All photos © Jordan Clark Haggard
It takes a village to make an event like Grinduro possible. In addition to support from the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, SRAM, and Giro—Charge Bikes also pitched in to make the race possible and to highlight how incredibly capable their bikes are. In our efforts to bring the event to you, we want to share with our readers this gorgeous bare titanium Charge Plug on display at the SRAM Grinduro booth. Outfitted with SRAM Force 1 and a full compliment of Zipp components—including the company’s newest disc brake wheelset, the 303 Firecrest Tubeless Carbon Clincher—it was a very popular bike that weekend.
To better understand the concept behind the bike and its development, we asked Nick Larson from Charge to tell us more about it.
What’s the backstory on the development of the bike? Also, why did Charge choose to build it in Ti?
The backstory was to make a drop-bar bike that is capable being used for a wide range of drop-bar riding. Charge has been around for 11 years now and we have always tried to make bikes that are adaptable for a wide range of uses, whilst being simple in their design and fit for purpose. The titanium version is the pinnacle of the range and really is what we believe is the perfect combination of weight, comfort, functionality, and simplicity. I always think that a customer buying a titanium frame should expect it will last them a lifetime, and given the cost, that’s a fair expectation!
Why Ti? Well it’s the best frame material around, lasts forever, looks good, and has amazing ride qualities. It has the compliant ride feel of a good steel frame, but the weight of an alloy frame. It’s incredibly tough and does not need to be painted or coated—the perfect material.
Who is this bike built for?
This bike is built for a drop-bar rider, be it road, cross, or gravel road. Obviously it’s at a higher price being in titanium, but it’s built for someone who appreciates the quantifiable benefits of titanium as a frame material.
What can you tell us about the tubeset?
Custom drawn, titanium 3AL 2.5V butted tubing, with some bi-ovalisation at key juncture points.
What’s the philosophy behind the geometry?
The geometry is designed to suit a wide range of riders in a variety of categories. The geometry is fairly relaxed and it’s definitely not a full-on aggressive road racing bike, but is suited to a slightly more upright riding position. It’s ideal for adventure, audax, cross, touring, commuting and more. It’s got clearance for wider tires and fenders, is disc compatible, and has a good standover because of its sloping top tube. It’s an adaptable drop-bar bike that can be assembled to really suit the rider.
Where is it made?
This frame is made in Taiwan. I feel this is the best place to make a high end Ti frame. We have experimented with manufacture in the USA and China in the past, but we are really happy with the quality of the factory we use in Taiwan (and have been for the past 11 years).
Is it available as a frame only?
Yes, it will be available only as a frameset.
Why did Charge choose to spec a SRAM 1x drivetrain for the complete version of the bike?
I believe 1x is the future in the category of ‘gravel road.’ Gear ratios cover everything you need and it removes service/replacement costs. SRAM is leading this path in development and people want simplicity and functionality, which you can get from the group.
Shifters/Brakes: SRAM Force 1
Rear derailleur: SRAM Force 1 long cage
Cassette: SRAM XG-1150 10-42t
Crankset: SRAM Force 1 GXP 172.5mm length 110 BCD
Chainring: Force 1 X-SYNC 42t
Chain: SRAM PC-1170
Seatpost: Zipp SL Speed 20mm offset
Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow Pro
Stem: Zipp SL Speed
Handlebar: Zipp Service Course SL-80
Frameset: Charge Plug Ti