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Carrera Crossfire Electric Bike Review

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The Carrera Crossfire E – Halfords Best Value Electric Hybrid Bike

The Carrera Crossfire E electric hybrid bike has been one of Halfords best selling ebikes in recent years. For 2020 it has received a bit of a makeover. In this review I will be taking a closer look at the latest model to see if the changes are just cosmetic.

 

BUY THE LATEST CARRERA CROSSFIRE E HERE

Summary

I’ve always had a soft spot for hybrid bikes. You have the fast rolling 700c wheels of a road bike, combined with the versatility of a mountain bike – the best of both worlds, so to speak!

Since Halfords first started to sell electric bikes a few years back, the popularity of ebikes has soared. It’s nice to see this British institution keeping up with the times, and their range of in-house brand Carrera electric bikes offer something for all tastes.

I have ridden most of their ebikes and the Carrera Crossfire E has always been one of my favourites. The last model was released back in 2018, and now Halfords have just released the 2020 model. The price is currently £1399, but aside from subtle differences like the frame, and internal cable routing, is the 2020 model much different from the outgoing 2018 model?

carrera crossfire electric hybrid bike 2018 and 2020 model side by side comparison

Electric Components

Suntour Electric hub motor

The motor has remain unchanged, this version still uses the excellent Suntour HESC  electric bike motor with active torque sensing pedal assist. The display also remains unchanged. My opinion? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

the suntour hesc electric bike motor

The Suntour motor has proven itself to be a reliable ebike drive system, and the torque sensing pedal assist is simply sublime!

For those of you unfamiliar with torque sensing pedal assist, what it does, is measure the amount of force being applied to the pedals (as well as cadence). This gives a very smooth, intuitive pedal assist feel. Most cheaper electric bikes have a cadence based pedal assist system, which means you only have to turn the pedals in order to get assistance.

Suntour active torque sensing crank

The upshot of this is, is you get a sensation of an enhanced cycling ability – you literally feel like you have somehow developed the cycling strength of a pro!

The other benefit of a torque sensing pedal assist is increased motor efficiency. When you are cruising along on the flat and not putting in much effort, the motor will not be giving you much assist, but when the road steepens and you start to put more effort in, the motor adds to this effort – for me, this is what ebikes are about. I’m not interested in the motor doing all the work, I still want to feel like I have had some exercise.

Battery

The battery itself still has the same 36v 11.6ah (417Wh) energy capacity as before. In the 2018, the motor controller (the brains of the motor) was located to the rear of the battery casing. Now the controller is hidden on the underside of the frame (where the downtube meets the bottom bracket).

This battery uses high quality Panasonic 18650 lithium cells, and is guaranteed for 2 years. Halfords claim a maximum range of approximately 60 miles, but this will vary greatly depending on rider weight, how hilly your route is, wind direction etc.

carrera crossfire e battery pack

I have ridden about 45 miles on a 2018 model, and still had a couple of bars left on the battery indicator, but I only used the assist on steep hills.

Components

Gearing

The gearing remains unchanged for 2020, with the exception of very neat internal cable routing. This model uses the same 8-speed 11-32 rear cassette with a reliable Shimano Acera derailleur and front trigger shifter, making for nice and reliable gear changes with decent indexing.

Brakes

Although on Hafords website, it states mechanical disc brakes, I can confirm this is a typo, and the Carrera Crossfire E actually has the same Tektro Hydraulic disc brakes as the 2018 model. The rear brake pipe is also internally routed, making for a very clean look.

Although these brakes are considered ‘entry-level’ they will be more than adequate for the daily commuter or weekend leisure rider.

To give you an example of their effectiveness, they stopped me nicely, coasting down a 10% hill at 30mph without too much fuss or brake fade (and I weigh nearly 17 Stone).

Front Suspension

The Crossfire E uses the proven Suntour NVX forks with about 63mm of travel, hydraulic lock-out and preload adjustment. These forks are pretty standard on better quality hybrid bikes, and are perfect for soaking up smaller potholes, and coping with light off-road exploring.

Wheels and Tyres

Again the wheels and hubs are unbranded. They look sturdy enough, and I can confirm these wheels seem to take a fair bit of abuse, having ridden down some very rough Cornish back lanes on one of these bikes.

The tyres are Kenda K935 700 x 40c. These have an all-terrain tread, and will be suitable for both road riding and canal paths and light trails. The Kenda tyre also offers a reasonable amount of puncture protection.

carrera crossfire e rear wheel

I do however always recommend Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres for the ultimate in puncture protection. I use them on my touring bike and I haven’t had a puncture since I started using them (about 10’000 miles ago).

Finishing Kit

The seat post, stem, handlebars and kickstand are all Carrera items. The handlebars are a nice width (not too wide), and the kickstand is a useful addition.

carrera crossfire e kickstand

As you would expect with a hybrid, there is provision for mudguards, and a pannier rack.

Frame

The basic frame design and geometry has remained the same, with the exception of a slightly recessed area for the battery and a housing area for the motor controller in the downtube, near the bottom bracket area.

 

Carrera Crossfire electric bike review 2020 model

One of the nice additions is the internal cable routing, bringing the Crossfire E into line with some of the more prestigious brands.

 

Who is the Carrera Crossfire E aimed at?

The Carrera Crossfire E is aimed at men and women who are looking for a versatile all-rounder. I would imagine this will be a hit with both commuters and leisure riders alike. The Crossfire E is also available in a Womens low-step frame version, so if you are after a ‘his and hers’ ebike, this ticks all the right boxes.

 

the carrera crossfire e electric bike is available in a women's low step frame version

Reliability

There’s not much to say here really. As I have stated before the Suntour Electric system seems to be generally reliable. I have a friend who has a 2018 model and he has racked up over 4000 trouble-free miles.

Having said that, as with all electric bikes, things can and do go wrong from time to time. Halfords do offer a 2 year parts warranty, as long as you have your bike regularly serviced by them.

***UPDATE*** I’m hearing about an increasing number of electrical cut-out issues from customers, and although none of my friends who own the earlier model have experienced any problems, they do seem to be effecting some owners. Here is a link to a dedicated UK Facebook group for the Carrera Crossfire E.

 

Conclusion

I really like the Carrera Crossfire E electric bike. It is definitely one of the better options at this price point. I can see why it is one of the more popular ebikes in the UK.

I have ridden a few miles on a 2018 model and the 2020 version certainly seems to have been improved in all the right places. My only real criticism, is the weight. At 22.5kg some people may find it a bit heavy to lift onto a car rack. Mind you, it’s still lighter than an equivalent Cube electric hybrid bike.

carrera crossfire e hill climb

Internal cable routing is now par for the course on more expensive bikes, and it is nice to see that Halfords added this to their latest model. The slightly recessed battery also looks neater.

I’m glad, they have kept the Suntour HESC motor, as I think that this is one of the better electric bike hub motors available. It’s true that mid-drive motors generally produce more torque, but I have ridden Bosch powered electric bikes and there really isn’t a lot in it.

When you consider the cheapest Bosch powered electric bike is a good £400 more than the Crossfire E, it starts to make sense.

Another thing to consider is, if a Bosch motor ever packs up out of warranty, you are looking at a lot of money for a replacement, whereas the Suntour hub motor can be easily replaced or fixed.

If you are after a comfortable mile-muncher, or a reliable daily hack. Then the Crossfire E would make an excellent purchase.  It is also be available through the cycle to work scheme.

BUY THE LATEST CARRERA CROSSFIRE E HERE
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Carrera Crossfire E Electric Hybrid Bike

£1399
8

Value for Money

8.0/10

Performance

8.0/10

Battery Range

8.0/10

Pros

  • Nice Subtle updates for the 2020 model
  • Suntour Electric bike motor
  • Nicely finished

Cons

  • Still a little on the heavy side

22 thoughts on “Carrera Crossfire Electric Bike Review

  • August 8, 2020 at 2:51 pm
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    We brought two of these from halfords three years ago. One ladies one gents. Hubby did 35 miles on his and had a back injury so he didnt use it. But on first ride home got a E42 warning took it to halfords said they fixed it. It regularly cut out again. Fast forward to today we took it back as out of warranty they cannot do anything with it telling us parts are not the same in new model. Didnt mind if we had to purchase new wheel with motor as this is what’s wrong. But told us parts will not fit. We know its the wheel as we had two bikes and swopped things round till my bike got same warning. So we are stuck with a bike like new done 35 miles. And basically scrap. Even the guy in shop said as much.
    Caroline

    Reply
  • July 13, 2020 at 5:31 pm
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    Value for Money

    8.5

    Performance

    8.5

    Battery Range

    8.5

    Hi Just purchased this bike and very impressed with it … The only problem I can find is that Changing the backlight function in the manual it says that the default is Daytime (100% illumination) but mine defaults to Nighttime (50% illumination) … not really a problem as I just change it … but does anyone have any ideas how I can change this???

    Reply
    • July 14, 2020 at 8:46 am
      Permalink

      Hi Roger,

      My friend owns an older version (2018) and his backlight is also set to 50% by default – I’ve asked him if there’s anyway to change this and he doesn’t believe there is. I’ve just had a look through an online version of the display manual and couldn’t find anywhere in the settings menu where you could alter the default settings. It might be worth having a chat with Halfords to see if there is anything they can do.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • July 5, 2020 at 9:36 am
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    Value for Money

    9

    Performance

    9

    Battery Range

    9

    Hi. I have done 500 miles on my 2018 Carrera Crossfire and am delighted with it. Yes, on 2 occasions I have had cut outs and the LCD screen went dead. I discovered a simple way of fixing the problem and I was on my way again almost immediately. When my 1st cut happened, I thought about it for a moment, then pressed the button on the battery (that’s the start up button always required to be pressed to send power to the LCD screen before going for a spin) and hey preto, it worked and I was on my way. I followed the same procedure when I had my 2nd cut out and again, the problem was fixed.
    I hope this helps other riders of this super e-bike but it’s a wonder that Halford’s have not mentioned such an easy fix for the cut out problem. Maybe they have, but I have not come across it to date.

    Reply
    • July 5, 2020 at 10:18 am
      Permalink

      Hi George,

      Thanks for sharing this information, very much appreciated. I’m sure others will find it a great help.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • May 31, 2020 at 4:57 pm
    Permalink

    Value for Money

    5

    Performance

    3

    Battery Range

    9

    I recently purchased this bike in March and had done only 250 miles on it.
    Its gone back to Halfords though and i want my money back. It started out a great bike, however the power cuts became a real problem and then it packed up altogether because of an error code E21, which is the torque sensor. Its a real shame, but id lost confidence in the bike and will look to purchase another brand. I would be cautious purchasing brand of bike, it’s just not reliable enough.

    Reply
    • June 1, 2020 at 7:58 am
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      Hi Steve,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. From what I’ve heard from various owners they need to drastically improve the electronics on these bikes. I have heard from owners who’ve never had any issues in several thousand miles through to others who are plagued by recurring electrical faults.

      The Crossfire E should be much more reliable across the board, considering the price. I would look into Bosch powered e-bikes, they are more expensive, but in general seem very reliable over the long-term. If you’re budget doesn’t stretch to a Bosch powered bike, I have a lot of experience with NCM electric bikes, they use a Cadence sensor instead of a torque sensor and are very reliable (in my experience). The NCM Venice Trekking bike is currently available on eBay.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • May 29, 2020 at 7:57 pm
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    Value for Money

    8.5

    Performance

    8

    Battery Range

    8.5

    Interesting article, bought mine in January 2020, 650 miles later no problem, very enjoyable ride for a 62 year old, i just wish someone could hack or change the 15 mph speed up to 19 or 20 mph, be so much enjoyable.I do struggle a little when re fitting the battery back in its cradle i must say.
    Would be nice to if we had the option charging the battery up whilst still in its cradle as there’s a plug socket on the battery itself……..so a few niggles but its great bike and will stick with it for a year and up grade maybe to a slightly faster model.

    Reply
    • May 29, 2020 at 9:38 pm
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      Thank you for sharing your experiences of the Crossfire E, much appreciated!

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
    • August 8, 2020 at 2:54 pm
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      Can anyone find the carrera website with access to spares as even the fella in halfords could not find it. At least then we can ask.

      Reply
      • August 8, 2020 at 6:56 pm
        Permalink

        Hi,

        The main UK supplier of Suntour parts seems to be a company called Powerbikes – here is a link to the Suntour section on their website. It’s also worth having a look on eBay. I found a complete Suntour motor kit for sale – here is the link. There is also a Carrera Crossfire E rear wheel (with motor) available, but it’s untested, so is a bit of a risk.

        I hope this helps. It’s a shame Halfords can’t offer a better parts back-up for these bikes as they’ve sold a lot over the last few years.

        If you have any more questions, please let me know.

        Regards,
        Tony

        Reply
        • August 10, 2020 at 1:46 pm
          Permalink

          Hi,I have the 2017 bike done nearly 9000kms on it and looking to change the battery will the new updated one fit as an upgrade.
          I have had a few cut outs on my rides aswell,so lucky I can stop take battery out and back in and be on my way,and yes Halfords not up to speed with it all sad to say. I went to decathlon for my next e bike,lower gearing but I nice unit to ride,same sort of price 1200€.

          Reply
          • August 10, 2020 at 3:17 pm
            Permalink

            Hi Ray,

            The battery in the latest model is a different design, and the motor controller (ECU) has been relocated underneath the frame (near the bottom bracket).

            Your best bet would be to have the existing battery re-furbished. I deal with a company in London called ebikebatteries.co.uk. They will arrange collection and delivery of your battery, all you need to do is package it in a box (with protection). Give them a call and ask to speak to Jimmy. He’ll make the battery better than new as he works to a very high standard.

            I hope this helps.

            All the best,
            Tony

  • May 6, 2020 at 9:54 am
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    Value for Money

    9.5

    Performance

    9

    Battery Range

    9.5

    Owners manual

    Reply
  • April 8, 2020 at 8:35 am
    Permalink

    Value for Money

    9.5

    Performance

    9.5

    Battery Range

    9.5

    I have a Carrera crossfire e electric hybrid bike 2020.
    Great bike but cannot find an owners manual online to tell what things do?

    Reply
    • April 8, 2020 at 10:24 am
      Permalink

      Hi Andrew,

      I have checked on the Suntour website (the manufacturer of the drive system and display) and the only reference I can find is for the older 2014 version display – this was used up until recently and the functionality is similar to their latest display (as fitted to the 2020 Crossfire E).

      Here is a link to a PDF of the manual, it would also be worth contacting Halfords or Cycle Republic to see if they have a more up-to-date version available.

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply
    • August 1, 2020 at 11:54 am
      Permalink

      Value for Money

      9

      Performance

      10

      Battery Range

      9

      Hi Andrew

      I had the same frustration as you. Unbelievably Halfords do not provide a manual for this bike (and many others!!). Here’s what you’re after though. This link is basically the Carrera Crossfire as pretty much all of the components are made by Suntour. This has helped me hugely:

      https://www.srsuntour.com/service/download-area/consumer-downloads/e-bike/owners-manuals/250w-rear-motor-system/

      Hope it helps

      Liz

      Reply
  • January 22, 2020 at 3:18 pm
    Permalink

    Value for Money

    6.5

    Performance

    4.5

    Battery Range

    6.5

    There is no mention of electrical power cut outs in this or other reports. The 2018E Crossfuse I own has sufered the dreaded cut occasionaly. Many cycling E forums mention this problem on a regular basis.
    Has this been addressed with 2020E model?

    Reply
    • January 22, 2020 at 5:54 pm
      Permalink

      The electric cut-outs reported on the 2018 Crossfire E (and other models) appears to have been caused by a number of things: The hub motor to CPU box multi-plug and a poor connection between the battery and motor controller. I have worked on both a Crossfire and Vulcan E, and the original set-up of having the controller (not the display, but the CPU of the motor) placed inside the plastic casing to the rear of the battery also left it somewhat exposed to the elements.

      Having had a good look and ride of the latest model, what they have done is moved the motor CPU box to a recess in the frame where the downtube meets the bottom bracket. This is accessed through a plate which looks to be fairly watertight. They have also routed the connection from the battery to CPU box internally. The motor to CPU connector plug looks identical as before, whether they have improved the design I can’t say for sure.

      Reply
      • April 13, 2020 at 6:34 pm
        Permalink

        Value for Money

        8.5

        Performance

        7.5

        Battery Range

        6.5

        DAVID HECKLES here just to update you on my crossfire cut out problem mentioned in my post 22/1/20. The motor itself failed just after this post which was comfirmed by an Halfords engineer. Since then I have been operating with a well used ebay replacement for the last 1000 miles without a problem. This puts the cut out issue firmly with the motor. Incidentaly the that original motor had that treacle drag with it now and again which I have seen reported. The original motor failed by way of progresive cut outs until it just packed freewheeling downhill after only 700miles. The bike wasnt purchased through Halfords and didnt benefit from a warranty although it was new when I bought it.
        The original motor is on my bench at the moment and with quotes of around £150 to repair ,this is where it will stay. With ebay wheel and hub motors available around that figure its to much of a gamble to fix the motor and risk the fault re-occuring.

        Reply
      • April 25, 2020 at 4:55 am
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        You definitely need to mention cutouts with this bike, i have the 2020 model. I got to 150 miles then the cutouts started. I joined a Facebook group for these bikes and everyone complaines about cutouts. My bike is going back this weekend.

        Reply
        • April 25, 2020 at 8:31 am
          Permalink

          Hi Gynn,

          Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I will add a paragraph mentioning the cut-out issues to my article.

          All the best,
          Tony

          Reply

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