The ebike that we have been testing in the last few weeks is a middle-to-high range ebike, sporty in character, made by the famous German brand Cube. Ebikes tend to have longer names nowadays: the complete name of this model is Cube SUV Hybrid Race 500 27,5. It’s an ebike with a Bosch Performance Line motor, the new 500Wh battery, and last but not least with the NuVinci N380 automatic shifting system we’ve talked about recently, testing it on this same ebike. Let’s find out how the bike in itself performs.
This Cube ebike is based on a latest generation Bosch system.
The motor is activated on the basis of the information coming from the pedalling sensor. As is well known, the Bosch system is based on a torque sensor: this can “understand” not only if the pedals are turning or not, but also how much effort the rider is putting into her pedalling (click here for more info). The power delivered by the motor therefore varies according to how much power the biker herself is delivering: the harder you pedal, the higher the power delivered by the motor.
Power also varies according to the level of assistance selected. You can select this thanks to the buttons on the left side of the handlebars. The chosen level appears on the central display. There are 4 levels of assistance: Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo. Of course, a higher level of assistance means a lower range, because the motor consumes more quickly the charge of the battery.
The battery, positioned on the downtube of the frame, is the latest model made available by Bosch, with a capacity of 500Wh (previously there were only 300 or 400Wh options). To be more precise, the battery is a 36V 13,4Ah, and the real capacity is therefore 482,4 Wh, which is anyway a very good value which guarantees a high range, as we will see.
For more details on the way these electric components behave in real life, read the Road Test below.
This Cube SUV Hybrid Race 500 27,5 ebike is based on an ARG Double butted alluminium frame, on which are mounted mechanical components of very good quality. The total weight is 21,5 kg.
The most interesting thing about the mechanical components of this ebike is definitely the transmission system, based on a Gates belt (no classic chain here) and on a continuously variable hub NuVinci N380. This makes the transmission system perfectly clean (the belt must not be oiled, and it remains therefore clean to the touch), completely automatic, fluid, silent. For more details read our in-depth test of the NuVinci N380, which we do not hesitate to define a revolution for urban cycling, and especially for ebikes with a central motor such as this one.
Also the other mechanical components of this ebike are of higher quality, starting from the rigid carbon-fiber fork.
The task of slowing down the ebike is given to two hydraulic disk brakes (Shimano Deore BR-M615), coupled to a 180mm rotor on the front and a 160mm one on the back.
It should be clear that we are talking about a high quality ebike, designed to go fast. Let’s get on the saddle and see how it behaves! (For more details on the mechanical components refer to the technical data on the Cube website).
Cube SUV ebike Road Test
The first thing you have to do, before starting pedalling, is set your preferred cadence on the Bosch display; we have decided to use a 75 rpm cadence, because it is a value that guarantees the highest efficiency of the motor coupled with a comfortable cadence. As already written on the complete test of the NuVinci N380, from the start you experience a very fluid, and therefore quick, acceleration, especially – of course – with the higher levels of assistance. With the Turbo level, you can get from 0 to 25 km/h in 5 seconds.
The transmission system is very silent, and the only sound made by the ebike is the quiet hum of the Bosch motor, which makes itself noticed only in acceleration or when going uphill.
Riding this ebike is definitely a pleasure. It’s reactive, precise in the turns, and which you feel you can trust even at higher speeds. These higher speeds can be reached mostly when going downhill or if you are very well trained, because the main problem with this ebike is its 25 km/h limit. On a “normal” ebike, like most of the other we have tested, this 25 km/h is not a problem, because it is the speed which feels natural with those ebikes. This one, however, seems to “suffer” when it reaches this limit, also because the fast acceleration makes it reach it very quickly. Once you reach those 25 km/h, you can keep at that speed with a very low effort, even at the Tour level (the second out of 4, from the lowest to the highest). Because this ebike (meaning the frame and the mechanical components) is designed to go faster, the 25 km/h limit is perceived as a negative, and you feel that you want to go faster; however, going beyond the 25 km/h limit with your own power is not easy, given the weight of the ebike. A useful comparison is with the Stromer ST2, a very similar ebike, also from an aesthetic point of view; that one however was a speed-ebike, with a 45 km/h speed limit; this made it also easier to exploit the sporty character of the ebike, meaning that the cyclist can actually push hard on the pedals to reach those 45 km/h. With this Cube SUV ebike all that you can actually do is stroll along at 25 km/h without doing any serious effort: cool, but nothing to do with sport.
This Cube ebike is designed only for smooth asphalt. Short sections of broken asphalt or on easy dirt roads will be fine (also thanks to the large section of the tyres), but the bike (and therefore your body) will vibrate a lot.
Braking is very powerful, and even in emergency situations you can come to a complete halt in a few metres, with the ebike remaining perfectly stable; the main limit in this case can be the cyclist, because not everybody is used to such powerful brakes; if you are not an expert we suggest you try a couple of emergency brakings in a safe place before you venture on the traffic.
The range is very good, mainly thanks to the efficiency of the transmission and the fluidity of hubs and wheels. We have used this ebike to test the battery consumption on a 1000 metres elevation gain, and the battery still had 50% of its capacity left. Pedalling around Rome with the Sport level (the third out of 4) we got a range of 75 km, a very high value if you think that when in the city you always have to slow down and reaccelerate, stressing the battery. Those who are most curious can download this .kmz file showing a 46 km tour inside Rome (the so-called GRAB), at the end of which the battery still had 40% of its capacity left; if you analyze the metadata, you’ll notice how the speed continuously changes because of the various urban jungle obastacles, a situation which stresses the battery a lot; this is nonetheless excellently handled thanks to the fluid acceleration made possible by the NuVinci N380.
It is not easy to give a global judgement on this ebike. If we just look at its electrical and mechanical components, it is clear that we are in front of a high-end ebike. Pedalling on it is really a pleasure, and the range is very high. We are only puzzled by its intended destination: which kind of cyclist was Cube thinking about when designing this ebike?
The classic urban commuter would need an ebike with a slightly less sporty seating position, mudguards, rear carrier, an ammo on the fork for potholes, integrated lights… The cycle tourist would need most of these things too. The sporty cyclist would be disappointed by the 25 km/h speed limit, though appreciating all the rest (she may be interested in the 45km/h version of this ebike, which however has a normal gear system).
There are only two kinds of cyclists left: the urban commuter who wants to travel light and fast, maybe leaving the bike at home when it rains; or the cycle tourist who only does daily trips (not interested in the rear carrier therefore), lives in an area with mainly smooth asphalt, wants an ebike with great range, easy to use thanks to the NuVinci hub gear, and is not interested in going beyond 25 km/h. Two niches.
In conclusion, this is a wonderful ebike, more fun than useful though; and that is not necessarily a negative thing.
The price is about 3500€.
-electrical and mechanical components of high quality;
-fun, precise, and a pleasure to pedal on;
-it’s not an mtb, it’s not a city bike, it’s not a touring bike. What is it? A sporty bike, which however suffers a lot from the 25 km/h speed limit.