The Charge Plug 4 cuts an attractive dash around town with its pearlescent-painted slim Tange Infinity steel tubes, Shimano 105 gearing and mechanical disc brakes.
- HIGHS: Relaxing, robust ride
- LOWS: Not a natural climber
- BUY IF... You want a bike for cruising rather than competition
The external headset increases the effective head tube length on our semi-compact frame, which, with the tall fork, creates a comfortable bar height with plenty of room to manoeuvre, with proper drops if you want to get lower.
The Plug's character is immediately evident: it's a little slow to get started, but once moving it cruises in a relaxed and generally pleasant manner.
The straight-bladed fork transmits some road vibration to the Charge bar, and big hits can be quite sharp, but those chunky Alex rims and Kenda 28mm tyres soak up most road roughness.
The downside is the overall weight, especially complete wheel weight, which means speed drops off quickly as the road rises, and extended climbs will see you exploring the 34x28 lowest gear very soon.
On uneven, wet and filthy descents, the disc brakes were a godsend, giving consistent and reliable braking, as well as avoiding rim wear, and although the tyres aren't sporty, their resilience was a bonus in lanes full of fresh hedge cuttings.
Charge does ship its bikes internationally, but BikeRadar readers in the US should note a £99 (approx US$162) shipping charge, and Australian readers should note a £249 (approx AU$464) shipping charge.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.