I appreciate electric bike companies that produce models that go the extra mile to create a clean, beautiful look. CUBE is one such company and their Elly Ride Hybrid 400 not only looks good, but also uses quality parts and is thoughtfully engineered. For example, it uses hydraulic disc brakes with a larger 180 mm rotor up front to improve stopping power and control. The rear rack tubing is welded to the frame, angular in design to create a premium look, and paint matched to the frame and fork for consistency… but it also has a silver pannier hanger which uses standard gauge tubing to be compatible with the widest range of panniers and the silver color won’t show scratches the way that the frame paint might. Did I mention that the bike comes in four frame size options and that there are two colorways?! It’s almost overwhelming to see this kind of choice from such a niche female-oriented ebike when there seem to be so few alternatives. Shout out to eProdigy that makes the similarly attractive and accessible Banff model. And that electric bicycle costs roughly $500 less, but is not nearly as refined or sturdy feeling. What you get from the Elly Ride is a premium battery, motor, display system, mid-level drivetrain, and a frame and wheelset that feel sturdy and reliable. Most mid-drive motors I have reviewed are geared and produce some noise and wear on the drivetrain (chain, cassette, derailleur) but the Bosch Active Line Cruise is their most efficient, gentle, and quiet offering. It’s perfect for neighborhood and urban riding.
Digging a bit deeper into the motor system, one of the things that really sets it apart from other mid-drives on the market today is the smaller chainring. I was told that CUBE sometimes includes multiple chainring sizes with their bikes to optimize for climbing vs. speed and in this case that means a 15 and 17 tooth sprocket. You might need help from your shop to install this chainring, I was using the slower better-climbing 15 tooth in this review. The chainring spins 2.5 times for every crank arm revolution and that produces a bit of friction and noise in the motor gearbox but allows for better grab and quicker start/stop action. The Bosch Active Line Cruise motor offers up to 50 Newton meters of torque and ranges from 250 watts nominal to over 500 watts peak in the highest levels of assist. Even though I described it as gentle and quiet before, it’s still very capable if you shift properly. And the 10-speed Shimano drivetrain in place on the Elly Ride Hybrid offers plenty of range and a great trigger shifter setup. The smaller trigger (which moves the chain to smaller sprockets for higher speed) can be pushed forward or pulled back, and the larger trigger (which moves the chain up to larger sprockets for starting and climbing) can shift through three gears with a single thrust. And since the Bosch motor controller has shift detection, those shifts should produce less wear and feel smoother. Apparently shift detection is designed to leave momentary gapes in power that allow the chain to slip from one sprocket to another without mashing (stressing and bending chainring teeth). Overall, the cockpit of the bike is clean and clear with triggers on the right side only and the Bosch Purion display on the left. All of the buttons are easy to reach and even though the Purion is smaller than the Bosch Intuvia (used on 2016 versions of the Elly Ride) it is still easy to see and read.
Powering the motor, display panel, and two integrated LED lights is a rear rack-mounted Bosch Powerpack 400. Weighing in at roughly 5.8 lbs, this battery is on the light side considering how much energy it stores. Bosch has a new Powerpack 500 model that is also compatible with this bike and offers 25% more capacity… but I was amazed to see the bike’s display panel estimating my range between 30 and 80 miles per charge during the review with the standard 400 model! The efficient motor, smooth tires, and mid-drive system all combine to make this a capable bike regardless of which battery pack you use. Note that you would need to purchase the 500 separately, I don’t think it’s an upgrade option as much as a stand alone product that could be used here. The included batter has a paint-matched sticker on top to help it blend in. The rack design surrounds and protects the battery and there’s an ABUS locking core on the left side where the battery clicks into the controller box. ABUS is a leader in the bike lock space and the included keys have a special code that you can use when ordering additional folding locks etc. so that all of the keys match! The charger that comes with the bike is quite good, small and lightweight, it offers an average speed 2 Amp output and can be used to fill the battery on or off the bike. Bosch also produces a quick charger which puts out 4 Amps, often sold with the larger Powerpack 500 battery ebikes. If you’re someone who commutes, plans on touring with this bike, or just has a far ride, you might get an extra charger to leave at your destination or an extra battery pack to bring along and extend range. It’s nice to have those kinds of options at your fingertips and to feel like the battery design will be supported for years to come vs. a smaller company that could go out of business or change strategies unexpectedly.
Operating the Elly Ride Hybrid electric bike is a piece of cake once the battery is charged and mounted. There is only one power switch and it’s built into the top edge of the display panel. Once pressed, the display comes to life very quickly showing your current speed, assist level (or other trip stat readout), and a 5-bar battery infographic. It’s not busy or confusing, you just click the plus or minus buttons to get more or less power, and even though I’d prefer a 10-bar battery infographic or better yet, battery percentage! it works well enough. As much as I gripe about battery level readouts, this ebike can go very far. And if you do run out of juice, the battery can be filled to ~50% in about an hour and a half if it’s completely empty. A few other neat features worth touching on are the lights, just hold the plus button for a few seconds to turn them on, and those different trip stat menus, just hold the minus button for a few seconds to cycle through assist levels, trip distance, odometer, and estimated range. This last menu, range, is cool because it dynamically calculates as you change assist levels and use more of the battery. It even factors in how the bike has been performing over the last mine of use, which includes the weight of the rider and cargo. Two other neat features of the display are walk mode, press the walk mode button at the bottom edge of the display panel and then hold plus to go. And finally, you can switch from miles to kilometers by holding minus and tapping the power button. The Purion display doesn’t offer quite as many trip stats or the ability to charge with a Micro-USB the way that the Intuvia does, but it’s still a great display system overall. As mentioned in the video review above, clicking near the right edge of the plus and minus buttons will activate them more easily than pressing in the middle, and you basically can’t click them by pressing at the lowest left edge. It’s like the buttons are clicking at an angle, left to right, so click at the right edge :)
There is just so much to say about this comfort-oriented colorful electric bicycle. It’s more than a showpiece, but it does look great. It’s a capable commuter but still approachable, the frame flex thing is a big deal to me but I didn’t experience much of it and there also wasn’t speed wobble (where the front wheel shimmies at higher speeds as frame flex builds and resonates). I love that the stem is rigid vs. adjustable-angle because that improves strength and the matching chrome look is beautiful. Your clothes will stay pretty clean thanks to the fenders and chain guard and you could even add a bottle cage, which is an option that is missing on so many e-bikes. The classic bell adds a bit of fun and the kickstand is both well-positioned and adjustable so you can protect your bike and contents when loaded… all without tools. Yes, it would be nice to have a lockout clicker on the fork and I was surprised to hear that the bike comes without pedals, but this is an easy freebie that most shops will install and include. In all of the most important ways, at least to me, this electric bike is a winner and it makes me smile to see a couple of fun female-oriented colors. I didn’t feel ashamed riding the cloud-blue demo bike for this review, but it wasn’t quite as masculine as the countless silver, black, and navy blue alternatives. Big thanks to CUBE for partnering with me on this post and helping me connect with Motostrano in Redwood City, California. They have a huge selection of CUBE products and had both the 2016 and 2017 Elly ride which was neat to compare back to back.
- The deep wave step-thru design is easy to mount and comfortable to stand over, if you’re wearing loose pants, a skirt, or a dress, this frame won’t get in the way as much as a mixte or diamond high-step
- Sometimes these wave style step-thru frames can feel felxy, especially with a rear-rack battery design, but the Elly Ride has a much fatter downtube with gussets that increases stiffness and handling performance, it even has a double-chainstay and welded rear rack so the entire bike feels solid
- I’m not sure about the official max weight rating on this electric bicycle but I’m guessing that the sturdy frame, thicker 14 gauge spokes, and reinforcement nipples on the 36-hole rims combine for a more durable product than some of the cheaper electric cruiser bikes I have seen
- CUBE has an enormous line of electric bikes and most of them come in several frame sizes, the Elly Ride is produced in four sizes to really dial in fit and comfort, also notice how the rack is positioned a ways back from the saddle so that you can lower it to the very bottom and create an approachable seating position
- Available in two beautiful colors, to me it seems like this model is geared towards women (even the name) and I think that’s cool, CUBE is a large enough brand that they can provide lots of interesting options that appeal to more people, note the matching white tires, saddle, and grips
- Whether you’re a girl, a guy, or someone who identifies alternatively, safety is an important consideration and the Elly Ride comes with integrated lights and reflective tires so you can be seen by automobile drivers as well as other cyclists… and again, the headlight is styled to match the bike with silver, note the classic silver bell as well
- In many ways, this bike strikes me as a relaxed neighborhood cruiser because of the geometry and efficient Bosch Active motor verses their Performance line, but it’s still very capable for commuting and hauling cargo as well thanks to a sturdy rack platform and standard-gauge pannier rods with slide blockers (the silver bars just below the battery which have nubs to keep pannier rails from sliding back and forth when you start and stop)
- Mid-drive electric bikes are very efficient if you shift gears thoughtfully and the Bosch Active line is one of the most responsive well-made products around, it even has shift detection to reduce wear on the chain, cassette, and derailleur
- Despite being mounted in a rear rack (high and towards the rear vs. low and center) the battery isn’t especially heavy and you can remove it for charging, safe storage, or reduced weight… the mounting interface is also compatible with the larger Bosch Powerpack 500
- In addition to fenders, a small plastic chain cover will keep your pants or dress clean and snag free, it’s a well thought-out package and the accessories feel sturdy, look nice, and don’t rattle
- The combination of fatter 2″ tires, a basic suspension fork, upright stem and swept-back bars, and a spring saddle make this a comfortable ride, even on semi-bumpy terrain
- I like that the kickstand is mounted at the rear of the bike to support the battery and rack weight, it also stays out of the way of your left crank arm vs. a center mount kickstand and you can adjust the length just by twisting the lower plastic portion (no tools required!)
- Weighing in at nearly 56 lbs plus any cargo you add onto the rack and being capable of ~20 mph top assisted speeds, I like that CUBE opted for hydraulic disc brakes and even upgraded the front from 160 mm to 180 mm for improved cooling and braking power, the adjustable-reach brake levers are perfect for people with smaller hands or those wearing gloves
- Clearly, this is a purpose-built electric bike with emphasis on style and I like that they integrated most of the cables through the frame to reduce snags and just make it look nicer
- I was impressed that CUBE made room for bottle cage bosses on the downtube, you don’t have to use them (because a cage could get in your way mounting and standing over the bike) but they are useful none the less… even for a folding lock or mini-pump etc. and you also have the rear rack which would work well for a trunk bag with bottle holster like this
- Because this is a mid-motor driven electric bike, tuneups are less complicated for shops and both wheels have quick release so changing flats and doing service is just that much easier, Bosch has a vast network of certified dealers who can even help with the motor or battery and you get a two-year comprehensive warranty plus five years on the frame
- Larger 28″ 700c wheels offer more air volume which improves comfort, they also have a lower attack angle and span cracks and bumps better, these wheels do elevate the frame a bit compared to 26″ but the low-step frame makes this less relevant
- Sometimes I celebrate the adjustable stem options on other bikes but those can come loose over time… so I really prefer this steeper solid stem because I think it fits the comfort riding geometry of the bike and will just be sturdier
- CUBE is using an ABUS locking core to secure the rack battery and it comes with a little card that has a “Plus Code Card” code for ordering matching ABUS locks to secure your bike! This is handy because they you don’t need two separate keys for the bike battery and your folding lock or whatnot
- I like that walk mode is enabled on this bike, some competing products like the Electra Townie models have disabled this feature even though the button is still there, walk mode is useful for moving the 56 lb bike plus any cargo you have on it, pushing up ramps or hills etc. without having to over-exert yourself
- The suspension fork is very basic, you may be able to take off the plastic top caps and adjust preload but there’s no lockout so the bike may dive during quick stops and bob for larger riders which wastes some efficiency, at least the fork is color matched though, it does look nice
- The Bosch Purion display is great in terms of small size and it has many functions that are useful but it is not removable which could lead to damage at bike racks and just more exposure to weather, and sometimes the buttons can be difficult to click (I usually push near the display face vs. lower near the left edge because they angle towards the display), it also does not have a working Micro-USB charging port the way that the larger Bosch Purion display does
- Rack-mounted batteries like this one tend to position weight back and high which isn’t ideal for handling or frame stiffness, but the Elly Ride Hybrid 400 has done a lot to offset those negatives and the Powerpack 400 is only ~5.5 lbs vs. 7+ lbs for a lot of other batteries of similar capacity
- It sounds like some of the CUBE bikes don’t come with any pedals? They aren’t expensive or difficult to add (I like these ones) but that’s a little peculiar because apparently the bikes do come with a different sized chainring to optimize for climbing vs. efficient speedy riding (15 tooth vs. 17 tooth options) and very few competing ebikes that I know of come with that option