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Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

Well friend, here we are. You’ve bought an 8- or possibly a 24-pack rack for your Cross Check and you’re looking for some pointers on how to make this wizardry work. Let’s talk about our tried and true method on how to get this situated to work with your V-brakes as approved by Surly's nerd brigade. Anything set up outside of this method, well... we don’t recommend. Play it safe out there. Reference those instructions, apply some grease, measure twice and cut once.

Follow steps 1–3 of the assembly instructions.

At step 4, make sure to install the long-offset struts on the bottom of the rack, and the short-offset struts up top.

Position the bottom struts with the offset facing out, away from the fork legs

Top struts should be situated with offset facing in, towards the tire, like so: Downward left side view of a Surly Pack rack, mounted to the fork on a bike


If everything is looking right, you’ll have a nice parallelogram going on. Left profile view of the front a Surly Cross Check bike on work table, with a Pack Rack mount to the forks

The upper-strut needs to be high enough to clear the brake cable fixing bolt. This is the bolt on the left arm of the front brake. You’ll need 6mm of clearance between the bolt and the upper-strut.

Close up left side view of the fork of a Surly Cross Check bike with Pack Rack, with an arrow pointing to a brake noodle

You may need to use a flexible brake noodle to achieve proper clearance, Clarence. Remember that the most important thing is going to be getting everything situated so that the front brake works the same as before the rack was installed. This will keep you from Jettisoning your newly acquired 12-pack of Labatt blue light with lime. What a tragedy that would be.

Right side front view of the forks on a Surly Cross Check bike, with a Pack Rack, with an arrow showing the clearance of the upper struts

In some cases, dear reader, you may find the upper positioned struts protruding above the top of the rack. Trim these suckers down before you carry a load.


To remove excess length from strut:

Fully install rack

Measure 10mm past upper barrel and mark cut line on strut, leaving at least 10mm of strut beyond upper barrel

Remove strut from bike and cut using fine toothed hacksaw (24 TPI)

Use a metal file to remove any sharp edges or burrs. 

Re-install strut and tighten all fasteners. 


When all is said and done, your rack will sit nice and level and the upper struts should provide a nice launching platform for bottle rockets. Remember to periodically check the tightness of all fasteners. Right before you ride is a great time to do that.

Now, get back to it. 

About Slippers Cortez

Ben Jungbauer a.k.a. Slippers Cortez

Well hello there, meet Ben, aka Slippers Cortez. Ben is one of the Engineers here at Surly. When Ben isn’t doing bike math and drawings, he’s likely enjoying a beer and playing the mandolin with his brothers in their folk/bluegrass band, The Thirsty River. If you don’t know what a mandolin is, there’s a google for that. If you meet Ben, you’ll notice that he’s the most Minnesotan person you know. We mean that in the best of ways of course. So the next time you're straddling your Surly, think of Ben, because he just might be thinking about you too.