- A feature complete urban electric bike setup for safe commuting, available in five sizes and three frame styles (high-step, mid-step, or step-thru) to optimize performance or approachability
- Extremely well balanced with drive system weight low and center, the battery mount is sunk into the downtube and protected by a paint-matched plastic cover, quick release on both wheels, puncture resistant tires
- Reflective tire casings and integrated LED lights keep you safe, the headlight has side windows to expand your visual footprint, large intuitive display panel is removable and has a Micro USB charging port built in
- Narrow high pressure tires and 700c wheel size allows this ebike to coast efficiently but comfort is maintained with a highly adjustable air suspension fork, suspension seat post, gel saddle, and locking ergonomic grips, powerful hydraulic disc brakes, excellent kickstand choice
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CUBE is a German bicycle brand that built a reputation around mountain bikes. They’ve expanded into North America with a limited number of dealers, bringing some of their flagship models to Canada and the United States. One of those models is the Touring Hybrid Pro 400. This ebike balances utility against cost by stocking the smaller PowerPack 400 battery and slower 2 amp compact charger, but everything else is upgraded. The 10-speed Shimano Deore derailleur has a one way clutch, used to tighten the chain for bumpy or fast riding, which usually only comes with mountain bikes. A wide 11-42 tooth cassette allows you to climb steeper hills efficiently and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power, even if you’ve got 50+lbs of cargo on the rear rack. SKS plastic fenders with mud flaps keep you clean, integrated LED lights keep you seen, and the air suspension fork, suspension seat post, gel saddle, and ergonomic grips improve comfort. This electric bike delivers a lot of efficiency with 700c wheels that have a lower attack angle and slick Schwalbe touring tires that have puncture protection and reflective sidewalls. The rims use reinforcement eyelets to handle more weight without cracking over time, the chainring has a sturdy alloy guard that protects pant legs while keeping the chain from dropping. I love how they were able to squeeze in bottle cage bosses and hide the battery with a proprietary plastic covering. Bosch now has PowerTube batteries that completely hide inside of downtubes, but they weigh more and usually aren’t as cross compatible between ebike models. I love the PowerPack 400 and 500 because they are interchangeable and less expensive to replace. Weighing in at roughly 52lbs, this ebike is available in five sizes and three styles. The step-thru is very approachable but not as stiff. The battery interface is vertical, just in front of the seat tube, vs. the sunk-in downtube design on the high-step and mid-step. My personal favorite is the mid-step because it balances frame stiffness and power transfer against lower standover with easy mounting. For those who intend to hang the bike on a car or bus rack, or pick it up and carry on your shoulder, the high-step is a great option. All three models have quick release wheels. While reviewing the bike with help from Jason of Cit-E-Cycles in Langley Canada, we also showcased a CUBE Cross model that utilized the same frame. That product was a bit lighter, because it lacked the rack and fender accessories. It utilized a spring suspension fork vs. air and had cross tires vs. city slicks. It’s interesting to see how CUBE leverages their frames to perform in different environments, and how some models only comes in one color choice. The Touring Hybrid Pro 400 looks great in dark blue with all black accents, all the way down to the spokes. It’s not the most affordable electric bike at $3.4k, but it comes with an excellent warranty, is built with leading components, and was thoughtfully engineered for performance and durability.
Driving the CUBE Touring Hybrid Pro 400 is the new Active Line Plus motor from Bosch. It weighs nearly one pound less than the Performance Line motors, is more compact in size (hiding behind the chainring beautifully), and operates without producing as much noise. It’s a good fit for a bicycle like this, offering higher 105 rotations per minute vs. just 100 from the entry Active Line motor. You get slightly lesst torque, about 50 Newton meters peak, compared to the Performance drive units but it still climbs well if you shift gears thoughtfully… and with 10 gears to choose from, the bike is very capable. It really compliments the lightweight efficient design of the bike itself. All Bosch mid-drive units offer shift detection, to reduce mashing and drivetrain wear. The motor controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque, over 1,000 times per second. I’m told that it listens for actual pedal pressure and is able to separate out shifting pressure to then cut power and ultimately reduce mashing, where the chain and sprockets can grind or slip. This motor also uses a traditionally sized 38-tooth chainring vs. the smaller proprietary sprocket on the Performance Line motors, which uses a reduction gear and introduces some friction when pedaling unpowered or above the 20 mph top assisted speed. In short, even though this is the less expensive, less powerful motor, it actually performs quite well and delivers a few unique advantages. I noticed that it started and stopped very quickly during the ride tests and was able to pedal backwards, actually feeding the chain in reverse, which can be useful for drivetrain adjustment and servicing.
Powering the CUBE Touring Hybrid Pro 400 is a… surprise! 400 watt hour Bosch PowerPack. This thing is proven, very well designed, and the mounting interface is forward compatible with the newer PowerPack 500 battery that offers 25% more capacity. Both packs are built into the same plastic casing which has an LED charge level indicator on the left side, a molded plastic loop at the top, and a proprietary charging port at the base. You can charge these packs on or off the bike and they only weigh 5.4 lbs and 5.7 lbs respectively. They are awesome in most ways, but not as hidden or sleek as some of the newest designs… again, they weigh less and are easy to rent or buy. CUBE really nailed the integration here, sinking the battery into the frame a bit to lower weight distribution and help it blend in. Most of the cables on this ebike are internally routed, but still accessible from the battery bay, when you remove the plastic cover and battery pack. The cover is paint matched and clicks into place on the downtube (only for the high-step and mid-step frames) but does not lock. Just like the display panel, this part can be removed for safe storage, but then dust and debris can get into the battery bay. I appreciate how compact and lightweight the charger is… but believe that you get the slower 2 Amp charger with this bike. Bosch also offers a 0.3 lb heavier and slightly larger 4 Amp charger but seems to be including those with the higher-end bikes now. This faster charger may come with higher priced versions of the Touring platform. Indeed, this would be a decent touring or trekking platform, but in those cases I would probably want to bring an additional battery pack and faster charger to keep the ride moving… or simply pedal in lower levels of assist to extend range.
The display panel used on this bike is one of my all-time favorites. Bosch has several models available, but the Intuvia is large and easy to read. It is removable to prevent tampering and damage… or you can use the security screw to more permanently attach it to the plastic mount. THere’s even a Micro-USB port built into the right side, so you could maintain a smartphone for GPS on longer rides in new locations. I really appreciate how easy and intuitive this display panel is to operate, and I have made a video guide with more detailed steps here to explain the deeper settings, such as changing units from miles to kilometers. The basic steps are to turn on the display by pressing the power button at the top left, and then click the up, down, and i buttons using the remote button pad located near the left grip. This pad is easy to reach, and can be operated without looking down because the i button is raised and rubberized. It separates the up and down arrows and clicks as you press, giving you a tactile guide to know what’s happening when you cannot see. Shifting gears is also fairly comfortable; the trigger shifters are only on the right side of the handlebar, tucked below the grip neatly. Shimano offers two-way high shifter levers and a multi-shift low lever for quick adjustments to pedal cadence. This is a nicer drivetrain, and remember that the one-way clutch will tighten the chain, reducing chain stay slaps and noise. CUBE has included a clear plastic chain stay protector in the event that the chain does slap, and you can always click the one way clutch into a down position to loosen derailleur tension for rear wheel service. The Touring Hybrid Pro 400 comes with very nice brakes from Shimano, and I want to point out that the front rotor is larger 180mm vs. the standard 160mm size in the rear. The larger rotor provides a mechanical advantage and increased cooling, weight usually shifts forward when stopping, so that’s why they opted for a larger rotor in the front vs. rear. The brake levers offer adjustable reach and should be equally easy to pull because they use hydraulic fluid vs. long metal wires. So much of this bike was designed to withstand water and dust over time, hydraulic brake lines won’t gunk up and the sealed headset and bottom bracket won’t rust and creak as readily.
Ever since I first discovered and began reviewing CUBE electric bike products in 2015, I have been impressed with their quality and value. It was neat speaking with Jason, the shop manager for Cit-E-Cycles, getting some hands-on help and insights for this review. He attended a year long bicycle school in Canada and really knew his stuff. We had some fun comparing two CUBE models back to back and really going deep on the technical specs and configuration. The rear rack design really stood out here as being strong. The integrated light probably won’t get disconnected as easily, the rear fender won’t rattle as much because it’s connected to the rack supports, and the standard gauge top piece will work with more pannier and bag accessories. It appears that the saddle can also be lowered all the way without colliding with trunk bags, and for those who need the absolute lowest saddle position, consider swapping out the 27.2mm suspension post for a rigid post like one of these. One thing the bike does lack is a full protection chain cover, and this might have been skipped to reduce weight and rattling… the alloy guard does an acceptable job keeping pants protected and cleanish. Note that if you are considering the Touring model vs. the Cross, which uses the same frame, you will not get an adjustable length kickstand and I didn’t see rack bosses there. I suspect that it would be easier to swap the slick city tires her for some gravel ones if you intend on carrying any loads. Big thanks to CUBE and Cit-E-Cycles for partnering with me on this review. I welcome comments and feedback below or you can hop over to the CUBE ebike forums and connect directly with other owners and share pictures etc.
- The frame is available in five sizes and three styles: high-step, mid-step, and step-thru, so you can optimize for fit and approachability… the high-step will offer the most strength and stiffness but step-thru will be the easiest to mount and stand over
- So much utility on offer, the sturdy integrated rack with spring latch and pannier hangers allow you to haul cargo, the full length fenders keep you dry and clean, integrated lights and reflective tires keep you seen
- Comfort is addressed very well by the gel saddle and locking ergonomic grips, suspension seat post, and adjustable air suspension fork
- Motor and battery weight are positioned low and center on the frame to improve stability and handling, the Bosch Active Line Plus mid-drive balances compact size against zippy performance… it’s a step up from the standard Active Line and only weighs ~7lbs
- The bike itself weighs just 52lbs, which isn’t much considering all of the accessories that it comes with! I think the air suspension makes a difference vs. spring, I weighed the medium 50cm mid-step for this review
- I appreciate the double-layer plastic skid plate protecting the underside of the motor, the addition of bottle cage bosses on the downtube (for the mid-step), the tool-free adjustable length kickstand at the rear, and the sleek battery integration with matching cover
- The Bosch Active Line Plus motor is fairly quiet, uses a standard sized chainring that does not produce drag when pedaling unassisted, but still offers shift detection to reduce wear on the drivetrain
- I’m a big fan of the Bosch Intuvia display panel because it’s so large and easy to read, you can swivel it to reduce glare and even remove it for safe keeping if you’ve parked outside at a public rack
- The display panel has a dedicated light button, to activate the integrated LED lights, and I appreciate how it also comes with an independent button pad that is easy to reach from the left grip to adjust assist levels while steering, notice that the headlight has side windows so you will be seen easier from the sides vs. just the front
- The display panel has a Micro-USB port built in so you can maintain a smartphone or other portable electronic device while riding, this is especially useful if you use your phone for GPS
- The alloy chainring protector helps to reduce chain drops, will keep your pant legs from getting as greasy or snagged, and protects the chainring teeth if you hit a curb or log… a full chain cover would keep you even cleaner but add weight and possibly rattle
- I like that CUBE did include a chain stay slap guard sticker to protect the paint as the chain bounces on rough terrain and that they even included a clear plastic sticker below the downtube to reduce chips from rocks that might bounce up from the front tire
- Excellent drivetrain, the 10-speed cassette has a wide of 11 to 42 tooth sprockets vs. 11 to 36 or even 22 to 32 on some competing bikes, the Shimano Deore derailleur has a one way clutch to tighten the chain when riding on bumpy terrain or at higher speeds
- Nice rims, notice the color matched sticker accents and reinforcement eyelets that add strength, the black spokes look great as well
- Hydraulic disc brakes are always nice because they don’t stretch or get gunked up like mechanical, the seem to require less hand effort and have adjust able reach levers, I like how CUBE opted for a larger 180mm front rotor to increase stopping power on big hills or if you’ve got heavy cargo on the rack
- Sealed bearing headset and bottom bracket (for protection in wet environments) and Bosch uses a proprietary mini splined crank arm interface, similar to ISIS for better strength and power transfer vs. square tapered
- It’s wonderful to be able to charge the battery on or off the bike, Bosch has a handle built into their PowerPacks for safe transport, and you can use the 400 or 500 watt hour battery with the same mounting interface here
- The Schwalbe Marathon GT Tour are pretty nice, they offer puncture protection so you won’t get as many flats, I appreciate that both the front and back wheels connect to the frame with quick release so you can perform trail maintenance and fixes much easier if they do happen
- I like how the battery cover actually clicks in and has a release button, the locking cylinder is positioned up on the left side of the frame where it will stay clean, and the charging port has a big rubber cover that seats securely and has a leash so it won’t get lost as easily
- CUBE is one of the bigger European brands that I perceive as being reliable, they offer great value on their bikes, and have a two year comprehensive warranty with five years warranty on the frame
- It’s a very minor thing, but I love how you can pedal the bike backwards and the chain actually cycles through because this allows you to lubricate the chain and adjust the derailleur more easily without a stand, many competing mid-motor designs allow the cranks to spin backwards but the chain does not move
- I believe that this ebike comes with the slower 2 amp compact charger from Bosch vs. the 4 amp, it works well enough given the smaller 396 watt hour PowerPack 400 battery here
- CUBE dealers were somewhat limited in North America at the time of this review, it may be trickier to actually go in and test ride if you don’t live near one of the bigger cities
- Minor complaint here, I believe that CUBE does not ship their ebikes with pedals… most shops will add them, but it’s difficult to say what you’re going to get, I prefer the larger platform pedals like these lightweight magnesium Wellgos
- Minor consideration, the headlight is mounted to the arch of the suspension fork and may bounce up and down in this position because it’s unsprung vs. the stem or handlebar which are sprung and higher up for improved visibility… many ebikes put lights in this position because it reduces wire clutter and leaves room for display panels
- This particular model only comes in one frame color… but CUBE offers similar models in different colors and I love their minimalist branding, the darker blue helps to blend with all-black accents on the components, fenders, and spokes
- I love how the battery is sunk into the downtube to keep weight lower and make the bike look great, the plastic cover keeps dust and water out of this compartment, but unlike the battery inside, this cover doesn’t securely lock to the frame and could get taken
- Minor consideration, the charging port on the frame is low on the left side, in the path of the left crank arm which could collide and snag the charging cable… it’s less likely to crack or get broken because the Bosch plug is large and rubberized compared to many other ebikes that are narrow and plastic
- The biggest drawbacks for the Active Line Plus motor for me personally is that it only supports a pedal cadence up to 105 RPM vs. 120 RPM on the Performance Line, this means you have to shift gears more frequently in order to hit the maximum supported speeds… I prefer to spin fast and ride in lower gears, at least it offers 105 vs. 100 RPM on the standard Active Line motor and some competing mid drive offerings
- The rack should be compatible with a wide range of trunk bags and panniers but might require an adapter like this if you want to mount a child seat, because of the custom frame-welded supports that take up space below the rack itself