Charge XC Electric Bike Review

Travis GneitingBikes, Cycling, e-bike, First Look, Reviews Leave a Comment

Charge XC E-Bike:


The Charge XC Electric bike represents a seamless blend of urban efficiency and off-road capability, setting a new standard in the e-bike market. With its roots grounded in the legacy of Cannondale and Schwinn, this bike offers a mix of street smarts and trail resilience, making it a versatile choice for both city commutes and adventurous trails.

Priced at $2699, the Charge XC stands out with its range of up to 50 miles on a single charge, complemented by a pedal assist that can reach speeds up to 20mph. This ensures a ride that is both energy-efficient and fun. Its design is thoughtfully engineered with folding handlebars and pedals, making it remarkably easy to store in compact spaces—an essential feature for urban dwellers.

What truly sets this bike apart is its attention to detail and rider convenience. The easily removable battery simplifies the recharging process, whether on or off the bike. Integrated features such as lights, racks, fenders, and automatic tire pressure sensors enhance safety and readiness for various riding conditions. The bike is also equipped with puncture-resistant Goodyear tires, ensuring durability and reliability on diverse terrains.

Riding comfort is not overlooked. The Charge XC suspension system provides a smooth ride on all surfaces, as do the comfortable seat and ergonomic grips. These features collectively contribute to a riding experience that feels like having super legs.

Moreover, the bike’s assembly process is impressively straightforward, taking just about 10 minutes. This ease of setup, combined with the brand’s commitment to customer service and a 30-day return policy, makes it an attractive option for both seasoned cyclists and newcomers to the e-bike world.

Overview of Charge Electric Bike Models

Charge Electric Bikes offers 4 different models of electric bikes. The Comfort 1 is an everyday step-through cruiser bike with a thumb throttle and pedal assist. The City is a comfortable cruiser for commuting around town. The Comfort 2 is another step through with larger tires and without a shock. The XC is an on and off-road bike for handling any terrain, with an upgraded mid-drive motor, and a more “mountain bike” feel and ride to it.

In-Depth Look at the Charge XC Electric Bike

In this in-depth look, we delve into the Charge XC electric bike, a groundbreaking blend of urban functionality and off-road robustness. Engineered by the renowned creators of Cannondale and Schwinn, this e-bike is a testament to innovative design, offering a unique combination of efficiency and adventure-ready features. We will explore its key attributes, from the intuitive pedal assist and remarkable 50-mile range to its compact, foldable design ideal for urban living. With a focus on the bike’s performance, comfort, and convenience, this comprehensive review aims to uncover how the Charge XC stands as a versatile and reliable choice for both daily commuters and outdoor enthusiasts.

Price and Value

All of the extras like an upgraded motor, hydraulic brakes, and better overall components come with additional cost. The XC retail price is $2699. The City, Comfort 1, and Comfort 2 are $1799, $1399, and $1899 respectively.

Detailed Features of the Charge XC

Class and Speed

The Charge XC is a Class 1 e-bike. this means it does not have a throttle and is limited to 20 mph by the Shimano e5000 mid-drive motor.

Battery and Motor

Battery Life and Charging

The battery is stored under the down tube of the bike frame. The battery is removable by twisting the securing lock and using the provided key.

Battery Charger and Adapter

The battery charger (EC-E6002) and adapter are included for on or off-bike charging. Charging can take from 6 to 10 hours from completely dead. For on-bike charging, there is a port on the right side of the bike down tube to plug in the charger. Off-bike charging requires the battery to be removed and an adapter plugged into the battery for charging.

Motor Analysis

The 250W Shimano E5000 mid-drive motor sits in the middle of the bike as opposed to the hub of the rear tire. There are many advantages and disadvantages to a mid-drive motor vs a hub motor.

Mid-Drive Motors

  1. Central Weight Distribution: Mid-drive motors are mounted at the bike’s crank, ensuring a balanced weight distribution. This improves the bike’s handling and stability.
  2. Efficient Power Use: They efficiently use power, especially on hilly terrains, as they leverage the bike’s gears. This can lead to a more natural riding experience and better range.
  3. Better Climbing: Ideal for steep inclines, as they can utilize the bike’s gears for more torque.
  4. Ground Clearance: Generally, they offer better ground clearance than hub motors, which is advantageous for off-road biking.
  1. Complexity and Cost: Mid-drive systems are typically more complex and expensive than hub motors. They may require more maintenance.
  2. Strain on Drivetrain: They can put more strain on the bike’s chain and gears, potentially leading to more frequent replacements or repairs.
  3. Noise: Some models can be noisier compared to hub motors.

Hub Motors

  1. Simplicity and Cost-Effectiveness: Hub motors are generally simpler, cheaper, and easier to install and maintain.
  2. Quiet Operation: They tend to operate more quietly compared to mid-drive motors.
  3. Direct Power: Offering direct power to the wheel, they can be more efficient on flat terrain and for commuting.
  4. Compatibility: Easier to retrofit on standard bikes, as they don’t require modifications to the bike’s frame or gears.
  1. Weight Distribution: They can affect the bike’s weight distribution, making it rear or front-heavy, depending on the placement, which might affect handling.
  2. Less Efficient on Hills: Not as efficient as mid-drives on hilly terrains since they can’t utilize the bike’s gearing system.
  3. Reduced Performance in Off-Road Conditions: Typically, they offer less performance in off-road or steep conditions compared to mid-drive systems.
  4. Potential Wheel Issues: The added weight on the wheel can lead to more frequent maintenance or issues with spokes and rims.

For more information on the Shimano E-Tube Project, you can check it out here:

Controller and Display

The Charge XC has a Shimano E7000 2-button display for visualizing the assist levels, speed, trip, and other helpful information. This is the same controller that is used on bikes costing 2 and 3 times more than the Charge XC.

Suspension System

The Charge XC has an SR Suntour front suspension fork. These suspension forks are known for their value and reliability.

Storage and Portability

The Charge XC has two features that make storing the bike very convenient. First, the handlebars have a quick-release mechanism to rotate them 90°. 

Second, the bike pedals can be folded in towards the bike. This makes the bike extremely slim when stored up against the wall or next to other bikes. The bike also includes a kickstand which is convenient when stopping for a break, or storing the bike. 

Lights and Safety

The Charge XC electric bike places a strong emphasis on safety and visibility, incorporating advanced lighting and safety features into its design. It comes equipped with high-powered, automatic front and rear lights that ensure the rider is both visible and able to see clearly, regardless of the time of day. This feature is crucial for urban riders who often navigate through traffic and low-light conditions. Additionally, the bike boasts all-terrain Goodyear tires, which are not only puncture-resistant but also provide a stable and secure grip on various surfaces, enhancing safety in different riding conditions. The integrated automatic tire pressure sensors add another layer of safety, visually indicating when the tires need air, ensuring that the bike is always in optimal riding condition. Also, the bike is equipped with front and rear fenders, these provide coverage from the tires that keep water mud off the rider but also prevent loose articles from getting caught in the wheels. These thoughtful safety elements demonstrate Charge’s commitment to creating a bike that is not only enjoyable and efficient to ride but also prioritizes the rider’s well-being in diverse environments.

Seat and Grips

A comfortable seat is necessary for an enjoyable experience on any bike. The XC has a well-balanced mid-cushion seat that is good for commuting around town but also not so large that it is in the way when riding trails or off-road when a rider typically would be standing off the seat.

Wheel Size and Riding Experience

Larger 29-inch wheels make the bike roll over rocks and are smoother ride on rough surfaces over the smaller 26 or 27.5 wheels on other electric bikes. However, if you are a shorter rider, the 29-inch wheels do increase the riding position slightly and are something to take into consideration. For me, I’m 5’10” tall, riding the Size Small with the seat extended to the max, and feel very comfortable on the bike. I’ve also had my daughter who is 5’ riding the bike with the seat all the way down and she looks and feels very comfortable and confident on the bike as well.


The XC is equipped with all-terrain Goodyear tires. They offer flat protection with an outer shell protective layer. The tread pattern offers better grip off-road but may be a bit noisier and rougher as well as slower rolling on pavement.

Weight Considerations

Electric bikes are not lightweight with their motors and batteries especially when you’re riding a bike with suspension and a rack on the bike.  It weighs about 55 lb.  This is something to keep in mind as some bike racks will not support a bike of that weight. Additionally, lifting a bike that heavy onto a bike rack can also be difficult. 

My Experience Riding the Charge XC

I have ridden over a dozen electric bikes and was excited to ride this bike on the road as well as being able to take it off-road. I spent many miles on the pavement as well as on dirt roads and trails testing its durability, battery, and quality. I used it on many steep inclines as well as declines. This bike definitely has its place and is designed for someone who occasionally likes to ride off-road or on mellower mountain bike trails.

On Road Riding

The Charge XC doesn’t give as much assistance as some other electric bikes and in my opinion, is designed for someone with some fitness level and ability to pedal the bike if there is not pedal assist included. There is no throttle for when I get lazy and don’t feel like pedaling anymore, keep in mind you will always have to pedal back to your starting point. Aside from the lower torque and throttle, this bike is a great option for riding on the pavement to a dirt trail cruising around in the dirt and then riding it back home on the pavement. There are a lot of e-bikes available for mountain biking or cruising around the city or neighborhood. Not many cross the lines of a hybrid bike that can do both as well as the Charge XC.

Off-Road Riding

The XC is at home on a dirt road or smooth mountain bike trail. The front suspension makes the bike very comfortable on and off the road. The larger tread Goodyear tires help with traction and the hydraulic brakes are an upgrade not often seen on bikes in this category.

I spend a lot of time riding full-suspension mountain bikes and the XC has its limits as a hard-tail bike. With that being said it makes a great bike-packing bike with its rack on the back that is a great option for attaching panniers or strapping down a backpack.

Distance, Battery, Charging, and Power

I typically keep the bike charged up but do not leave it plugged in all the time as I have heard this is bad for electric bikes. I have noticed that the bike does not lose much charge once the battery is full and left for weeks at a time in my garage.  The XC bike takes up to 6 hours to charge. I don’t typically let it run out of battery completely before recharging. On some of my range tests, I could easily get up to 50 miles depending on the terrain, incline, and the amount of peddling I was doing.

The eco, trail, and boost modes offer a nice variety and allow me to manage the battery usage and physical exertion of each ride. Each mode offers a little more assistance but also uses more battery. I find myself using the “trail mode” the majority of the time.  It offers a good balance where I feel like I am getting a workout but also have assistance for steep hills or to help me get back home from a long ride. It is nice to use the “eco mode” for shorter rides where I am just looking to get some movement. I use the “boost mode” when I see a steep hill, or am just feeling lazy.

If you have never used an electric bike before it takes some getting used to because you have multiple options to make pedaling easier. If you see a large hill coming up you can use the shifter to shift into an easier gear, or you could increase the pedal assist to stay in the same gear and have it help you with more assistance.  These modes are controlled by a trigger on the handlebars in the output is displayed on the LCD screen. The LCD screen is smaller to keep it out of the way tucked neatly Behind The Handlebar.  The display can also show speed distance battery power and other useful information about your trip.

I come from a mountain biking background and probably rode the XC a little harder than the average user on some mountain bike trails.  I noticed the rear rack and fenders bouncing around a little more I was surprised how well it still managed through light rocky sections and steeper declines thanks to the hydraulic disc brakes.

After a ride on a dirt trail, it’s nice to be able to get back on the pavement and have the built-in lights to help navigate back home. 

How is the Ride?

The XC Has a mountain bike geometry where you sit higher up and more forward on the bike.  Riding in this position gives you much more confidence when off-road or at higher speeds. It also makes the bike more maneuverable. 

How does the power feel?

To turn on the bike you hold down the power button you will see the display illuminate and show the level of assist and battery life remaining for the bike.  You might wonder how it feels to have assistance in the pedals if you’ve never ridden an electric bike before. Basically, you start off by pedaling the bike like you would a normal bike and after a couple of revolutions you’ll feel some assistance making the pedaling easier. this comes from the Shimano e5000 motor offering 40 newton meters of torque.  This isn’t the highest amount of output you can get on an electric bike, I think the motor decision was made for someone who is looking to still get exercise pedaling their bike but might need a little assistance.  I would not recommend this bike to someone looking for an electric bike to do the majority of the work for them.


In conclusion, the Charge XC electric bike stands out as a versatile and robust option for both urban commuters and off-road enthusiasts. Its thoughtful design, featuring a lightweight frame, powerful mid-drive Shimano motor, and efficient hydraulic braking system, strikes a perfect balance between performance and comfort. While it sits at a higher price point, the quality of components and the flexibility it offers justify the investment, especially for those who value the dual nature of a hybrid electric bike. Whether navigating city streets or exploring rugged trails, the Charge XC proves to be a reliable, enjoyable, and high-performing companion. Its unique features, such as the quick-release handlebars and foldable pedals, add to its practicality, making it a top contender in the e-bike market and a worthy consideration for anyone looking to blend the best of both commuting and recreational biking experiences.

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