Disclaimer: The following review contains some British slang/usage...if I inadvertently offend any Brits in the audience my apologies for being rubbish at your language, hopefully I don't come off as a complete prat.
Charge bikes come to us from across the pond, that'd be the U.K. for you lot too busy skiving off to learn your geography, and we've decided that our shop needs the class, style, and decorum that only our former colonial overlords can bring. All right, relax, I'm just taking the piss, no harm done.
Right then, back to it, the Plug is Charge's main single/fixed city frameset and it comes in all sorts of flavors, I'm going to be talking about the Grinder which seems to be more of a commuter option than some of the builds that they do.
Right out of the box i have to say that I like the color, pea soup green seems very English to me and the components look good. Sugino Messenger cranks and chainring, flat bars with just a bit of sweep, a pintle chain and actual real, full coverage metal mudguards. Very posh.
With spanner in hand I set out to make this into a bike, making notes as I went, the frame and fork are nice Tange steel, good quality paint and clean looking graphics, quite flash if you ask me. the wheels are pretty basic, sealed bearing 32 hole high-flange hubs laced to alex rims, toss in some 700x32 Continental tyres, a fixed cog and a freewheel and we're sorted for city riding.
The brakes are solid, nothing flash, just mid-reach Tektros with cyclocross levers mounted on the flat bars. Toss in a Charge saddle and Bob's your uncle, we've got our city commuter!
I had to wait a few days to ride her because the weather had stowed away in the box with the bike. Actually I wouldn't have cared and thought it was a bit daft to not ride a bike with mudguard in the rain, it's what it's built for innit? I got pulled up short by the gaffer though...
Finally took her out or a spin today the only thing I swapped out was the pedals, I was riding fixed and I prefer to go clipless for that. The ride is brilliant, the tyres eat up potholes, she goes where you point her and the fit is just about perfect for a city bike, low enough that you feel fast and nimble but high enough that it's comfortable and you can see easily. The gearing is spot on and the bars are a titch wider than my shoulders, which I prefer to the "digging your tie out of the loo" position narrow bars give you, feels a bit more stable when i'm out of the saddle or climbing. Overall I think the bike's brilliant, the dog's bollocks even, the only quibble that I have is that the front mudguard gives her a bit of toe-over, even with clipless shoes so toe-cages would probably be even worse. That and the pedals are a bit rubbish, I'd swap 'em for something in a sealed bearing if I was me, which I usually am.
All in all I'd say that under the flash paint it's a nails city ride with enough style to keep the chavs from thinking you're a prat but practical enough that you mum thinks you're safe as houses in the big bad city.