The ABS is the big news but this Cube e-MTB packs plenty of punch, with a quality spec, carbon frame and eye-catching looks
The Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC ABS 750 is a very capable full-suspension e-MTB that performs well above its 140mm of travel and features confidence inspiring ABS braking.
- Outstanding braking with the new Bosch ABS
- Powerful 750Wh battery
- Climbs with ease with 85Nm of hill-slaying torque
- Confidence-inspiring handling with All Mountain Geometry
- Excellent user-friendly tuning app
- – ABS braking takes a bit of getting used to
- – ABS won’t be for everyone
- – Only one color choice
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Recently I spent a few days at Glentress with the team at Cube checking out the new Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC ABS 750 that is likely to be a contender in the best electric mountain bike category. I at first got apprehensively familiar with the second generation of the Bosch anti-lock braking system on the trails that’ll host the world’s best mountain bike riders in August for the UCI World Championship cross-country races.
Before I had a first ride I wondered if I actually needed the ABS safety technology. Would it restrict the enjoyment of being able to lock up the back wheel, perform endos or take away my own braking style? However, after a few days of testing, I can safely say yes, I loved it and read on below to find out why.
ABS Braking Technology
The big news as mentioned on the Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 ABS is the next-generation anti-lock braking and our hosts from Cube and Bosch were keen to tell us all about the system that has already been recognized for its innovation, winning the prestigious Design and Innovation Award 2023. The ABS comes in a choice of modes all controlled on the Bosch eBike Flow app or via the bar-mounted Kiox 300 controller. The various modes offer different braking variables that are aimed at different skill levels of riders and surfaces, but all with the common aim to improve performance and increase riding enjoyment.
The second-gen ABS works seamlessly with Magura’s MT C ABS brakes which will modulate front brake power, so you stop quickly and safely whatever the conditions. Cube says it delivers the best mountain bike braking performance whilst helping keep you safe. Swinging my leg over the Cube and testing the system for the first time was a nervy business, after all, it’s not every day you are told to ride as fast as you can on loose gravel and slam the front brake on hard. The result of doing this is an almost instant controlled stop that prevents the front wheel from locking and avoids skidding, with no rear wheel lift or feeling you’re about to lose the front wheel.
After a few attempts, it gives you a whole new braking confidence, and stepping up the test to a short steep drop-off, again only using the front brake, which would normally require such force to stop, you would have lost the front wheel or launched over the bars, the system again brought me smoothly and quickly to a controlled stop. Out on the trails, even with limited time trying it out, I felt faster going into corners on steep downhill sections, the ABS almost forgotten, working in the background, controlling the front and rear wheel braking seamlessly.
Again, I had a limited time with the system, but will be returning to Glentress in the near future to test it in more detail and will follow up with a full review very soon. Although the ABS is the big talking point, the rest of the Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 ABS is equally worth a look and I explored the specifications and the first ride performance below.
Design and geometry
The Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC ABS 750 frame is certainly eye-catching, the interestingly named Smaragdgrey and Blue colorway blending in as if matched exactly to the Glentress Forest trails I rode. Across all the frames comes the Cube SizeSplit system, which allows every frame to be proportioned correctly, where sizes XS and S are kitted with 27.5-inch wheels, and sizes M, L and XL roll on 29ers, Cube say that enables every rider to find the ideal frame fit, and the size large I rode felt perfect. There is only capacity for one bottle mount, but it’s a sizeable one and the integrated cable routing also complements the clean lines of the carbon frame.
On the geometry side, the frame features Cube’s ‘All Mountain Geometry’ that delivers assured handling, even when you’re pushing the limits of the 140mm rear and 150mm front suspension. The head angle is 66-degrees across the sizing, and the reach on the large is 473mm. The 75.5-degree seat angle felt like I was sitting in a perfect position, combined with the power of the Bosch motor, to fly up the Glentress climbs. The chainstays at 457mm add to a stable feeling, and on the Spooky Wood descent, combined with the ABS controlled braking inspired confidence, and for someone coming back from a bad knee injury who had forgotten his knee protectors, it was much needed.
Components and build
The Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC ABS 750 comes with the Fox Float DPS EVOL with 140mm of trail-taming travel at the rear and a Fox 34 Rhythm 150mm fork. The Cube-branded dropper post is on an internal cable and this lever-controlled dropper saw plenty of action as the bike fueled my confidence on the descents and quick single-track trails.
The Bosch Performance Line CX drive unit with its 85Nm of hill-devouring torque, is powered by the Bosch 750wh fully integrated battery system, and the downtube houses the battery out of sight, protected by a splash and dust-proof cover, secured with a lock to prevent theft. The modular system is a setup that’s easy to use, has the ability to charge the battery on or off the bike, and Cube has also made room for even higher capacity batteries if required, so range anxiety isn’t a problem. It’s all controlled by the excellent handlebar mounted Kiox 300 unit and multi-button controller, making on the ride adjustments super easy and simple.
Gears and drivetrain come from Shimano with Deore Rapidfire-Plus shifters, an XT rear derailleur and Deore 10-51T 12-Speed cassette. The crankset is an ACID E-Crank, 165mm. The braking for the Bosch ABS system is handled superbly by Magura MT C ABS, hydraulic disc brakes with 203mm rotors front and rear.
The cockpit with a Newmen Evolution SL 780mm bar and 31.8mm Cube Performance e-MTB specific stem. The Cube rolls on a Newmen Performance 30 wheelset wrapped with Schwalbe Addix Soft, Super Trail up front, and Schwalbe, Addix Speedgrip, Super Trail that are both 2.6-inch tubeless-ready tires. Depending on sizing and rider preference the wheelset will be either 27.5-inch or in my case 29-inch.
The Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 ABS carbon frame is rated by Cube’s internal classification system as a Category 4, which sits just over the halfway mark on the scale capable of handling a wide variety of terrain including non-paved hiking trails with roots, thresholds, rocks, drops and intermittent jumps. Although I was tempted to try the jump theory my knee was now saying otherwise, so that can wait for another day.
Ride, handling and performance
Heading uphill, the Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 ABS felt calm with plenty of stability, negotiating tight switchbacks with ease and the powerful torque making the steepest of climbs a joy. There felt little requirement to shift forward in the saddle to keep the front wheel from lifting on steep sections which added to the feel of comfort and pedaling efficiency.
Downhill, the Cube feels like a bike with an attitude. An attitude which promotes confidence with a stable feel and control. Alongside the ABS working away in the background, makes you push harder on technical trails, which also means it’s fast in the turns. It felt like I was pushing myself further on steep descents, with full confidence in my bike and that all-important smile on my face.
On flat sections, it powers over rocks, roots and feels like you are ploughing over the rough stuff with ease, the more than capable suspension soaking it up. Although the Cube is a short travel bike, the 140mm of travel will have limits, and is rated by Cube nearer the middle of their internal classification rating system, although there was no bottom-outs during the test ride. The other components all performed well with nothing feeling like a weak link, with plenty grip on the tires and the Newmen rims compliant enough to cope with everything the Glentress trails threw at them.
I loved riding the Cube and with the weather so nice in Glentress, I was keen to get back out for more, especially the uphills, the powerful torque of the Bosch motor making those steep uphills a pleasure. The Cube ticked alot of boxes and if you spend most of your time at trail centers, riding backcountry all-day epics or just like bombing about in the woods, and want a competent, fun e-MTB, the Cube on first impressions does just about everything you could want.
Cube Stereo Hybrid Range Guide
The Cube Stereo Hybrid range offers an abundance of different models to suit all kinds of riders; so much so it’s easy to get lost between a Race, TM, SL or Action Team or even the 120, 140 or 160. Each boasts an optimised chassis, geometry and components so we have compiled the following guide to help in your decision.
It is worth noting early on to avoid any confusion, Hybrid to Cube means hybrid assist through the addition of a motor and does not describe the bike in the traditional hybrid bike meaning.
Let’s start at the top and decide the best Stereo Hybrid for you:
Stereo Hybrid 120. The All Rounder
The Stereo Hybrid 120 is the golden ticket to never-ending mountain bike adventures. Great looks, offroad performance and everyday practicality.
Sleek, comfortable and capable; the Stereo Hybrid 120 is your weekend ticket to adventure. Built upon the acclaimed Stereo 120 suspension design, the seamless integration of fourth generation Bosch power opens the door to add more adventure into the mix.
Check out the Stereo Hybrid 120 range here: Click here
Stereo Hybrid 140. The Trail Hunter
The Stereo Hybrid 140 offers the all mountain performance that will have you surfing the trails for days. The revised Stereo Hybrid combines the go-anywhere attitude of 140mm travel paired with 29er wheels and gives it the power boost of a Bosch Gen4 motor in order to push boundaries.
Check out the Stereo Hybrid 140 range here: Click here
Stereo Hybrid 160. The Racer
Offering smiles for miles; the Stereo Hybrid 160 can handle the toughest enduro challenges you care to throw it at. Race-bred and tested, the Stereo Hybrid 160 is powered by the integrated fourth generation Bosch system meaning you can ride further, faster and steeper than ever before.
Check out the Stereo Hybrid 160 range here: Click here
Cube Stereo Hybrid E-Bike | First Ride
The first time I paid any attention to e-bikes, was when an old lady on a sit-up-and-beg cranked past me on a bitch of a climb.
recently I caught myself chuckling away whilst sailing up that same climb in flip flops, leaving a roadie effing and jeffing behind me.
E-bikes may not be for everyone, but they are bloody good fun and open lots of doors to alternative off road riding.
This is the Cube Bikes Stereo Hybrid 140 HPA, and here’s how I got on with it…
The Cube Stereo Hybrid just looks right – a clean frame design and good angles. All that weight on the main frame really does give a great ride.
The Bosch 250watt motor here pushes out an amazing 75nm of torque. The top speed isn’t that fast, but the thing can winch you up climbs you wouldn’t usually bother tackling. Technical rooty climbs become as fun as downhills – no joke!
Based around the popular Cube Stereo 140mm travel, four bar suspension frame, the Cube Stereo Hybrid features a 67.3degree head angle; 74degree seat angle and has a 1198mm wheelbase and 595mm top tube (size 18in, as ridden).
Gob of mud clearance for the 2.8in Schwalbe tyres.
The back end is Boost 148mm, and designed to house enormous 27 Plus wheels – in this case with 2.8in Schwalbe tyres, on DT wheels. Up front a 140mm travel Rockshox Pike RC is also Boost spaced.
This model features incredibly powerful Magura MT5 brakes; a trusty 11 speed Shimano XT transmission and comes with a Rockshox Reverb dropper post – the right sort of kit for some decent off road abuse.
The powerpack locks to the bike with supplied keys, and should be removed for washing the bike, as well as security. It charges off the mains in 4.5hrs from completely depleted.
Of course the major difference over the regular Stereo model, is the fact this frame houses the 250 watt Bosch Drive Unit, and a Bosch Powerpack 500 battery.
The display is removable, and lets you know everything you need to from speed; trip distance; battery life; range; power mode and total distance. It’s easy to read, and you can easily toggle between modes whilst riding to conserve battery power.
The Bosch Performance Line CX motor offers 75NM of torque (about the same as a 1986 Nissan Sunny); has four settings offering between 50% – 300% assistance and lasts up to 90miles with the Powerpack 500 – depending on conditions, gradient and settings used. Charge time for this battery is 4.5hrs from fully dead, though you can top up without damaging the battery.
The Bosch motor provides assistance to your pedalling input over four settings. On the Turbo mode, top speed on offer is 15.5mph. If you can keep the horsepower down, the bike will do that on any climb you point it towards.
Although quite big, the bar mounted controller provides access to the computer, and changes between modes without having to move hands from the bars.
The regular Cube Stereo 140 weighs around 12.22kg/26.9lb – whereas this electric assist model weighs a whopping 22.7kg/50lbs.
Out On The Trail
Three things happen when you get on the Cube Stereo Hybrid.
The first thing is the instant grin – everybody has the same startled grin when they first ride an e-bike.
Second is the surprise of how balanced the bike feels. Thanks to lots of sprung mass, the suspension feels amazing – more like a motorbike than a push bike!
My local single track has taken on a whole new feel since I’ve been riding the Cube Stereo Hybrid. I’ve since tried the same backwards loop on my Mondraker, and not only struggled to clean several climbs – but found it was no fun at all. On the Cube you can head any way you please. As a tool for discovering new terrain, or for carrying heavy camera gear – the e-bike has totally snared me.
The third is the instant novelty of blasting up every local climb in sight – this tends to happen long before you’ve remembered the fact you can ride this thing off road.
Once I got all this stuff out the system, I headed out for my local test loop. It’s about 20miles, has a few bastard steep climbs, some steep descents and what I consider one of the very best extended sections of rooty single track in the country.
What I expected was easy climbs; a cruise along some flatter sections and some hilarity on the descents – but in reality there was a lot more to it.
Sure, the immense torque on offer will pull you up a climb if you want to be a passenger – but when digging in hard you have to give it everything to keep the Cube Stereo Hybrid operating at speed. There’s a fine line too – exceed that top speed by even 0.5mph, and you’re on your own as the assistance will cut out.
On the local steep climbs, the power on offer is a godsend. And getting it in to the woods is just amazing – flatter sections of trail become as enjoyable as downhills. The slight descending gradient of my favourite trail needs a lot of input to ride it fast usually – but even stabs on the cranks give you surges of acceleration. But the trouble is, when you build up speed you sail over that magic 15.5mph zone – and find yourself piloting a 50lb trail bike.
Once dialled in to the ride of an e-bike, you develop a unique flow – and can use half cranks for power surges out of turns. I can’t wait for the next bike!
However, even without assistance it’s still fun – this 50lb beast hugs the ground well, as the combination of the 2.8in Schwalbe tyres and the amazing suspension action bring the bike to life. You have to use the weight to your advantage though – forget dynamic moves, casual bunny hops and skipping across roots as it’s just too heavy for that. Using a combo of weighting the bike in to turns and half cranks for power surges is really effective though, and allows a consistent speed on the trail. Whatever the conditions.
The weight of the bike also brings something else up. For a more casual rider, the weight and tyre combo offers immense traction and predictability. It’s a very flattering bike to ride off road.
But if you’re capable of riding harder it can get all out of shape, as once those big tyres get loose you’re along for the ride. I’ve had this thing sideways longer than anything I’ve ridden – as once drifting the weight keeps it that way. This is hilarious on dry trails, but one hell of a handful on wet, muddy trails!
I rode the same loop on the Cube Stereo Hybrid, and my Mondraker Dune. I’m faster overall round the loop on my Mondraker – sure, the climb hurts more and is slower, but the speed I can carry on the faster sections makes up for it. Strangely, I burnt less calories on my Mondraker, than I did on the Cube.
However, my legs hurt less on the Cube – but I found my entire body ached. You get worked riding these things!
I’ve since ridden the same loop backwards on the Cube Stereo Hybrid – and it’s opened a entirely new ride for me. Same terrain, same place – but it looks and feels 100% different. Bath locals will probably know what route I mean – and will know it’s not worth a look the wrong way round, but on the Cube Stereo Hybrid it’s game on.
(there’s a lot to cover on getting the most from an e-bike, which I’ll look at when I get the next test bike…)
The Cube Stereo Hybrid is an excellent bit of kit – it’s great fun, well balanced and works immensely well. There isn’t much to say about the spec – everything works well and flatters the bike. This review is more about the concept of the E-bike.
And what I love, is that it enables an average rider, or averagely fit rider to ride further, faster and climb more things. But make no mistake, E-bikes are not cheating. They are just a different take.
For me they will never replace a proper mountain bike, but I would love one in my fleet so I could take friends and family to places that only I can get to by bike. It’s a brilliant tool for exploring the countryside.
The Cube Stereo Hybrid broke my e-bike cherry, and now I want in on the action. Watch this space!
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