Charge Cooker Maxi 2 Fat Bike Review – Update

In my review of the Charge Cooker Maxi 2 Fat Bike, [here], I focused on initial riding impressions. Having lived with the bike now for several months, and encountered a broad range of riding conditions, I just wanted to add this as an addendum to the initial review.

First of all you might remember that I needed to change out the cockpit from how it arrived in stock form. I ended up with a set of Spank riser bars which gave me a net gain of about 1.25″ in height and also an increase in width, up to 800mm. The extra height works much better for me. It takes a bit of pressure from my lower back and I feel less crouched over. Even though it’s a little more than an inch, it has made a big improvement.

I also changed out the stem to a shorter version. This too worked well.

fat bike handlebars

I switched the pedals to new platforms. I’m not ready to move to clipless at this point as I spend too much time with my feet down!

Tires

The stock Vee Rubbers are fine for dirt and even worked reasonably well on wet leaves and light mud. But as soon as the snow and ice landed I had my first big crash, followed by too many washouts for comfort, so I upgraded to the On One Floaters, which are reviewed here

The Floaters are great tires for the money. They work really well in snow.

So with the above adjustments I can say that I’m pretty happy with the Charge Maxi Fat Bike. It does everything I expected and for a mid-level bike I think it has probably exceeded my initial expectations.

Here’s a few pics to round off with:

biking-background4.jpg biking-background5.jpg fat bike riding on a charge maxi on-one floater fat tire on-one floater fat tire on Charge Cooker Maxi Fat Bike winter cycling biking-background3.jpg

7 potawatomi state park single track trails 5 Vee Rubber Fat Tire 3 potawatomi state park

10 Comments

  1. So, now that you have it sorted, do you like it? It looks pretty rad. Thinking of getting one myself, but am curious about your experience, especially on wet leaves and snow with your modifications. Thanks!

  2. Hey Jay,
    The bike was awesome. The tires were a must-change. The stock Vee’s were fine for dry dirt but didn’t do well on wet leaves and snow. The On-One floaters worked great. I have Dillinger 4’s on my current Fattie, they work great too but they’re a bit pricey.
    The only things I didn’t like about the Charge bike were the weight and the fact that I was pretty ‘leaned-over’ on the bike. Even with the cockpit changed it didn’t suit my older bones/back. For a younger rider it would be just fine, me thinks.

  3. Hi,
    I was just researching the Charge Cooker Maxi 2 Fat Bike (2015) and saw your review.

    I’m new to the sport (coming from a freestyle BMX background); and I would sincerely appreciate your quick thoughts before I make a purchase…

    I\’m looking at this exact 2015 model (found a good deal), but they only have it in Medium. I\’m 6ft, and I saw you mentioned your height and riding smaller at the Large size. I like the more aggressive style; would you think the Medium would be a good fit for me for this model? Or Large better?

    Also, if you don\’t mind: I\’m comparing this to a 2016 Surly Pug Ops ($999). Any thoughts about the better bike? http://surlybikes.com/bikes/pug_ops/bike_specs

    I really appreciate any reply you can provide. I\’m actually looking to make a purchase very soon (the stock is limited for the price).

    Thank you for your time!

  4. P.S. The tires that come stock are the Vee Rubber H-Billie… I know you mentioned yours were Vee Rubber… were yours H-Billie also (which you later replaced)? Just don’t know enough about all this yet. Thanks!

  5. Hey Adam,
    Tough questions!
    It’s hard to make a recommendation on size. Personally I think I should’ve gone with an XL frame, I’m 6′ 4″, so I suspect you should be on a L at 6′.
    Of course you can stretch the cockpit out a little, but it’s really a compromise. The problem is, you don’t always get proper feedback with a short demo ride….it’s not until you spend more time on the bike that you start to feel the effects of it being too small or too large. Then you’re stuck with it. I think you need an L frame!

    I looked closely at a standard pugs before buying the Maxi. You can’t knock the Pugs, it’s the mack daddy of fat bikes! But I preferred the Maxi, more from an aesthetic point of view than anything else, which isn’t really the correct way to look at things. I suspect the Pug Ops is a great bike, but you need to ride them both and decide.
    On tires, no I didn’t have the H-Billie and I’ve never used those tires. Looking at pictures I like the tread profile. They’re more trail/dirt/snow oriented than the Vees that came on my Maxi when I bought it.

    Again, I think the worst thing you can do is to buy a bike that doesn’t fit right, particularly if you’re going to be doing some longer rides.

    Good luck!
    FMB

  6. Adam… Not sure if you saw this but here’s Surly’s own quick summary of the main differences between the standard pugs and the pug ops http://surlybikes.com/bikes/pug_ops

    The drive train spec on the ops looks better but I think the choice is more down to the type of terrain you’re going to be riding. The wider rims on the ops give you more tire contact area so are better suited to snow and sand conditions, where the narrower pugs rims will give you less rolling resistance and therefore should be a little quicker and easier on packed dirt and asphalt.
    Personally I’d take the Ops between the two but the Cooker before either. Depending on the deal of course….as they’re all good bikes!

  7. Thanks again! I sincerely appreciate your advice and personal recommendations; it’s really helpful for me trying to get acclimated to all of this (a little more complicated than the BMX world at times).

    I did see that description page and it did help. It just threw me that it was a few hundred dollars less (the ops) vs. the standard pugsley at MSRP value. Wondered if it was the drive train and the hydraulic vs. mechanical disk brakes.

    I’ve got a decision to make still, but this has been very insightful. Thanks FBM! Blessings and Merry Christmas 🙂

  8. I would agree that the Surly is a better bike than the Charge and with the deals QBP are having right now (unheard of!), you should pull the trigger if you have the money/desire. I bought a Pugs Ops vs. the Charge about 2 months ago and love it. Better spec. Tried and true and all that. That said, if I had known this sale was coming I would probably rather have the Ice Cream Truck since it’s Bluto compatible.

  9. So after more thought, I did order the Medium sized Cooker instead of the Ops! I think I’ll be ok on the size (coming from a BMX background too) and may just get some riser bars at some point.

    The deal was hard to pass up as I was able to get a price match from my LBS for $899 (I was seeing the MSRP at $1500-$1700ish) + free shipping/assembly and free lifetime tuneups. Thanks again for your help!

  10. Congrats on the new bike, Adam!

    Stop back and let us know how you like it…

    Happy holidays!

    Fmb

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