Halfords latest Carrera Crossfuse Electric Hybrid bicycle comes of age

Halfords Carrera Crossfuse Electric Hybrid bike (David Williams)
Halfords Carrera Crossfuse Electric Hybrid bike (David Williams)

The e-bike boom in the UK took off in 2018 and one player in particular - Halfords - was quick to capitalise on it with a wide range of ‘assisted’ bikes, capped by its own-brand flagship, the Carrera Crossfuse.

It was a highly capable, fun, somewhat straightlaced-looking contender with good build quality, a mid-drive Bosch motor, Shimano Acera 9 Speed gears, front suspension and a fetching brown, leather-look Selle Italia saddle. I clocked up decent mileage while reviewing it and liked its smooth dependability. So, evidently, did the thief who climbed into my garden and stole it.

The lynchpin of Halfords’ range is now being replaced with a new bike of the same name (and same £1,999 price tag), but with an extra dash of style, possibly even higher build quality and a better-integrated battery than the old one which looked, by today’s standards, last-minute bolt-on.

On the new, slightly sportier-looking model the Bosch Active Line Plus motor and Bosch 400Wh battery have been replaced by an all-Shimano act including that firm’s Steps EP6 drive unit generating 85Nm of torque and a removable 418Wh battery, boasting a claimed maximum range of 80 miles (average range 35-40), comparable with its predecessor.

 (David Williams)
(David Williams)

Other kit on the new bike includes Shimano’s own, fairly basic, SC-EN500 handlebar-mounted LCD display allowing the selection of three riding modes and a walk mode, as well as range and odometer data.

Royal plush

Halfords have fitted 9-speed Shimano gears again, with a single chainring at the front for simplicity, effective and progressive Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, Suntour NEX HLO lockout forks with 63mm of travel, a plush Selle Royal saddle that incorporates ‘Royalgel’ padding, and generously-sized, grippy alloy cage pedals.

Sensibly - for London cyclists - it is equipped with (relatively narrow) Schwalbe Citizen 700x40c tyres with which include K-Guard technology for fewer punctures on all the glass left behind by the boroughs’ recycling collections.


Looks-wise it’s smart and dynamic. The review bike came in vibrant green, contrasting effectively with the nicely tapered ‘silver’ handlebars, seat post and, again, brown saddle. Unlike some rivals it still has a visibly-attached lockable battery, but it is better integrated than before. It’s easy to remove and refit and can be charged on or off the bike with the supplied charger.

To some extent, Halfords undersells this bike on its website; even at first glance the quality is evident, backed by (largely) silent progress on the road. Largely? The review bike had optional mudguards that ‘chattered’ over rougher surfaces, marring otherwise serene progress.

So how’s it go? Snick the selector into the lowest assistance mode and performance is underwhelming. It is this mode, clearly, that the designers used when they claimed that 80-mile range. There is some assistance but it’s best saved for level roads or when you’re afraid you’re running low on watts after a long ride.

Wind fun

Only when you snick up into the second of three assistance modes with the simple-to-use control unit are you rewarded with the ‘wind at your back’ feel that makes e-bikes, including this one, so much fun. All (legal) e-bikes are limited to 15.5mph and you get there swiftly enough in the middle mode, still getting plenty of exercise, if that’s what you want. The harder you pedal the more help you get.


Select the top level of assistance, however, and the Crossfuse’s Jekyll and Hyde character is revealed. It springs to life, accelerating beautifully and swiftly through the gears up to its top speed, at which point assistance is subtly removed. Acceleration is so brisk that if you pull away from a standstill in too low a gear, your feet won’t keep up. It’s more than a match for London traffic.

There’s minimal noise from the power unit (just a restrained whine as with most motors) and the gears change smoothly and efficiently up and down. As with most zero-mileage e-bikes the gears soon require adjustment as new cables stretch into place, slightly marring the changes.

The ride quality is very good thanks in part to those front forks absorbing the knocks. It handles and steers crisply for a hybrid, makes for a very effective commuting or touring bike and feels very nicely balanced indeed. Weight? Halfords’ website says it’s 23 kgs, although they may have weighed a larger-framed model as the test unit tipped our scales at just 21.25 kgs, so it’s a kilogram or so heavier than the old one but still lighter to lift than, for instance, Halfords’ more ‘budget’ Impel.

Night light

Niggles? Unlike the cheaper Impel there’s no Bluetooth app-interaction with the control unit, so you can’t alter the amount of assistance in each mode. It’s a shame for those who like to tinker, but with a wide spread of power assistance already available, hardly a deal breaker. It’s a pity the bike doesn’t come with more specific handbook, or with built-in lights as does the Impel (saving the faff of attaching lights then pocketing them while you’re parked on a night out) but again, it won’t be a deal-breaker for most.


This Crossfuse very much offers the magical illusion of riding downhill when you’re actually climbing, thanks to all the oomph from the motor and the carefully selected gearing, roundly flattering your legs, lungs and self-image. The cables are more discreetly routed and concealed than before and the alloy frame’s paint finish is tough enough to withstand a knock or two as I found when it took a tumble against a solid bollard while being pictured.

Other likes? The motor is more compact and streamlined, power feed-in is well judged both at moving speeds and from a standstill, the grips are claimed to be ‘ergonomically designed’ and are indeed very comfortable. The rims - and black hubs - are sleek and there is very good attention to detail throughout. It certainly feels a generous cut above the less expensive Impel range and a more modern offering than the outgoing model, in quality and performance. The fun-to-ride Crossfuse has come of age.

The Facts

Halfords Carrera Crossfuse Electric Hybrid bike £1,999

Gear shifters: Shimano CUES 9 speed RapidFire

Rear Derailleur: Shimano CUES RD-U4000, 9 speed

Brakes: hydraulic discs

Tyres: Schwalbe Citizen, 700x40c

Approximate weight: 21.2 kgs (including optional mudguards)

Motor: Mid-drive Shimano EP6 DU-EP600, 250w, 85Nm

Maximum claimed range: 80 miles