Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPA Race 500 e-MTB review£3,699.00

Neat details lift Cube’s Stereo above the crowd noise

BikeRadar score3/5

Cube’s Stereo Hybrid 140 bikes sit mid-range in its motorised line-up. While the HPA Race’s conventional handling and brakes struggle to tame its extra mass, tyre and fork tweaks make it a tough — if noisy — all-rounder.

With its multiple angled facets, this is an impressive-looking chassis. Big hollow-backed links control the four-bar rear end, and the motor mount gets reinforcing straps around the base of the 500Wh Bosch battery.

The dropper post and brake/gear lines are internally routed. Tyre space between the massive rear stays is tight even with the 2.35-inch rubber supplied though, and the overall shape of the bike is conservative.

Speccing a reinforced 'Super Gravity' rear tyre dodges pinch-flat issues and opens up lower pressures. The Fox 34 fork isn't the e-specific version but the KMC chain is strengthened.

Shifting onto the biggest 46t cog isn’t as slick with Shimano as with SRAM though, and the FSA crankset is a typically skinny-looking Bosch-fit unit. The left-hand Purion display leaves central bar space for lights, etc, and the internal Concept dropper has a healthy 150mm stroke. It's a good spec for the price.

Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPA Race 500 ride impression

While the 2.35-inch tyres don’t have the cushioned footprint of plus rubber (look to the £4,299 HPA SL 500 for that), knowing that the rear is reinforced makes the Cube less stressful to plough into rocks on.

It rewards that commitment too, with a smooth action from the Fox dampers, once you inject enough speed and force to push them past their high level of low-speed compression-damping.

The 34 fork doesn't have the beefed up e-chassis and isn’t Boost-width like the back end, so it's twisty under braking and cornering. But the extra motor/battery weight pushes it through the mid-stroke where it normally spikes and clatters, making it feel more composed than the RockShox Yari on drop and rock-riddled DH runs — a first for a mid-level 34.

The Float shock also feels less notchy than normal. Combined with the four-bar linkage and low and rearward main pivot, this means the Cube trucks on impressively in straight line, high-impact situations. You should add volume spacers at both ends though, due to the linear shock character.

This bike offers a great spec for its price
This bike offers a great spec for its price

The handling isn’t so well set up to cope with runaway mass. The 67.5-degree head angle is OK for a 140mm bike, but the 740mm bar and 90mm stem reduce steering leverage and reaction speed. You need to really haul on the XT levers to slow things down, and at that point, the front tyre starts to hit its traction limits.

As well as a rattly battery, the Bosch motor is intrusively noisy. It also takes a while to learn to tame the sudden lurch of its undiluted pick-up on slippery or steep terrain. We kept nudging the mode selector accidentally too. Those are Bosch, not Cube issues, though, and they’re tempered with the most dramatic drag-race kick of any motor set-up if that’s what you want.

Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPA Race 500 specifications

  • Frame: Hydroformed, triple-butted ‘HPA Ultralight’ aluminium, 140mm (5.5in) travel
  • Motor: 250W Bosch Performance Line CX w/ 500Wh battery and Purion display
  • Fork: Fox 34 Float GRIP, 140mm (5.5in) travel
  • Shock: Fox Float EVOL DPS
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore XT w/ FSA CK-745 cranks
  • Wheelset: Cube EX25 rims on Shimano Deore XT hubs (Boost rear)
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Hans Dampf TrailStar EVO (f) and Super Gravity (r) 27.5x2.35in
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore XT, 180mm rotors
  • Bar: Cube Rise Trail Pro, 740mm
  • Stem: Cube Performance Pro, 70mm
  • Seatpost: Cube 150mm dropper
  • Saddle: Selle Italia X1 Trail
  • Weight: 22.80kg (50.27lb)

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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