CUBE SUV Hybrid SL 27.5 Review

Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Electric Bike Review 1
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Gates Carbon Drive Cdx
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Bosch Powerpack 400 Battery
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Bosch Intuvia Display
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Carbon Fiber Fork
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Hydraulic Disc Brake 160 Mm
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Motor Casing
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Nuvinci H Sync Cvt
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Sdg Rock City Saddle
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Electric Bike Review 1
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Gates Carbon Drive Cdx
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Bosch Powerpack 400 Battery
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Bosch Intuvia Display
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Carbon Fiber Fork
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Hydraulic Disc Brake 160 Mm
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Motor Casing
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Nuvinci H Sync Cvt
Cube Suv Hybrid Sl 27 5 Sdg Rock City Saddle

Summary

  • High performance urban electric bike with light weight carbon fiber fork and an automatic shifting system that maintains the cadence you set with NuVinci H Sync
  • Larger Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires provide some cushion, 27.5" wheelset strikes a balance between efficiency and maneuverability
  • Bosch Centerdrive motor system is extremely responsive and efficient, positions battery and motor weight low and center on the frame for improved balance

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

CUBE

Model:

SUV Hybrid SL 27.5

Price:

$4,799 USD

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Commuting

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Motor and Battery, 5 Year Frame

Availability:

United States, Canada, Europe

Model Year:

2015

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

47 lbs (21.31 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.5 lbs (2.49 kg)

Motor Weight:

8.8 lbs (3.99 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminium Superlite, ARG 27.5er, Double Butted, Disc Only

Frame Sizes:

16 in (40.64 cm)18 in (45.72 cm)20 in (50.8 cm)

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Glossy

Frame Fork Details:

Carbon Fiber, HPC, Mopnocoque, Advanced Twin Mold Technology

Frame Rear Details:

Fox Float Suspension with 120 mm Travel and CTD (Climb, Trail, Descend Adjust)

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x10 Shimano Deore XT M 786 Shadow Plus, 11-36T

Shifter Details:

H|SYNC Autogear

Cranks:

FSA Metropolis Urban AL-8, 22 Sprocket

Pedals:

CUBE Aluminium MTB

Headset:

CUBE 1.5E ZS, Top Zero-Stack 1 1/ 8" (OD 44 mm), Bottom Zero-Stack 1 1/ 2" (OD 56 mm)

Stem:

CUBE Performance Pro, 6°

Handlebar:

CUBE Rise Trail Bar, 660 mm

Brake Details:

Shimano Deore A-M615 Hydraulic Disc, 180 mm Front, 160 mm Back

Grips:

CUBE Natural Fit Race

Saddle:

SDG Rock City

Seat Post:

CUBE Performance Post

Seat Post Diameter:

30.9 mm

Rims:

Alex ZX24

Spokes:

DT Swiss Industry 2.0 mm

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe Super Moto-X, 27.5" x 2.4"

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)

Tire Details:

Kevlar Lined

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Aluminum Alloy Chain Guide

Other:

Quick Release Front Wheel, Locking Removable Battery Pack with LED Charge Level Indicator, Gates CDX Center Track Carbon Belt with 28 Teeth, Shimano HB-M525 Front Hub, NuVinci N360 H|SYNC Nut Rear Hub, RFR Varioclose 34.9 mm Seat Post Clamp, Part Number 666400

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bosch Drive Unit Performance Cruise

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Torque:

60 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

11 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

396 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Estimated Max Range:

65 miles (105 km)

Display Type:

Intuvia, Removable Backlit Grayscale LCD

Readouts:

Speed, Assist Level (Eco, Tour, Sport, Turbo), Battery Level (1-5), Odometer, Trip Distance, Estimated Range, Clock, Max Speed, Average Speed, Trip Time

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad with Tactile Feedback

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Combined Torque, Cadence and Speed), (Eco 50%, Tour 120%, Sport 190%, Turbo 275%)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The CUBEW SUV Hybrid SL is one of the first cadence matching electric bikes I’ve tested. It uses an electronic shifting system to match the “gears” to your desired pedal speed… but instead of using gears it relies on a NuVinci H Sync continuously variable transmission (CVT). The drivetrain is extremely tight, clean and quiet but there is some servo noise produced by the shifters and the geared Bosch mid-drive motor. For a refined city/urban style bike the drivetrain is wonderful and it completely opens up the handlebars. I actually felt confused a couple of times when accelerating because there were no shifters to rest my thumbs on. I’m so used to banging through gears when testing ebikes to see how the drive system will respond and in this case… it all just sort of works and the only thing to focus on is ride quality and the surroundings. The frame is aluminum alloy but the fork is carbon fiber and this reduces weight, dampens vibration and provides efficiency. I love that the fork is color matched to the rest of the frame (a sort of glossy gray) but miss fender mounts, especially for locations where it rains a lot. Thankfully, there are four bosses and a center hole on the seat stays so you can add a fender there as well as a rack. This would be a fun commuter bike because it’s extremely efficient. The tires are a bit squishy (if you don’t overfill them) and that adds a bit of comfort but I think I’d still lean towards a Body Float or NCX suspension post (make sure it fits 30.9 mm or use a shim). I could definitely see more e-bikes with a fully integrated motor and shifting setup like this but it doesn’t come cheap. CUBE, which is known for offering more affordable Bosch powered bike, still charges $4,799 for this model and I’m sure a lot of that cash goes straight to Bosch and NuVinci.

Driving this bike is a 250 watt geared centerdrive motor from Bosch (there might be some 350 watt versions depending on your location). It offers 60 newton meters of torque and responds to the rear wheel speed, your pedal cadence and pedal torque to switch on and off smoothly and quickly. It also has shift detection built in but I’m not sure that functions here because of the CVT auto-shifting… I’m not sure it’s necessary because there aren’t huge drop offs and banging associated with cadence changes like there are with a chain and sprockets. While most other mid-drive electric bikes use traditional sized chainrings, Bosch systems use smaller sprockets up front that rotate about 2.5x for every pedal stroke. This allows the motor to operate at a higher RPM and gain a mechanical advantage while pulling the chain. I think it also allows for faster chain stop as the motor disengages. As shown in the video review above, at higher RPMs there is a distinct whining noise produced by the motor but it’s not that noticeable if you’re operating at a lower cadence (I was at 60 RPM for most of the video). Note that I was also in the highest level of assist for most of my ride in order to accentuate motor noise and illustrate the speed with which the Bosch system starts and stops. The outer casing on the motor is purely aesthetic and designed to protect the metal-encased drive unit inside which bolts directly to the motor plate (joining the downtube, seat tube and chain stays). It’s a great system that feels powerful and natural until it cuts out as you reach the top speed and then pedaling becomes much more difficult :)

Powering the CUBE SUV LS is a Bosch Powerpack 400 battery that mounts just above the motor, along the downtube. It’s positioned well for both weight distribution and protection in the event of a crash and it’s removable for transporting and charging off of the frame. You get 36 volts of power and 11 amp hours of capacity here which is a touch above average in terms of size but the way this power is used and the quality of the cells inside is well above average. Inside the pack are 18650 cells made by Samsung, they use an energy dense Lithium-ion chemistry designed to be light weight and long lasting. The pack only weighs ~5.5 lbs so you could conceivably buy a spare and toss it into a backpack for extremely long rides… the charger only weighs ~1.5 lbs and is fairly small as well so brining it along would be lighter if you’ve got a place to plugin. Reaching ~80% takes just one hour but completely filling the pack is closer to three due to cell balancing. I like that the pack itself has an LED readout on the left side for showing your charge status (handy if you’re storing it inside and can’t remember if it’s already full or needing a top-off). It locks securely to the frame when mounted and uses an ABUS core and key set which is definitely higher quality. I noticed that mounting the pack on this particular bike felt a bit tighter and required more effort than other Bosch ebikes I’ve tried… not sure why. The pack has a sort of built in handle that makes it convenient to carry around when off the bike, dropping it could crack the case and potentially damage the connections inside so this little touch is actually a big deal in my opinion. To really care for this pack and help it reach 1,000+ charge cycles I recommend storing in a cool, dry environment and maintaining a 20% to 80% fill at all times. If you haven’t used the bike for several months time, top off the battery. You can easily charge the pack on or off the frame using the same unique connector plug and it fits securely with a nice click.

Operating the CUBE SUV Hybrid SL is comfortable (physically speaking) but a bit less intuitive than traditional Bosch powered electric bikes. That’s because you use the display panel and button pad to select a power level and cadence level… there are no shifters. For a brand new rider, someone who has never ridden a traditional bicycle with gears, this setup would probably feel fine but for me it took a bit of getting used to. I found myself feeling around for shifters with my thumb on the right grip and I had the desire to shift into higher gears while accelerating… even though my cadence didn’t require it. The one definite drawback to this Bosch+NuVinci system is that you rely more on the screen and might be tempted to adjust more settings while riding than if it had shifters. Normally I’d be able to ride without looking down at all but with this bike I found myself distracted by the LCD trying to see which mode I was in (power select or cadence select) and it can take up to seven clicks on the “i” button to get to the correct area. If you simply choose a power level for your entire ride and then use the up and down arrows to select cadence you’ll be fine… and the opposite is also true. I’m not sure which I’d prefer and maybe it isn’t a big deal but it’s definitely more involved than shifting gears with one hand and changing power with the other.

The display panel itself is backlit and has a lights on/off button, you could actually wire in lights to run off the main battery if you wanted to. It’s removable (but also comes with a set screw if you want to secure it more permanently), swivels forward and back to reduce glare and powers on fairly quickly. There’s also a small micro USB port on the top right-side edge that could charge a portable electronic device (or update the firmware and charge the display itself) just note that it only offers 5 volts, 500 ma of power. I like having the display in the center and appreciate the separate control pad that’s mounted near the left grip. These two interfaces put you in full control of the drive systems and offer multiple ways to do the same standard things. The “i” button lets you explore everything from trip distance to ride time, max speed and estimated range (which is my favorite). You can fairly accurately predict how far you’ll get with pedal assist using the range estimator and this is one of the more efficient builds I’ve tested so 60+ miles is definitely possible on moderate terrain in Eco mode.

I’ve been excited to test the CUBE brand for some time now and was really impressed with the style… they have a vast lineup of models in Europe that offer a wide range of ride experiences and each bike looks distinctly cool. the SUV SL felt sharp and professional, there aren’t any stripes or colorful patterns going on, just a shiny gray and black that envelops every tube, component and drivetrain element. This is clean bike that feels responsive and looks aerodynamic, cables are all internally routed and there’s no chain bouncing around… just a short flat belt (the Gates Carbon Drive CDX). The one branding element I did see was a raised metallic outline of the brand “CUBE” along the downtube. Well done! Even though I’m still warming up to the auto shifting CVT thing it was definitely fun to try out. I’m not sure if the electronic shifting runs off of the same battery as the motor but that would be cool. If you like racing around town or plan on commuting and want a bike that looks awesome, comes in a few different sizes and uses state of the art technology then this is an obvious choice. If I could change one thing it would be to add mounting points for a front fender but part of me doesn’t want to tarnish the sleek looks, quiet operation and light weight of the stock setup… maybe a slim black backpack would be better.

Pros:

  • Carbon fiber fork is light weight and helps to absorb some road vibration (more so than aluminum alloy)
  • The Gates Carbon Belt drive system is super quiet, clean and tight which means it won’t slap your chain stays or require the same sorts of tuneups as a chain running a cassette
  • You can shift at standstill (or approximate shifting by changing your cadence with the Bosch Intuvia system)
  • Smooth, powerful hydraulic disc brakes front and rear require less hand strength to activate
  • Removable display panel, battery pack and quick release on front wheel for more compact storage, lighter transport and maintenance and easier charging
  • Excellent range thanks to the efficient centerdrive motor that leverages the rear CVT and high performance Lithium-ion 396 watt hour battery
  • Great torque output, this bike can climb very well in Turbo mode when you’re pedaling along, try the higher cadence settings for very steep terrain
  • Battery pack locks to the frame for security and uses a quality ABUS core with in-cut routed key, the pack can be charged on or off the frame for convenience or to reduce weight if you’d like to ride unpowered, the pack also includes an LED charge level indicator
  • Intuitive display panel is large, easy to read and removable – the stand alone button pad is easy to reach without taking your hand off the left grip and “clicks” when pressed for tactile feedback (you don’t have to look down when riding), it’s neat that it controls power level and cadence so you don’t need any additional switches, buttons or shifters
  • Larger Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires offer a bit of cusion without increasing drag, the slick pattern is fairly quiet but also grippy, kevlar lining reduces flats from stickers
  • Three frame sizes offer better fit for a wider range of riders (16″, 18″ and 20″)
  • Nice paint and raised metal branding on the downtube, all cables and wires are routed through the frame which reduces the potential for snags when riding or hauling this bike
  • Good weight distribution (motor and battery centered and low on the frame), one of the lightest Bosch powered ebikes I’ve tested

Cons:

  • No quick release system on the rear wheel despite being a mid-drive ebike, this is likely due to the Nuvinci H Sync
  • When the tires are filled to capacity the ride can become stiff when rolling over bumps, consider a Thudbuster, Body Float or Suntour NCX suspension seat post
  • When I hit the top speed of the drive system the motor cut out smoothly but pedal cadence changed, it became slower than what I had set in the menu
  • As with all electronically shifting bicycles, if the shifter battery runs out you can no longer change gears
  • More difficult to add a front fender with the custom carbon fiber fork, I didn’t see an eyelet for mounting at the top or sides
  • The battery pack takes up the space where a water bottle cage might otherwise mount and there isn’t one on the seat tube due to the rear suspension setup, consider and aftermarket accessory for the saddle rails or grab a CamelBak
  • No throttle mode, this bike only offers pedal assist (like all Bosch powered systems) but will get a better range than if it did
  • The brake levers do not include a motor inhibitor but the drive system is more responsive than others I’ve tested so it hasn’t been an issue… also, normally the Bosch system utilizes shift detection but I don’t think that’s active here with the CVT, maybe it’s not necessary since there aren’t big jumps, just more of a slide

Resources:

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Comments (9) YouTube Comments

Bike_On
4 years ago

In the review, I saw a building called Steve Nash Fitness World. Is that the Steve Nash commentator on EBR?

  Reply
Court Rye
4 years ago

Hmm… I’m not sure? This was shot in Surrey BC, Canada at Cite Cycles and I was just riding around the neighborhood :P

  Reply
l.a.d
4 years ago

You send way to much time talking about unnecessary points about the bikes. Please can you just give the main points then ride the bikes. You will sound less bias to me. Otherwise you are doing a good job of showing us ebikes

  Reply
Court Rye
4 years ago

Thanks for the feedback, I spend extra time on the reviews because I imagine that many customers are new to the space and benefit from the extra information. It sounds like you’re well informed already and I realize the videos can seem long winded and biased. I’m trying to be enthusiastic and explore multiple dimensions and that creates a trade off. By listing the specs back here at the site I hope to offer advanced readers a faster way to get the info they want and compare models without the longer videos. Maybe as these become more mainstream I’ll tighten the reviews up a bit ;)

  Reply
Brad
2 years ago

There’s a setting in YouTube that allows the viewer to alter the playback speed of the video, which helps viewers who are more well versed in getting to the information they are looking for. Playback speeds vary between 1.25, 1.5, and 2x.

chris
3 years ago

Hi there, really great review, thanks. I had a question: do you remember what the lowest possoble cadence was at 20mph? I am trying to fgure out what would happen if you added a baddass box and derestricted the speed reading on the motor? could you reach 30mph on a cadence of 60rpm?

  Reply
Court Rye
3 years ago

Hi Chris! I don’t remember and really don’t have much of an answer for you… but wanted to say that I think it’s a neat idea and would love to hear how it turns out :D

  Reply
Ryan
2 years ago

Hey Court,

Thanks for the only review of this bike online. I love the Nuvinci Harmony and Cadence control. This is an amazing feature and I’m surprised why there aren’t more bikes of this nature here in the states.

Since you are a master of all the electric options out there, I was wondering if you had anything good or bad to say about buying online from Motostrano. They are the only place I have found where I can buy this gorgeous bike. They also have the Corratech but I read your review and it was a shitty thing that happened to you. I like the looks of the Cube better too. Scared to give a company $5K that I don’t know anything about :D

  Reply
Court Rye
2 years ago

Hi Ryan! I really appreciate your feedback… It was a shitty situation but that’s not necessarily the fault of the guys who designed or made the Corratech, I like the bike, just not the experience I had with the man they chose to represent them in the US. We all have challenges right ;)

Anyway, I do know Joe from Motostrano and he is one of the very few shops in America who carry Cube. He’s a unique fellow, outspoken but smart and driven. I feel like he’s the kind of person you could buy from and have someone to be there for you but I have only spent limited time with him and never bought a bike. Everyone (or most everyone) treats me pretty good since I’m like the media in this industry. You’d be getting a quality product here with the Cube, Bosch makes some of the best motors and batteries so regardless of Joe, you should have a good experience. I hope this helps and I’m glad EBR has been a positive resource for you!

  Reply

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