In a similar vein to the Genesis Croix de Fer recently tested, Charge's Filter Hi is a do it all commuter, light tourer and part time crosser. Drop bars, discs, huge tyre clearances, mounts for mudguards and rack all tip a nod to the mile muncher who's happy to keep the pedals spinning whatever the weather.
Oozing stereotypically Germanic refinement, the Uvex XP City helmet feels much closer to a road specific model than its urban tag suggests.
Sixteen vents, CE accreditation, peaks, bug netting and integral LEDs add up to an absolutely flawless finish - an example of in mould construction at its very best. I was particularly taken with our sample's grey livery that looked great with everything, but coupled with some equally subtle reflectives, comes alive under street and vehicle lighting.
Pedals fall into two main categories: flat (usually with toe-clips) and 'clip-less' or 'clip-in' (where a mechanism in the pedal grips to a cleat on the sole of your shoe). The T400 pedals from Shimano (or, to use the full name, the PD-T400 Click'R) are the clip-less variety, but the gripping mechanism is incredibly light, so it's very easy to release your shoes from the pedals. They're a useful option for cyclists keen to try clip-less pedals for the first time.
DMR V8 pedals are a mountain bike classic that does sterling service as round-town pedal for a bike you want to be able to hop aboard in any shoes.
I remember riding DMR V8 pedals in the early days of mountain biking in the Shropshire hills. Using these pedals feels like riding with a familiar old friend, but the V8s aren't just Old School, they can hack it in the modern age too.
Focale 44 is a fixed/commuter bike brand from BMX Groupment, an Andorra-based company that – you guessed it – specialises in BMX. This is the third year of producing fixie bikes, and there's a range of models, which seem to all be built around the same basic frame. This test bike is the Focale 44 Relax, a flat-barred commuter bike that the company places in the middle of its range.
Carrera's Gryphon is the kind of bike that sells in big numbers in the UK, and for good reason. It's a well-balanced urban machine that's sensibly built and very well specced for the price. £370 isn't pocket money but it's very affordable. This bike would cost you around £20 a month on a Cycle to Work scheme and it's built to last, so if you're looking for an urban workhorse it's definitely one to consider.