I bought Liz a Surly Cross-Check in October, 2015 through Craigslist. The bicycle had most of its stock components except most notably the rear wheel was replaced after it was damaged while being primarily used for commuting. The Mavic rim that was used in the replacement is too narrow to fit wider tires (see Sheldon Brown’s Width Consideration for Tire Sizing Systems).

My initial thought without much research would be a set of polished H Plus Son Archetype rims, which are available on Wiggle for $68.50. Somervelo also suggested the following:

Make/Model Price Weight Width
H Plus Son Archetype $80 470g 32, 36
Mavic A719 $120 565g 32, 36
Sun XCD Randonneur $100 490g 32, 36
Velocity Quill $127 20, 24, 28, 32, 36

Somervelo charges $55/wheel for labor and $80/wheel if I bring my own components. Silver double butted spokes are $1.50/spoke.

Replacing the rear wheel with a wheel that includes a rim with greater width also involves selecting a new set of hubs. Notable manufacturers include Shimano, Tune, Chris King, Paul, Phil Wood, DT Swiss, and White Industries.


The Gevenalle GX, which supports Shimano Dyna-Sys MTB derailleurs, with one shifter is sold for $170 on their website.

The top of the line Shimano rear derailleur is the XTR M9000, which is available on Ebay for roughly $150. Cheaper alternatives include the M7000, M8050 and M8000. I believe only the 7000 has a clutch to add tension to the chain when going over bumpy terrain. The 8000 series is branded Deore XT, while the 7000 is SLX. The total capacity of each is as follows:

The SLX M7000 was released last year and is newer than the Deore XT. It notably supports 11 speeds. The rear derailleur is for sale on Wiggle for $55 with free shipping. It is important to note that the SLX cassette, which goes from 11-40T is for sold on the same website for $72.

Wheel building

I purchased the Velo Orange hubs when they went on sale and paired them with H Plus Son Archetype rims. I decided to use a 3 cross pattern for the 32 hole rims and 12 mm nipples.

The flange width was 3.35 mm. The rear hub axle width was 135.5 mm and the front hub width was 100 mm. I measured the distance (mm) from the outside of the flange to the lock nut as follows:

Rear left Rear driveside Front left Front driveside
31.5 45.5 26.5 12.5

The distance from the center of one spoke hole the center of the opposite hole was 58mm.

I used several online calculators to determine the correct spoke length. For the Sapim website I set the rim thickness to 0 mm, where every additional millimeter of thickness adds to the spoke length.

Resource Rear left Rear driveside Front left Front driveside
DT Swiss 288.5 287.2 287.3 288.6
ProWheelBuilder.com 288.5 287.1 287.2 288.6
Sapim 290 288 289 290
Edd 291.1 293.8 293.4 292.6