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.
Tech specs: Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC ABS 750
- Price: $TBC / £5,499 / €5,599
- Frame material: C:62 Monocoque Advanced Twin Mold Technology Carbon
- Fork: Fox 34 Rhythm, 2-Position Sweep-Adjust GRIP Damper, 150mm
- Rear Shock: Fox Float DPS EVOL 140mm
- Motor: Bosch Performance CX, 85Nm
- Battery: Bosch PowerTube 750wh
- Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
- Weight: 24,9 kg (54.8lb)
- Head angle: 66 degrees
- Seat tube angle: 75.5 degrees
- Reach: 473mm (size Large)
- Chainset: ACID E-Crank, 165mm (27.5: 36T // 29: 34T)
- Rear mech: Shimano XT RD-M8100-SGS, ShadowPlus, 12-Speed
- Shifters: Shimano Deore SL-M6100-IR, Direct Attach, Rapidfire-Plus
- Cassette: Shimano Deore CS-M6100, 10-51T
- Brakes: Magura MT C ABS, Hydr. Disc Brake (203/203)
- Wheel size: 29-inch with 27.5-inch option
- Wheelset: Newmen Performance 30, 2.6-inch
- Tires: Schwalbe Hans Dampf, Addix Soft, Front. Addix Speedgrip, Rear
- Bar and stem: Newmen Evolution SL 780mm, CUBE Performance Stem E-MTB, 31.8mm
- Seatpost: Cube Dropper Post, Handlebar Lever, Internal Cable Routing, 31.6mm
- Saddle: Natural Fit Venec