New Single Speeds From Charge

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Bike Radar have previewed several new models from Charge for 2011. Charge bikes are distributed locally in Australia by Monza, who list a bunch of resellers on the Gold Coast but I’ve personally never seen a Charge anywhere on the GC.  If you’ve seen one, please enlighten me but at the moment a short drive to Brissy will pay dividends. I’m a fan of Epic Cycles in Paddington.

I’m a big fan of Mixte bikes. It’s almost a girls bike but with a bit more structural integrity than your normal step-through. It’s also blokey enough for those blokes who have tasted the joys of their partner’s step-through and understand the advantages. The Charge Mixte shown comes with matching mudguards, which many minimalists in the single speed clan might eschew but if you actually ride a bike (and not just on the sunny days) then you’ll want to keep your arse dry occasionally. Fenders that are stylish as well as practical point toward the British heritage of the bike (I hear the weather can bit a little unreliable in old Blighty) but I’ve wet the seat of my pants enough on the Gold Coast consider sullying my bike with Fenders.
I’m sure we can expect the 2011 Charge bikes to be available in Oz some time in…well…2011.

Also featured on Bike Radar were the new bikes by Cooper. Cooper are the company responsible for the Mini Cooper, have been a racing company since 1946 and won a swag of Grand Prix titles in the 60s. This legacy is leaned on to make the Cooper bikes a little special and the British Racing Green made famous by Cooper adorns every bike. I mention the Cooper bikes here more out of interest than as a genuine contender for your next single speed bike. The Australian distributor doesnt list any resellers in Australia yet, not even in Melbourne where every hipster worth his/her tight pants owns at least one single speed/fixie. Still, there’s nominally a distribution channel there so lets have a closer look at some desirable metal.

T200 Championship 50
All bikes in the range use Reynolds 520 tubes. At a time when single speeders are turning back to steel with no real understanding of it’s history (and seemingly all tubes are held as being equal…as though 4130 chro-mo was all you needed to know about a bike frame) it’s great to see the Reynolds brand appearing again on a bike. My youth was spend lusting after Reynolds or Columbus tubing and my current Columbus tubed steel bike is dream come belatedly true. Of course Reynolds is also British and Cooper is leaning heavily on it’s British heritage as well as it’s racing past.
Reynolds 520 is a fair way down the Reynolds line but it is “mandrel butted for accurate profiles”. I have no idea what that means but it sounds great. My saddly bent and mangled 521 Reynolds frame licking it’s wounds in my garage was a great and lively ride in it’s hey day.
Also British on these bikes are the beautiful Brookes leather saddles. Sturmey Archer is also a name to conjure with and they supply the cranks and hubs on all these bikes. It’s the details that make these bikes so desirable and worthy of a closer look even if you cant actually buy one. If you’re the type of single speeder who wants a bike that is cheap and practical and almost theft-proof (based on it’s market value alone) then move on. But if you find yourself wanting to spend more on a single speed than most bikers do on their geared bikes then take a look at the details on these Cooper bikes. And, since the Oz distributor is based on Bris, maybe give them a call if you really want one.

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