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  1. #1
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    I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!

    I decided to start a thread on my new bike... Mainly because there's so little out there about this bike, and also because this is my first 29er and I thought it be fun to get a conversation going about the differences and such. So here's the new bike, at home in the garage next to my trusty Specialized Stumpjumper.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-image.jpg  

    Last edited by Dolbydarma; 04-06-2013 at 07:55 PM.

  2. #2
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    So, why did I buy this one... Well, I guess I just wanted something different, and since I couldn't really find anything about this bike online, I gave it a try. I tested the only one Performance Bike had, luckily it was the right size (large). After comparing it back to back with a new Specialized (Rockhopper 29) I really felt like the Cooker was just more fun to ride, plus the components were a good step up from the "Hopper". So it was different and more fun to ride (in my opinion) than what I already had and had tested, so I got it.

  3. #3
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    So initial impressions... This thing looks and feels huge (until I actually ride it that is), the obvious tire size, but also the handlebars - they're 5 inches wider than my Stumpy. The gearing is also differnent going from 3X9 to 2X10 plus I'm also getting used to triggers vs my old grip shifters. This bike is also heavier than my old bike by at least a few pounds (I'm guessing its primarily due to the steel frame). But all those differences go away when I actually go riding (except for the shifting, that is going to take awhile). The bike feels just as light as my other bike, maybe it's the bigger tires or just the excitement of a new bike. But it does feel nice and light, and nimble. The wider bars make sense when on the trail, I can really throw this bike around with the extra leverage those 5 inches allow. This is a fun package. And I've yet to bump into anyone who's heard of this bike, much less ridden one. Pretty Cool!

  4. #4
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    So I did make one change, the Rockhopper I tested had the best grips I'd ever tried, and I had to put them on the Cooker.

    Attachment 786091

    All black, so it's a match.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-image.jpg  

    Last edited by Dolbydarma; 04-06-2013 at 08:06 PM.

  5. #5
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    Went riding at Ute Valley today (if you are from Colorado Springs you know where that it). It was my first real test of the Cooker. Some technical, some steeps, some tight, all the stuff that makes riding here in CO fun. The 29s eat up the bumps like crazy, I expected they would, but I really was surprised at the difference. The most unexpected thing (actually 2nd most unexpected, but I'll get to that in a second) was how fast this bike climbs. It makes it so easy to keep my speed up the hill. That just doesn't make any sense to me at all, but man I am loving it. It's early in the season and I am way out of shape, but I feel much faster with this bike.

    As for the most unexpected part of my ride today. It was this:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-image.jpg  

    Last edited by Dolbydarma; 04-06-2013 at 08:07 PM.

  6. #6
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    And that damn hunk of wood did this to my brand new helmet. Not to mention it threw me off my bike - HARD.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-image.jpg  

    Last edited by Dolbydarma; 04-06-2013 at 08:08 PM.

  7. #7
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    Still schilling that thing, huh? Least you stopped doing it in the AZ forum ...

  8. #8
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    Nice looking bike -- I'm liking the skin-walled tires!
    I ride at night - see my tips for Night Cycling
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  9. #9
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    Schilling it, riding it, whatever you want to call it. If you're not interested feel free to move along.

  10. #10
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    So if anyone else out there has one of these, lets hear your 2cents.

  11. #11
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Not the ideal place to ride, but at least I did get to ride with the whole family today!

    Happy Easter everyone!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-image.jpg  

    Last edited by Dolbydarma; 04-06-2013 at 07:50 PM.

  12. #12
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    Here's a review.
    Charge Cooker Hi 29er ? First Ride Review - BikeRadar
    X5 and RockShox XC 28 match with an aluminum Airborne Guardian.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the link, I saw that review too. Looks like Charge made a few changes since then, or maybe just made the changes for the States. Mine came with X5 and X7 components and also a Rockshox Recon Silver front fork. I'm glad they didn't keep that shock in the review, from what I've seen and read it wouldn't really have sufficed for my size and riding style. I gotta agree with them on the speed part for sure, as for the tight stuff, I can't tell for sure if its this particular bike or 29ers in general that feel so different. Should be a fun summer getting a new feel on my old trails.

  14. #14
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    Back on the dirt.

    Nice cool morning (38 degrees) made for another chance to get on the new bike. I'm starting to get a bit more used to the SRAM shifters, and I added a bit more resistance to the front fork... All in all everything felt pretty damn good. I still haven't found my perfect seat height, but I'm getting pretty close. The sweet spot seems to be in a very small range of area for me to feel in the bike instead of on the bike, or on the other end of the spectrum where I just feel too low all together.

    I'm really impressed with the pedal height, I found myself thinking, "I'm gonna smack the pedal into that rock... Wait, never mind, cleared it!" That happened over and over again. I've actually only had one pedal strike so far, pretty sure I would have had more with my last bike.

    The new grips are really making a big difference too, hands have a great amount of grip on the bars, but I never get that numb feeling that was pretty much a guarantee on all my previous grips. Best $30 so far.

    Oh yeah, got another bike on the way... Should have it sometime next week

    Can't wait!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-image.jpg  

    I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-image.jpg  

    Last edited by Dolbydarma; 04-06-2013 at 07:42 PM.

  15. #15
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    Had to update all the photos... I uploaded a photo editor on the iPad and had some fun, thought these all looked better.

  16. #16
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    Not to be mean but it's quite a monolog you got there

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  17. #17
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    In defense of the OP, it's not as fun having a less popular brand bike (at least, in terms of discussing that model on the forums). Having owned (for instance), a Gunnar, a Blackbuck, and now a Soma, it's tough to find much lively discussion on them. Compare that to when I had a Salsa Fargo, which has a huge, lively thread over in the Salsa forum--it's a world of difference.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolbydarma View Post
    And that damn hunk of wood did this to my brand new helmet. Not to mention it threw me off my bike - HARD.
    Holy Toledo Batman, that could have been all bad had you not been wearing a helmet.

  19. #19
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    Big thread resurrection here!

    I bought a Cooker Hi too, except mine os the 2011 Hi which I believe is now just the Cooker. It's black and white with a X7~X5 mix. LOVE IT. It is my second MTB the old girls was sold on, a Avanti Montari Comp. 26er. Reasons for this bike.
    1: I am a noob to MTB, a good road rider. I wanted hard tail and tough.
    2: This was supposed to be a fire road bike but already several jumps and falls with some tough (to me) single track (google Parklands QLD) my first time in there was in the dark!
    3: I liked the retro style.
    4: The reviews were very good.
    5: The bike is way above my skill set, so a good entry component mix with a great frame to upgrade onto.
    6: Steel, I weigh 100kg. My old retro racer is still going 20 years on.
    7: It's not common and people like it, especially the gum walls, I have people who want them when they are nearly worn, don't know why I didn't ask!

    Oh and my wife liked it too, so much so she now has one too, ladies saddle installed and pink grips have been ordered. Matching lycra is however BANNED.

    We love 'em and as noobs it gets a lot of people coming and talking to us, a bit like having a cute puppy, people need to say hi to you to meet it!

    My next upgrade will be whatever breaks first, but I am looking into a seat dropper for the wife and chain guides for us both, it's a bit rocky in places.

    So anyway frst post, rambles on a bit but I had to join to help fend of the Cooker kickers, don't be a sheep be a lion.

  20. #20
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    First post so here goes.

    I have been toying with getting a Charge Cooker Hi 2013 for a few months now. They are now on sale which is great.

    Charge Cooker Hi 2013 - CycleSurgery

    Only problem is that the sales and new 2014 models have made these Specialized Crave Comp 2014 and Fuji Tahoe 29 1.3 2013 bikes hit my radar and now I can't decide.

    Specialized Crave Comp 29er 2014 Mountain Bike | Evans Cycles

    Fuji Tahoe 29 1.3 2013 Mountain Bike | Evans Cycles

    There is something about the Cooker i just love. My current bike is a rigid cromo Raleigh Dyna-Tech Encounter and although a great bike, she is hard work on the trails and it's time for an upgrade. I'm really drawn to the steel frame of the Cooker. The Tahoe seems to win spec wise though and the Crave is somewhere in between. There is barely any user info on the Cooker and Tahoe online.

    Unfortunately I'll only be able to ride the Crave when it gets to my lbs. The other 2 are only available by mail order. If you were in my shoes what would you be thinking?

  21. #21
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    I've had my Cooker Hi all season and still just love it. The steal frame is great, and the components are still feeling first day crisp. I've used this bike from rocky hard single track to commuting to work on pavement. It's a great overall bike. The only item I've changed is the seat. While very comfortable, it's suede like surface was too catchy on the shorts when trying to quickly slide off the back for steep drops in tougher trails. That seat is now on my old Stumpjumper which the Cooker replaced. I've gotten quite a few comments while out on it, not many people here in CO have heard of Charge, which is another reason why I bought it. Hope some of this helps.

  22. #22
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    Hmm, my only niggles with my Cooker (Large Frame)
    1: The tip of the fork lockout catches the paint under the down bar when you a,stack or b, are too lazy to remove the front wheel to squeeze it in the car.
    2: I had the replace the brakes, I often take part in fast tarmac descents, I reach speeds up to 50mph with cliff face drop offs and 90 degree turns, these descents take about 10minutes. I weigh over 200lbs the Avid1's were just overheating. I now have Shimano M785s with Airtech rotors and pads.
    3: I have not really been on the trails, but I don't rate the tires, I have replaced my wife's tires with CX 35mm and she now flies along on tarmac and unsealed paths and dry dirt and grass, I'm going to get a set myself.
    4: I too switched the saddle, but only to match my road bike as my ass could not cope with the constant shape changing

    Positives:
    1.A good local MTB'r a trail leader no less, I got him to ride mine after a big ride, his comments were he was impressed by how light it felt/ handled, and how steel communicates with you, almost like its alive. This guy has 2x29er 1XTC giant and a dually, a 26er for pure forest work. Roadies etc.
    2.Everyone loves them when they see them. Ultra cool.
    3.The SRAM stuff has a great click sound.
    4.They roll really well and fast.
    5. A local canadian MTB nutter and rocky road importer, rates it.

    Good luck, ride safe and enjoy it.

  23. #23
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    Wakatuti - what year is your Cooker? The one I'm looking at (Cooker Hi 2013) has the Avid 5 brakes.

    I've also been reading up on the steel vs aluminium frame debate. I see why my old dog of a bike has lasted so well despite numerous crashes over it's 21 years with it's fully rigid steel frame. This draws me in even more to the Cooker...

  24. #24
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    Yeah mines a 2012 which I believe is now just the Cooker specs and the Hi goes another step up. I have a 20yr old steel racer, it is still great.
    The debate over Alu, Steel, Carbon, Ti will run forever. But from road experience, Alu is HARSH you feel everything, Carbon actually has more companies than Alu as far as vibration is concerned. I went through all this when I bought my Scott Foil, a bike with a reputation for being stiff. I found a article that said Carbon was the closest feel to Steel, I agree, its a lot lighter though!. That's why Alu roadies have carbon forks to reduce vibration. Ti yuk, it felt loose. Anyway back onto MTB's for what you gain in weight, you more than get back in shock absorbing and suportive flex. IMO. Besides it's easier and cheaper to loose weight off you than your bike! You will enjoy it. I have just taken 15mm of the bar width too, it was to wide for me.

  25. #25
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    My lbs have just taken stock of the new 2014 Cube LTD SL 29 - CUBE LTD SL 29 - which again is a great setup - but then I read this review- Cube LTD Pro review | Hardtail mountain bike review | MBR - and with regards to the alu frame this ride doesn't sound particularly comfy.
    Definitely still being drawn towards the Cooker...

  26. #26
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    I did it! Bought my Cooker Hi yesterday. Should arrive in a couple of days. SOOOO EXCITED!!

  27. #27
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    I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-img_3351.jpg

    Woohoo! It arrived yesterday. Built it up last night. I was slight annoyed that Charge have used torx bolts for the handlebar and headset fastening, but then an allen key for the seat post...seems inconsistent...but more than anything, now I need to carry torx keys as well as allen keys. It's a small issue, but thought worth pointing out.

    The bike itself is amazing. Superbly built and looks 'the nuts'! Feels lighter than I expected too. Thumb shifters felt odd as I've always used trigger shifters - but I guess I will get used to them. I still need to fine tune the handlebar setup which I will do over the next couple of days. The handlebars are WIDE! I may cut them down, but will have a couple of rides out first before I do.

    Took it out on some light trails and it breezed over everything like I was riding a bed (in a good way). Coming down some small grass banks it felt as if it had full suspension - the mix of the 29er wheels and steel frame make for a very smooth ride. I was a little concerned looking at the geometry that the front end would require some effort to lift, but no such problem. Other than the fact the wheels are so much bigger and therefore more cumbersome, and boy do you really feel it on the tarmac, once off road you can keep on pedaling and you will fly over almost anything in your path. Brilliant fun. I have yet to try out more technical trails which I will do at the weekend, but so far, I am very very happy with the bike.

  28. #28
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    Congrats on your new bike! I've had mine since March and it's been one heck of a ride. Just this last Sunday I decided to take my old Stumpjumper out to one of my new favorite rides that I only discovered after getting the Cooker. It's a great single track climb of a trail with a good two miles of a rock garden to finish you off. The Cooker is a riot on this trail, but i never realized how much until I tried it with my 26" alum framed Specialized. The trail was an absolute bi-ch this time. The smaller wheels seemed to get caught up on everything and the aluminum frame just punished me the whole time. Plus I was hitting my pedals on everything. Felt like a completely different ride (and like a ride that was way past my abilities). So to make a long story short, I really really appreciate the differences my Cooker offers more than ever. Maybe it's just a 29'r thing, or a steal vs alum frame thing, or a combo of both - either way it sure is a fun bike.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-image.jpg  


  29. #29
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    Quite honestly, I like to read about someones impressions on their new bike.Especially one that isn't written about much. If I were in the market and looking at this model then all this is really helpful information. This is a bike forum after-al. People talking about bikes and as the OP said ,don't like it then move on. What ever happened to, If you have nothing good to say then don't say it? Obviously, there are a bunch of us that are reading this thread and enjoying it. I like the enthusiasm and excitement of getting a new bike and find it infectious when reading someone else's experience, especially if its a bike similar to what I have. I sure hope that if I were to post a thread on my new bike I wouldn't get this kind of flak. This is a mountain bike forum and he is commenting on his new bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil View Post
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  30. #30
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    No, I do not care if I am resurrecting an old thread and if you don't like it move on, simple. Its called freedom. Anyways, I have something thats been nagging me awhile lately. This bike looks pretty sweet and is but why is it that manufacturers have kind of dropped the ball with regards to steel frames? I mean this bike uses tange Infinity butted tubing, good stuff but why not use Prestige? It seem that so many companies are getting away with using cheaper steel tubing, especially their own no name stuff. There are a few using Reynolds 853 but its not like it used to be with everyone competing and using the best steels like Prestige, OX Platinum and 853. Is it really that expensive? I guess I'm lucky because I have a beautiful 1992 Rocky Mountain Team Comp with Prestige Ultimate Ultralite tubing that is a sub 4lb 17" frame. Steel hasn't really improved since then which is fine as its great stuff(lots of old steel bikes still kickin) but why aren't we consumers getting the real good stuff? There is something magical about good old steel frames. I like the narrower gauge, round tubing in contrast to todays hydroformed alloy and carbon it looks svelte and simple. It really is a great material to build frames out of being such a stiff yet tough material. Its a ike that could last 20 years.

  31. #31
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    Check out Somas. They use Tange Prestige, with only a single oversized (28.6mm, traditional mountain bike sized) top tube.

    Quote Originally Posted by xmessenger View Post
    No, I do not care if I am resurrecting an old thread and if you don't like it move on, simple. Its called freedom. Anyways, I have something thats been nagging me awhile lately. This bike looks pretty sweet and is but why is it that manufacturers have kind of dropped the ball with regards to steel frames? I mean this bike uses tange Infinity butted tubing, good stuff but why not use Prestige? It seem that so many companies are getting away with using cheaper steel tubing, especially their own no name stuff. There are a few using Reynolds 853 but its not like it used to be with everyone competing and using the best steels like Prestige, OX Platinum and 853. Is it really that expensive? I guess I'm lucky because I have a beautiful 1992 Rocky Mountain Team Comp with Prestige Ultimate Ultralite tubing that is a sub 4lb 17" frame. Steel hasn't really improved since then which is fine as its great stuff(lots of old steel bikes still kickin) but why aren't we consumers getting the real good stuff? There is something magical about good old steel frames. I like the narrower gauge, round tubing in contrast to todays hydroformed alloy and carbon it looks svelte and simple. It really is a great material to build frames out of being such a stiff yet tough material. Its a ike that could last 20 years.

  32. #32
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    Came across this. Looks identical to mine, however the components on this are much more high end. Looks incredible!
    Charge Cooker Hi de Philippe » MTB-CHECK » Mountainbike, all mountain, enduro, downhill, bikecheck

  33. #33
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    Well I may be getting to this thread a little late, but I lived in New Mexico last year as part of an exchange program and was very close to buying this bike at a performancebike store, but never got to it. Now I'm back in Mexico and finally decided to do it, so when I managed to get a large size frame I went ahead and ordered myself one. Sadly I don't think I'll get it anytime before a month or so.
    I hope we can share more about good ideas on upgrades or setup changes that may help the performance of this great bike (based on all the reviews I've read on it).

  34. #34
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    Re: I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!

    So I finally got it about a month ago. I hadn't remembered to upload a picture. Here it is back from a short ride.
    So far the bike has been great, great riding and amazingly light given its size (L) and the fact that it's steel.
    I'm really loving it so far

  35. #35
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    So I've now taken the bike for a few rides, I absolutely LOVE it.

    I went back to the candy pedals after putting flats on it for commuting.

    Here it is after a short ride, about 5 miles, wet/muddy conditions.

    I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-2014-06-30-19.00.35.jpg

    I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-2014-06-30-19.00.23.jpg

  36. #36
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    Nice!
    I do not have a Charge MTB. I have just bought a Charge Plug 3 roadie. Bought it ' cause it fit all my requirements. Steel, disk brakes, take wide tires, rack mounts, (fender mounts a bonus) drop bars. Still dialing in the fit but it is a joy to ride. Dang near as smooth riding as my 29er mtb

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk

  37. #37
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    Update on my trusty Charge steed...

    The tan walled WTB's finally wore out beyond repair. I was running these ghetto tubeless with Slime in the inner tube. Heavy, but incredibly resistant to the flint gullys we have here in Oxfordshire. Now have gone for the Nobby Nics Performance (not the evos) running tubeless - so much lighter than the ghetto tubeless setup. Love the change from the tan wall. Also invested in a Mudhugger set of guards - it is the UK and it rains a lot here!
    I then went and switched from the 2x10 to 1x10 thanks to One Up components and Raceface. Definitely worth doing.
    Loving this bike so much!
    I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-charge1.jpgI bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-charge2.jpgI bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-charge3.jpgI bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-chargeug.jpg

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnclePawlie View Post
    The tan walled WTB's finally wore out beyond repair. I was running these ghetto tubeless with Slime in the inner tube. Heavy, but incredibly resistant to the flint gullys we have here in Oxfordshire. Now have gone for the Nobby Nics Performance (not the evos) running tubeless - so much lighter than the ghetto tubeless setup.
    What's the with on those tires? My tires are about to become completely worn out and I want to know how wide of a tire can I put in, I'm thinking tubeless also.

  39. #39
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    I like the look of those fenders!

    My original tires are getting ready to be replaced as well. I was putting it off because the tan sidewalls had that great retro look, but it's time.

    I want to go wide and tubeless... Lets here some options.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-image.jpg  


  40. #40
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    So did anyone find out the max tire width the frame can take? And the fork?

  41. #41
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    I was at a performance bike shop today and saw a guy hauling out a charge cooker xl 29..I'd never seen one before, had to get home and look it up and found this thread.

    $1,700 bike marked down to $849 , looks like a killer deal..I would have figured this bike was much more expensive.

  42. #42
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    Update on tyre sizes etc. as I have been through a great many over the last few months.

    Firstly - DO NOT BOTHER WITH THE CHEAP SCHWALBE TYRES. Yes that's the 'Performance' line. They are rubbish. Thin and side walls get slashed so easily.
    I have invested in the expensive Evo range and they are so much better. Trailstar compound on the front and Pacestar on the back.
    As for tyre sizes. I bought a Hans Dampf 2.35 on the front to ride around some really flinty areas last summer and it was great. This tyre is HUGE. It's more like a 2.5 and when the weather got wet I couldn't fit my front mud guard on. The tyre was amazing though and rolled over everything with ease.
    Now it's raining I have swapped it out for a Magic Mary - also 2.35 but is a considerably thinner tyre - matches the Nobby Nic I have on the back. I can now fit my front MuckyNutz mudguard back on.
    Running like a dream.
    About to upgrade my rear shifter to a SRAM XO as the one that came with it is knackered. Also going to change the Raceface 32T narrow/wide chain ring on the front to a 30T as I need the advantage on the hills where I live.

  43. #43
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    So what's the size of the rear tire?

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by jojemoruga View Post
    So what's the size of the rear tire?
    2.35 as well

  45. #45
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    Look what just arrived!

    I bought a Charge Cooker HI 29er!-img_20150115_145250-sm.jpg

    A weekend of tinkering methinks.
    Off for a night ride tonight in cold, gale force winds. Beer after will taste so sweet!

  46. #46
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    Did you go to a 1x?

  47. #47
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    Yup. Used the OneUp 42t conversion kit. Pretty easy to do.
    It's not bad. The gear spacing is slightly wider then what you're used to, so there is an adjustment in riding style. If you ride terrain that changes quickly, again its learning when/how to get in the right gear which is more tricky than you might expect. It saves weight (but I am no pro so this is little or no advantage to me) and maintenance (big yay) and stops mud clogging up behind where the front mech used to be (super big yay!) which was always really annoying on wet, muddy rides.

  48. #48
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    Regarding my change from a 32T to 30T on the front and the new XO shifter - it has transformed the bike! I was unsure how much difference it would make with the 30T, but everything just feels so much better and uphill climbs are so much quicker. If you are no pro like me and are thinking about the 1x then defo get the 30T narrow/wide for the front and 42T for the back.

  49. #49
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    I didn't see it in the thread and I was wondering, at least for the 2013 year model, how much does this bike weigh? I did some review hunting and some people listed it as heavy but I never saw a ballpark weight listed. I know steel weighs more, just wondering how much more. I kind of like the idea of trying out a steel frame hardtail 29er so this one is now on my radar. Also, if you could tell me if the fork, is a tapered or strait steerer tube and if it's 1 1/8?

  50. #50
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    As for the weight, I'd say about 30 lbs (I don't have mine anymore - switched to fat bike). And as far as the weight goes, it wasn't an issue. The bike climbs like a billygoat and is super comfortable on long rides. Steal is just so comphy. The only downside for me on the bike was the steepish head tube angle (around 70 degrees). That steepness is a big reason for its climbing prowess and comfort, but it hurt its abilities when the trail got steep and rocky. If the angle was a bit slacker (68 degrees) it would have been more fun on my trails. Just comes down to what you want to ride.

  51. #51
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    Thank you for letting me know. Someone is selling one near where I live and I like the looks of it a lot. Doubt I'll be able to afford it but who knows

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