With an explosion in the popularity of e-bikes since 2020, it’s no surprise that new electric bike brands are popping up regularly.
Charge Bikes isn’t a new company, but since its return to the US in 2020, it rebranded to focus solely on e-bikes. Its lineup of four models consists of three fully-equipped urban e-bikes and one urban/off-road hybrid.
Charge uses a mostly direct-to-consumer-based business model, with some local dealers across the United States offering test-ride services.
Our Charge Bikes review will provide an overview of the brand, its unique offerings, the current models, some policy information, and our verdict on whether we’d buy a Charge bike.
About Charge Bikes
Nick Larsen founded Charge Bikes in 2004 to manufacture traditional bicycles.
In the early 2000s, Charge operated primarily out of the United Kingdom and the EU, owned by a local distributor called Circle Bikes. In 2009, Dorel Sports purchased Charge as part of a larger deal. Dorel Sports is an umbrella company for various cycling brands like Cannondale, GT, Schwinn, and Mongoose.
Larsen’s mission in creating the brand was to bring well-made yet affordable bikes to the masses, reducing barriers to entry and making cycling easy.
It wasn’t until 2020 that the Charge returned to the US, taking advantage of the growth in electric bike sales to rebrand as an eBike-only company.
As a part of Dorel Sports and their Cycling Sports Group (CSG), Charge can leverage a depth of expertise and large-scale bicycle manufacturing to produce exceptional value products.
Shipping and Delivery
Charge electric bikes only ship within the lower 48 states via the UPS ground service. They don’t ship to Alaska, Hawaii, or other US territories at this time.
Processing and shipping happen during regular office hours, Monday to Friday, excluding holidays. Charge does its best to process orders within 24 hours of receipt but doesn’t guarantee this time frame. Delivery is free on orders over $49, but expedited delivery is unavailable.
Warranty and Returns
Each Charge bike has a 30-day return policy on bikes that are in an unused condition with the original box and its contents. Thankfully, you do not need to disassemble the bikes when returning them.
However, customers are liable for the $175 return fee. This fee gets deducted from the refund. Charge doesn’t accept returns purchased from third parties.
The warranty included is a typical one-year minimum warranty required by law, covering manufacturer or material defects.
Unique Charge Bikes Features We Like
All four Charge e-bikes share similar features and componentry. Minor tweaks to the frames and build kits create a distinct ride feel.
Each bike is fully equipped for safe and convenient urban riding and commuting, including lights, fenders, a rear rack, a kickstand, and a horn. However, the following unique features make Charge bikes some of the best e-bikes out there.
The team at Charge is aware that many direct-to-consumer bike brands have a time-consuming and tricky assembly process, so they decided to make their assembly the easiest on the market. Before shipping, Charge’s mechanics will have already assembled and tuned each component so you can be riding your bike 10 minutes after receiving it.
Charge eBikes arrive at your door with four simple steps remaining before they are ready to ride. These include removing the bike from its 100% recyclable packaging, flipping the pedals and handlebars into place, and installing the front wheel with the included torque wrench.
With more people living in cities than ever before and the price per space per square foot of rental space increasing steadily, a bike that takes up less space is invaluable.
Charge designs each bike with fold-up pedals and swiveling handlebars that rotate to sit parallel with the frame to address this issue. These features significantly reduce the space you need for your electric bike, making more room for those with space constraints (or more bicycles to buy).
Puncture-Resistant and Reflective Tires with Optimal Pressure
Charge electric bikes come with three valuable tire features that make life easier and riding safer.
Firstly, all four Goodyear tire sets have puncture protection, significantly reducing your chance of getting a flat, which can be tricky to repair on a hub-drive e-bike. In addition, the tire sidewalls are all reflective to increase how visible you are to other road users in low-light conditions.
Another unique feature of Charge e-bikes is the tire pressure indicator caps. The caps tell you when your bike’s tire pressure drops below the optimum level, indicated by a red light on the cap. This feature will ensure you consistently have a good balance of rolling speed and shock absorption and further reduce the chance of puncturing.
Charge Bikes Model Lineup
Four models and three distinct designs are available as of early 2023. The most recent is the updated Comfort 2. The others include the Charge City electric bike, the Comfort 1, and the XC. Charge e-bikes are priced between $1,799 and $2,699, which is quite competitive.
- Step-over or step-through frame
- Fast 40mm tires
- Lightweight at 45lbs
The Charge City eBike is the brand’s hybrid-style city bike, equipped with everything you could need for urban riding with a lightweight and agile build.
At just 45lbs, this Charge e-bike is one of the lightest in the sub-$2,000 range, despite having a rack, fenders, and lights pre-installed.
The Charge City electric bike has a 250W Bafang hub motor, a 418Wh removable battery, a thumb throttle, and a compact handlebar display. This system provides 20mph max speeds from pedal assistance or throttle and ranges up to 50 miles.
Best Electric Hybrid Bikes
The motor isn’t very powerful on steep gradients, but the fast tires and light weight help make up for it. In addition, a Chromoly steel fork, ergonomic Charge Comfort saddle and grips, and a relaxed ride position make for a smooth and comfortable ride.
All things considered, this is one of the best value and most comprehensive city e-bikes in this price range, with Charge’s unique features as a bonus!
Charge Comfort 1
- Low-step cruiser frame
- Comfort-focused build kit
- Throttle and five levels of pedal assistance
The Comfort is a Charge electric bike built for smooth and relaxed riding, whether for leisurely evening spins or your daily commute.
The Comfort sacrifices some weight and agility making it slightly heavier than the Charge City eBike (51lbs). A road-smoothing 80mm Suntour fork, 27.5″ wheels, wider 2″ tires, and a Comfort+ saddle give this bike its name.
The Comfort has the same modest electronics as the City, so expect a slightly lower power and range, given the extra weight and rolling resistance. The battery is also mounted under the rack instead of on the downtube.
For the groupset, you have a 7-speed Shimano drivetrain and mechanical disc brakes, a standard setup that performs well for this price.
Add the Charge Comfort to your shortlist if you want a cruiser-style city bike with an affordable price tag and unique features for urban living.
Charge Comfort 2
- 2.6″ tires
- Compatible with a child carrier
- Easier maintenance without suspension
The Charge Comfort 2 is the updated version of their cruiser city bike. It costs $100 more but has extra versatility and the same enjoyable ride quality.
The primary change for the new Comfort 2 is the switch to 2.6″ tires from 2″ and the removal of the fork suspension.
Extra air volume in the tires makes up for much of the vibration-reducing effects of the suspension without the added mechanical complexity and weight. In addition, you get extra stability and grip from wider tires which come in handy on a loaded bike.
Another helpful update was to the integrated rear rack. The Charge Comfort 2’s rack can support up to 55lbs of weight (11lbs more than the Comfort 1) and is compatible with a child carrier like Thule’s RideAlong Lite, available on Charge’s online store.
If these new features would be valuable to you, choose the new Comfort 2 Charge eBike.
- Shimano STEPS drive system
- 2.25″ cross-country MTB tires
- 100mm Suntour XCM 34 suspension
The Charge Bikes XC off-road is the most versatile of the brand’s lineup, designed for crushing cross-country trails on the weekend and as a commuting companion during the week.
Although unusual for this style of bike, the XC has the same fully-equipped setup seen across the Charge lineup. This setup includes a 50lb-capacity rear rack, horn, kickstand, LED lights, and fenders. In addition, the handlebars and pedals fold for tidier storage.
Off-road capability is provided by the 2.25″ Goodyear Peak cross-country tires, a 100mm coil suspension fork, hybrid MTB geometry, and Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes. This combination allows riders to tackle cross-country-style trails with confidence.
The Shimano STEPS E5000 drive system provides enough kick for steep gradients and ranges up to 50 miles thanks to a 504Wh battery capacity and an 8-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain. In addition, the XC is the only Charge eBike without a throttle.
Don’t look past the Charge Bikes XC if you’re looking for the best off-road e-bike in this price range.
As a brand that focuses on electric city bikes, Charge offers a range of accessories to help you accomplish different tasks, such as carrying cargo with a basket or pannier bags or mirrors for safer navigation in the city.
Charge Bikes also sells replacement parts like batteries and chargers and cycling essentials such as locks, helmets, bottles, and pumps. The items on their site are from third-party manufacturers like Giro, Thule, Cannondale, Kryptonite, and Blackburn.
People Also Ask
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Final Thoughts: Would We Buy a Charge Bike?
Given the affordable prices and well-regarded quality and durability of Charge electric bikes, we would certainly consider purchasing one.
Although limited in scope, the designs are well thought out and executed. The four models solve many of the issues you face as an urban cyclist and are spec’d with reliable components from manufacturers like Bafang, Shimano, and Goodyear. In addition, you have an off-road capable option if you want more versatility without sacrificing the utility features.
Among the Charge Bikes range, there is something for most riders, be it pure comfort, a lightweight city commuter, or a fully-equipped cross-country hybrid.
Charge Bikes is still a young company, so we’re excited to see what they have in store over the next few years and if they continue to innovate and find unique ways to solve the problems faced by bike owners.
Overall, if you’re looking for a reliable and highly-functional urban bike at an affordable price, check out the Charge Bikes lineup.