Shirly is my Surly Cross Check. I’ve had her for a 7 or 8 years and she’s been a great bike for me. She’s kind of a Jill of all trades, but she’s definitley a master of none as well.

Her virtues:

  1. She’s sturdy. When bad stuff happens, she’s not going to break
  2. She can handle pretty heavy loads
  3. She can handle decently wide tires
  4. She’s just plain versitile.

Her problems:

  1. she’s heavy
  2. She has poor aerodynamics
  3. She’s not super comfortable. My back hurts on long rides.
  4. She doesn’t compete well with road bikes
  5. She doesn’t compete at all with mountain bikes
  6. She’s not equipped for gravel or snow

I want to turn her into a gravel, light bikepacking bike. Here’s what I’d like to do.

  1. New handlebars
  2. New Stem
  3. Drop the cross levers
  4. Dynamo hub
  5. Dynamo lights
  6. Mudflaps that actually deal well with mud (as opposed to the current fenders that jam up with mud)
  7. More water storage
  8. Food and clothing storage
  9. Wider tires with more grip
  10. Set up tires tubless

I have most of these worked out with gear on the way. Can I get everything together before the retreat? I think so. Can I get my fitness together to match the bike? We’ll see.

Will she be a good choice for the RockStar 270? “Best” is not really her thing. But she’ll probably be the bike I bring. Because that’s what she does, what’s needed.