Saturday, August 17, 2013

Soma Double Cross vs. Surly Cross Check Comparison

This summer, I ended up with a Soma Double Cross and a Surly Cross Check at the same time. Many people shop these two against each other, so I thought I would put up some thoughts between them.

Here's how they were built when I took my comparo photos:

60cm DC and a 62cm CC. Why not the 62cm DC? Because it's actually only barely bigger than the 60cm size (check out the slacker seat tube angle that effectively shortens the effective top tube), and I wanted the extra standover height for pulling my kids around.

Weight: I didn't weigh the frames before building. If there's more than a 1/4 pounds between them, I would be surprised. It's meaningless.

Let's take a look at some of the design details:

The Soma's rear end has conventional vertical dropouts, vs. the CC's horizontals. Both have dual eyelets:

In general, I like the CC's rear end better, because I like the option to run single speed or fixed gear. The CC's dropout forging and joinery looks better to me. The long horizontal also lets me adjust the wheelbase, which makes a real difference: forward for snappier handling, rearward for a smoother ride and (more importantly), more clearance for fat tires and fenders. The Soma gets pretty tight with a 35mm tire, a fender, and a front derailer:

Notice how I had to carve out the fender to make the front derailer have room.

The Soma has a stop for canti brakes, whereas the Crosscheck doesn't. I run V brakes, so I don't care about this. The CC has threaded holes at the bridges, vs. the plain holes for the Soma:

The CC has nicely rounded cable stops vs. the more sharply cut edges of the Soma:

Both have headbadges, I like the Soma's design better:

Rear tire clearance seems better on the CC, but for my typical usage (35mm Pasela with a fender), they both worked fine.

Handling on both bikes was a wash for me. They have the same head tube angle (72*) and fork rake (45mm), and bottom bracket drop, so it's not a surprise that they would handle the same. The conventional wisdom is that the DC has better tubing (Tange Prestige vs. generic 4130), but they feel very similar to me. If anything, the CC has a bit smoother, livelier ride, perhaps because the larger frame flexes a bit more. I've heard the CC is 0.9/0.6/0.9, and I would guess the Soma has the same butting and tube dimensions.

If you've read this far, it's pretty clear which I like better: the CC wins virtually category here. The only area where the Soma had a clear win for me was in the head tube length: 195mm vs. 180mm, accomplished with a slightly sloping top tube vs. the CC's dead level tube. I do like the looks of the taller head tube better.

But in the end, that wasn't enough for the Soma. I sold it on Craigslist, while the Crosscheck endures. Go Surly!


  1. Very informative, thank you.

  2. Now that I've learned the CC has no brake stop the decision is clear. I will be going with the Soma because I use canti's. Why would Surly leave this to a seatpost stop?

    1. I admit the seat collar mounted canti hanger is pretty hokey, but I would rather have the clean look of no brazed on hanger stop when I run my stronger, easier to set up V brakes.

      Not that I'm biased against cantis or anything :)

  3. Double Cross it is, I love cantis

    1. Can't argue that the cable stop on the DC is a lot more effective than the seat clamp mounted hanger that is supplied with the CC.


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