Carrera Crossfire-E 12 month re-review

Further reading:

Video re-review at the bottom of the page.

It’s been 12 months and 1,000 miles since my last review and to be honest the bike is still going strong and with little or no degradation of battery pack either. I’ve had only 2 issues with the bike, the obligatory cut out and the power button on the LCD broke.

The power cut out is for the most part just a minor inconvenience, the fix is easy enough. Get off the bike and on the back rear left there’s a neoprene patch, take it off, expose the connector, disconnect and reconnect, re-attach the neoprene and you should be good for another 100 miles or so. All in all this takes about 30 seconds. Suntour and Halfords are constantly improving and this should be fixed with this years model. I’d be very surprised if it isn’t.

The plastic switch on the LCD broke on mine leaving me unable to turn on the bike, I did manage for a few weeks to stick a pin into the socket and hit the micro switch. The problem came when I told Halfords and sadly Halfords didn’t have a supplier setup to replace the part. I waited 4 weeks before getting more serious with my complaint and a few days later Halfords ordered a new bike and used the new part to replace mine. They swapped the entire LCD assembly and cables. Job sorted.

Other than these two issues I’ve had nothing but joy with the bike, though I’ve read on the comments section on youtube that some people have had to return and replace their bikes because of the power cut problem. Personally I’m happy with it, it’s a bike built to a tight budget, and while there are more expensive bikes around that don’t have budgetary constraints like this one, I know a couple of people with theses more expensive bikes and even these bikes have minor issues too. So throwing money at the problem isn’t the solution. I say minor, some people have reported constant cut outs, I don’t, so to me it’s very minor.

As far as I’m aware I’m the only person to have a problem with the power switch falling out.

So what’s it like to ride?

This is a question I get asked a lot especially when I’m cycling in busy urban areas at pedestrian speeds. I have to say it’s utterly brilliant and heartily recommended for anyone who’s unfit or carrying an injury. I’m both, I’m overweight, a 30 year smoker, I had torn cartilage in both knees and had my right knee surgically repaired, and riding is now a breeze.

When I started riding again last year I did struggle with some hills, and around here in Yorkshire they’re not to be sniffed at, some climbs just go on for miles and some are tough for cars in anything but second gear. But even these, while challenging at first, do get easier the more you ride. I’d say my biggest issue is breathing, and that’s entirely my own fault being a smoker, and if it was easy I’d have given it up years ago… but it isn’t easy to give up, that’s why I’m still a smoker 🙁 this is my biggest hurdle to overcome, in time even my lungs started to open up much better and easier making these climbs less of a challenge.

But this is where an e-bike really flatters you and makes the job so much easier, it gives you up to 400watts of extra power to climb these monsters, and if you’re in any doubt about that validity, try a big hill without an e-bike and then with an e-bike if at all possible. But that’s only part of the job of the bike, mostly it’s even terrain and while it’s fun going up and then going down, it’s probably more satisfying riding at a fair pace even if the motor isn’t helping you (the motor is governed by the EU and must stop assisting you at 15mph). I find the motor really helps get you up to speed and then your cadence and gears get you up to 30mph, especially on the flat. Momentum is key, once you have it it’s easier to keep going and gain more. This to me is the most enjoyable part of riding, eating up the miles.

How far can you go on a single charge?

Another common question and the answer is very difficult to quantify.

I’ve had 35 miles of riding on a single charge and there was still 12% charge left in the battery, so I could probably manage 40 miles in total. Yes I know the Halfords website says up to 60 miles, but this is Yorkshire, I’m unfit, and a smoker as I’ve already stated, so I’m happy that 40 miles is the bikes maximum range for me. Ride around London or some other flat(ish) landscape and I’ll bet 60 miles is easily doable. The fitter you are, the flatter the landscape, the further you’ll go.

How much does it cost to charge up?

To be honest I’ve never calculated it, but even a rough estimate puts it in the range of pennies per charge. 36V 12Ahrs x cost per watt. The charger is 42v @ 2amps. This gives a total of 84 watts. P = 2A × 42V = 84W

840Watts is ten hours of charging (it takes 5-6 hours from flat) and I’m paying 16pence per kilo watt hour (1000watts), so less than 10p per charge.

Courtesy of RapidTables

 

How much power does it deliver?

The maximum watts is 400w with 250w average, torque is 50 newton metres. This is all gibberish to me too, lets just say it gets me up a 2 mile climb faster than a regular road bike, and by a large margin too.

The selector has 4 settings, 25% – 50% – 75% – 100% though even at 100% you’re still getting a workout, look at the 100% as though it’s max power, it’s 100% of the power the motor can give out, not 100% and all you do is sit and ride. Again EU legislation comes in and all EU e-bikes have to be pedal-assist and are not allowed to have a throttle, so at all times the rider needs to input some power too. While you can buy conversion kits that do have this throttle control, they’re actually classed as mopeds (motorcycles) and require said licence most likely. All retail bikes must be pedal-assist only, so at least you’re always getting some sort of workout.

If you have any question you’d like to ask me, then please do so in the comment section below. I’ll always try to answer as best I can.

I do use the bike a lot more than I would a non-pedal-assisted bike, I use it to go to town or go to my local supermarket where I’d normally use the car. I carry my fairly large and dayglow yellow rucksack to store my shopping. Obviously a full weeks shopping is out of the question, but for most things you only need one carrier bag for, then it’s perfectly fine. So aside from utility it’s also damn good fun just just hop on and ride.

The accessories I have are front and rear cameras, knog rear LED flashing and pulsing light and Lezyne front light. I also have some simple but effective mudguards front and rear. Lastly I have a gel seat cover. This at least means I’m visible, I have cameras for security and safety and the gel seat for comfort, though I’d love a proper seat post suspension setup, maybe a thudbuster will be coming soon.

Last year I dreaded the start of the cycling season (yes I’m a fair weather bike I know! I know!), this year I’m really looking forward to it, and that’s what an e-bike is doing for me. It’s giving me something to look forward to, some new challenges that I’ve set myself is riding 10 miles every day, but mostly the pure joy of just getting out and about, it not costing the earth and me getting fit again into the bargain. For a near 50 year old who still smokes that’s a rare thing indeed.

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.