Charge Bikes is back and this time it’s all about the sensible ebikes

Charge Comfort, City and XC ebike to be sold through consumer-direct model in the US only

New Charge Comfort ebike

Charge has relaunched as a consumer-direct ebike brand in the USA, initially offering three new commuting-focussed models – the Charge City ($1,499), Charge Comfort ($1,499) and Charge XC ($2,299).

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Best known for its Plug city bike and Cooker mountain bike, as well as the wildly popular Spoon and Scoop saddles (which have since been moved over to the Fabric name), this shift marks a significant shift in direction for the brand. 

The last we heard from Charge was in 2018 when it was due to release a very promising-looking range of steel gravel and mountain bikes, as well as a klunker of all things. Things went very quiet following that launch and the bikes never made it to market. 

The brand has clearly been beavering away in the background since then and, for 2021 onwards, Charge will operate as a consumer-direct brand specialising in commuting-focussed ebikes.

All three of the new bikes are very sensibly equipped, with full-cover stainless steel mudguards, kickstands, integrated front and rear lighting, pannier racks, and Shimano Altus groupsets se tup in an easy-to-operate 1× arrangement specced across the board. Every bike in the range also includes folding handlebars and pedals to reduce space when stored indoors. 

Different motor systems are specced on each bike, but the range is a claimed 50 miles for all of the bikes with a charge time of three to six hours to reach 80 to 100 per cent capacity.

Taking cues from the Cannondale Treadwell range (Charge is owned by the Dorel group, which also owns Cannondale) the bikes also include tyre pressure indicators. These screw onto the valve like a regular valve cap will flash green or red to indicate whether or not the tyres are at a suitable pressure. 

Charge has clearly gone to great lengths to ensure assembly on delivery is as painless as possible. Out of the box, riders will only have to fit the front wheel, unfold the bars and pedals, and adjust the saddle height, all of which Charge claims will take less than ten minutes, and they’ll be good to go.

With very literal naming conventions, easy-to-understand sizing guides and straightforward specs, we expect the lay consumer will have little trouble navigating the range, and this is clearly the segment of the marker Charge is targeting with these bikes. 

Shipping for the bikes is free in the US. Notably – and admirably – Charge has also ditched the usual foam cladding and plastic zip ties for packing the bikes, instead shipping them wrapped in 100% recyclable cardboard packaging. 

For now, the bikes are only available direct from Charge and at a handful of select retailers in the US.

Charge Comfort ebike specifications

Charge Bikes comfort ebike
The Charge Comfort gives a very upright ride position.
Charge

The Charge Comfort gives the most upright ride position of any bike in the range and is available in one step-through frame style with a 418Wh battery powering a 250W Bafang rear hub motor. This is claimed to provide up to 45 Nm of torque. 

The bike is available in black or white, and is one-size-fits-all, with Charge claiming it will fit riders ranging from 5ft to 6ft tall. 

  • 250W Bafang rear hub motor
  • 418Wh Li ion external battery
  • Shimano Altus 7-speed drivetrain
  • Promax mechanical disc brakes
  • Goodyear Transit Tour 700 × 40mm tyres
  • $1,499

Charge City ebike specifications

Charge Bikes city ebike
The City has a more typical hybrid-like shape.
Charge

The Charge City more closely resembles a typical hybrid, with an ever so slightly lower position than the truly princely Comfort. 

The bike has the exact specs – including the motor and battery – as the Comfort. 

It is available in either a step-through or regular frame style in blue or silver in two distinct sizes small and large to suit riders 5 ft 1in to 5ft 9in tall, or 5ft 10in to 6ft 3in respectively.

  • 250W Bafang rear hub motor
  • 418Wh Li ion external battery
  • Shimano Altus 7-speed drivetrain
  • Promax mechanical disc brakes
  • Goodyear Transit Tour 700 × 40mm tyres
  • $1,499

Charge XC ebike specifications

Charge Bikes XC
The XC has a more premium build.
Charge

The Charge XC sees a significant jump in price to $2,299 but, with that, you gain a more premium overall build and Shimano’s well-respected E5000 mid-drive motor. 

The bike also shifts to an 8-speed drivetrain, hydraulic non-series MT200 disc brakes, a WTB/Shimano wheelset and Goodyear’s Peak tyres.

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  • Shimano E5000 mid-drive 250W motor
  • Shimano E8035 504Wh integrated battery
  • Shimano Altus 8-speed drivetrain
  • Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Goodyear Peak 29 × 2.25 
  • $2,299