Getting what you want from an off the shelf bike

Django

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Here is my conversion. This is more or less a mini review of my altered Yamaha Cross Core and it’s modifications. I hope that others will share their upgrades and opinions.

As is often the case, any bike that you select will be a compromise. I wanted a sub 50 pound class 1 ebike that was good on gravel-dirt roads and rail trails and still good on paved roads. I couldn’t find anything off the shelf, so the next best thing was to take a bike with “good bones” and transform it.

The Yamaha Wabash was the closest thing that I could find to turn key, but at $1,100.00 more than the Cross Core while sharing the same frame motor and wheels, it just wasn’t worth the difference. I figured out what it would cost to make a Cross Core into a Wabash and found that I could go up one level on the components and still come out ahead.

Yamaha Cross Core: Reasonable weight, very good warranty, long established company. The price wasn’t low, but seemed to be very competitive considering what you got. The bike was a good platform to customize. It has a nice hydro formed Aluminum frame and the Yamaha motor and electronics are pretty much state of the art. I wanted a class 1 that handled well, had a reasonable weight, had a fairly powerful mid drive and natural feel. The Cross Core ticked off all of the boxes and is still the bike that I would choose today, so no regrets, and after the upgrades, the bike is down to 40 pounds, so not bad with a 500 Wh battery.

Cane Creek Carbon eeSilk gravel seat post: Expensive, but after two spinal surgeries last year, the cost seemed worth while. The change in comfort was immediately noticeable. The post takes the shock out of big hits and smooths out the smaller irregularities without bobbing. The only thing that you notice is that the ride is much smoother. The Carbon version doesn’t add much weight and is visually pleasing, (to me anyway). Also, no regrets.

Red Shift Stem: Pretty much the same comments as the Cane Creek seat post. It does what it claims and there are no real negatives.

Salsa Bend Deluxe handlebar: I find this bar to be a worthwhile upgrade from the generic bar that came on the Cross Core. Mine has the 17 degree sweep which I find comfortable. It is light and seems to be more compliant than the stock bar as well. My wife tried it and immediately ordered one for her Cross Core. We are very happy with this bar, but the angle may not be right for some others. They do make a 23 degree sweep as well and because the bar bends forward before sweeping rearward, the reach remains approximately the same as the stock bar and there is also a small rise, which adds some comfort.

Shimano SLX 1x11: So far, so good. I lost some redundancy but so far I like it very much. I went with a 46t SRAM chainring and an 11-42 Shimano cassette. The stock Sora had failed to shift down to the small chainring a few times, and the 1x11 provides a better range and it has been very reliable. I haven’t had it long enough to determine longevity, but so far, I see it as a big improvement.

Maxxis 40 mm Receptor tires: They are wearing well. They have approximately 1,100 miles on them right now. It looks like the rear will need to be replaced in another 500 miles or so. The front will probably be good for at least 3,000 miles. They are a “dry” gravel tire. They roll well and are quiet on the road. They grip well on dry dirt roads and gravel. They are more compliant and much lighter than the stock tires, but not as puncture resistant, (I have not had a puncture yet). When the time comes, they will be replaced with the same. I run them at 40 psi. They are not recommended for mud or serious off road riding, but they work very well for gravel, dirt and paved roads as well as light trail riding.

DT Swiss CR 1600 Spline wheels: I would not have upgraded the wheels if I hadn’t wrecked the original rear. The DT Swiss set are noticeably lighter and they are also wider, which helps to smooth out the ride. I like them, but it is a relatively expensive upgrade and if I hadn’t had to replace my stock rim, I wouldn’t have upgraded. I do like these wheels and I don’t regret the choice. They are also a gravel wheel and rated to 130 Kg. If you have a Yamaha and want to upgrade the wheels, I highly recommend these. The only thing is that the end cap, (flange), on the hub has to be grooved to accept the Yamaha speed sensor. I can provide more information to anyone if desired.

Spank Oozy pedals: Nice quality alloy pedal, good grip and a nice size for me, (my shoe size ranges from 10 to 10.5 US). They are fairly light and rebuildable. They look nice enough. I have never slipped off of them. They simply work and I never notice them, so I consider that a good thing.

Fizik Aliante saddle with Ti rails: This was a new takeoff and not in current production. I would buy another if I could find one. I rode Selle Italia Flite saddles for many years, then I rode the Gel Flite until they changed the design. The Fizik Aliante is the best shape for me, (Fizik calls me a bull because I am not very flexible). It is difficult to review a saddle because it is a very personal choice. The Aliante works for me. It is light and compliant. The build quality is in my opinion, exceptional. It is my all time favorite saddle.

TRP Spyre brake calipers: If I had it to do over, I would have just gone with Shimano XT hydraulic calipers and levers. The Spyres work well and I have no real complaint, but they are not noticeably more effective than the stock calipers. The real advantage is that I can just adjust them by the barrel adjuster because they simulate a two piston caliper. The real drawback with cable actuated brakes on the Cross Core is the cable routing around the mid drive, (I went with Jag Wire Pro brake cables and after carefully routing them, they work smoothly). There is a good chance that I will eventually replace the brakes with good hydraulics, (poor quality hydraulic brakes can be less effective and much less reliable than decent cable actuated brakes).

I hope that this thread will be helpful to others that are looking to refine their bike a bit. I do tend to go overboard and be a bit obsessive, so take what I did with a grain of salt.

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Yamaha and modified DT Swiss flange, (end cap).

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