Carrera bikes range: which model is right for you?
Carrera are one of the more common bike brands sighted on British roads, the affordable range appealing to a wide market that covers those seeking their first road bike to cycling commuters looking for a bike that won't break the bank.
Available exclusively from Halfords in the UK, the entry-level bike is not to be confused with Italian Carrera: the brand that Stephen Roche and Marco Pantani rode for back in the late 80s and early 90s.
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Carrera carries options from trail to tarmac, urban to mountain, and even kids bikes, with this buyer's guide focusing specifically on Carrera’s road and hybrid (including electric) options.
The brand has always been competitively priced, sitting in between Halford’s own budget brand Apollo and the performance orientated Boardman bikes. Carrera says its aim is to deliver unmatched value, in terms of specification, and last year gave the brand a contemporary visual make over.
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|Trek bikes||Bike reviews,Domane,Emonda,Madone|
|Price points||Bikes under £500,under £1000,under £1500,under £2000|
|Road bike styles||Aero road bikes,Endurance road bikes,Women’s road bikes,Commuting bikes,Touring bikes,Singlespeed bikes,Track bikes,Time trial bikes|
|Other bike styles||Adventure and gravel bikes,Cyclocross bikes,Electric bikes,Hybrid bikes|
Carrera road bikes
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With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.
Carrera Vanquish Disc road bike
The Carrera Vanquish Disc is designed with the aim of delivering a balance between speed and comfort, perfect for those looking to ride sportives.
Made from triple butted aluminium tubing that keep the overall frame weight low, the forks feature carbon blades on an alloy steerer, which should help reduce road vibrations, giving you a more comfortable ride.
The compact chainset, 50/34, and widely spaced 8-speed Shimano cassette of 11-28T should just be enough to get you up some of the more severe of hills. Finished with Shimano Claris shifters and mechs, these help to ensure that they deliver each gear change as smoothly and as predictably as possible.
Mechanical disc brakes finish off the Vanquish for reliable stopping power in all conditions, while mounts for mudguards allow this bike to be easily adapted for winter riding.
Carrera Virtuoso road bike
The Carrera Virtuoso road bike is a slightly heavier ride than the Vanquish, the Virtuoso weighing 11.6kg compared to the 10.5kg Vanquish. But for putting up with an additional 1,100g, the price tag is lowered.
Similarly, it is equipped with 2x8 Shimano Claris for snappy gear changes and mechanical disc brakes for controlled stopping power.Instead of the carbon bladed front fork that features on the Vanquish, however, this model has a heaver alloy alternative that ultimately drops the price.
Equally at home either commuting or leisure riding, the Carrera Zelos is aimed at entry-level road riders, with the geometry of the aluminium frame and hi-tensile steel fork designed to deliver comfort for miles.
It is spec'd with 7-speed Shimano Tourney, a 14-28T cassette teamed with a compact 50/34 chainset, meaning that you should be able ride most of the typical roads around the UK, but the stronger riders may find it quite ‘spinny’ on the flat.
The difference between the men's and women's versions are the frame sizes, with the men’s available in 51cm, 54cm and 58cm and the women’s the smaller sizes of 46cm, 48cm and 51cm.
Carrera hybrid bikes
Hybrid bikes from Carrera provide machines that blend together aspects of on- and off-road riding, making them a versatile option capable of tackling a mixture of surfaces.
Bigger and more robust tyres help achieve the focused target, while other features include flat bars and an upright riding position akin to that of a mountain bike.
The Carrera hybrid bike range is split in to three families: the multi surface Crossfire, which includes two e-bike models, the performance Subway and urban focused Parva and Axle.
There are four models in the aluminium Carrera Crossfire range, Crossfire 1, 2 and 3, with women’s specific versions available in the first two and the Crossfire-E, available in both men's and women's versions. All of the Crossfire range sport front suspension and large 700c double walled rims, to help you overcome challenging terrains and for extra durability.
The range-toppingCrossfire 3 and the slightly lower spec Crossfire 2 both boast the longest fork travel of 75mm, while the Crossfire 1 has only 63mm.
The biggest advantage of the top model is the hydraulic disc brakes, which will offer superior stopping power over the mechanical disc brakes of the Crossfire 2 and V-brakes of the Crossfire 1.
The other obvious model differences in the range are the number of gears on offer, with Crossfire 1 providing 21 gears, Crossfire 2 24 gears and Crossfire 3 18.There are three frame sizes available in the main models, 17", 19", 21" in the men’s and 16", 18", 20" in the women’s.
The Crossfire-E has a similar specification as Crossfire 3, plus the all important 417 Wh Suntour battery. The nine gears and four power mode battery should get you over any hill and has a claimed range of around 60 miles.
As with all the women’s models, the cranks and stem are shorter and the bike also comes with narrower handlebars and a women’s specific saddle.
Buy now: Carrera Crossfire-E men's bike at Halfords for £1,399orCarrera Crossfire-E women's bike for £1,399
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The Subway is what Carrera refer to as its performance hybrid, aimed at both commuting and leisure riding. There are three models in the range including an electric option. The Subway 1 and Subway 2 both come with rigid hi-tensile steel forks, disc brakes and unusually 27.5” wheels, with a women’s specific version available.
Subway 2 is the higher speced model in the range with hydraulic disc brakes and 9-speed gearing, while the more affordable Subway 1 uses mechanical disc brakes and is 8-speed. Both models have pannier mounts for added practicality and a Carrera Memory Foam saddle to ensure riding comfort. No more sore bums, then.
The women’s specific model comes in sizes 16", 18" and 20", and the men’s is available in four sizes that start at 16" and reach 22".
The Subway Electric hybrid bike has most of the same components as the higher speced Subway 2, but with the addition of a 317 Wh battery that promises up to 60 miles of electric boost. This will suit riders looking for a little extra help on roads and off-road paths alike.
Carrera say it takes around five to six hours to charge the battery and it comes with 2 years/500 charges warranty on all electrical compnents.
Built for riding about town, the Parva is the perfect bike for commuting or popping to the shops.The aluminium frame and high-tensile steel has been designed specifically for roads and light trails. The Shimano drive chain has 14 gears and is paired with Tektro V-brake rim brakes.
The women’s specific version has a dropped cross bar, shorter stem and cranks as well as narrower handlebars and a women’s specific saddle.
Carrera folding bike
Folding bikes are perfect for commuters who mix riding to work with taking public transport. They have gained in popularity in the past decade, and Carrera's own range has options to suit those who just want to cycle a few miles to those who want a bike capable of being ridden a little further.
Carrera Intercity folding bike
This bike is aimed for commuters who need to use a combination of public transport and cycling, as well as those who are simply tight on space. In folding at two points and having small 20-inch wheels, the Intercity folding bike can be packed down to a compact size.
Prefitted with a pannier rack, mudguards and stand ensure the bike's capacity as a utility bike. There are eight derailleur gears, providing a decent spread of gears for varied terrain, while the frame is made from aluminium to save weight over steel.
It comes in only one size as the handlebar height and seatpost are extremely adjustable, so it should fit everyone from 147cm to 191cm.
Carrera Crosscity electric folding bike
The Crosscity combines the compact size of a folding bike with the benefits of an e-bike. Longer distances can be travelled for the same effort and hills can be ascended without breaking a sweat – so you don’t need a shower at the other end.
The pannier rack, mudguard, battery and motor do increase the weight of the bike significantly, tipping the scales at 18kg, so it is a little more difficult to carry on and off trains. A range of sizes are offered, catering for people from 145cm right up to 198cm.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest-serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011. She has covered all things technical for both print and digital over multiple seasons representing CW at spring Classics, and Grand Tours and all races in between.
Hannah was a successful road and track racer herself, competing in UCI races all over Europe as well as in China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won a 24-hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas.
She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
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