Surly Cross Check Retro Road Bike Build 2023 version

Last Updated on July 2, 2023 by FAB Jim The Cyclist

Last year I built up a Surly Cross Check frame to be a sort of comfort road bike with a classic road bike look.  I quickly came to love the bike and it was my go-to ride for all year.  With the original build I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it, so I kept more on a budget, and the bike was still great.  But the more I rode it the more I got to thinking how I could make the bike a bit cooler.  So, I changed it up over the winter and here is my 2023 version:

Surly Cross Check Retro Road Bike


I decided the look I wanted to most try to mimic was the late 80’s road bike that had the aero brakes and just look fast.  The Cross Check frame doesn’t have any chrome, so it doesn’t really look like older bikes, but by the late 80s chrome was mostly gone from frame and fork.  So here are the changes I made to give the bike more of that look.

Shifters/Brake levers

Aero brakes look fast, and they got rid of the cables coming out the top, so I had to do the same.   My Microshift R10 worked great, but they really look more like 90s Shimano rather than late 80s aero.    After looking at all the options I landed on Campagnolo Veloce shifters which I think are about the best-looking ones available.   Most importantly I lost the housing coming out the top. 


I wanted to keep my Stronglight crank so I kept to 10-speed which meant using new old stock Veloce front derailleur and NOS Centaur 10-speed rear derailleur.  I switched the cassette to Campagnolo and have a KMC chain.  Campy is a great vintage brand so I think it’s a nice fit and the derailleurs look pretty good for the time period I’m trying to mimic.


The Tektro 720 brakes I was using worked well, but they were black and didn’t have the look I wanted.  I changed these to silver Tektro CR510 brakes which I think fit the build much better and work well.


I switched the stem to a gloss black Uno that matches the finish of the frame.  I like the look.


Upgraded to Velocity A23 rims with Miche hubs.  Nice looking wheels, tubeless ready, and they saved some weight.


Wanted to switch to tubeless for more comfort so I am using American Classic Torchbearer tires.  Comfy ride and I guess I’m safer from flats.  Haven’t had one yet. 

Saddle and Seatpost

Switched the saddle to a Charge Knife with titanium rails and am using a silver Trek system 2 seatpost.  Dropped some weight and I like the look.  Also achieved great balance. 

Full component list

Campagnolo Veloce shifters

Campagnolo Veloce front derailleur

Campagnolo Centeur rear derailleur

Campagnolo Veloce Cassette 10 speed 13-29

Stonglight Impact Double Crankset 48/34

KMC X10 Chain silver/black

Wellgo W-01 Pedals

Whisky No 7 F12 Silver drop bars

Deda bar tape

Uno Stem gloss black

Cane Creek headset

Charge Knife Saddle titanium rails

Trek System 2 seatpost

Velocity A23 wheelset with Miche hubs

Halo Retro skewers

American Classic Torchbearer tubeless tires


The changes did drop about a pound of weight and now it’s about 23 lbs. 

I love the bike; it’s still a great ride and I think has a better look.  It’s also still not Shimano, which is kinda different. 

Here is last years version:

Frame I started with:

Here are some reviews of some of the components used:

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