A hybrid bike, simply put, is a cross between a mountain bike and your typical standard road bike. They combine the best features of both to come up with a machine that is comfortable over all terrains. Hybrid bikes, however, do vary, as some are more inclined towards the road genre, others tend to take the mountain bike end. Hybrid bikes are not to be confused with electric bikes (e-bikes) which come with some sort of propulsion. E-bikes are more for zipping up inclines without gassing up yourself. Carrera electric bikes and other e-bikes are much pricier and fall in the £800 to £2000 price range.
Well, now that you know what a hybrid bike is, you might want to know which one to pick for yourself so let's dive into the review of the Carrera Crossfire 2.
The bike has a lightweight aluminum frame, dubbed the Carrera alloy, with an upright position and flat handlebars for better handling giving you a good posture for comfortable cycling. Despite looking much like an offroad beast, the Carrera Crossfire 2 is more suited for smoother surfaces. The Carrera seat is also quite nicely shaped offering a larger seating area compared to the thin and uncomfortable seats from earlier models, allowing for longer comfortable cycling times.
Halfords are known for their wide range of quality bikes and the Carrera Crossfire 2 is no letdown. Equipped with a Suntour NVX fork that provides great front suspension giving you 75mm of travel, meaning that you'll be comfortable when riding over the occasional rivets and tiny branches that may litter your path. When riding on the tarmac, the preload adjuster allows you to tweak the fork for a stiffer ride. The suspension can be a bit of a bother due to the prolonged bounce after hitting a root or riding off a curb. The front suspension, on the other hand, has no issues worth mentioning.
Mechanical brakes are preferred over the conventional brake types for their consistent braking power. These Tektro brakes are a great choice for Carrera Crossfire 2 especially in wet weather as their position on the bike saves you the delay in response and also the wear on the rims. Also, the mechanical disc brakes push the point of contact away from the rim means that there is no heat build-up on the rim and this minimizes the chance of damage to the inner tube or tire. The strategic position of the brakes allows for better clearance, justifying the use of thicker tyres and more room for installing mudguard mounts. This brake type combined with the front suspension give you effective braking without much of a jerk when cycling.
Though the use of mechanical brakes is warranted, the brakes on the Carrera Crossfire 2 can be pretty squeaky which takes some points off it.
Need to build up speed or ride up an incline? No biggie, the 8-speed Shimano Tourney TX800 componentry on the Crossfire 2 ensures you do this as smoothly as possible. Equipped with 24 gears (three speeds on the left shifter, eight on the right), set the gear that matches your pace with ease. They aren't top of the line when it comes to bike shifters but for the sub-£500 hybrid bike, they handle the job pretty effectively.
The Kenda K935 tyres on the Carrera Crossfire 2 offer quite a decent grip on the offroad terrain, but things begin to change a bit in muddy conditions. On the road, they aren't exactly the fastest pair out there, but on the bright side, the chances of you having to fix a puncture on your way to work are pretty slim. The chunky tyres not only offer great puncture protection but also compliment the Tektro disc brakes pretty well.
Unfortunately, the Crossfire doesn't come with mudguards installed but can be purchased separately for under £20. For such a price, we continue to wonder why they didn't just include them on this hybrid bike, but hey...
Frame: Carrera Crossfire Alloy
Suspension Fork: Suntour NVX
Shifters: Shimano Altus
Front Derailleur: Shimano Tourney
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Altus
Chainset: Chainset Suntour XCE, 48/38/28t
Brake Type: Mechanical disc
Brake: Tektro Novela Black Mechanical Disc, 160mm rotors
Saddle: Carrera Performance Saddle
Wheels: Carrera Alloy Double Wall Disc-Brake Specific
Tyres: Kenda K935, 700x42mm
Mudguard mounts: Sold separately
Well, if you're looking for a cheap option to get back into cycling, or just for an eco-friendly commute to work, the Carrera Crossfire 2 should definitely be included in your list. For on-road cycling, this is a bike to consider if you're not into the extra bells and whistles that come with other pricier hybrid bikes in that category. If, on the other hand, you're looking for an offroad companion for the hilly countryside and forest areas, you might want to keep your options open as the Carrera Crossfire doesn't handle suspension very well. With that in mind, you can make up your mind if it really is for you.
The Carrera Crossfire 2 is a great value hybrid bike that works for both your on and offroad needs. The added components and good performance allow this bike to be the perfect commute companion. However, coupled with the very wide Kenda tyres, the extra spring does take some of the joy out of road riding especially when on the road. Also, raising or lowering the handlebars will cost you extra as you can't do it yourself. We hope to see some improvements in the coming Carrera series.
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