Just in: Charge Filter Hi
Skinny tubed CX racer from West Country bike wizards Charge
Well, we say 'just in' but we've had Charge's cyclocross bike for long enough for it to acquire the patina of dirt that's de rigeur for such a mud-happy machine. Charge introduced the Filter this year and they're doing it in two flavours; the £799 Mid is Cyclescheme-friendly and aimed more at the general purpose market whereas the £1,199 Hi that we've got is a bit more racy.
Built based on the experience Charge had with their titanium Freezer CX bike and the Juicer road bikes, the Filter seems to be influenced more by the latter. It's built from the same skinny Tange prestige tubing that Charge use for a good deal of their range, but whereas the Juicer is a very traditional flat-top-tubed geometry, dimension-wise the Filter is more like the Freezer and probably best described as semi-compact. The top tube isn't so angled that you'd have trouble getting your shoulder through the frame but it's definitely not flat. Cables run along the top of the top tube to make carrying the bike a bit more comfy. The fork is from the same stable, built from Cromoly with a bit more rake than the road fork to better soak up the bumps.
The Filter is the first bike we've had with SRAM Apex on – we'll be doing a review of that separately soon – and it mates the Truvativ-built 50/34 chainset with an 11-26 rear cassette. Obviously you don't get the road brakes though, stopping duties are taken care of by Avid Shorty 4 cantilevers. Those Apex levers are bolted onto an FSA Vero compact bar with a shallow and long drop profile that makes for an easy and comfortable lower position.
Wheels are Alex shallow section rims laced to Charge's own-brand hubs, and they're shod with Kenda Small Block 8 tyres which are a fair compromise between on- and off-road duties. Charge's excellent Spoon saddle finishes off the contact points.
We've already put some off-road miles into the Filter and we'll be doing more, plus seeing how it handles the everyday grind of a winter commute that CX bikes are so often employed for. Check back for a full review soon.