The city-bike-style ebike category is crowded. There are versions of these basic, all-round ebikes available from $900 to $9,000. There are low-quality imports with rudimentary running gear that come disassembled in a box, to high-end European speedsters that ooze quality and style.
If you are looking for something that has a very reasonable price, but the quality and solid componentry to provide a trouble-free ebike experience, the Yamaha Cross Core fits that target well.
What Is a Yamaha Cross Core?
When people hear Yamaha, they think motorcycles, marine products, or musical instruments. But Yamaha has been making ebikes longer than just about every company in the ebike market. Yamaha’s first ebikes were launched in Japan back in 1993.
The Yamaha ebike line is made up of five bikes across various categories with Yamaha’s proprietary pedal-assist motors and various componentry, depending on model. The Cross Core represents Yamaha’s lowest-cost, entry-level ebike.
The Cross Core is a hybrid-style bike, though the rigid aluminum fork positions it best for city streets and paved paths. It has a four-mode Yamaha PWSeries SE 250W (500W boost) pedal-assist compact motor. The removable 500Wh Yamaha battery is mounted securely to the downtube but is not as cleanly integrated as some more style-forward city bikes.
Componentry is a mix of Shimano Sora drivetrain and brakes along with some no-name bits of finishing kit. Shimano groups at all levels and price points are always strong and solid, but the Sora cable-actuated brakes with 160-millimeter rotors are a weak spot here. The bike is finished off with an informative, multi-function Yamaha computer plus a headlight, but interestingly no taillight.
How Does the Yamaha Cross Core Ride?
The Cross Core weighs 44 pounds, but it carries the weight low and won’t feel that much different than a traditional bicycle to a new ebike user. Flat pedals, contoured grips, and a surprisingly comfortable saddle make the rider feel instantly at home on the bike.
The four modes of assist are Eco+, Eco, Standard, and High. Eco+ provides a long range—almost 75 miles staying just in that mode, though Eco+ gives just a hint of extra oomph from the motor. It does not suffice on hills.
The Yamaha Eco mode is better and can be lived with on just about everything but the steepest grades. Standard mode quickly brings the rider to about 18.5 mph when the motor slowly and seamlessly decreases its assistance until the legs are on their own at 20. High mode jumps forward with speed and allows climbing 16 percent grades by just barely turning over the pedals.
We spent most of our time on Standard. That provided the ability to commute into the Cycle Volta offices on warm days without breaking a sweat. Standard gave just enough juice for three 20-mile round trips to the office, which is better-than-average range for any ebike, regardless of cost.
The solid aluminum frame rode a bit rough. Bumps and road imperfections noticeably make their way through the bar and saddle. Running lower pressures in the CST Sensamo Sumo tires helped. A tubeless conversion with even lower pressures would make the ride more plush.
Steering is precise but not twitchy. Braking is the only real weak spot. The cable-actuated brakes obviously lacked the feel and modulation of hydraulics, and they also required significant lever pressure to generate adequate stopping power. Low-cost improvements may come from a more aggressive set of brake pads.
How Much Does the Yamaha Cross Core Cost?
The Yamaha Cross Core is reasonably priced at $2,399. It’s available from Yamaha ebike dealers who will properly fit a buyer to the correct size, prep the bike, and be available for servicing in the future.