Home > Gear, The Blue Ridge Parkway, ultralight bicycle touring > Surly Travelers Check Review

Surly Travelers Check Review

The past six months have been busy. A week touring the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two weeks riding the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, some bike camping and lots of day rides. All done on my new Surly Travelers Check.


At first I was put off by the color, something Surly is calling Brownlow. If you were to lean the bike up against a UPS truck it would be perfectly camouflaged. The paint job is not high quality with a bubble and drip or two and one very small place (a small spot about twice the diameter of pencil lead) with no paint at all. After six months of use, the decals on the front forks are falling off.

DSC03181 (800x600)

That being said, the bike is a solid ride capable of handling anything you throw at it. Surly is not known for building pretty bikes, just tough ones at a reasonable price. I should clarify that the Travelers Check is available ‘frame only’. My local bike shop built mine up as a light touring bike and I accessorized with racks, fenders and bags of my own.

DSC02942 (800x600)

The Travelers Check is basically a Cross Check with S&S couplers. Although I have not had the opportunity yet to break the bike apart and pack it away for shipping, I suspect the more compact cyclocross frame (compared to a touring frame like the Long Haul Trucker) will be easier to fit into a box or bag. My bike, as built, handles great and rides smooth.

DSC02746 (800x600)

Six months later, the color has grown on me and after a couple of nights spent stealth camping, I can see the value of riding a bike the color of mud. I have no regrets and would recommend it as a good bike for light touring. Although it goes against the theme of this blog, I’m sure it could handle heavier loads as well.

If you have any specific question, leave a comment or feel free to e-mail them to me.

Thanks for reading, Jack

  1. Esteban
    October 29, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    This is a great way to build a travel bike!

  2. January 8, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I took mine on a 1200-mile trip from Boston to Madison. Fabulous bike.

  3. velohobo
    January 9, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I agree the TC is a pretty solid tourer. I would have prefered braz-ons on the front fork, but then again clamps work just fine.

    Thanks for the comment, Jack

  4. Chris Jones
    January 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Could you detail the components you put on your TC? I am thinking of building up something similar…

    • The Velo Hobo
      January 18, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      As far as gearing goes 26/36/48 rings and Shimano Deore 11-34 cassette, Shimano 9 speed bar-end shifters. Basically, middle of the road components. The racks are by Nitto and from Rivendell Bicycle Works…Berthoud fenders. The Stem (VO) and Handlebar (Nitto Rando) are from Velo Orange…of course Brooks B-17. The Handlebar tape looks leather, but actually it’s neoprene (by Salsa). The BB and headset are run of the mill Cane Creek.

      So far it’s been a very solid bike…no complaints.


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    • The Velo Hobo
      January 17, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Thanks Spambot, I hope that when you guys take over the world that somewhere in your data banks you’ve noted what a good friend I’ve been to the machines. Long Live SkyNet!

      Yours truely, The Velo Hobo

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  1. October 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm
  2. January 2, 2011 at 7:02 am

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