Fatties Fit Fine: to a certain point! The Cross Check came with Vee Rubber 29x1.95s (700x50c) tires but I was afraid that it was going to be too snug. I looked up the tire clearance on Surly's Website:
Tubing: 100% Surly 4130 CroMoly steel. Main triangle double-butted. TIG-welded
Rear dropouts: Semi-horizontal dropouts with adjusters give you singlespeed compatibility
and wheelbase adjustability. Our Gnot-rite spacing (132.5mm) allows you to run 130mm
road hubs and 135mm MTB hubs
Braze-ons: Bosses front and rear to take cantilever or linear-pull brakes, eyelets at the
dropouts, rear rack bosses, dual water bottle mounts, downtube shifter bosses
Seatpost diameter: 27.2mm
Seatpost clamp diameter: 30.0mm Surly stainless, included
Headset/stem: 1-1/8" threadless
Bottom bracket: 68mm wide, standard English threaded 1.37" x 24t
Tire clearance: Fatties Fit Fine (FFF) stays and our beautiful slope-crowned custom fork
provide room for tires up to 700 x 45mm , or about 700 x 40mm with fenders. Depends
on tire, rims and other factors, but still pretty damn big.
Chainring clearance: Manipulated stays so you can fit the size rings you want. Go nuts
Color: Beef Gravy brown with black decals or Gloss Black with white decals
I noticed that the rear drops have a whole for tensioners but I didn't seen anything advertised on the Surly Bikes website so I contacted them and they got back to me today with the part number: FS2011
This may help with Vee Rubber tires and I will certainly try it when I get them but in the meantime I am going to throw on some 37c that I had gotten for the Qball and barely have any miles on them and then look for a decent 40 to 45c tire for gravel grinders and trail riding.
Despite having to stop a few times to reposition the rear tire so it wouldn't rub there were some other nuances from my bike ride this morning that I feel are worth mentioning.
Of the three sets of bars on my Cross bikes, the Salsa Cowbells are the straightest (bottom). The Gary II Bars, on the Cannondale, are still angled but not as much as the Salsa Wood Chippers. I find dirt drops to be a lot more ergonomic than regular drops. At some point I will try the Woodchippers on the Cross Check but when I do that I am probably going to get some sort Brifter or maybe even Retroshifts (that's what I really want).
Shifting is awesome and and having a mountain cassette with a 11:32 range means for climbing! Originally, I was going to try and do an out and back on the old Shepaug Railroad line but the rear wheel problems put the kybosh to that route so instead I decided to climb up George's Hill and it was AWESOME. The mountain bike gearing felt like I was calling on Granny for help but I wasn't. The other thing worth mentioning is the frame fit. I really like the 58 cm frame. I definitely need to shorten my stem to at least 90 degrees on the Cannondale. The 58cm felt perfect for climbing. The shifting was also great and going back to barends was like falling off a bike (yuck, yuck, yuck).