Charge Juicer Hi

Charge Juicer Hi 2010
Cycling Weekly Verdict

So you could say the Juicer Hi is a polyglot, able to contribute to any cycling conversation. If you're still not convinced, everybody understands the language of money and at £1,199.99 it deserves to be talked about.

  • +

    Steel feel

  • +

    Not too heavy, even with mudguards

  • +

    Do-it-all winter bike with cred

  • -

    Looks like a 1950s police bike, is that a bad thing?

As for the patois of urban cycling, Charge has long been fixie-approved and its Plug is possibly the most popular off-the-peg fixie with cred. Many of the types who claim to have found vintage track frames in skips and then to have applied their own custom rattlecan paintjobs are comfortable with Charge - though they might not admit it at first. Plus, the fixed-gear bike has become so common now that actually having 20 gears might just catch on. Imagine that - and mudguards too!

And as for the third language - of Lycra and mileage - the Juicer might get a few funny looks, but not many clubmen would actually accuse it of being ‘not from round here'. This is because it has a ‘serious' groupset which consists mostly of roadie-approved Shimano 105 and includes other names from the racing scene such as FSA, which supplies the Gossamer compact chainset and seatpost, bar and stem.

And the classic roadman's lift - grasping the bike by bar and saddle and lifting it about four inches off the ground - would also produce a nod of approval from dyed-in-the-wool types. The Juicer Hi weighs 21.9lb, which means it can blend in with the racing men's winter training bikes on the clubrun. It also has the ride quality of a proper bike with its 73deg parallel geometry, not to mention the coveted feel of steel. If you've come straight off your fixed bike you may find yourself going faster than usual on the Juicer, and really enjoying all that gear shifting.

Is it an old fashioned bicycle sporting sensible steel mudguards? Is it a hipster whip rocking some straight wild retro fenders? Is it a winter training steed perfect for getting the miles in? How fluent is the Juicer Hi in the various and idiosyncratic languages of cycling and which one, if any, is its mother tongue?

It can definitely get by in the language of the earlier cycling generation. At a glance resembling a 1950s police bicycle, it looks ultra-conservative with its bootlace tubing and plain navy blue colour. The graphics are a little unconventional, but so small you wouldn't notice. The ‘proper' frame, with horizontal top tube, is made of Tange Prestige double-butted steel, and even though Charge's bikes are made in Taiwan, the company itself is as British as Finchley, as a Conservative (with a big C) lady once said.