HoHoHo (Charge Grater 3)

… aka (n+1)-1.

Early X-mas came to my house and I splashed some money on new commuter. After searching for some time I wanted to try bicycle with gears in hub. Basically I hope that mucky ride won’t affect bicycle with hidden gears and disk brakes are more logical choice for British weather. About year ago I tried on LBS Genesis Day one with Alfine 11. Priced quite nicely about 70% of original price (around £900 for almost new- someone returned the bike after week of use), which was still quite steep for me. Since then I’ve been searching to do it cheaper, and I had the idea of buying everything separately and using cyclocross frame put a new commuter together slightly cheaper. Started calculating and I discovered that I’ll probably end up with same price. So the cheapest option, was to find a complete bike, tune it to my needs and sell remaining bits and pieces on ebay. Some time ago I’ve discovered Charge Grater 3. From research on Internet I could tell that’s what I needed. Just swap handlebars and job done. Decided splashed some cash (£649) and here we are. Two weeks later shiny and new bike in my living room. I know pictures are rubbish but on Charge web page better can be found.

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Before more of bike porn, some pros and cons (as I see them).

Pros: nice frame – full set of threads for mudguards (front and rear) as well for rack (rear only), theoretically upgradable to standard CX bicycle as on the back drive side fitting for rear wheel looks like ready for derailleur hanger (in fact the alloy socket looks like hanger just cut with saw ;-)). The frame got eccentric BB, looks like is perfect tourer choice. In case of braking rear mech single speed can be made on the side of the road.


Wheels looks solid. WTB rims with Shimano hubs (will see)

Cheap and cheerful hydraulic Shimano brakes, from the bottom of the scale (equivalent of Alivio group), but looks pretty solid in terms of stopping the bike. Rotors completly different story.

Quite nice looking mudguards, fiddly though to set it up correctly.

All hardware from Charge got ascetic look which I think are quite nice.


Rotors are rubbish, full stop.

Apparently I’ve got “anti-rust” chain, but the feeling of that chain when turning crank backwards is terrible. Will see after first 100-200k if that will disappear.

I can’t tell anything about Kenda tyres, but remember not funny experience with (same series – Kwick) couple of years ago. They were tifferent size (25-700) but left bad taste in mouth. Anywho spoiled by Schwalbe Marathon’s, swapped straight away to them.

So the bike porn as promised:

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Tyres changed, rack mounted. Time for swap to road handlebars.

To make it happened I had to search for Versa road levers suitable for Shimano Alfine 8. Found them off ebay in good price. I wanted cx levers as well, as bike will be used mainly to commute to work. For handlebars I found ITM as weapon of choice because of short reach (70mm) and shallow drop (125mm) so really not changing position too much riding with hands on flats or on hoods.


To convert to road levers callipers need to be swapped. That was almost no-brainier and I went for mechanical Avid BB7 (be aware that exists two different versions MTB and Road-different cable pull). The reputation is proven by lots of reviews on Internet.

Problems (and solutions). The build itself went smooth with two minor problems.

First. Cable routing. Looks like minor detail but wrongly done can affect shifting and braking. Quite a bit of fiddling with cables different options considered and I came with solution to cross the brake and gear cable underneath downtube. Doesn’t look sleek but will do better IMHO that sharp bent rear brake cable.

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Second problem was rotors. I hoped I’ll be able to leave original Shimano rotors and use them with BB7’s, but decided after test ride they must go. For remaining rotors I’m pretty sure I can find better use ;-). Will report any issues with newly purchased Shimano Ice-Tec XT RT81 rotors (£22.5 per one). That was biggest bump I didn’t expect.

For sale after whole operations: Charge handlebars with grips, Shimano brakes and Alfine 8 shifter. So all in all should cover at least 60% of transformation expenses.

Some links to useful stuff I found (you might find) during build.

Keep the rolling.