29 Mar PLUG 0 – BEST IN TEST
Plug 0– Review
“Charge Bikes are designed deep in the West Country for use on the meanest of streets, all over the world. The Plug is their classic Fixie/singlespeed but beware of mentally pigeon-holing it – the Plug has more twists than a bath full of water swirling down one. Charge are thinkers as well as bike fetishists and they out!it the entry level Plug with powerful cyclocross style cantilever brakes and big bump-surling 38c Kenda Tendril tyres, with on-point tan gum-walls, giving it real versatility. It comes in satin grey with a bullhorn bar and, unlike the other bikes here, there are no other options for either handlebar or colourscheme.
If styling your bike to match your favourite trainers or football team is your priority, then you will need one of the others, or the Mango or Funked Up from the next page for even more scope. However, if your customising intentions are based more on dynamics than aesthetics, the Plug arguably has more to offer. The geometry is near identical to the drop bar-equipped Plug 1, so you know it’s going to feel good with a curly bar. Run it on skinny slicks for speed or even fatter ’cross tyres for an ultra-tough bike that can take on any surface and need just the minimum of care.
When they make Mad Max 7 and the fossil fuels have finally run out (where did they get it all from anyway?), Max will be rolling on a Charge Plug. But he’ll probably use the mudguard bosses to fit flamethrowers or some such.
The Plug 0 is a simple bike done right. It’s fun and can turn its hand to almost any use
Even as it comes, the Plug is ready to tear over dirt shortcuts that would leave the others spinning out. Hell, you could even pin a number to yourself and race cyclocross on it. Charge give you the option. Just sayin’. The 42×16 gearing is low by !ixie standards but
well judged for the bike’s natural pace and breadth of ability. It gets up hills decently and only spins out going back down; you won’t run out on the flat. For regular mixed-surface use we’d drop the ratio even further.
Charge are well known for their excellent accessory line. Their multi award winning Spoon saddle makes the job of keeping it warm a
pleasure. It says a lot that this saddle is hugely popular across all cycling disciplines. With contrast stitching and a red logo, it looks great, too.
We love this bike. Cheap fixed/SS bikes can take many forms, and there are several distinct ideas here, but we’re particularly fond of the Plug. It has track influence but retains lots of practicality. The hi-ten frame itself doesn’t dazzle but we can forgive the absence of chromoly at this price given the build kit. Besides, you can run the tyres with some squish for buzz beating commuting
comfort or pump them up for high velocity café racing. The Charge Plug high fives the reality of riding a bike on the street.
Review – Urban Cycling