Summary

The gearing of most bikes involves two or three chainrings to give a decent spread of ratios, but on a city bike, one ring may be all you need. We try out a Charge and an Orbea, with two different approaches to going solo in style

Products

Verdict

It’s really heartening to see that bike manufacturers are subdividing the crowded hybrid category and catering to the discerning city bike buyer by not offering them a load of clunky, heavy over-gearing, just to make the spec sheet sound impressive. Both of these bikes are stylish, high-end options, but recognise that one ring on the chainset is really all you need for most urban riding.

But is a derailleur or a hub gear a better partner to that one ring? Well, the truth is, both these bikes rode fast and lively on city roads and both looked pretty good doing it. The derailleur-equipped Orbea has a slightly wider gear range and closer-spaced ratio, but the
hub-geared Charge is lower maintenance and superb value.

In fact, it’s the value factor that lets the Charge Grater 3 win this test by a nose ? a quality, purpose-built frame, gorgeous paintwork, very low maintenance drivetrain and a decent set of fenders that can’t be ignored. The Orbea Carpe H20 possibly outshone it by just a touch on ride quality, plus we loved the quality and the general styling of the bike, meaning both are superb options for the urban commute.