Project Commute

While Adam has been putting the finishing touches to the Charge Plug single speed that he bought, I have been looking for a similar project. Adam found a completely unloved Charge going for a decent price and set to work turning it into a fully fledged, drop bar, single speed commuter machine.

It’s come out looking great and it set me off down a part of looking for a bike to do up. I thought I’d had a very short and successful search when I spied a blue Charge Plug with bullhorn bars for £50 but upon messaging the seller it transpired that he ‘had to take it down because it needed a couple of things doing to it before he sold it’. That, to me, sounded like code for wasn’t allowed to sell it or he’d realised what a silly price he’d put it on at.

After a few days of looking I couldn’t find anything near what I wanted or what I wanted to pay so my mind started to turn to other ideas. I had originally planned to do up my old Felt bike that had served me so admirably on our journey to France and I had done that, to a certain degree. There wasn’t much to upgrade in truth, it already packed a solid 105 chainset so fresh bar tape and a good old clean was all that it seemed to need.

However, a couple of things were bothering me about the bike and it’s continued use for anything other than a turbo trainer bike.

  • Brakes – The Felt bike came with TRP Spyre cable disc brakes and while these were enough for me when I first got the bike, having used hydraulic brakes on my Specialized I realised how poor cable disc brakes are in relation. The stopping power was such that it made me uneasy about using the brakes on the road.
  • Wheels – So, not a deal breaker by any means but most bicycle reviews will nod to the wheels being the first parts of a bike that will deliver the biggest benefit if upgraded. I certainly noticed that on my Specialized when I bought the Hunt CAD30 wheels, they are phenomenal value. I had put the DT Swiss stock wheels from the Speicalized onto the Felt but there was an annoying rub between one of the spokes on the front wheel and the fork that I just could not get rid of so the Felt stock wheels went back on! (Any ideas on this gratefully received!)

The bike is in good nick and would make a brilliant commuter with a few things doing to it. With a potential September return to the office looming, now appears to be the right time to consider making some changes.

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The old girl is still going strong but she needs some attention

The first thing I am going to do (another first in my list) is to swap out the TRP Spyre cable disc brakes for Shimano 105 hydraulic brakes. I think this is the one thing that is holding me back from using this bike more as I don’t have the trust in the current brakes compared to the Tarmac. It’s a pricey move but I think it will give me confidence and a bike that I will ride not only to and from work.

The second thing I am going to do, possibly at a much later date, is to get some Hunt 4 Season Disc Wheels for it. I have been so impressed with the CAD30s that I bought for my Tarmac that I doubt I will buy wheels from any other company in the future. The 4 Season Disc wheels weigh in at 1,588g which, considering they are alloy wheels, is amazing. The carbon aero disc wheels that I have weigh 1,367g as a comparison, but are £460 more expensive. The 4 Seasons, dressed with a set of tubeless Schwalbe Pro One Evo tyres will make a hard wearing team for the winter months.

The last thing I have been looking into is mudguards. My only option here is clip on guards as the bike doesn’t have the pre-drilled mudguard bolt holes and it isn’t a product that I know a lot about so if anyone does, please let me know in the comments!

Oh……and a bell. Gonna get a bell!

IAIN

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