The Cooker is Charge Bikes first foray in to the 29” wheeled field of our sport. There are understandably dubious minds out there, questioning whether a relatively small brand employing two full time staff from Somerset can compete with the boutique brands that focus solely on 29ers or super powers that have the ability to develop products at a greater rate with more technoligacally advanced facilities to test their prototypes. The caution is unnecessary, as this bike performs above and beyond my expectations, proving itself a master of all trades.

I was lucky enough to ride the Ti version adorned in full XX and top end Crank Brothers components pictured in this blog. Though I must add that it’s pre-production and there are some changes afoot like a shallower tapered head tube (Steel bikes will still have 1 1/8” head tube) to keep that front end nice and low, steeper seat post and not so quirky stays on the rear end, which are all changes that should improve this bikes already super powers to make it a competitor for the most versatile hardtailed bike of the coming year. There will also be the option to run the bike single speed thanks to an EBB system, which is a lovely touch.

Let’s silence the doubt and confirm right now, that this bike was conceived by a great mind with a slightly different take on 29ers that you would expect to be replicated in coming years. I have pedalled many 29” wheeled bikes with varying width of smiles (but always a smile) over the past two years; this bike has produced my biggest smile to date for all the right reasons, the handling is tight and responsive due to a relatively steep head angle and it doesn’t feel gyroscopic at slow speeds. The absolute best feature though, is that it feels like the more capable older brother to my 26” hardtail, without losing that playful excitability accustomed with 26” trail bikes.

If you were ever perturbed by the growth of 29” wheels or suspicious of the capability that can be extracted from the big wheel, then this bike will settle your distrust and reignite your passion for innovation in Mountain Biking. Ride this bike and feel the smile spread across your face, you won’t forget that feeling.

Below are the studio images of the three steel models, expect to see the bikes up on our website over the coming weeks for full spec breakdown, availability and pricing.

+ from: http://www.chargebikes.com/projects/2011/The_Conran_Shop/