- Great value for a more premium product here. This is a versatile hardtail electric mountain bike with quality fenders and lights. It's functional in urban and off-road environments. CUBE sells an optional rear rack that reinforces the rear fender and allows the Reaction Hybrid Performance to be used for commuting purposes.
- Bosch motor, downtube integrated battery, and compact display make this a reliable and aesthetically pleasing ebike. The third generation Bosch Performance Line Cruise mid-drive is compact and quiet, but still very powerful with up to 65nm of torque. It offers shift detection and uses a standard sized chainring.
- The 9-speed Shimano Alivio derailleur with 11 to 36 tooth cassette is above average, offering smooth shifts and a comfortable pedal cadence options for varied conditions. Excellent Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with larger 180mm rotors deliver smooth powerful stops. Six frame sizes and two frame styles (high-step and mid-step) make it approachable and comfortable.
- Low capacity 400 watt hour battery keeps the price and weight down, it may also allow for the shorter downtube lengths on the smaller frame sizes. Limited readouts on the stock Bosch Purion display panel, and no USB charging option here. The bike can be upgraded to use a fancier Bosch Kiox or Nyon aftermarket. Very basic coil suspension fork with preload adjust only, but the tapered steer tube allows for fancier air forks after market.
This review was provided for free, but Cit-E-Cycles supplied a temporary demo bike for me to test. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of CUBE products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below, and the CUBE electric bike forums.
- The name of this ebike denotes the 400 watt hour battery pack and “all road” capability of the bike. It performs well in urban environments due to the included fenders and lights, as well as cross country and light trail mountain bike terrain. The Reaction Hybrid Performance is a new model for 2021 that replaces the Acid Hybrid. It’s available in Europe, Canada, and the US through official dealers. I believe it will be one of their more popular models due to its versatility, value price point, large range of six frame sizes and two frame styles, beautiful integrated battery design, and trusted Bosch drive systems.
- CUBE is a very large German bicycle producer with a proven track record. They use premium parts and offer a wide selection of models, each in multiple sizes. As a reviewer, it’s a bit overwhelming! For customers, it provides many options to get exactly what you want in terms of hardware and battery capacity. Keep in mind that the company offers a Reaction Hybrid Performance 500 with a higher capacity battery pack, and Reaction Hybrid Pro 500 and 625 with higher capacity batteries and fancier parts such as upgraded drivetrain and air suspension. In order to get the fenders and lights seen here, you need to get one of the “Allroad” models.
- Good all-around value here, this is one of the most affordable and versatile ebikes I’ve seen that uses the higher quality Bosch Performance Line Cruise motor and PowerTube battery pack… even if they did opt for the lower capacity PowerTube 400 vs. a 500 or 625. This allows for the smaller frame sizes and reduces overall weight.
- The bike comes in six frame sizes across two frame styles and the frame is hydroformed to look beautiful. The high-step will offer more stiffness and be easier to mount to some “hang style” bicycle racks that attach to the top tube. The mid-step is great for people who want a lower stand-over height and would be a great option if you do add a rear rack.
- I love that the both frame styles, high-step and mid-step, have bottle cage bosses on the downtube. It appears that the larger high-step frame even has a second bottle cage mounting point on the seat tube!
- CUBE has some excellent accessories for their ebikes including durable quiet fenders, integrated lights, and an adjustable kickstand. The optional CUBE ACID rear rack work really well here too. I showcase the two rack options in the video review and photos in this review. I appreciate how they connect to the rear fender to reduce rattling and are positioned far back to allow room for the saddle to go all the way down without colliding.
- The bikes have a nice cohesive visual appearance with black accents on the hubs, rims, crank arms, seat post, stem, and handlebar. Black is a good color choice because it hides the battery cover, shifter cables, and electrical wires! Note that this is a completely purpose-built frame with internal cable routing, so apart from the handlebar and derailleur area most of the clutter is hidden.
- The playful neon green accents aren’t just limited to the frame, they also appear on the fork lowers, grips, and saddle! This is the kind of integration that you usually only find on more premium bicycles. I also felt that the saddle was very comfortable, I believe that it uses memory foam.
- The full-wrap slap guard really stood out to me because it will protect the entire chain stay from getting chipped if you ride off-road and the chain bounces around a lot. Given the Shimano Alivio derailleur here, which does not offer the tightening lever seen on Deore and XT derailleurs, the slap guard is a relevant upgrade. I also appreciate the plastic chainring guard and how close the chainring itself is to the motor casing and frame because it probably functions as a guide to reduce chain drops altogether.
- Because the bike uses taller 29″ wheels and has a basic suspension fork, it feels pretty comfortable. The wider diameter wheels deliver a lower attack angle and the knobby off-road tires absorb smaller bumps, cracks, and rough gravel. If you wanted to further enhance comfort, you could swap the rigid seatpost out for a 30.9mm suspension seatpost.
- CUBE makes a lot of their own hardware but also partners with leading companies like Alexrims. The rims on this ebike are above average, and include reinforcement eyelets that reduce the chances of cracking.
- The weight distribution on this electric bike is excellent, both the motor and battery are positioned low and center. Since both wheels are attached with quick release skewers, it makes trail maintenance easy. And, both tires are of a higher quality with puncture resistant layers.
- It’s uncommon to see electric mountain bikes that come with a kickstand, because they can jitter up and down when riding over rough terrain… however, I think it’s a great feature on this ebike since it also comes with fenders and lights, this is really an urban + light trail bike in my opinion. But, you could easily remove the kickstand and fenders if you wanted to.
- The fenders used here are proprietary, custom made to fit perfectly and perform quietly. I took the bike off-road several times during my ride tests and the fenders worked very well protecting my legs and feet. Plastic tends to be lighter and more durable than aluminum or steel, which can bend or rust, but it needs to be thick enough and beveled to be sturdy… which is the case here.
- Good brakes make a world of difference, especially on heavier bicycles like and ebikes. The Shimano hydraulic disc brakes seen here are easy to actuate with just one or two fingers, the brake levers offer adjustable reach, and the larger 180mm rotors improve cooling and deliver increased mechanical advantage for stopping larger 29er wheels.
- The Bosch PowerTube 400 battery pack looks beautiful, because it’s completely hidden in the downtube. I like the plastic cover they chose, because it connects and disconnects easily and securely. This battery can be charged on or off the bike using the included fast 4 amp charger (big upgrade over the slower 2 amp Bosch charger), and is protected by the same two year comprehensive warranty as the motor and display. I trust Bosch systems to be tougher and longer lasting than much of the competition.
- CUBE paid extra for ABUS “keyed alike” lock and key for this electric bike. That means, you can order a folding lock or u-lock that uses the same key as your ebike. This reduces clutter and saves time at the bike rack, in my experience.
- The motor used here is one of my all time favorites. This is the Performance Line Cruise, which is a bit less powerful than the Performance Line CX, but quieter and more efficient. It’s the perfect choice for an urban + cross country ebike. It offers shift detection and super fast natural response to pedal input (measuring pedal speed, pedal torque, and rear wheel speed over 1,000x per second) but it also stops quickly as soon as you stop pedaling. The chainring also cycles backwards, which makes drivetrain maintenance easier (many competing motors let the crank cycle backwards but do not actually cycle the drivetrain).
- Even though this ebike is using the lowest capacity battery available from Bosch, it still gets excellent range and is very efficient. Mid-drive motors leverage the cassette if you shift gears thoughtfully… and since you’ve got an excellent 11 to 36 tooth cassette here with nine speeds, the bike can be very efficient! It climbed well and felt comfortable at speed during my ride tests.
- Bosch offers many display panels now, including some removable color ones with Micro-USB charging and smartphone application integration. You can buy and swap those nicer displays onto this ebike, but the included Bosch Purion display is still pretty decent. It’s easy to read, uses very little power, stays out of the way on the handlebar and blends in with the bike to make it kind of stealth. I find that it’s easy to reach and use when riding because the buttons are very large and “clicky” when pressed.
- CUBE is sold predominantly through dealers which usually provide sizing options, test rides, and post-purchase support. This adds a bit to the price, but significantly improves the ownership experience in my opinion.
- CUBE is one of the bigger European (German) brands that I perceive as being reliable and trustworthy. They offer great value on their ebikes, and provide a two year comprehensive warranty with five years warranty on the frame
- My least favorite part of this ebike is the suspension fork, because it’s a basic coil design with limited adjustability (preload adjust only, no compression, lockout, or rebound). Spring forks like this also tend to weigh more than air forks, but at least the tapered steer tube on the frame provides compatibility with a wide range of upgrades if you ever decide to pursue them.
- At first, I wasn’t sure if this electric bike would be compatible with rear cargo racks because there are no additional threaded eyelets or bosses on the seat stays. With a bit of research however, I discovered that CUBE sells their own proprietary ACID racks for ~$80 that bolt directly to the top of the rear fender and in two places where the fender support arms connect to the frame. The racks come in two flavors (one with a spring latch on top), and appears to offer good weight capacity (25kg 55lb max), bungee loops at the base, and pannier hangers and blockers on the sides. My only complaint is that you have to buy the CUBE rack, which costs more and appears to only work with the rear fender connected to the bike. Their kickstand interface also appears to be proprietary vs. a standard 18mm or 40mm bolt spacing. If you don’t live near a dealer, it might be harder to buy these accessories.
- CUBE appears to be growing their dealer network in North America, but their shops just aren’t as common as some of the other big brands like Trek, Giant, and Specialized. I was only aware of one or two shops in the US and Canada that carried them before 2020, and that makes it difficult to test ride, purchase, and support.
- I really like the wide 11-36T nine speed cassette and Shimano Alivio derailleur setup here, but the Alivio trigger shifter for moving into high gears is a one-way setup. This means that you have to use your pointer finger on the right hand to pull the lever vs. using your thumb to push it (or having a choice). Shimano does offer a Deore trigger shifter that uses a two-way high lever, and I wish they would have upgraded to that here because I often dedicate my right pointer finger to braking. Consider upgrading to the Reaction Hybrid Performance 500 or Pro models to get nicer shifter mechanisms.
- In addition to the heavier spring suspension fork, the Bosch PowerTube battery is much heavier than their older external PowerPack batteries. I thought that CUBE did an excellent job integrating those packs into their frames to look nice (here’s an example), but I can see why they moved towards the fully integrated PowerTube. Still, these new batteries take longer to put on and take off the bike, don’t have an easy-carry handle, require the key to be put in and twisted when re-mounting, and utilize a plastic shield cover that does not lock to the frame (so it could be easily taken at bike racks). I feel like there is lots of room for improvement with the Bosch PowerTube, in addition to it being much heavier for the same battery capacity.
- As is the case with many Bosch powered ebikes, the on-frame charging port is located low near the left crank arm on the non-drivetrain side of the bike. Since the bike tips towards the kickstand, you end up fighting the handlebar and front wheel as you bend down and try to line up the plug… the cord can then be snagged on the crank or pedal. To me, this is just a messier and more physically difficult placement than high up on the right side of the frame. But at least this is where they positioned the battery locking core :)
- As mentioned earlier, the key must be inserted and twisted agains the spring mechanism in order to release the battery and to re-insert it. I found this to be difficult, because one hand must support and align the battery while another is inserting and twisting the key. I prefer batteries that allow for mounting without requiring the key at all.
- This is a minor complaint, but the headlight is mounted to the suspension arch. This position increases unsprung weight, lowers the light (which reduces visibility to cars), and it seems that the beam is somewhat obstructed by the fender and tire. I’d prefer a light that was mounted at the base of the steerer tube on top of the crown, or up on the stem or handlebar.
- Despite being one of the most affordable CUBE ebike models, the Reaction Hybrid Performance 400 models still cost a bit extra. This one is nearly $3k USD, which is a lot for a student or working professional. Given the quick release wheels and seat post collar, I’d definitely bring a cable and heavy-duty U-lock to secure it in urban environments. Of course, given the lower battery capacity, you also end up with shorter range than the PowerTube 500 or 625, but it appears that the frame can actually accept those higher capacity packs, which is pretty neat! This is a good option for upgrading down the road, just like the suspension fork.
- The bike comes with the most basic Bosch Purion display panel which eliminates average speed, max speed, clock, and some other readouts that Intuvia, Kiox, and Nyon offer. It’s not compatible with Bosch Connected smartphone apps, and it’s not removable. The backlighting brightness also appears to not be adjustable whereas the fancier ones offer adaptive backlighting. I think this display is a decent choice for a cross country mountain bike because it’s small and stays out of the way. it’s also simple to use, it’s just a bit compromise in terms of readouts and doesn’t offer Micro-USB charging for your portable electronics like the other displays do.
- I love that CUBE chose the Bosch Plus keyset for their battery pack, because it can be keyed-alike to a folding lock or frame lock… and there’s even space to mount these to the downtube! However, I’ve heard from shops that it can take weeks or even longer to actually order a matching lock from ABUS (at least in North America), so I’d love to see this aspect of the supply chain improved in the future. Right now, shops seem agitated that I mention the matching lock option in reviews because it makes extra work for them and seems to take a long time.
- CUBE chose to use the older left chain stay mounted Bosch speed reader and spoke magnet vs. some of the newest designs which are positioned near the disc brake caliper mount, so they won’t get bumped out of position as easily. Pay special attention to this even when buying brand new, because it can cause read errors and make pedal assist not work consistently if the magnet is swiveled a bit.
- Official CUBE website.
- Official Reaction Hybrid Performance 400 Allroad page and full lineup of all Reaction Hybrid models as well as the official rear rack “luggage rack” for these bikes.
- Bosch Purion ebike display settings video and official overview for the Bosch Performance Line ebike motor.
- Local CUBE ebike shop directory and map to find a local dealer for fitting and test rides.