Yamaha is perhaps more well known for its motorbikes and as a general e-bike motor manufacturer. But more recently, the firm has begun to take e-mobility, and in particular, e-bikes a bit more seriously. This has resulted in the launch of some own branded bikes, including a rather intriguing looking step-through model called the Yamaha Booster Easy that Richard reviewed last year, and now, the CrossCore RC.
The CrossCore RC is positioned as primarily an urban bike, but it can be so much more. In fact, with the mid-drive motor and excellent battery, I’d say it’s almost a waste if you can’t put some leisurely miles on it outside of the city. There are accessories you can buy to make it a bit more capable for say commuting or ‘trekking’, including a rear rack, mudguards and the like.
This might just be me, but I feel that if a bike is labelled ‘urban’, it seems remiss of the brand not to include things like mudguards at the very least. I’d say this is one of my only qualms with this bike, as the overall quality and ride performance speaks beyond its price tag of just £2,200.
Motor and battery
So what do you get for your money? Well to begin, there’s a decent Yamaha PW-ST mid-drive motor which feels like it should be on a far more expensive bike. I found it to be very quiet and responsive, and even the lower levels felt like they actually helped rather than only being there for show. If I was to be really picky, I think it lacks a little bit of top end on seriously steep stuff, but it’s important to remember this bike and this motor is designed to be used in a leisurely environment – not riding up Sutton Bank.
It does, however, provide up to 70Nm so it’s not like it’s not powerful, and, like I said, it performs excellently in most urban scenarios. The assist response is almost instantaneous and reacts well to quick accelerations thanks to the torque sensor.
You change assistance levels via the little display unit on the bars. The buttons are a decent size, which is useful when you're wearing gloves, but these did feel a little cheap. The actual display is easy to read, however, even in glaring sunshine, so no complaints there. It displays all the metrics you want like battery level, odometer, speed and which assistance level you’re in.
The performance of the drive system with the 500Wh battery is also excellent. It took me nearly 40 miles to drain it to just under 50%. Bearing in mind that’s in some terrible weather (hence my qualm about the mudguards), with strong winds never in my favour and some rather low temperatures, so I was mightily impressed.
Spec and performance
At £2,200, I personally think you’ve already gotten your value out of the drive system and the frame, so the fact the components aren’t going to win any awards probably isn’t as big a concern as it would be on something costing hundreds more.
The Shimano 9-speed mix groupset seems robust enough to get you through all types of weather without missing a beat. And if you should have issues, it won't cost a terrifying amount of money to replace things. Changing gear is done via the trigger shifter and the rear derailleur has a decent range of 11-36T. Paired with the 44T chainring, this keeps you out of trouble on most hills.
You do get Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, which worked reasonably well - they didn’t seem to suffer as much squeaking as some others when they got wet. If I was to pick one thing I’d maybe do without, I’d go with the suspension fork. As much as I love a good suspension fork, in most urban applications I’m not entirely convinced it’s a necessary thing – particularly if you’re not putting something really good on the bike. I didn’t have any problems with the SR Suntour NEX E25 forks, but for the sake of 60mm of travel, I’m not sure they’re a necessity.
Removing them would also reduce the weight, which as it stands is a claimed 23.9kg. It’s not the lightest of e-bikes and that certainly puts you off taking it up any stairs or anything like that.
The bike comes in three sizes: S, M and L. There’s an interactive size guide on the Yamaha website which helps you to choose your best fit, but I tried the S and felt it was really well sized for my 5’5” frame.
The CrossCore RC comes with two colours to choose from – shiver white or urban sage. I was given the shiver white variation - appropriately enough given I was shivering coming back from most rides (Yorkshire winter will do that to you). When the sun hits, it’s got a lovely almost pearlescent glimmer to it, but the fact it’s white also makes it a mud-magnet.
Value and conclusion
I’m quite surprised at the price, to be perfectly honest. Sure, the drivetrain components could be a bit better and the forks aren’t going to win any awards, but the overall base of the bike – the frame and the electrical system - work so well, you’d be fooled into thinking this was a £3,000+ bike.
Looking at other comparable e-bikes, the Ebco Adventure 3R is a fellow urban ’can do a bit more’ mid-drive, but £200 less at £1,999. Granted, it uses a slightly less powerful motor, and smaller battery, but the terrain capabilities remain similar.
The Temple Cycles Step Through Electric costs significantly more, at £3,395 and uses a Bafang mid-drive with a similar torque rating. I think that just goes to show how good value the Yamaha is, costing a grand less with a better battery and overall drive system.
The Raleigh Centros Hub Gear is also priced higher, at £2,999. And, as the name suggests, it comes with hub gears - which could be an option for urban travel if you want something that requires a little less maintenance than derailleur gearing.
And finally, the Specialized Turbo Como 3.0 at its new, lower price of £1,999 offers brilliant value. It also uses a mid-drive, this time one of Specialized's own, and is more than capable for hilly, urban or countryside terrain. We think this is probably the closest rival, although we haven't tested this exact spec. We rode the 'IGH' model, which includes hub gears, which is currently available for £2,400.