c wheels and the range 11-32t on the cassette. The Straggler has 10 speed integrated shifters as opposed to the Cross-Check's standard 9 speed bar end shifters, and it also has slightly nicer derailleurs. It comes with the new Surly Knard 41 tires which are notably wider than the 700x35 Kenda Slant 6s that come on the Cross-Check. The Straggler seems like it's kitted out to tear up some dirty, gravely, disaster roads and trails. Only when you get those wheels covered in slimy mud, fear not for your ability to stop. Thank you disc brakes.
"The frame though, besides the disc brake jawns that's just a Cross-Check frame right?" Well, almost. The geometry of both frames is extremely similar but there are a few numbers that don't match up, just barely. The differences are minor but added together they make for a bike with a slightly longer wheelbase and reach. The Straggler should feel pretty much the same fit-wise, but will ride a little more smoothly. The tweaks in geometry manage to keep the stand over height and bottom bracket clearance the same even with fatter tires. A quick glance at the bottom bracket drop numbers side by side may make you think log hopping would be a whole 2mm harder, but really it's a smart way to compensate for the fatter tires. Surly messed with things just enough
to keep the gnar factor high so you can still really rip.
There you go. Surly seems to maybe have actually succeeded in taking everyone's favorite the Cross-Check and made it a bit more fun. And how can I not mention the insane color choice? Thank you Surly, everyone loves glitter whether they admit it or not.