Carrera Crossfire-E Electric Bike Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further reading:

 

(Carrera Crossfire-E Electric Bike Review)

A few weeks ago I started looking at electric bikes as an alternative to a regular bike, I had a specialized myka in excellent condition, but this year I was dreading the start of the season. Last year I only managed a handful of rides and didn’t really get a chance to get going and get fit again.

So this year was going to be a real challenge, I’ve added a few extra stones to my weight, and I’m not light to start with. At nearly 6 feet tall and a normal weight of 15st, I now weigh 18st. I am a big guy anyway! I also smoke and have done for 30 years, I know if I could quit smoking then riding would be a doddle. But you don’t smoke for 30 years because it’s easy to quit.

I also tore the cartilage in my right knee in October 2015, and as a result I limp heavily on my left leg, so my left leg is very unhappy and my right knee hurts a lot. The good news is that I will be having the operation to repair the knee in just a few weeks, and the doctor and physiotherapist both agree that cycling is an excellent way to recover as there’s no impact causing new damage like any kind of running would cause.

So that’s me, someone in need of some good exercise, non-impact, and good cardio exercise at that. Cycling does give me all that, but here in Yorkshire we also have some impressive hills. Combine all of the above with our hills and you can understand why I was reluctant to get the bike out.

I looked for an electric bike, preferably a hybrid, a road and mountain bike, something that did all this and still manages to cover a lot of ground. I watched a lot of videos on youtube from a user called

http://www.ElectricBikeReview.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/ElectricBikeReview


Sadly all their bikes are for the USA market, but the requirements and specifications all still apply, I just have to find a UK bike.

Which I did, I found the Carrera Crossfire-E Electric bike on the Halfords website, so I put my money down and waited a few days for it to arrive. It was delivered to my local store and was built and checked by Niles and Callum at the store. They did an excellent job too. I part-exchanged my specialized myka and also got £100 to spend in store. My old bike will be serviced and shipped to Africa where it will hopefully help someone carry water, or a medic get to a patient miles away.

I took my old bike in my car, and the plan was to return the crossfire-e electric bike in the car too, but the Crossfire-E is a damned big bike and would not fit in the car. So a trial by fire it would be, a 5 mile ride home would help me get used to the bike and see what we could do together.

Initially the ride starts out with a fairly steep but short drop down hill and about half a mile level riding, but from then on it’s all uphill.

If you know anything about electric bikes then you’ll know they are controlled 3 different ways.

  • Power assist modes, these add anything from 25% extra to 75% and even a 100% boost for really steep climbs
  • Throttle control, this works just like you’d imagine, add a little throttle for a little boost, add a lot for big hills
  • A combination of the two, put the assist in say 25% mode and add throttle as and when it’s needed.

The Carrera Crossfire-E electric bike only has peddle assist and no throttle.

  • Eco mode: 25% assist up to 15MPH then it turns off the assist.
  • City: 50% power assistance to 10MPH, then reducing progressively to 30% assistance at 15MPH
  • Race: 75% power assistance; the optimum setting for riding at speed
  • climb: 100% assistance for those really big hills.

The more you ask of it the fewer miles you’ll go on a charge, the site says up to 60 miles, and I suppose a 10st rider on flat ground and who’s already pretty damned fit will manage this. I’m not 10st, I’m certainly not fit, and by God Yorkshire is not flat.

So the ride home, it was actually a lot easier than I imagined, and I imagined it’d be fairly easy to start with. I was really pleasantly surprised, I did have to work, it’s not a free ride, I did have to work a bit, but I never felt that I couldn’t manage the ride home. On level ground the Eco mode was really enough to keep me going and the bike just ate up the road so effortlessly, City mode was obviously easier for the slight hill and longer hills, and the one really nasty hill. I hit Climb and I was at the top before I even knew it. A 5 mile ride with a near 4 mile, near constant climb, and I was home in less than 20 minutes, only 10 minutes longer than driving.

I was very impressed. But now I had to go back and collect my car.

I got home, made some tea, did some chores, and set off again for a 10 mile round trip.

 

This is a bit of a challenge to be honest. Some long steep hills, some level riding, and then some fantastic downhill speeds at 35MPH.
Even with a stop at the supermarket cash machine I did the whole ride in 30 minutes. Other than this one stop, not once did I need to rest and take a breather, but like I said earlier, it’s not a free ride and I still had to put some good effort in, and while I did start to lose momentum at the halfway point, I didn’t feel like I had to stop and rest once.

Again I was left very impressed with the bikes ability and mine, I know this bike flatters you, but it felt really good to get a pretty decent workout without feeling utterly pummelled, and still having some juice left in the tank, but it’s juice you’ll need. Once you get home you have to store the bike and this is no light-weight at 55lbs. But you can’t have all this extra help and no downside.

The cons are few and far between, there is no where to put a water bottle or a pump. It’s heavy, and at high speed ass off the saddle it’s very wobbly. Ass on and it’s fine. The handlebars are tapered, while it’s not a big issue, some fittings like after market lights need a bigger bracket to fit, luckily my lights are really good and I have this bracket. The supplied tyres are a cross between road and off road, but primarily road. So be careful going on any muddy tracks, or change the tyres first. For cons that really is about it.

To remedy these issues you could buy a camel back for £15, though you really need to spend time washing it thoroughly first for about 30 minutes with bicarbonate too. A small pump will fit inside this camel back. Get good lights or look for a bigger bracket or adapter.

As far as mileage goes I really haven’t spent enough time with the bike pushing the battery limits, I intend to go for a long ride when the weather becomes more predictable, but I think I should manage 25 to 30 miles, sure it’s not the advertised 60, but I’m not average either.

The asking price is £999 and this is pretty damned steep, when you can easily get a conversion kit for sub £200 it certainly sounds expensive, but these kits don’t include batteries, and they can set you back £600, then you also need the donor bike too.

Overall it’s good value, it’s good fun that will see you smiling all the time you use it, you won’t huff and puff all day long either, but you will still sweat a little, and that’s a good thing. Fun exercise isn’t exercise.

I don’t like giving scores as they are subjective based on my opinion and I don’t have a tonne of experience of owning bikes.
But I’ll try.

Frame: 9, there is space for a water bottle, just about! This really needed to be added, but it’s a missed opportunity to sell some extras with the bike. The handlebar taper could mess things up, but it didn’t for me. I just managed.

Brakes: 10. Hydraulic brakes are a must for overweight riders and a heavy bike to boot, and these work brilliantly.

Tyres: 9, again these are road tyres with some minor knobbly bits, so don’t expect to ride down mountain tracks. They do however have reflective side walls. A huge bonus for anyone out late.

Motor: Hmm. The legal limit in the EU is 15MPH, a trigger could over ride that in small doses. It’s not Halfords fault nor is it suntours fault. With that in mind I’ll still score the motor 9 for a torquey 50 newtons, good pull and good acceleration

Battery: 9, TBH I’d prefer a slightly bigger battery, something like 15Ah as opposed to the 11Ah supplied, there is space, but it would also make the complete package more expensive too. But it’s pretty good non the less.

LCD: 9, there’s no way to change KMh to MPh, suntour are working on a fix for this but it might mean a change to a different LCD though a flash upgrade is in the works. HUGE BONUS! There’s a USB port on the front of the LCD display, so you can power any USB device from the battery pack, Excellent work suntour. Most e-bikes have this on the battery and you could easily break it with you knee as you pedal. So good idea putting it on the LCD

The motor, battery and electronics are made by suntour:

http://www.srsuntour-cycling.com/e-bike … or-system/
This is the latest video review, 2,000 miles, and 2+ years later:


This is a partial video of my 45 mile ride around Loch Linnhe and Loch Eil from last September.

About The Bionic Cyclist

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

This website.
View All Posts

Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

19 thoughts on “Carrera Crossfire-E Electric Bike Review

  1. Battery care.

    To be honest I’ve learned over the years that batteries perform better at room temperature, this actually isn’t the case with Li-ion batteries, they like to be really cold, especially when you store them for a few months. So seeing as a new battery pack can cost hundreds of pounds I did some quick research and this is what it boils down to.

    1. You should only charge a lithium battery to 100% when you need to use the battery for extended periods that day or the day after. Try to keep the charge between 20% and 80%
    2. NEVER NEVER NEVER let the battery drain below 10%.
    3. Around the 30 cycles, (one cycle is 80%-20% of battery power) discharge the battery as low as you dare. So at the 5% mark give it a good long charge.
    4. Store the battery at 40%, DO NOT charge it to 100% and store it. Storing the battery is for 3 months or more.
    5. Freeze the battery! I know right, it doesn’t make sense. Freeze the battery at roughly 30% charge in a carrier bag so it can breath a little.

    To summarise.
    Keep the battery level between 80% and 20% for normal every day use. Discharge the battery every 30 charges, and store it for long periods at 40% charge. If you can freeze it when you store it then even better.

    Li-ion should last for 300-500 charges, and if you follow the above then it should last nearer the 500 charges.
    Source: http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries

  2. Hi Bionic Cyclist
    Really enjoyed your videos of the Carrera and was wondering if you could get in touch via email as I live in your neck of the woods as well. I could get advice from you once in a blue as I’ve got a Carrera Crossfire E too.
    Ps your voice-over videos were really great and had some sound advice on care and cleaning the bike . Anyway have a nice day and keep up the good work.

    • Hey F H Khan, I’m glad I could help. What do you think of the bike? I love mine. Thanks for the feedback.
      If you ever need any help just post a reply and I’ll get back in touch asap, I’ve just got back from a holiday hence the delay.

  3. Hi Bionic_Cyclist

    Discharge

    I have just bought Carrera Crossfire-E Mens Electric Bike, can you clear up this for me, I will be using the bike minimal 5 miles per week Winter time and estimate per week 20-30 summer time

    user manual says The battery comes with a 40% charge.Discharge and charge the battery fully twice to reach an optimum range
    user manual says Every three months or 40 sub-cycles, you should perform a complete discharge and recharge

    (but does not tell me how to Discharge? )

    • Hi Stephen, to discharge the battery you need to go out on the bike I’m afraid.

      Winter (storage)
      Discharge down to around 20-30% wrap the battery in a plastic bag and put it in a cold place.

      It’ll be fine for months like that, and when you’re ready to go out again… give it a 12 hour charge to top it off after it’s got to room temperature again.

      To cycle the battery (charge and discharge)
      At around the 40th charge, let it reach as close to zero as you dare (I go down to 5%) and fully charge it again over night.

  4. It may be my imagination but I find that coming off battery, say slight downward incline the bike becomes very hard to pedal and will sometimes slow down even on a steep hill while freewheeling. Has anyone else encountered this problem, or is it just me?

  5. I purchased a Crossfire a few weeks ago. An excellent bike but I get nowhere near the advertised 60 miles per full charge. My ride is a daily 10 mile on a flat road (NO HILLS)
    and I use the eco or tour mode. The most I have got out of a full charge is 33 miles. Is this reasonable or is there a problem with this battery?, I personally would expect to get between 45 and 50 miles out of a full battery. Any comments please?

    • Hi Davo, I’m surprised, I’ve had 45 miles from a single charge in Scotland. https://the-bionic-cyclist.co.uk/2017/09/22/crossfire-e-will-it-go-45-miles-with-one-charge/
      If you’re traveling at less than 15-16mph then you’ll be asking the battery and motor to work constantly, but if there are no hills you should be going faster than that, and therefore getting a much battery battery life.

      Try fully discharging the battery (down to around 5% or lower if you dare) and charging it fully overnight and see how that goes. If that still fails then take the battery back to Halfords, their customer service is excellent.

    • If you look on the battery, it says that it must be charged for 24 hours for the first 2-3 times it is used, regardless of the mileage you have done. They should charge it for 24 hours for the first charge at the shop, or let you take it home and do it. Apparently, this opens up the capacity of the battery and makes for maximum mileage on a charge. It is difficult to actually do this 24 hour thing because the charger will change colour from red to green after a few hours, and the battery indicator will show fully charged, but you must ignore these signs and just let it go on charging for the full 24 hours. Whether you can recover the battery at a later date by charging again for the 24 hours, 2 or 3 times, I don’t know, but I do know that some staff in these bike shops don’t know about li-on battery charging and just take it off charge once the indicator light on the charger has gone to green. There is some misunderstanding in this area about charging these batteries, I think due to the way the old batteries used to have a memory, but apparently li-ons don’t have one and can be topped up constantly (exactly like a lead-acid car battery). That’s my take on it, hope it helps!

  6. Hi
    Like Dave 30/10 I too have found that sometimes when coming off ‘Tour’ mode, it feels something like a brake is on the drum or something like that.
    Just saying, that’s all!

  7. Pingback: Finally some good weather and Telemetry data – The Bionic Cyclist E-Bike Rider

  8. Pingback: Ebike Range Anxiety – The Bionic Cyclist E-Bike Rider

  9. Hello Bionic Cyclist
    Just seen your video and found it really interesting.. A couple of months back I bought a Halfords Carrera CrossCITY foldup bike but I am not sure I did the right thing. My main ride is around the 20 mile mark and I am finding that the best I can get is about 16 miles then it becomes really hard work as i guess I am pushing against the motor. I am aged 78 with COPD and arthritis, and fortunately I live in West London so not may hills. I have the battery on charge all the time as I have been recommended to do for my Mobility scooter.
    After reading your comments and watching the video I am now sorely tempted to get the Carrera Crossfire-E so many thanks for your very professional video and advice.
    The sprung seat post caught my eye, where I would I find such a thing, I have never heard of these before but then I am coming back to cycling after a break of at least 30 years.
    kind regards and again thanks for all you info. Nigel Ackland

    • Hi Nigel and thank you very much for the kind words, I figure over the last couple of years I’ve helped at least over 100 people change up to an e-bike, at least those are the ones who have responded on here and youtube.
      First off well done, most people at 76 would just say “Sod it, I’ll use the scooter”, especially with arthritis and COPD. To be honest, I’ve said sod it a few times and used the car, but more often than not I do cycle.
      Secondly, the mobility scooter might have a different battery technology, Lithium-Ion does not like to be charged like that. I’ve posted a summary here: https://the-bionic-cyclist.co.uk/2017/03/19/carrera-crossfire-e-electric-bike-review/#comment-2 . Basically charge it when you know you’ll use it. Store it during winter with a 20% charge in a cool place.
      If you’re feeling like you need to spend a little more money then I know a few people who can recommend the Cross-fuse, it’s a mid-drive and it doesn’t seem to have power-cuts, and it doesn’t feel like you’re pedalling against the motor.

      The spring suspension post came from Amazon, it was if I recall correctly £37.00 though you can also find the better but more expensive Suntour version. https://smile.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HVCTNM6/?coliid=I1MKMM9MKBDXO1&colid=1F5MCLZF3SRCV&psc=0.
      Take care and happy cycling.
      Darron

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.