Charge Bikes, Somerset’s best-known bike manufacturer, has joined the as-yet small ranks of companies using Shimano’s eight-speed Alfine hub gear on mountain bikes. Genesis has had its Io ID out for a little while (the first batch sold out pretty quickly) and Orange is using the hub on its belt-drive bikes too. We’ve been getting the miles in on an Alfine and are finding it to be a pretty decent bit of kit – you get a range of gears slightly better than a single-ring/wide-range cassette derailleur setup (ie nothing very low or very high, but all the gears you use 90% of the time), it’s surprisingly quiet and smooth and it shifts cleanly via a familiar (although back-to-front) trigger shifter.
Charge’s incarnation uses a Tange Prestige steel frame with an eccentric bottom bracket to allow for chain tension adjustments. Alongside the Alfine hub you’ll find reliable bits like the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and RockShox Reba SL fork. Finishing kit is from the Truvativ XR line, with some of Charge’s own bits (including the well-regarded Spoon saddle) topping it all off.
You’ll have to wait until the beginning of August for the Charge Duster Eight to appear in the shops, and when it does it’ll cost you a penny under a grand at £999.99. Find out more at www.chargebikes.com.