REVIEW | The Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 is one of the best value e-MTBs we've ever tested

Hello Friends of Flow my name’s Wil and
this next to me here
is one of the best value e-MTB we have ever
tested this is the Cube Stereo Hybrid
160 and it has been completely
redesigned for 2020.
Now there are no doubts this is a vastly
better looking bike than its predecessor
but the question we wanted to answer was
how does it actually ride on the trail
now in this video review of the Cube
Stereo Hybrid 160 we’re going to be
going to some detail
about what kind of bike this is and
what’s changed over the previous design
i’ll be talking about my experience of
testing this bike what it does well
what it doesn’t do well and also how it
compares to some of the e-mountain bikes
we’ve been testing lately
now before we go any further there is a
full review of this bike
on flowmountainbike.com we’ve put a link
into the video description below
click that and that will take you to the
full review of this bike here
and secondly if this is your first time
joining us on YouTube don’t be shy
click that subscribe button and make
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reviews we have coming your way in the
near future
now for those of you who don’t know Cube
is a German brand that has
an enormous range of e-bikes in fact we
jumped on the Cube website and counted
no fewer than 100 e-mountain bikes
once you add in the e-road, e-touring,
e-commuter, and e-kids bikes you can see why Cube is
Bosch’s
number one customer worldwide if you’ve
been on the Cube website you may have
been bamboozled by the array of options
but there is an easy way
to break down each model by its name the
word ‘Stereo’ refers to the fact that it’s
a full suspension bike
‘Hybrid’ confusingly refers to the fact
that it’s an e-bike
and the number in the name refers to the
amount of rear wheel travel so in the
case of the Stereo Hybrid 160 we have a
full suspension e-mountain bike with 160
millimetres of rear wheel travel
and that’s been paired to a 170
millimetre travel fork
and 27.5in wheels the Stereo Hybrid
160 is built with a carbon
fibre mainframe and that’s been built
around the new
fourth generation Bosch Performance CX
motor
with the new motor being a lot more
compact than the previous version
Cube has been able to shorten the chain
stays by a lot on this bike by over 30
millimeters
inside the downtube is a big 625
watt hour battery and that’s protected
by an armored plate underneath the downtube
that can be removed and that gives you
access to the battery inside which can
be released from the frame
with the supplied key some of the other
details we have on this frame there is a
huge 1.5 inch straight head tube up
front
148x12mm bolt up axle on the rear
internal cable routing throughout and
heavy rubber armoring on the drive side
chainstay
the back of this frame is alloy and it
uses a four-bar suspension linkage with
a trunnion mounted rear shock
one thing to note is that the upper seatstay pivot has been
really nicely integrated into the rocker
link, however those pointy extensions
do actually become exposed as the
suspension compressors
I’ve been riding this bike for the last
couple of months and I haven’t had any
nasty encounters with those pointy bits
but something worth mentioning
nonetheless there have also been some
big improvements in terms of this bike’s
geometry the head angle has been slackened out to 65-degrees
the seat tube angle has been steepened
to 75.5-degrees
and as mentioned before the chainstays
are quite a bit shorter than the
previous version
these now measure at 441 millimetres
now there are four frame sizes available
in the Stereo Hybrid 160.
at 175 cm tall I’ve been riding
the medium frame size that we have here
which has a reach of 440 millimetres
overall the bike has gotten quite a bit
shorter at the back
but also quite a bit longer at the front
so definitely a move in the right
direction
on the Medium frame here the seat tube
measures 420 millimetres but when you go
up to the Large
that extends to 470 millimetres which is
quite long and a big jump between
sizes so for riders around my height it
basically eliminates the option of up
sizing to a large frame
say if you wanted to get a longer reach
now there are four different models
available
in the Stereo Hybrid 160 range however
only
one model comes into Australia and
that’s this bike here it is the
romantically named
Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC
SL 625 27.5
a beautiful name that just rolls off the
tongue
now while it might not have an appealing
name it does have a very appealing
price point the retail price on this
bike here is just
$7,299 AUD
dollars however Cube is distributed and
sold in Australia via 99 Bikes
now if you take out a $5
membership card the price on this bike
drops by a grand
it goes down to $6,299 AUD
which is amazing value given that carbon frame
Bosch motor and big battery pack
for the money the build kit on this bike
is really impressive there’s a RockShox
Lyrik fork on the front with a Charger
damper inside
we’ve got a Deluxe shock on the back
SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain, four piston brakes
from Magura, Schwalbe Hans Dampf tubeless compatible
tyres
and Cube finishing kit all round it
isn’t the lightest bike
confirmed weight for our medium test
bike weighed without pedals and setup
tubeless
is 23.27 kilograms I’ll start out by
talking about what this bike does well
and I have to say that the suspension on
this bike is
super plush in fact it’s probably one of
the most active
and most supple full suspension bikes
that I’ve personally ridden
there’s a big volume DebonAir can on the
rear shock the trunnion bearing mount
helps to reduce stiction as the
suspension goes through the travel
and the shock has quite a long 60
millimetre stroke and that means this
bike has a relatively low
average leverage ratio the result is
really smooth and dynamic suspension
performance
I kind of described this bike as being
like a Ford Fairlane it’s got a really
luxurious feel to the suspension
and it’s very effective at isolating
your contact points from what’s going on
underneath you on the trail
the 4-bar linkage is really effective at
separating the suspension performance
from braking and pedaling inputs and
certainly i found this bike
really good for pedaling along rugged
undulating singletrack
it’s also got a really comfortable
riding position the reach isn’t too
stretched out on this bike
and it’s relatively upright at the front
too that said you do have good
adjustability on the serotube out of the
box so you can
raise the stem or lower the stem on the
steerer tube
depending on where you want the bars in
terms of handling it’s an easy to manage
bike particularly given it’s quite a
heavy bike and there’s also a lot of
suspension travel underneath you
the tyres are quite light and fast
rolling and they don’t put up a lot of
resistance
to changes of direction. The steering up
front is also quite light and it has an
intuitive feel through the turns
and that’s amplified by the short back
end on this bike it means you don’t have
to wrestle with it so much through tight
and twisty single track
something that i really noticed on tight
uphill switchback corners
as for the downsides of the Cube Stereo
Hybrid 160
well the handlebars are too narrow these
measure at 760 millimetres, which is
the same width that some XC bikes are
coming with these days this is
a long travel e-mountain bike so Cube
really needs to spec
wider bars on it I’d also like to see
more aggressive rubber on this bike
the Hans Dampfs I see is more as a
trail bike tyre
on this bike they’re a bit scrabbly
they don’t give great climbing traction
particularly on hardpack and
loose rocky trails they’re also on quite
narrow rims these are 27 millimetres
wide internally and that gives the 2.6 inch
tyre a really round
light bulb profile so it kind of
exacerbates that
washy feeling that you get on high speed
loose corners
I’d really like to see a Magic Mary on
the front preferably on the rear as well
to give this bike
a bit more traction in those kind of
scenarios with those tyres the narrow
handlebars and the conservative geometry
on this bike
it doesn’t exactly exude confidence when
you’re really walloping downhill at
speed
as mentioned before the front end
steering is a little bit light on this
bike
and when you’re descending at speed it
can feel a little bit wiggly
I think a slacker head tube angle or at
least a little bit more wheelbase length
to this bike would help give it more
stability at higher speeds
as for the four piston Magura brakes
they are plenty powerful but I did find
them a little bit finicky
to set up because there’s not a lot of
clearance between the pads and the rotor
and I’m not a big fan of the ergonomics
of those big
long plastic lever blades I also found
that the left side of the cockpit is
quite cluttered with the Bosch Purion
display
the dropper post lever and that Magura
brake lever while the Purion display
is easy to read and simple to use it
would be nice to see an option
to ditch it completely which would help
to tidy up the cockpit a bit
I’d also like to see Cube spec a longer
travel dropper post
the medium frame comes with a 125mm
dropper, which works absolutely fine
but there were more than a few moments
where I caught my undercarriage on the
saddle
which I’ll be perfectly honest I could
have done without now this is my first
long-term
experience with the 4th generation Bosch
Performance CX motor and I’ve been
really impressed with the performance
having come off the Shimano STEPS E8000 motor on the last couple of e-Bikes I’ve
tested the Bosch motor is noticeably more
powerful it’s got more torque at the low
end and it’s also got more pull at the
high end too
the power comes on quite quickly and
smoothly it’s very responsive
at the pedals out of the available
assistance levels the e-MTB mode is the
way
to go it’s an adaptive mode and that
means that as you pedal harder the motor
increases its power
output the idea is that it matches your
input for a more natural riding feel
it’s still quite sensitive though I
found compared to the Shimano
system that the power comes on really
quickly with this motor so I found for
technical climbs the best method was to
downshift into a low gear
spin at a higher cadence with less
pressure on the pedals and basically get
the motor to do more of the work
on those technical climbs if I approach
that climb in a higher gear and putting
more force through the pedals I did find
the motor could run away from me a
little bit, which is exacerbated by the short back
end on this bike so it does tend to
lift the front end on those steeper
climbs if you’re pushing too hard on the
pedals
one of the downsides of the Bosch motor
is that while it’s relatively quiet when
it’s putting out power as you’re
pedaling
when you’re coasting over rough ground
there’s a loud clacking noise as the
internal ratchet rotates backwards
as the suspension goes through its
travel now this has been well documented
elsewhere and it would be really nice to
see Bosch offer a solution
personally I found it quite distracting
on rough rocky singletrack and combined
with some internal cable slap
this bike isn’t exactly the quietest
bike on the trail
the other thing I’d like to see improved
on the Bosch system is the
speed sensor which is mounted externally
partway along the chainstay
now we’ve seen other brands like
Specialized and Merida integrate that
speed sensor into the dropout
which gives a much cleaner look overall
you might be wondering how this bike
compares to some of the other e-mountain
bikes we’ve tested lately
compared to the Norco Sight VLT 29 the
Cube has a little bit more travel 10mm
at both
ends however the Norco is much more
gravity oriented the geometry is far
more progressive with the slacker head
angle
a reduced offset fork a longer reach and
a much longer wheelbase too it’s also
got much heavier
Maxxis Double Down tyres and overall it’s
a better descending bike
very very stable and very very fast it’s
also a better climbing bike though too
because it has a steeper seat tube angle
and a longer chainstay length but the
Norco
isn’t as plush as the Cube and it’s less
comfortable for all-day riding missions
particularly if you’re riding
less steep terrain I would say the
Merida e160 is probably more comparable
to the Cube
the Merida is a mullet bike so it also
has a 27.5 inch rear wheel and
relatively short chain stays
and that means it corners really well
and it’s got quite an agile feel on
tighter and twistier trails
the Merida does feel noticeably sportier
though whereas the Cube is more
grounded with its plush suspension the
Merida has a much more progressive back
end and that gives it a poppier and
livelier feel
which rides really well through berms
and kind of flower jump trails
the Cube is a bit more brutish in its
approach and with that stronger Bosch
motor and that big
625 watt hour battery it’s also got the
Merida beat in terms of power and range
and that brings us to the verdict of the
2020 Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC
SL 625 27.5
well there are no doubts this is amazing
value for a long travel e-mountain bike
particularly given that sleek carbon
fibre mainframe
the powerful Bosch motor and that big
625 watt hour battery
with its conservative geometry and uber
plush suspension this is a really
comfortable bike to ride and it’s also
easy to ride on quite a wide variety of
terrain
for the riders out there who want the
safety net of a long travel e-mountain
bike but don’t necessarily want
or need super slack and super long
geometry
this bike represents a compelling option
that doesn’t ask a whole lot from you on
the trail
and it also doesn’t ask a whole lot from
your wallet either now if you’d like to
read the full review
of the Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 make sure
you jump on flowmountainbike.com
we’ve put a link in the video
description below click that and that
will take you to the full review of this
bike here
if you’ve got any questions for us about
this bike make sure you drop them into
the comments below and we’ll do our best
to answer them for you
if you enjoyed this video give us a
thumbs up and if you haven’t already
hit that subscribe button now we’ve got
a lot more videos coming your way with
some secret bikes will be released in
the very
near future otherwise i hope you enjoyed
this video guys and i will see you next
time. Too-roo!

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