Thoughts on Carrera Crossfire-E

Borwick

Finding my (electric) wheels
Nov 18, 2011
20
2
London and North West
So, my new Halfords Special, a Carrera Crossfire electrocycle. I have had a non-electric Crossfire 3 for a few years and very much like it as a comfortable hybrid bike; ideal for London commuting and bumping up and down kerbs as well as a bit on off-road paths. It rolls very well and is surprisingly nippy. The electrocycle is similar in specification except it has hydraulic disc brakes. So, I was interested to acquire the electric version when I discovered it.


I have had a Cyclamatic electric MTB for 6 years now and enjoyed it immensely. Although heavy and just a 24v motor it has made trudges through muddy paths enjoyable and caused me to bike on such unattractive ways when otherwise I would have driven the car. The Cyclomatic is also a cheap bike, or mine was; a factory returned machine on eBay. It democratised the eBike and made their advantages available to all. A logical development of the bicycle itself which has given freedom to so many billions of people. The old Cyclomatic had some needed some mods - principally better gearing and a triple chainring and it helped me up some steep hills.


My main reservation about the e-Crossfire was its gearing. In the modern style - it has a single chainring and a mere 8 gears on the sprocket. The largest is large but I was concerned about hill climbing and wondered if it would need modification to be useful.


The steepest hill I know well is in the Lake District - Bank End, just up from Duddon Bridge on the way to Ulpha. On my ordinary road bike I have a triple chainring and a big granny gear. I sweat and pant and that hill is an effort. The sweating is added to by the constant risk of wheelies as the hill is so steep. Proficient lycra'd-up cyclists overtake me standing out of the saddle to do so but they are not going that much faster. Despite its weight, the Cyclamatic with added gears can manage it better but it is still an effort. I wondered whether the Crossfire, although lighter and 36v rather than 24v would make it at all with its denuded gearing.


Happy to report that the ascent was fairly easy, neither sweating nor panting and all done on only the "Tour" setting, the next to lowest out of 4 assistance settings. Out of interest I went back down again and used the maximum assistance "Sport" setting. Then, I found that there was no need to select the lowest gear and the ride was again fairly easy. Trying Bank End for fun or information is not something I would do on a non- e-bike …


So, the gearing is fine for any route I am likely to take. The bike is nicely balanced for steep hills and the brakes were reassuringly effective on such a steep descent. It has shown me how eBikes have developed in the last 6 years.


So far, I have done only 100 miles or so. I thought I had escaped the battery cutting out issue, but no. Left out overnight in heavy rain, I went ut for a run the following day. After a couple of miles, a cut out. Fortunately I had the battery release key. There was a lot of water puddling near the battery connectors. These were dried and off again fine. No issue since, yet.


The bikes have come on. An eBike within the reach of all now has the capacity to be a serious mode of transport for the many. An equivalent to the Honda 50 of the 1960's plus environmental and health benefits. It will be interesting to see if the very recent if unfortunately named Carrera Crossfuse takes up that mantle …


I have modded my Crossfire. A Topeak Tourist rack and front mudguard move it a bit towards practical commuting. Likewise, a back mudguard made from chopped up bits of an old mudguard cable-tied to the rear rack, But I have also put on puncture resistant Slime inner tubes and 2.25 inch mtb type Schwalbe Smart Sam Plus tyres for off road tracks. These are cleverly designed tyres. They are wide and have an aggressive tread with lots of knobbles. However, they have a double row of diamond shaped knobbles around the centre which, when deformed by a man of my stature, form a narrow slick which contacts the tarmac. There is very little road noise and the bike rolls forward very well. In mud and especially in snow, all of the knobbles cog in to the ground and there is mtb style traction and security.

Again, to move it back to a more off-road bike I have fitted a Suntour cantilevered suspension seat post and this makes a better tide in the rough. Incidentally, I have had no grumbles with the Suntour front suspension forks which in my opinion add to the bike. A quick release seat post clamp is handy when there is a change of terrain. These are after all hybrid bikes. In view of its now many eBay led improvements, I may name mine the Carrera Bastardo ...
I had a pleasant visit to Halfords in Barrow in Furness. First I cycled my Crossfire around town and then over the slag bank which ascends steeply along the side of Walney Channel . This, by the way is a delightful maritime mtb ride with views up to the high Lakeland fells. 'The Slaggy' has been much landscaped and now forms something of a common . Parts are very steep and rugged .

At Halfords I had pre-booked a test ride on a Crossfuse and I took it on the same ride that I had just done on my modded-up Crossfire.

The Crossfuse is more appealing in the flesh than it appears to me on Halfords photos and is a nice looking bike . It had the standard tyres, of course, as issued rather than my mtb tyres but performed well off-road as well as on tarmac. I returned it inevitably a little muddy and they were very nice about it .

My impression was that the Crossfuse had more pull in the motor than mine and a shade better up hill but not by much. The gearing is similar but I did not count the teeth on the cogs . It is definitely a nicer bike but I will not be rushing to change.
 
D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
Power is difficult to assess. What you feel as power is actually the torque. Crank-drives always feel more powerful because the torque increases in the low gears, which is where you get your first impressions. Each time you change up a gear, the torque goes down. The hub-motor's power characteristics depend mainly on speed. In the mid-range and up to the 15 mph cut-off, where you use the bike most, it'll most likely have superior torque.
 

Borwick

Finding my (electric) wheels
Nov 18, 2011
20
2
London and North West
Thank you. That is very informative.

I tend to pootle about on tarmac mostly but also have a run on grass and mud of about 3 miles each way which I do a few times a week and also in The Lakes, encounter some of the most severe hills. So torque is important to me. So, when needing most torque and so assistance I guess that I should try to keep in a fairly high gear on my hub based bike?

I took both Carrera bikes over the Barrow slag heap which is practically vertical in parts to test just that. The 'fuse has 9 gears to the 'fire's 8 but I am not sure if the ratios are in fact much different in bottom gear. On the steeper parts the 'fuse seemed to be a fraction easier to keep moving.

I have been a bit underwhelmed by the 'fire's battery capacity and though it has not run out, I would have expected more life. In Halfords they told me that the 'fuse had a longer battery life. It is certainly different and looks much smaller. When they were on offer, I was toying with the idea of buying a second 'fire just to get another battery for longer excursions taking in multiple Lakeland passes but now the price has gone back up, that fancy has gone...

On a run, I just switch the power on when really needed but still the battery drops alarmingly. On one hill which is really steep and about a mile long the battery dropped by some 8% on that incline alone and I was pedalling hard in the highest gear I could manage.

One point I should report is on the smoothness of the motor cutting in which was said to be an advantage for the 'fuse. I cannot say that I noticed any particular difference between the two bikes. The 'fire feels very pleasant and I would not have clocked that as an issue had it not been raised in other reviews.

My richer friends are slowly coming out of hibernation now and I will be interested to compare my economical 'fire with Haibikes, Scotts and the Treks when I visit the nicer villages and will report my impressions ... if they are willing to swap ...
 

anotherkiwi

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 26, 2015
6,976
169
The European Union
My richer friends are slowly coming out of hibernation now and I will be interested to compare my economical 'fire with Haibikes, Scotts and the Treks when I visit the nicer villages and will report my impressions ... if they are willing to swap ...
Yesterday I caught up and passed a chap on a Bosch powered bike (brand written really small, couldn't read it - great marketing!). He was very unimpressed so stood up and gave it all he had to re-pass me. I had the assistance turned up to 35 km/h (I know! Naughty me... :rolleyes: ), was seated, in jeans, a big woolly sweater and parka with a couple of panniers on the back. He was in lycra and wearing a helmet, guess who won :D
 
D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
Yesterday I caught up and passed a chap on a Bosch powered bike (brand written really small, couldn't read it - great marketing!). He was very unimpressed so stood up and gave it all he had to re-pass me. I had the assistance turned up to 35 km/h (I know! Naughty me... :rolleyes: ), was seated, in jeans, a big woolly sweater and parka with a couple of panniers on the back. He was in lycra and wearing a helmet, guess who won :D
Right now, he's doing a Google search for how to dongle his bike.
 

footpump

Esteemed Pedelecer
Mar 19, 2014
713
26
70
i own kudos vita uno and Carrera subway fitted with 250w tdz2 moter 60nm
last year booked demo of Halfords crossfire and Vulcan.
prior to demo tried my tdz on a steepish local hill.
then tried cross fire/Vulcan found the Halfords ebikes quite and more comftable than tdz but struggled on all three as regards the same hill.

then purchased bosch active line 50nm same as crossfire/Vulcan this is different again seems better in tour mode than tdz , on which I mainly use sport. not tried bosch on same hill as above.

overall find kudos much easier to ride as its speed not torque sensor.

tdz better on hills. bosch requires more effort, but descent range.

also tried merida big trail on a local steep hill, better than what I own as regards hill climbing but 70nm and over 3k
 

egroover

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 12, 2016
283
29
51
UK
Sorry to report that I had my first cut-out on my new (1st Jan) Crossfire-e today.
Was stationary at the lights, pulled away, looked down and saw display off. Didn't need to re-seat the battery, but did need to power on at the battery switch (not just display switch)

I did have a theory that, as the bike felt a bit slower than my last Crossfire-e, Halfords/Suntour had de-tuned these new ones (sold in the last few months) in the hope of reducing or eliminating cutouts.

To be fair, one cutout in 10 weeks, is better than my previous Crossfire-e (1st gen), where over the same period I may of got 3 or 4 cutouts, and not a problem that'll bother me in the slightest, but I thought it worth mentioning as I know a few owners might still follow this thread
 

MikeS

Pedelecer
Jun 29, 2018
141
7
68
Hi Bryn, I will certainly check the things you suggest. However I am pretty sure what I experience is the motor dragging the wheel. It happens intermittently and feels like the brakes are being applied and let off and then back on again.
Cheers, call me para
Yep exactly the same happening with my new Crossfire - generally at about 12mph and even with everything switched off and going downhill it's like pdealling through mud. But the bike freewheels Ok and then sometimes the problem can be cured by accelerating up to about 18mph with assistance and then slowing down again
Mike
 

DBrown67

Pedelecer
Feb 26, 2017
36
4
51
Leeds
I bought a Crossfire E from Cycle Republic last year and had the cut out problem twice in the first two weeks. Took it back and got full refund, and to be fair to CR they didn't quibble. Was a shame as I reallly liked the bike when it worked OK. Loved the colour scheme too.

Since then I recently bought a Cube Aim Race new from Evans (wanted last years colour scheme but couldn't find it anywhere) and fitted a Whoosh Bafang rear kit to it. To ride it feels like the Crossfire E but with a bit more power. Weight wise the bikes are comparable now I have a rack and mudguards fitted but the Cube is better specced with hydraulic brakes.

I think they got the Crossfire spot on for what people want from a leisure E-bike. Such a shame about the battery problems. The recent(ish) price increase is ludicrous given the issues we now know.
 

MikeS

Pedelecer
Jun 29, 2018
141
7
68
Well I've just got a Crossfire E but it wasn't for the colour scheme (they are all black aren't they ;). And I'm new to this but my bike has disk brakes with what seem to be pipes rather than cables so doesn't that mean the brakes are hydraulic?. The techie at Halfords is going on a Halfords/Suntour course on Friday so he's going to raise the issue of the occasional riding through treacle problem. I've asked him to find out if Suntour have got a solution yet for the occasional cut-outs too. Mine has cut out 2 or 3 times but it's not really a show stopper.
Mike
 

DBrown67

Pedelecer
Feb 26, 2017
36
4
51
Leeds
Yes they do have hydraulic brakes... I stand corrected. The cutouts wouldn't be too bad if you could just switch the system on again. But for me I had to push/nurse the bike home and leave overnight before it would switch back on. It was like some overheating/safety feature had kicked in. I certainly wasn't going to put up with that.

Hope you get it sorted, but Halfords have known about this issue for a long time yet continue to sell the bikes. I wouldn't put much faith in that particular techie finding a solution, but you never know.
 

MikeS

Pedelecer
Jun 29, 2018
141
7
68
No I wouldn't either - it's a heavy bike to nurse home - especially if you have some luggage on it.
I will do an update after Friday
Mike
 

Ricky 88

Finding my (electric) wheels
Apr 10, 2018
7
0
30
South east
Yes they do have hydraulic brakes... I stand corrected. The cutouts wouldn't be too bad if you could just switch the system on again. But for me I had to push/nurse the bike home and leave overnight before it would switch back on. It was like some overheating/safety feature had kicked in. I certainly wasn't going to put up with that.

Hope you get it sorted, but Halfords have known about this issue for a long time yet continue to sell the bikes. I wouldn't put much faith in that particular techie finding a solution, but you never know.
If you push and hold the power button on the battery the bike should turn back on again. I've had quite a lot of cut out's and that's always fixed them, failing that use your key and disconnect and then reconnect the battery. It should do the trick.

Also something to note that I never knew, if you leave the bike off for 24 hours then you have to press and hold the power button on the battery to be able to turn it back on. Could save you some time in the morning commute lol. I was panacking like mad the first time it happened
 

DBrown67

Pedelecer
Feb 26, 2017
36
4
51
Leeds
I never tried using the power button on the battery. But I did try removing and reinstalling the battery itself. And that made no difference.
 

cyclebuddy

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 2, 2016
256
26
Beds & Norfolk
Has anybody noticed this happening to their Crossfire-e battery?

Phylion battery torn membrane.jpg

I've got two of these SF-06 batteries, both about 18 months old, and I've only just noticed that the tear has happened to both batteries.

Given the angle of the battery when on the bike, I'm thinking the torn membrane, might, on a wet day, let water run into the battery?

If you hold that battery button for 30 seconds, it's supposed to shut-down the battery and send it to sleep. IIRC, the BMS is at the bottom of the battery, but if water were to conduct across that touch button, it might be responsible for cutting power to the battery/bike?

Just a thought/theory.
 

Gaurav Suri

Finding my (electric) wheels
Jun 27, 2018
16
0
Thanks redcupp for your response!! I have tried both rides but unfortunately the test ride time/terrain is too short to make a decision if extra 6-700 pounds are worth..
What did you end up buying? If crossfire, how is it going?
 

DBrown67

Pedelecer
Feb 26, 2017
36
4
51
Leeds
I test rode the Crossfuse recently from Halfords. I wasn't overly impressed. Nice bike and all but no real feel of getting assistance. Maybe that's the point of the hub driven motors, but it wasn't for me. £1600 list price is an awful lot too.

I think for up to that money people would be better off getting something from a specialist like Woosh or Wisper. Or build their own if they're up to it.
 
Jan 4, 2014
37
4
Sutton Coldfield
Carrera Crossfire-e. Today was my first experience of a full battery cut out. 12 miles from home, I'd already done 28 miles the battery cut out, only one blue light was on (the top light). So I disconnected and switch back (normally cures it). Still didn't work, tried it several times, didn't work. Got home, connected to charger and appears to be working again. I thought the battery was dead, but it had 27 percent left. Anyone else had this problem?

Sent from my ONEPLUS A5010 using Tapatalk
 

MikeS

Pedelecer
Jun 29, 2018
141
7
68
Carrera Crossfire-e. Today was my first experience of a full battery cut out. 12 miles from home, I'd already done 28 miles the battery cut out, only one blue light was on (the top light). So I disconnected and switch back (normally cures it). Still didn't work, tried it several times, didn't work. Got home, connected to charger and appears to be working again. I thought the battery was dead, but it had 27 percent left. Anyone else had this problem?

Sent from my ONEPLUS A5010 using Tapatalk
I wonder just how much you can rely on that calculation. The first long trip I did with the Crossfire I got 46 miles and it was still registering 19% battery left. Since 23 of those miles were up and down through the Cleveland Hills, with hindsight this looks pretty surprising. The next weekend I did 32 miles around Newcastleton and it registered only 4 % left. Then I did 28 miles around Kielder and it said there was 23% left.
I suspect that the second and third trips were more likely true representations and that I was really close to 0% left on the first trip, but the display was being optimistic.
Mike
 

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