Charge Bikes launched the distinctive Hob 3 women’s bike a couple of years ago and for 2013 it has undergone a few changes. The frame has been upgraded to Tange chromoly so it’s a bit lighter, there’s a new crankset and fully sealed hubs now. And it’s had a new coat of paint, this vibrant purple replacing last year’s green.
The Hob’s elegant looks are partly due to the split top tube. It spans from the head tube all the way to the rear dropouts. It makes for a very compact frame and means it has loads of step through/standover clearance. The contrast painted rigid fork matches the full-length mudguards and the colour matched saddle and grips are nice touches.
Its design is based on a mixte, a style of bike design that originated in France during the early 20th century. The dual, sloping top tube is designed to ensures the frame has the required stiffness while still allowing the frame to be stepped through. Though commonly thought of as a women’s bike, the term mixte is the French word meaning "mixed". Despite this, Charge Bikes market the bike at women cyclists.
A city bike needs to be reliable and low maintenance, and that's why the Hob 3 comes with a Sturmey Archer SRF 3 rear hub that's operated by a Sturmey Archer thumb shifter. A fully sealed gear hub, it has an overall range of 177%. A 16t sprocket is fitted and pairs with a 40t chainring on the Shield Track crankset. The Hob is also available in a singlespeed build.
The Sturmey Archer hub is laced to Charge’s own Shield 32-hole double wall rims, and up front you get a Shield hub. 32mm wide Charge Coaster tyres are fitted in place. Brakes are Promax RC480 long reach calipers.
The remainder of the build is from Charge’s own parts, including a Ladle saddle, Shield stem and Hob handlebar.
Weight for the Hob 3 is 11.5kg (25.3lbs) and it costs £569.99
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.