The 2012 Charge Mixer just arrived for review, and it looks to be a serious all-weather commuter. The Shimano Alfine 11 speed internal geared hub on the rear gives a clean chain line, and (from what I’ve heard) requires less maintenance than other gear systems. With paint-matched sparkly fenders, fat tires, hydraulic disc brakes, and a glittery black Tange Prestige steel frame, I’m interested how this bike will hold up in the daily mash.
The London-esque weather arrived along with the UK-designed bike, which is good and bad. The weather granted me wet roads and muddy gravel for some initial impressions. It seems to handle the elements well. The Mixer’s been on a 25-miler, a 10-miler, and a few shorter rides during its first days.
Hit ‘more’ for specs, pics, initial impressions, and weight…
I am testing the Large in Glitter Black. Charge offers sizes X-Small, Small, Medium, and Large. This one is the monster. It weighs in at 29.03 lb (13.2kg). In all honesty, the bike is a bit on the weighty side. I would not want to carry it down a large set of stairs every day for a short commute. The Shimano Alfine 11-speed hub weighs in at ~1600g alone.
The specs of the gears in this little box are featured below. The sprocket is 20t. So far, no problems with shifting. The ratio handles steep inclines, flats, and declines with ease, though I haven’t packed a lot of weight on it. I stay between 8 and 10 most of the time and shift to 11 for declines.
|Gear Ratio Total Difference||409%|
|Gear Ratio 1||0.527|
|Gear Ratio 2||0.681|
|Gear Ratio 3||0.770|
|Gear Ratio 4||0.878|
|Gear Ratio 5||0.995|
|Gear Ratio 6||1.134|
|Gear Ratio 7||1.292|
|Gear Ratio 8||1.462|
|Gear Ratio 9||1.667|
|Gear Ratio 10||1.888|
|Gear Ratio 11||2.153|
Shimano M445 Disc Brakes, front and rear. The cable that looks like it could interfere with the chain (right) was fixed after the pictures were taken. It is now aligned parallel to the chain. At the time, the Alfine hub that the cable is attached to was misaligned.
The frame has vertical dropouts in combination with the Alfine hub so chain tension is adjusted with eccentric BB. KMC X9 chain width is 6.6mm.
Notice the handsome sparkly black finish, the GB (
made designed in Great Britain) sticker, and the rack mounts. There are two bottle-cage mounts on frame as well. That ugly black thing wrapped around the top tube is my addition – a combo of electrical tape and bar tape to protect the frame against rusty bike racks and street signs.
Here we have the Charge lock-on grips and the Shimano 11sp shifter with push-pull capability. Features a 31.8mm stem and flat bars.
FSA Vero 175mm crankset to match FSA headset. The pedals are my own. I replaced stock flats with a clipless system. Made in Taiwan sticker slightly overlays the ‘r’ in ‘Mixer’. The weight sacrifice of the Tange Prestige steel frame should promise a smooth ride.
Specs and First Impressions:
The 2012 Charge Mixer comes in one color, Glittery Black. Performance Bike offers it in America for $1,299.99 (at a claimed discount).
Frame: Tange Prestige, Seamless, Double butted cro-mo
Fork: Charge Whisk, Tange Prestige cro-mo
Brakes: Shimano M445
Levers: Shimano M445
Headset: FSA TH-875
Stem: Shield, 31.8mm
Handle bars: Shield Urban flattie
Pedals: Wellgo Alloy trekking
BB: Truvativ GXP outboard
Rims: Alex XD-Lite, Double wall, 32H
Grips: Charge Griddle lock-on
Tires: Charge Coaster, 700x32c
Saddle: Charge Spoon
Seatpost: Shield, 2 bolt
Seat Clamp: Shield, bolt type
Shift Levers: Shimano Alfine 11/s trigger
Crankset: FSA Vero Single
Cassette: Shimano 20t Cog
Front Hub: Shimano Deore, HB-595
Rear Hub: Shimano Alfine 11/s internal
My first few rides on the Mixer were enjoyable in some ways, but less enjoyable in others. The weight of the bike doesn’t seem to affect the ride. It doesn’t feel heavy or burdensome. In town, the handling is responsive, with the feel of a track bike built for free-wheel commuting. There is an amount of toe overlap on the front tire due, in part, to the fender. I got used to the overlap fast and it hasn’t caused any problems. The Alfine hub allows me to shift gears while sitting at stoplights, which is a fun feature. Fenders keep the rain away and the tires handle curb-hops and the pot-hole-drops well.
Although around town it is great, the 25-miler revealed a minor problem with the Mixer. While the bike as a whole handled well on all terrains (grass, dirt, mud, gravel, asphalt), the bars eventually became annoying. Riding the flat bars for any period of time after 20 miles hurt my wrists. It would be easy to compensate had I let go of the bars occasionally or put my hands in the center. Unfortunately, some terrains, especially rough terrains that this bike can handle, don’t allow for that. Despite this flaw, the Mixer glows on commutes of 10 miles or less around town. The fenders, 700x32c tires, disc brakes, and Alfine hub should get me to my destination in all weather conditions. Aside from the ruggedness of this bike, the Mixer has some serious style. The glittery paint and clean drive-train get an A+. These features seem to be an aesthetic hit among the hip-kids while the Alfine hub is a plus to mechanical folks.
These were my initial impressions based on a three day weekend with the Mixer. I’ll see how it holds up over time with a long-term test, riding in all weather conditions, changing tires, crashing, jumping, hauling weight (my measley 160lbs of 6’1″ body ain’t gonna cut it). I’m curious as to the perseverance of the Alfine hub with daily commuter use. Check back in a month or two!