Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPA Race 500 e-MTB review
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 Mick Kirkman
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) 27.5×2.35in
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)