Updated:3rd May 2017
Combining Bosch electric power with a tried and tested hardtail cross-country platform, the Cube Reaction Hybrid, reviewed here, is an electric mountain bike that will enable you to ride more XC trails with less effort. Built for speed and efficiency, on everything from single track trails to gravel tracks and even urban roads, the Cube Reaction Hybrid will allow you to cycle further wherever you ride.
The Reaction Hybrid is especially good on the climbs, where the electric motor boosts your natural pedalling power, so you can fly up the hills with much less effort. Available with a wide range of components specifications and seven size options, with either 27.5” or 29” wheels, the Cube Reaction Hybrid is an ebike that will appeal to a wide range of riders.
Each frame in the range is built with double butted, superlight aluminium alloy and features the same dialled XC mountain bike geometry. There are two different frame options however. The HPA SL, HPA SLT and HPA Eagle, all feature an updated frame, with a monocoque gravity casing, that offers improved integration of the motor and battery and even leaves room for a bottle cage. The HPA Race and Pro both feature a frame with a simpler, less integrated design.
Cube use a split wheel size strategy with their frame sizing. This is because they believe that smaller riders will get on best with 27.5” wheels while larger riders will find that 29” wheels offer a better fit. Each model in the range is available with either 27.5” (650b) wheels (14”, 16” and 18” frames) or 29” wheels (17”,19”, 21” & 23” frames).
Cube’s new ‘monocoque gravity casing’ manages to offer smoother, better integrated lines with plenty of access still available – Bike Radar
The suspension fork will smooth out the trail and give you more confidence on potholed roads.
Each Cube Reaction Hybrid features a suspension fork with 100mm of suspension travel to tame the trail. The HPA Pro models all get the coil sprung reliability of the Suntour XCR 32, with a remote lockout lever for improved efficiency on smoother trails. Moving up through the range, the HPA Race and HPA SL both feature a RockShox Recon Silver fork, which offers plush performance on rough trails with a PopLoc remote lever for efficient cycling on smooth roads.
Further up the range, the HPA SLT has a Fox 34 Rhythm fork which offers plush reliability with adjustable compression damping for more serious off-roading. The range-topping Hybrid HPA Eagle features the very best in XC front suspension technology with the RockShox RS-1 carbon fork.
Bosch are the most well respected ebike motor brand currently on the market and each Cube Reaction Hybrid in the range features the 250w, Performance Cruise CX motor. Delivering up to 75Nm of torque, this electric bike drive unit offers an incredible boost to your natural pedalling power. Most of the bikes in the range are fitted with a long lasting 500Wh battery pack, although the HPA Pro is also available with the more affordable 400Wh battery.
For 2017, all the Cube Reaction Hybrids are fitted with the new, easy to use, Bosch Purion display unit. This displays essential ride info, including your speed and the remaining battery capacity. You can easily switch between the four different power modes (Turbo, Sport, Tour and Eco) so you can vary the amount of boost, giving you the choice of riding uphill faster or making the battery last longer. As with all our ebikes, the motor will only assist you up to 15.5mph so you will have to rely on your own leg power to ride faster than that.
This is one of the best display panels I’ve tried, being removable, swivelling and backlit! In addition to showing your speed, battery level and assist setting it also predicts range – EBR (Electric Bike Review)
Don’t be fooled by the small front chainring, as you get the same wide gear range as on a regular bike.
As with all Bosch powered bikes, you get a ‘one by’ drivetrain on the Cube Reaction Hybrids. Combined with a wide range 10, 11 or even 12 speed cassette, this gives you a good spread of gears for taking on all the climbs and descents on your route. The HPA Pro gets the workhorse Shimano Deore 1x10 speed drivetrain; the Race is fitted with Shimano SLX/XT 1x11 speed; while the HPA SL and SLT get Shimano's XT 1x11 speed. Featuring the superb SRAM XO1 12 speed drivetrain, the range topping HPA Eagle gives you a massive 500% gear range so you can take on even the very steepest climbs.
Being heavier than regular bikes, you need plenty of stopping power with an ebike, so every model gets hydraulic disc brakes, with large 180mm rotors front and rear. The HPA Pro and Race get the functional performance of Shimano Deore brakes, while the SL, SLT and Eagles all get the even-more-powerful Shimano XT stoppers.
While 29” wheels are faster rolling, over both rough and smooth terrain, they are not as nimble as the smaller 27.5” wheels. Shorter riders sometimes find 29” wheels a little cumbersome so the smaller frame sizes are only available with 27.5” wheels. Similarly, larger riders often prefer 29” wheels as these offer a better fit on large frame sizes. Medium sized riders can choose either wheel size.
Most models in the range feature Cube's robust EX rims with Shimano hubs to match the groupset, while the range topping Reaction Hybrid Eagle rolls on the excellent DT Swiss CSW AM 2.0 wheelset. With tubeless ready rims on all bikes in the Cube Reaction Hybrid range, you can take advantage of this puncture reducing technology whichever model or wheel size you choose.
Cube has once again proved that a hardtail e-bike doesn't need plus-size tyres and can work just as well with 29-inch wheels – World of MTB
The Cube Reaction Hybrid is a versatile ebike. Although it is built for cross country mountain biking, with the power boost from the electric motor to get you up to speed, the Reaction Hybrid is a great choice for recreational off-roading and even urban commuting.
If you want to get out and explore on road, track and trail, but lack the fitness to conquer the climbs or keep up with your friends, then the Cube Reaction Hybrid is a great choice.