Charge Cooker Maxi 1 fat bike review

Solid entry-level big wheeler, but you may soon be wanting more

Fat Bike Winter Guide
Getting this bike up to speed wasn't always easy. But once the wheels are spinning the grinning began.

Getting this bike up to speed wasn’t always easy. But once the wheels are spinning the grinning began.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Mtbr Ultimate Guide to winter mountain biking, fat bikes, gear, apparel, lights and trainers. We are taking a deep dive into all manner of cold weather mountain bike gear, with round-ups and reviews of fat bikes, tires, wheels, apparel, trainers, lights and more. To see all the articles, head over to our Winter Guide Hub Page.

Lowdown: Charge Cooker Maxi 1 Fat Bike

You can make an argument that steeds such as the Charge Cooker Maxi 1 fat bike both encourage and discourage people from trying (and sticking with) riding on snowy winter trails. On the plus side, the barrier to entry is small, thanks to a sub-$1500 price tag. The primary negative, of course, is weight. Though the Maxi 1 has no suspension (and thus limited non-wintertime appeal) our size medium tester weighed a hefty 33.1 pounds. That’s nearly nine pounds more than the other fully rigid fat bike we tested this winter, the far more expensive Specialized Fat Boy Expert Carbon. So the question is when does it make sense to go the budget route when buying a fat bike? And is this the right budget bike? Read the full review below for our take.

Stat Box
Frame: 6061 butted aluminum Rotors: 180mm f/ 160mm r
Fork: Rigid triple butted cro-mo Saddle: Charge Spoon
Crankset: FSA Comet 36/22 Seatpost: Charge 15mm layback
Front derailleur: SRAM X5 Grips: Charge square lock-on
Rear derailleur: SRAM X5 mid cage Bars: Charge flat top riser 15° sweep
Shifters: SRAM X5 Stem: Charge
Cassette: SRAM 11-36t Chainstay length: 450mm
Chain: Nickel plated KMC x11 Headtube angle: 71 degrees
Bottom bracket: FSA MegaExo Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Rims: Charge Fat 26” 80mm wide Color: Gloss red
Tires: Tubeless ready Maxxis Mammoth 26×4.0” Weight: 33.1 pounds
Hubs: Charge disc MSRP: $1200
Brakes: Pro Max Render cable disc Rating: 3.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 3.5 out of 5

Pluses
Minuses
  • Low price
  • Overall weight
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Rotational weight
  • Snappy steering
  • Mediocre braking
  • Snappy handling
  • Twitchy at times
  • Fast rolling tires
  • Mid-tier shifting
  • Steel fork
  • Narrow’ish tires
  • Comfortable saddle
  • No dropper post
  • Wide gear range
  • QR axles front and rear
  • Rack mounts
  • Lack of suspension limits non-winter use
  • Color (if you like bright red)
  • Color (if you don’t like bright red)

Net weight for this size medium: 33.1 pounds.

Net weight for this size medium: 33.1 pounds.

Review: Charge Cooker Maxi 1 Fat Bike

I love the look of this bike. Sure it’s loud with its bright red frame and matching stem. But to me that pop of color equates fun. And for most of us that’s what fat biking is all about, having fun.

Indeed, except for a small minority who’ve caught the big wheeled racing bug, riding these goliaths on wheels is a conduit to wintertime miles and copious smiles. On days when snow on the ground used to mean butts on stationary trainers, you can now head outside and enjoy fresh air in the great outdoors. It doesn’t hurt that the Charge Cooker Maxi 1 doesn’t cost much more than one of those high end trainers either.

MSRP is $1200, making this a solid entry-level fat bike option.

MSRP is $1200, making this a solid entry-level fat bike option.

The downside, as alluded to in the intro above, is that this big is a pig. Despite having no suspension, which would broaden its use beyond snowtrack and wintertime runs to the beer store, it tips the scales at a chunky 33.1 pounds. And that is for a size medium. Figure an extra pound or two as you climb the size scale. Clearly then this bike is geared toward the newbie fat bike rider — or someone not willing to fully commit to the burgeoning big wheeled genre. And that’s okay, as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Continue to page 2 for more of our Charge Cooker Maxi 1 fat bike review »

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympics, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the Mtbr staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.


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  • Joe says:

    I have a beast of a fat bike — a Motobecane Boris. This meets my requirements for having fun during the winter. The extra weight does not bother me — I consider it as a training bike. When I want a lighter weight bike to shred trails, I’ll go to my 27.5 Trance.
    Fat bikes are way overpriced for what you get. All things considered, they should cost 10-20% more than a standard hardtail bike. But they often cost twice as much. Some people are willing to pay that for an off-season bike — I am not. I’ll save it for my main ride! Just IMO.

  • Steve Hanson says:

    I’m 70 years old and ride my Maxi I year-round. (2015 model)…I don’t find the weight an issue…I think this is the best fatbike in this price range on th market. The only issue I really have with it is the lack of presta tire valves…

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