Charge made their name producing steel bikes and the Somerset-based company launched the Cooker 29er, based around a Tange Infinity steel frame, in 2011 – and now they’ve introduced two aluminium versions of the popular big-wheeled bike under the guise of the Faucet.
The Faucet shares the same geometry as the Cooker but drops the asking price, with two models, the Faucet and the Faucet Plus, available for £599.99 and £799.99 respectively. Both use a 6061 aluminium frame with a semi-integrated headtube and post mount disc mounts.
We went along to Cycling Sports Group’s (Charge’s UK distributor) dealer show – dubbed The Greatest Show on Earth – to take a closer look and find out what else is new from Charge for 2013.This is the Charge Faucet, which comes with a Suntour XLM HLO 100m fork, Pro Max hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano Alivio/Acera 9-speed drivetrain, WTB wheels, custom WTB Prowler SL tyres with a retro skinwall and Charge finishing kit for £599. The Faucet gets this blue matt shine finish, while the Faucet Plus is stealthy black. The Faucet Plus costs £799.99 and for the extra money you get a RockShox XC30 fork, Deore/Alivio 10-speed drivetrain and an upgraded WTB wheelset on Shimano hubs. The Cooker was launched last year in three steel bike builds, as well as the titanium Cooker Ti. That was originally only offered frame only but returns as a full bike for 2013. The Cooker Ti is equipped with a mixed SRAM X7 and 9 groupset, RockShox Reba RL 100mm fork, tubeless compatible WTB Frequency Rise wheels rims on SRAM hubs with WTB Prowler SL Race 2.1 tyres, Avid Elixir discs, Crank Bros handlebar and stem, and Charge seatpost and saddle. The asking price? £2,999.99. The stunning Cooker Ti is built around a neatly-welded double butted Tange Ultimate 3AL/2.5V titanium frameset, with modern touches including a tapered headtube. Charge are already thinking ahead to 2014: this is the firm’s prototype titanium cyclo-cross frame – the Freezer Ti. The frame’s a beauty, even at this early stage. Neat touches include the toptube-mounted cables (so you don’t snag the cables when shouldering the bike) and wishbone seatstays, above which there’s a large area which is easy to grab (again when running with the bike in a ‘cross race). The frame will eventually have a tapered head tube (unlike the one we photographed). The dropouts are the result of Charge’s collaboration with the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company and are made using a additive layer manufacturing (ALM) process, which uses lasers to create a finished product which is lighter but with the same strength. The hollow dropouts start life as titanium powder, which is melted by the laser and built up layer by layer to produce the finished product. It’s incredibly clever stuff – and expensive, too, so the Freezer Ti will be limited to a run of 50 frames. Four of Charge’s frame for 2013: the Cooker Ti, Cooker, Duster Ti and Duster. The Saucer wheelset arrived as part of Charge’s 2012 range to complement their move into the 29er market and the hoops return for 2013. They’re designed around 29er-specific 20mm internal cross section rims, with stainless steel eyelets and double butted stainless steel spokes.