Seduced by the darkside

In Nov 2012 I bought a Charge Scourer hybrid bike, a deal I couldn't refuse - £285 from £630 after stacking a number of discount codes. I knew this isn't a great bike: the geometry is just wrong, and it rode like it. The frame is compact, more like a road bike than a mountain bike, with only a 52cm top tube (small frame). But it was set up like a hybrid mountain bike. My hardtail is 56cm, my single speed mountain bike is 55cm (both also small).

Lots of similarly built-up bikes had been appearing, which had little thought to geometry - different versions based on the same frameset but with either flat bars, drop bars or bullhorns thrown on without thought as to how this changes the cockpit.

Here is the original, with flat bar, looking like a sit-up-and-beg hybrid

Nevertheless, the spec intrigued me and offered an interesting possibility. Compact road geometry, road drivechain, skinny 700c wheels but with mechanical discs. CX bike? I added new bars, shifters and brake levers to transform the bike.

On-one Midge bars. These take road shifters but fit OS mtb stems. Also, unlike road bars, they flare out at the ends to 55cm at the widest point, which provides more control over the rough stuff than standard narrow drop bars (about 40-44cm).

Mechanical disc brakes adds an extra problem when using with drops and road levers. STI levers with brakes and shifters combined aren't possible. Off to Google cos I know nowt about road bikes...

Tektro RL520 levers solved the lever problem. These are for mtb-style long-pull callipers rather than short-pull road callipers.

It isn't optimum but my only option was bar-end shifters but hey. I found Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 on offer (£42, down from £60-75). These can be switched between index or friction shifting, which means they are compatible with any road or mtb mech. Setting up friction gears was new to me, but very easy once you know how. Shifting is very much like making love to a beautiful woman: they need to be caressed rather than tapped. One bonus is that being friction they allow dumping of gears in one go.

This is the new bar set-up


My first ride on drops was fun but brutal while I worked on my new riding position. The pain of still being 30 miles from home while on a 79 mile ride. Helmet peaks are for cool kids on mountain bikes but have absolutely no place on a pain-free neck road ride.

My cockpit (for want of a better word) has been changed massively: stem flipped, saddle up and up and up, saddle further and further forward. I just need an in-line seatpost to move a touch further forward and then I am sorted.

Bike now in CX/road mode


Shop-mobility mode, with rack

Since this transformation I am afraid that I haven't been mountain biking, but it's all good as I have been really enjoying road riding and done some miles. Love the fitness improvement and the distance one can cover in a ride. In the last six weeks I have done rides of 47, 61, 73, 76, 79 miles as well as numerous other quick 10-25 mile blasts.

My transformation to full roadie is now complete - I now own five Rapha jerseys. Lovely.