Electric bikes have something to offer every kind of cyclist, but for the e-bike revolution to truly take off, it surely needs to be embraced by commuters. The Carrera Crossfuse might well be the bike that tempts a critical mass of train and bus users onto two wheels, because it offers almost everything a commuter could want for a price that’s considerably lower than other e-bikes with similar features.
The first thing that makes the Crossfuse stand out is the range – a mammoth 80km to 130km. That means it will only require plugging in two or three times a month for most commuters and can handle long day rides if you want to use the Crossfuse for touring. I got 110km out of one charge riding almost all of that distance in Tour mode, which is the second-lowest level of assistance – there are four in total, running from Eco up to Turbo. If you blast around in Turbo the entire time the range will drop considerably, but unless you live in an especially hilly area you’ll rarely need it – the Tour mode will be enough assistance to breeze through your rides.
The second thing that this sets this e-bike apart is the ride. Thanks to its torque sensor, it delivers assistance from the Bosch Active Line PLUS motor in line with how hard you are pedalling, which makes for a far more natural and smooth experience than when assistance is provided based entirely on what level you pick. There’s no jerking into life when moving away from traffic lights – it feels just like riding a bike. A bike that just happens to require less effort.
The only downside of this kind of sensor is that on a steep uphill it can be nice to slap an e-bike into a high, fixed level of assistance and coast on up, whereas with the Crossfuse you need to pedal a little harder to get a bigger boost. It’s still not exactly hard to get up a hill, especially if you pick that moment to use the Turbo mode.
An important test for any e-bike is how it handles if the battery runs dry. At 24kg, the Crossfuse is a heavy beast, so I was not optimistic on this front. However, it passed just about the biggest test I could have thrown at it. The battery ran out 50m short of the biggest hill on my commute… the day after I ran the London Marathon. That I made it up the hill without assist or having to walk is testament to its rideability. That said, I will be making every effort to avoiding repeating the experience – it’s definitely not light enough that you don’t notice the difference between riding with assist and without.
There is front suspension on the Crossfuse, which you can lock or unlock. In theory city riding should be done with it locked for extra efficiency while riding, but given the state of London’s roads and cycle lanes, I opted for the extra comfort of the suspension for all my riding. After a thin-wheeled racer, tackling potholes head-on while cruising around on the Crossfuse was a joy.
The Crossfuse also has disc brakes, which are a feature to look for on any e-bike, because stopping an e-bike’s considerable weight quickly is a concern, especially when flying downhill.
There’s an awful lot to like about the Crossfuse and I’ve not seen many e-bikes, if any, that can match its feature set for £1,600 – its excellent motor and vast range are more commonly found on £2,000-plus models. However, there are a few quibbles to address.
The first is a lack of integrated accessories. A kickstand, mudguards and lights that run off the battery are all very useful on an e-bike. The second is the display screen on the handlebars, which indicates the amount of battery left through bars only. Many e-bikes will estimate how many miles or kilometres you have left in any given mode of assistance. That means it takes a while to learn how much distance you get from each bar and you risk running out of juice if you push that last bar too far.
These downsides are relatively minor compared with the upsides of the Crossfuse. If you opt for an e-bike in the £2,000-and-up range you will get a little more, mostly in terms of a lighter frame, upgraded gears and a customised motor. But the Crossfuse is a whole lot of e-bike for its price, and commuters in particular will get all they need from it.
£1,600, buy on halfords.com