One of the first road bikes we saw last year with SRAM’s new hydraulic disc brakes was the Charge Plug 5. We had that bike in for review, but as soon as Stu had started clocking up the miles, we had to send it back when SRAM recalled all their brakes. That recall is now over, SRAM have sorted the issues with the brakes, and bikes are starting to ship again.
We were down at the Charge gaff the other day and they showed us the 2015 version of the Plug 5. The main difference is when you look at the price tag, it’s now £1,399, £200 cheaper than it was last year. Charge are going to send us the bike for review pretty soon so we can continue the review that was started last year (we ended up reviewing the Plug 4 with mechanical brakes in the end).
Other than the price, there’s very little change to the Plug 5. It uses the same Tange Prestige frame with its skinny tubes and a matching steel fork. Cables and hose are externally routed, the gear cables across the top tube so they’re well clear of mud and dirt (showing the Plug’s distant cyclo-cross roots) while the fully sealed hydraulic hose goes along the down tube to the rear brake caliper.
The Plug 5 is fitted with a SRAM Rival groupset, comprising a compact S-series 50/34 chainset and front and rear mechs. The brake levers are the non-series HRD 700 units. SRAM took the recall as an opportunity to make some running design changes, and it’s only when you get up close that you really notice them. From a distance they still look the same, with the very tall hood design, but the lever bodies are a bit slimmer and more ergonomic, it’s slightly easier to wrap your hand around than before.
Wheels are a combination of SRAM hubs with 6-bolt rotor mounts and Alex ATD-470 double wall aluminium rims. Rotors are 160mm at both ends, as SRAM recommends. Tyres as last year are Kenda’s Kwick Roller Tendril in a 28mm width. They feature a puncture resistant casing.
The frame of course has space for mudguards with the necessary mounting eyelets, and there are rack mounts too. So it wouldn’t be too much trouble to convert it into a daily commuter, a winter training bike, or a touring and Audax bike.
The rest of the bike is finished with Charge’s own Shield Lite compact drop handlebar and matching stem and seatpost, and a colour-matched Scoop saddle.
We're getting this bike in for review soon so watch out for that. More info at www.chargebikes.com
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.