My sister has been cycling around Oxford on an old 3-Speed Elsworth and her intention to get something a bit more practical for commuting to work gave me the excuse to put together another bike. She wanted something nippy, with drop bars and equally capable of commuting the 12 or so miles to her office, with panniers or a large saddle bag, or for weekend rides along the canals and country roads.
I briefly considered a 1970’s Simonato that we found and would have been a great restoration project, but it wouldn’t have made a very versatile commuter.
Enter light blue 46cm 2012 Surly Cross Check via Brixton Cycles. At 5’ 4” it was a choice of 46cm or 50cm frame, but with the long top tube on the Cross Check, their advice was to err on the side of smaller. For the time being it will run on a set of Alex DA16s / Deore wheels that I have spare from my original Cross Check build and 700x28c Bontrager Racelite Hardcase tyres. Once she has had a chance to ride it for a while, I think the first upgrade would be to some nicer, lighter wheels and tyres. I have some of the necessary bits for the parts and running gear which will be mostly Shimano 105 with a Tiagra rear mech - the 9 speed derailleur works fine with 10 speed cassette and STIs. I don’t like the appearance of modern Shimano cranks so went with a Sugino XD2 compact double with Stronglight chainrings (48/34).
Silver parts are much more tricky to find now, everything is black powder coated - cheaper to make than polished silver. Anyway, Kalloy seatpost, Velo Orange 80mm stem and a lovely Deda Elementi Speciale road bar (short 80mm reach and sensible 134mm drop).
I have gone with Tektro RX-5 Mini-V brakes as I am pretty sure they will require less effort than cantilevers with STI levers and small hands.
Just got to cable and sort out gears and brakes now, more photos once it’s finished!