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  1. #1
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    Pacer or Crosscheck

    I need to decide really soon and it will be my only bike. Thanks

  2. #2
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    Well, how do you ride and what do you want to do with it?

    I've had a CC for quite some time, and last year picked up a Pacer when I found a nice used baby blue one in my size. Built up, the Pacer initially felt zippier, but that feeling disappeared in a few miles, and then it just felt... like a bike. Like my Crosscheck. But with much worse tire clearance and no single speed capability.

    I sold off the Pacer and still have the Crosscheck.
    WTB: Specialized AWOL frameset, XL

  3. #3
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    I recently bought a Pacer to take the title as my only bike and am really happy with my decision so far. I knew I wanted an all-rounder steel road bike and was looking at bikes from Surly, All-City, Bianchi, and Salsa, and eventually narrowed it down to the Crosscheck and the Pacer. I went with the Pacer because it is more "road" specific in geometry and features, whereas the Crosscheck is designed for more versatility. While this is often what people love about the CC, I've heard it as a criticism as well, that it does everything okay but not one thing particularly well, whereas the Pacer seems to have more of a focus.

    This was my reasoning for my decision:

    -For me, I was going to be buying a complete bike, and wanted to try STI shifters after riding downtubes for a while, and the Pacer came with the STI's. I also had a slight preference for sidepulls over canti's, too.
    -I decided I didn't need a huge amount of tire clearance as I don't care for bolt on fenders and 32c is the most I'll need, plenty for comfortably riding all kinds of road surfaces, maybe even a little off-road.
    -I didn't need the extra braze-ons as saddle, frame, and handlebar bags can hold enough for me. Besides, an Old Man Mountain or Tubus Fly rack, or a BOB trailer, could probably work well enough if I ever did need to haul, although the frame isn't really designed for heavy loads and the shorter chainstays would probably cause heel strike problems with most panniers.
    -I didn't need the single speed capability because I felt a geared road bike would be the best for my situation, and if I wanted to ride SS or fixed, I'd rather just have a separate bike as I know I'm too lazy to be switching drivetrains back and forth.

    I got the Pacer because it fit my needs - a simple, comfortable all-day road bike that would stand the test of time, without anything that I didn't really need. And while I haven't gotten the chance to log in too many miles on it yet, I've really enjoyed it so far. It's pretty fast too.

  4. #4
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    I think the other guys covered it, but I'll pile on just for grins and giggles.

    Get the Pacer if you:

    Plan to ride mostly on pavement
    Will never want a tire bigger than 32mm
    Weight less than 200 lbs (or so) and/or prefer a flexier frame
    Prefer sidepulls to cantis
    Want vertical dropouts instead of horizontal dropouts
    Prefer STI to barend shifters (on the complete, of course if you're buying a frameset it doesn't matter)

    If one of the above is not true, get the Cross Check.

    You could also check out the Salsa Casseroll, which combines many of the advantages of the CC, like big tire clearance and horizontal dropouts, with the roadie focus of the Pacer. I've never ridden one myself, but they sure are purdy.

  5. #5
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    Cross Check is the one for me. I included the LHT, Cassaroll, Vaya, and Rivendel Sam Hilbourne in my research as well. I decided I wanted a classic-geometry frame so that ruled out the cassaroll and Vaya. I liked the horizontal dropouts so that made the CC a good choice over the others. Also it's a good price. I like friction shifting quite a bit so the bar end shifters are perfect for me. The Check comes in plenty of sizes as well. I needed the 62cm. I find that the Check has performed very well in all variety of set-ups(Cross Check Pics Please has too many pictures of my Check in different outfits). The Check will perform better off road, and just as well on road. I also like to slam the wheel back in the dropouts for a bit more chain stay length and tire clearance. The canti's are neither a pro nor a con for most riding and offer plenty of stop for me. I like the braze-ons on the Check. The Check is plenty burly for single track and trail riding, and it rides very nicely off road with ample clearance for beefier weenies and mudguards.

    Those were my rambling, stream-of-consciousness considerations when choosing my bike. Good luck, and don't be afraid to ask more questions here!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by vaultbrad View Post
    The Check will perform better off road, and just as well on road.
    Okay, I'll pile on again just cuz I think I have something sorta kinda relevent to add. I bought my CC used when I was actually in the market for a rigid mountain bike. Just too good a deal to pass up at the time. So when I got it, I converted it to a monster crosser and rode it that way for a month or so, including a few trail rides. Was awesome. Everything I hoped for and more. I liked how light and flickable it was (compared to my other bikes). I thought it would be great on the road, so I made the appropriate component swaps. I liked it even better on the road. So my CC is now the "road" bike in my quiver. And its still awesome for mixed surface rides.

  7. #7
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    I had a 26" wheel LHT and cross-check simultaneously for a couple years but the CC stopped functioning as the zippy twin at some point so I was shopping for a Pacer like bike bike to fill that niche after all. I found it in the form of a Traitor Exile which is functionally similar to the Pacer. The CC is the redundant bike in the garage, of the 3, but it does offer specific features that are still worth having around so I'm not going to turf it yet. To keep the Traitor zippy I am not going to put a rack on it.

  8. #8
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    I have the Pacer and for around town it's great but it's even better for long rides. I have 28s on it and it is without a doubt the smoothest bike I've ever been on. If you want to go off road you still have plenty of room for 32s. However, if you plan on riding extensively off road the cc would be the better choice.

  9. #9
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    same situation

    I asked the same question earlier this year and went with the Pacer instead of the CC. Previous posters above hit the same reasons. I do enough group road rides and pavement that I wanted more of a road bike vs. cross bike. Also do a lot of dirt road rides but didn't see going above 32 tires. So I have two wheel sets, 700x23 for road and 700x32 for the dirt. Fits what I wanted perfectly. Anything off road that's too much for the 32's and I go with the mtb.

  10. #10
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    I have both frames. Used the same components (except brakes) on them. The CC feels noticeably harsher riding. I am faster on the Pacer for some reason, could be other factors than the frame. I don't like the slightly longer top tube and the short head tube on the CC. The head tube should have been a little longer due to the smaller BB drop in my opinion. The blue color and extra tire clearance is what caused me to replace the Pacer frame with a CC. If the Pacer was light blue then I'd be really torn.

    Here's what they looked like with the same kit (except for a too short stem on the Pacer, and different brakes, of course). The Pacer would have looked better with a darker brown on the saddle and bars.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Pacer or Crosscheck-surly03.jpg  


  11. #11
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    Have you seen the new Pacer "sparkle boogie blue" yet? In the sunlight?? DAMN it looks good!!! Plus, I much prefer the pacer geometry over the CC, but that's just me. You couldn't go wrong with either.

  12. #12
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    The Pacer might not be as much of a do it all, but it is a nice do what I want. I only wish it had some rack braze-ons on the seat stays, but that can be worked around. I run mine with knobby 32s for gravel or 23s for road. It makes for a good light tourer and all day roadie with nice geo plus room for fenders. It doesn't have the tire clearance, braze-ons, and dropouts the CC does. If you want to take advantage of what the CC has, get it, but the Pacer does a great job and has versatility and comfort that many road bikes don't.

  13. #13
    PMC
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    Not sure if you've pulled the trigger yet but I have one of the new blue Pacers and it's a fine bike.
    Super comfortable and does everything well IMO. I don't care that it built up at 22 pounds as an extra few pounds doesn't matter to me. I like the way it handles and it's pretty smooth on some crap roads.
    Longest ride to date so far is 111 miles and comfort was never an issue.
    The fact you can run larger tires and or fenders yet still be a decent road bike is a big selling point for me.

  14. #14
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    I've had both. I liked the handling of the Pacer better, but the CC is a more versatile bike.

    There are two things I don't like about the CrossCheck - the 132.5mm spacing and cantilever brakes.
    If you use mountain hubs (I had issues with road hubs pulling out of the dropouts - you need a really strong QR for it to work) and either mini-Vs or V-brakes with V-brake drop levers, then those two issues can be minimized.

  15. #15
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    No idea on the Pacer, but I'm very happy with my Surly Cross Check - does the trick off road and when commuting to the office.

  16. #16
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    I bought a Pacer after a similar debate last summer. I used to race road and mountain bikes, so when looking around, I decided I wanted a road bike that would handle the rough roads well without being too sluggish. I built it up with Sram Force and it is around 20 pounds. I can ride group rides and get in the mix on climbs and sprints; maybe I'll get some stickers and put them on the downtube, took down a Scott Addict, A Wilier something or other, and Look racing bike on the last group ride. When I get beat in the sprints, I simply say "my bike is heavier than yours" and that usually does the trick. I can also noodle around town on it without being out of place. I have only run 23mm tires but I'm looking into getting a set of 32's for dirty work and keeping 23's around for my daily rides. I have never been so comfortable on a road bike, and I have ridden some pretty nice road bikes in my experience working at a Specialized store.

  17. #17
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by irun22fast View Post
    When I get beat in the sprints, I simply say "my bike is heavier than yours" and that usually does the trick.
    LOL nice job.
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  18. #18
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    I like my pacer. It does not ride like a high quality steel frame though, for example my late 90s Waterford is much smoother and stiffer at the same time. Still the pacer cant be beat for the price and is very versatile. Mine is built with Record/ Chorus 11, I can mount my carbon tubulars and play in the citizen category in local crits, or mount large tires/rack/frame bag and do a 3 day tour with about half fire roads.

    I would say only get the CC if you plan on consistently using large tires and fenders often. Also replacing the surly boat anchor with a cheep carbon fork takes about 2 pounds off the bike, but you loose clearance for big tires.

  19. #19
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    Never ridden or even seen a Pacer, but I've had a 'cross check for 7 years, and I love it. The only thing I'd change would be disc brakes for the occasional off-road jaunt and riding in slushy, muddy spring dirt roads....
    Geometry fits me well. I'm 6'5" and it's a 62cm frame with a 130mm stem. Then again, I like to be pretty stretched out and aggressive. The ride does feel a bit stiff sometimes, which is surprising for a big steel frame, but I'm used to it.
    Whichever you get, it'll probably last you forever.

  20. #20
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    I picked up a lightly used 2011 Pacer frameset off Craig's and built it up with some new and used bits. Splurged for a Velo Orange compact crankset (on sale) and Silver downtube shifters, which really ties the whole thing together.



    Great riding road bike, smooth, comfy.
    Last edited by Holmes; 08-19-2012 at 08:15 PM.

  21. #21
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    If Surly still have that green color, I would have gotten one already
    For now, my CC is all I wanted
    When trails gets tougher, Just stand up and deliver.

  22. #22
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    You have a beautiful bike. Many happy miles.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullit_cn View Post
    If Surly still have that green color, I would have gotten one already
    For now, my CC is all I wanted
    Yeah - that particular color looks really good, I've gotten a few compliments on it so far. I'm definitely impressed with how it rides - solid high speed handling on descents and soaks up rough roads quite well. A good all day road bike for sure.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holmes View Post
    Yeah - that particular color looks really good, I've gotten a few compliments on it so far. I'm definitely impressed with how it rides - solid high speed handling on descents and soaks up rough roads quite well. A good all day road bike for sure.
    I have that exact year/color frame with mine being a complete build from Surly.

    It is one of the finest riding, handling and comfortable bikes I've ridden.

    Next to my SteamRoller of course...
    Linux is for those who hate Microsoft, BSD is for those who love UNIX.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celt View Post
    I have that exact year/color frame with mine being a complete build from Surly.

    It is one of the finest riding, handling and comfortable bikes I've ridden.

    Next to my SteamRoller of course...
    Yeah, my 'smoothest' / most comfortable 'road' bike is actually a Voodoo Maji single speed. It's setup with dirt drops and 35mm tires on Delgado rims - it's my dedicated gravel grinder / cross bike and it's really impressed me with how well it handles washboard surfaces, etc.

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