The gearing of most bikes involves two or three chainrings to give a decent spread of ratios, but on a city bike, one ring may be all you need. We try out a Charge and an Orbea, with two different approaches to going solo in style


Charge Grater 3, Cycling Active hybrids test

Charge Grater 3 £849.99

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We test the single chain-ringed Charge Grater 3



Orbea Carpe, Cycling Active hybrids test

Orbea Carpe H20 £850

We test the single-chainringed Orbea Carpe H20




It's really heartening to see that bike manufacturers are subdividing the crowded hybrid category and catering to the discerning city bike buyer by not offering them a load of clunky, heavy over-gearing, just to make the spec sheet sound impressive. Both of these bikes are stylish, high-end options, but recognise that one ring on the chainset is really all you need for most urban riding.

But is a derailleur or a hub gear a better partner to that one ring? Well, the truth is, both these bikes rode fast and lively on city roads and both looked pretty good doing it. The derailleur-equipped Orbea has a slightly wider gear range and closer-spaced ratio, but the hub-geared Charge is lower maintenance and superb value.

In fact, it's the value factor that lets the Charge Grater 3 win this test by a nose ? a quality, purpose-built frame, gorgeous paintwork, very low maintenance drivetrain and a decent set of fenders that can't be ignored. The Orbea Carpe H20 possibly outshone it by just a touch on ride quality, plus we loved the quality and the general styling of the bike, meaning both are superb options for the urban commute.

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