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  1. #1
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    Pacer on dirt/gravel

    Just looking to see if anyone has experience using their Pacer with 700x32 tires for dirt/gravel road riding. I just got my wife a Cross Check. We have plenty of dirt and gravel around here that we can link up with pavement which is what she prefers over all out pavement with car traffic. I have a Al road bike and a 29er. It would be easier for me to switch wheel sets (700x23 and 700x32) on a road bike than the 29er. I thought about a CC but I do enough group road rides and long 3-4 hour pavement solo rides that the CC might be too much but I'm concerned if the Pacer can handle gravel grinders, especially D2R2 if there are any New England riders reading this. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I ride my CC on group road rides, and even won a 35 mile race on it. So it is a capable, yet heavy, road bike.

    My buddy sold his CC to get a Pacer and had it for 3 weeks before selling it. He said it was a great bike, but it's a road bike.

    Not to say it couldn't be done, but I would think if you do gravel at all, the Pacer would be worse at that than the CrossCheck would be at the group roadie rides.

    (This is my opinion, having only ridden my buddies Pacer for 5 minutes, and going of my experience with the CC, and his with the Pacer.)

  3. #3
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    surly site

    After a little more surfing on Surly's page, they have the "why CC, Pacer, LHT". Pacer - "club rider, gravel racer" which sounds like my deal so I'm thinking Pacer.

  4. #4
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    There definately is a Pacer with 42c, 650b tires built as a "gravel racer" in my future. I have my Steamroller as my 700c SS gravel road bike, Small Block 8 35c in front, 32c out back. The Pacer could be set up the same way.

  5. #5
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    Apparently the Pacer is perfect for 650b conversions. You might not be able to fit Grand Bois Hertres but it could probably handle the Soma 650b tire. You build it up with these brakes:

    Tektro Bigmouth 73 Sidepull Brakes R365- 15151

    Pacer conversion:

    650B wheeled bicycles :
    All good expeditions should be simple in concept, difficult in their execution and satisfying to remember--Alastair Humphreys

  6. #6
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    Dirtable Pacer

    Spotted this Pacer a few years ago in New Zealand and thought it was a Cross-Check at first glance with the CX tyres and bar-end shifters.

    Tough Pacer

  7. #7
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    I ride my Pacer almost exclusively on dirt (I don't like road rides - prefer the peace and quiet of dirt roads around here):





    It works, but I'm in the process of a proper dirt/gravel build - leaning towards a Salsa Casseroll. Problems with the Pacer: it has a classic road bike geometry, meaning it's hbar position is ultra low (tough on the back on long grinders), and the geometry is really tight (twitchy on the decents). The caliper brakes, although leave room for big tires, don't leave room for all the muck that comes after a few days rain. Lastly, I'm sick of tow overlap, and almost tripping over myself when making a U-turn, or track standing at lights!
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  8. #8
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    I've done the Hilly Billy Roubaix on a Pacer with 28mm tires. Wouldn't recommend it, but there are numerous sections of that ride with big, loose gravel.

    For dirt roads and smaller, more packed gravel, the Pacer is fine.

  9. #9
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jesusburger View Post
    Spotted this Pacer a few years ago in New Zealand and thought it was a Cross-Check at first glance with the CX tyres and bar-end shifters.

    Tough Pacer
    I really like that bike.
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  10. #10
    Kaishingo
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    Just remembered another con - been using my wife's car this week and had to deflate the tire to take off the front wheel. Minor gripe; just hope I don't forget the pump is now in her car.

    To the OP - You might want to consider a Salsa Casseroll, in particular, one of the previous generation with the Gold paint. You can fit wider tires (the frame uses longer-reach calipers then the Pacer). The geometry also seems to fit smack between the Pacer and the CC. This is what my wife rides - we're almost exclusively dirt road riders because I'm afraid of the drivers around here. The new Casseroll has a similar geometry - but the cantilever brakes would probably get laughed at by your roadie friends.

    Again, the Pacer will work, but there are so many better options out there for about the same money. IMO, the only reason it works is that the frame has allowances for a slightly wider tire. If not for that, this would be a pure road bike.

    And If you still want to take that route - my 56cm frame will be going on sale soon
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    I really like that bike.
    Yeah, my first real road bike a 61cm pacer was just like that. And a similar setup is what introduced me to cross. I wish I could find it again.

  12. #12
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    Pacer gravel

    • Iíve been riding a Surly Pacer with knobbies for years. Originally I used Ritchey SpeedMax 700x30s and they were great in most conditions. When Ritchey stopped making the 30s I couldnít find a replacement so I sold the Pacer and bought a Cross Check; it was a big mistake. I discovered what I liked the most about the Pacer off road was that it handled like a road bike. The Cross Check just felt sluggish and clunky so I sold it as well and gave up. Last year I stumbled upon the Schwalbe CX Pros in 700x30, started all over and once again have a bike that I ride everywhere: fire roads, single track, technical and benign it never ceases to put a smile on my face. Itís also a great road bike that has at first amused and then befuddled hardened roadies on group rides. Built with full Shimano 105, Ritchey Pro bits and cross levers it weighs <23 lbs.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Pacer on dirt/gravel-img_2905.jpg  

    Last edited by bexbeau; 10-25-2013 at 02:32 PM.

  13. #13
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    Bexbeau - great looking Pacer. I don't have a Pacer but I do have a 83 Trek that I put 700x32's on. I ride it everywhere as well and works just fine. I also had a Steamroller that I had 35's on and rode that regularly on dirt. I have zero problems with road geo on dirt roads. My current fixed gear roadie won't fit 32's (just barely doesn't clear), so I'll have to check out the Schwalbe 30's.

  14. #14
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    Those schwalbe 30s are really awesome tires for how skinny they are. I have been very impressed with mine.

  15. #15
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    Kind of an old thread, but as a former Pacer owners and longtime CC rider, I'd much rather ride the CC on the road than the Pacer on dirt. When I compared the Pacer to my CC back to back, the Pacer initially felt like it turned a bit quicker, but that difference quickly faded as I got used to it. Road speed, they're essentially the same--dictated by your effort, tire choice, and aero position.

    The CC being so much more versatile, it was an easy choice to sell the Pacer. Still have my Cross Check.
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  16. #16
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    I wish Surly would put a taller head tube on the Cross Check. that is part of the reason I bought a Pake C'Mute instead.

    if you already have an alu road bike, i would keep that as your "strictly pavement" bike and build up something as a versatile "all road" bike. cyclocross/ gravel grinder/ tourer/ commuter with steel frame, burly wheels, wider tires, canti brakes, bosses for racks and fenders, etc.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bexbeau View Post
    • Iíve been riding a Surly Pacer with knobbies for years. Originally I used Ritchey SpeedMax 700x30s and they were great in most conditions. When Ritchey stopped making the 30s I couldnít find a replacement so I sold the Pacer and bought a Cross Check; it was a big mistake. I discovered what I liked the most about the Pacer off road was that it handled like a road bike. The Cross Check just felt sluggish and clunky so I sold it as well and gave up. Last year I stumbled upon the Schwalbe CX Pros in 700x30, started all over and once again have a bike that I ride everywhere: fire roads, single track, technical and benign it never ceases to put a smile on my face. Itís also a great road bike that has at first amused and then befuddled hardened roadies on group rides. Built with full Shimano 105, Ritchey Pro bits and cross levers it weighs <23 lbs.
    If you're looking for something a little more tamer than the CX Pro, check out the Challenge Almanzo (700x30).

    Amazon.com: Challenge Almanzo 700x30c Clincher Gravel Race Tire: Sports & Outdoors

  18. #18
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I wish Surly would put a taller head tube on the Cross Check. that is part of the reason I bought a Pake C'Mute instead.
    Doesn't the Straggler fix that problem?
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    Doesn't the Straggler fix that problem?
    Looks the same for both if you check their geometry tables.....

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