Surly Cross Heck Disc Brake Conversion

Cross Heck

In between my own custom builds I am helping a customer convert his Surly Cross Check from using cantilever brakes to disc brakes. In addition to adding the disc tab the question arose of whether to simply add what we needed  to make it work, or do we things proper-like and pull/cut/file off anything unnecessary or “not ideal” for that clean, well designed look.  Well, its obvious what the Gallus preference was, and luckily the customer was totally on the same page.

As a result I pulled off the original cable stops, chopped off the canti studs and then filed down their previous location nice and  smoothly , and took off one pair of rack mounts that were kinda in the way of the disc tab. I then added several (5) cable guides to so the cable could stay enclosed in the housing the whole time, keeping it free of mud and grit. Then came the  disc tab and reinforcing tube between the chain stay and seat stay.

Disc Tab and Chain/Seat Stay Reinforcement

During the process the customer decided that he would like the option of running a belt drive at some point. Might as well take care of everything while its in the shop and before an expensive paint job gets sprayed, so I added a little stay splitter to the drive side seat stay. This essentially allows the frame to be split to slip the belt on as the belt is one continuous piece. The splitter is nifty little stainless piece(well, 2 nifty little pieces actually) made by Paragon Machine Works, one of my favorite companies to get frame building bits from.

Stay Splitter

Stay tuned for more rad projects coming soon….


8 thoughts on “Surly Cross Heck Disc Brake Conversion

  1. Nice work on this! Definitely inspiration. I am in the process of building my first frame (29er ss belt drive: Steel) and will need to use a tube splitter.

    How did you know where to cut the seatstay?
    Did you use the taper or non tapered splitter?
    What size splitter? (5/8 or 3/4)

    I have asked Paragon since I will be ordered from them…but you obviously know what you are doing in real application! Thanks in advance for any guidance you can offer me. 🙂

    1. i wasn’t aware that there was a tapered splitter, do you mean “stepped”?. if so it was the 5/8″ stepped version. I just found where the tube measured 5/8″ and looked like it would stay the size for as long as i needed. made my cut, and then removed a little bit of material off the splitter to get a good fit. cleaned everything up and then sweated it with silver, meaning i put a ring of silver inside the tube, and heated it till the silver appeared on the outside. also, be sure to put the outer side of the splitter on the lower half of the stay so you can have enough leverage on it to pull it open to get the belt on.

      1. Thanks a ton for the quick reply and detailed answer! Sorry for any confusion…I meant stepped. My bad.

        So you just measured the OD of the seat stay tube until it was 5/8 and then went from there. Seems pretty straight-forward.
        GENIUS idea on sweating the silver down. I have 50N silver….you think that will flow for this application?
        Keep up the great work man and have fun down in Austin at NAHBS. 🙂

  2. Even support brace between the chain stay and seat stay, couldn’t this affect the integrity of chain/seat stays that aren’t designed with disc brakes in mind? Looks cool and I would love to do this with my crosscheck at some point, but I am just apprehensive of what the torque from disc brakes could do to the frame. Thanks, josh.

    1. josh,
      yes, there might well be an issue if chain stays and seat stays are not adequate enough to handle disc brakes. it is more of a case of having thick enough butting than specifically designed stays. in the case of this conversion, though i can not provide the actual tubing specs, i am sure they are more than adequate to handle disc brakes primarily because this is not a by any means a light weight tube set and the frame is designed to be rugged enough for cx riding. another indication of why the tubing would be fine was when i was figuring out the brake tab placement i borrowed a bike mechanic friend of mine (who works at a shop that sells a lot of surly) personal cross check that he had sent to surly and had them convert it to a disc brake frame.
      his bike has been on the road for years, and the one i did is coming up on a year. so far so good.

      1. Noted. With this bike, did you also modify the fork or simply replace it with a disc ready fork? Also, is there anywhere on this site with pictures of the finished bike?? Thanks again. – josh

    1. the bike has been done for a long time but i haven’t gotten around to putting up pics of it finished yet. just sent off an email to the customer to send me some pics as quite a few folks have asked to see it. cheers

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