This is a review of my brand new Cube Elly 400 Hybrid Electric Bike. She’s an eye-catching, retro-styled, stylish, comfort city bike. Her crank-drive electric motor works in synergy with her 10 Shimano Deore gears to give you plenty of power, while her 400 Wh battery makes sure you get home from work.
Three years ago I bought my first electric bike for my commute to work: an Easy Motion Street 650. I raved on and on about her in my review post. Three years later, she and I are parting company. Don’t get me wrong – she is still a great bike, but she has lost some power over the years and it’s now a bit of a nail biter to commute to my job and back. When I ride home at night my last block is a very steep uphill to our parking garage. I need a good boost of power to help me pedal that last stretch, and my Easy Motion is usually running on fumes by then.
In the back of my mind I had been thinking about replacing her for quite some time. Joe and I had done a lot of research, but nothing had really jumped out at me. We even had a couple of bikes dropped off for review. They were nice and the prices were great, but still they weren’t right for me. My satisfaction comes from the “feel” of the bike. How it fits me and how smooth the ride is, not from all the features and components – that’s Joe’s job. He makes sure that I am getting a good product, usually after I have already fallen in love with the bike I plan to get anyway.
Well, I fell in love again (with a bike!) just a few weeks ago. Joe and I were shopping for bikes for our two oldest grandchildren and went to our favorite bike store to discuss the best choices. As we walked into the store – there she was – a bright blue Cube Elly Ride Hybrid 400, which is an upright, retro-styled electric bike, with a Bosch pedelec crank-drive electric assist system! I had been very jealous of Joe’s crank-drive pedelec Haibike, and now I could have one of my own! Like the Haibike, Cube bikes are made in Germany. This video gives you a walk-around of the stylish bike I couldn’t resist:
Joe pulled me away to attend to our business and I reluctantly turned my back on the Elly Ride. He gave me the usual talk about never rushing into buying the first bike I see. We completed our purchases and then realized that our bike rack could not hold such small bikes. We had purchased our Thule rack quite a few years ago and it was overdue for replacement. So we left the kid’s bikes behind and drove off to get our rack replaced.
The next day, with our new rack in place, we returned to collect our bikes and once again I had to walk past Elly. I wasn’t about to leave her behind this time! So I arranged to take a test ride. She was perfect. As always, Joe also took a spin to put her to the test. He didn’t have a single complaint.
Now, 100 miles later, I am happy to report that I still love her as much as I did the first day. She is lighter than my Street 650, owing to the aluminum frame. The battery slides neatly under the rat trap and is stickered in the same smart blue to blend into the frame, nicely concealing your power source.
She has four levels of assist, integrated front and rear dynamo lights, front suspension fork, and hydraulic disc brakes. With Fat Frank Schwalbe tires and a spring mounted saddle, Elly offers an extremely comfortable ride. Even the handlebar tape is easy on the hands, as I found out yesterday when I forgot my cycling gloves.
What I like about the Cube Elly Ride Hybrid 400:
- She’s a looker and turns heads wherever we ride!
- She’s comfortable – not a moment of saddle soreness, no matter how many days I go between
- rides. The front shock takes the brunt of the handlebar chatter, so my hands and wrists are less tired.
- Power – she is a beast on the Turbo setting. I ride some pretty steep hills on my commute so the combination of power and the lighter frame makes me a superhero on the steep climbs.
- Range – her 400 Wh battery gives me an extremely long range.
What I would improve about the Cube Elly Ride Hybrid 400:
- The paint is easy to scratch. I’m not terribly fussy about the esthetics of my bikes, but I was quite disappointed in how easy it was to scratch the finish.
- It is a little difficult to put my pannier on the bike rack. This seems to be because the rack is strangely angled. Funny, I wrestled with the bike rack on my Street 650 too. What is the deal with European bikes and bike racks? The Cube website mentions Racktime, a brand of panniers that are a perfect match – but Racktime panniers are not available in North America. These European bike manufacturers make beautiful bikes, but someone needs to tell them we have different panniers here. (Although Haibike got it right, so apparently some of them have realized this.)
- Although the Cube web site says you can choose the optional 500 Wh battery upgrade, in practice my bike store was unable to accommodate that, as they had already bought the 400 Wh. I think that speaks to a weakness in the distribution process – you should be able to make that choice. To be fair, the ebike had come a very long way.
Despite my small complaints, I give the Cube Elly Ride an Average Joe Cyclist Gold Bike Star. I highly recommend this bike for anyone who wants a reliable commuter that combines power, beauty, and a comfortable ride.
Components of the Cube Elly Ride 400 (from the Cube web site)
Every detail of the Elly Ride frame is perfectly tailored to the Bosch System. The hydroformed downtube, double chainstay and double chamber seat tube work in harmony with our Efficient Geometry System (EGS) to provide a comfortable ride position and make the most of your pedaling. The innovative integrated modular luggage rack (IC) is flexible and stable – and is, of course, compatible with Racktime.
Design and function combined, perfectly. Bosch’s Active Line System – with the large 400 Wh battery or optional 500 Wh battery upgrade for more range – works with the Shimano Deore 10 gears, hydraulic Shimano BR-M355 brakes and Suntour NEX suspension fork to deliver long-term efficiency, easy gear shifting, reliable brake performance and smooth comfort. In terms of looks, we’ve incorporated the retro styling cues that have made our Cozy Ride Series such a hit – chromed fittings, retro Trelock lights, a brown CUBE Comfort saddle and colourful Schwalbe Fat Frank balloon tires.
Thinking of buying an Electric Bike? Check out my new 2017 edition of How to Buy the Best Electric Bike! Buy it here.
Read all about How to Buy the Best Electric Bike here.
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