Thoughts on my new Cube e-bike with Bosch motor.

lotusdriver

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
9
Points
1
Normally l ride a 2016 Foxy R, but we bought a Cube e-bike for my wife so she would come out on some of my rides.
(We tried but it's very hilly round here and the climbs defeated her)

Of course, l had to test the bike to make sure it was set up properly....first l tried a road ride.
In the UK you can ride an e-bike anywhere a regular bike can be ridden, but they are limited to 15mph. Above that speed you are on your own..

It needs some practise to ride. As a regular MTB rider l found myself putting in the same effort, which meant l was up at the 15mph limit all the time.
The trick is, to sit at about 12mph up hill, then ride like a regular bike on the flat or downhill.
I then tried an off road route. I would say that if you want an e-bike for "proper" MTB riding it might be better to get full suspension. On a hardtail it does give a rough ride as the back is so heavy, but once again slowing down is key. Trails that l rode at 5-10mph l was taking at 15mph which is a fair bit faster.

I improved the ride quality of the bike by fitting some Maxxis Ardent 2.4 tyres, inflated to 20psi.
Plus l fitted Race Face Turbine bars.
On technical uphills it would steamroller up where on my regular bike l had to pick a line.

It was great fun l have to admit! The bike held up well (Cube hardtail, Reaction Hybrid 140 Race) and battery life is good for 20+ miles of hard use.

I've now gone back to my Foxy R. I've not seen a single e-bike on my local trails (Peak District UK)
Most of the riders l met out on the trails had never seen one.
 

lotusdriver

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
9
Points
1
So l am going to update this thread, as despite getting no response, l am sure there will be people who will find it useful at some stage.

I did another ride on the bike today, 20 miles of serious off road in wet/muddy conditions.

It really is a lot of fun. It's hard to wipe the silly grin off your face on climbs. There are a few on the route l took (total about 2500 feet)
What l did was to try and put in the same effort as l usually do. This often saw me going too fast or hitting the 15mph limit.
So l turned the motor assist down to "tour" and "eco" which balanced things out. What happens then is you end up doing twice the distance than on a normal bike, in the time you are out.

It's the same when climbing out of the saddle. With the bike on "eco" l was putting the effort in, but doing twice the speed l normally go at.

Is this a good thing? I don't know. It meant l did a much longer route for the same exertion. Can't see why that would be a bad thing.

I never used the "sport" or "turbo" mode as very little effort is required on the pedals to make progress, and l wanted to feel like l'd actually done something.

The bike was fine with the mud/water/hosepipe and bike cleaner, no electrical issues.

I did find that the connection between battery and motor gets wet, also the connection between the computer and mount is not waterproof.
But the actual units are, so a spray of GT85 and clean up was all that was needed.

Under power the bike can, erm, wheelspin in mud....you need to be careful on the pedals riding this kind of terrain.

But when my wife starts using the bike (it's for her) it won't do any extreme off road anyway.

Off road takes it out of the battery. I started with a full charge and after a couple of rough climbs and a bit of road hill (only 3 miles) on the second out of 4 power levels the "remaining range" had dropped by 40%!
However the battery indicator was still on 6/6 bars.
Over the ride the range went down, eventually after 16 miles showing only 7 miles remaining. But after a road section where l was up to 20mph+ for a while (assistance stops at 15mph) it recovered and l got home with 33% charge showing.

Not sure why that happened but the battery level indicator was stable at 50% when the remaining range was showing 7 miles.
Riding without power assistance is OK on the flat, in fact downhill it seems very fast/stable probably due to the weight.
But you are turning a gearbox (the front chainring turns 2 1/2 times for every turn of the pedals) and uphill is a real workout. It's do-able, but no fun at all.

One other thing, it was pouring with rain today and l would not normally have gone out. I don't mind weather when l am on a ride, l will stay out, but if it's hammering down it takes commitment to get started. On the Cube it didn't seem to matter, l felt like l'd got one up on the weather somehow.

So will l go out on it again? Probably....it's a right laugh to ride. But it won't replace my regular bike. I used to hate long climbs but now l see them as a challenge. There's no challenge riding up them on an electric bike. It's great fun, but the sense of achievement is not there for me.
As this is one of the reasons l ride in the first place, l will be back on my Foxy next time out.
 

NEPMTBA

Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
38
Points
6
I'm viewing...

...I think it's a great way to compare different rides and see what we all learn from the e-bike experience.

Thanks, and I will follow your updates.
 

rider95

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
36
Points
6
When a reg biker says if you want to use a motor just get a motorcycle , Now after riding a E bike you now have found the secret . E bikes are just a blast!!! soon you will (I mean your wife) be coming up with reason to use her e bike
 

lotusdriver

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
9
Points
1
So, another ride out on the Cube last night, in drier conditions.
The night before l did a similar route on my Foxy.

Now the novelty is wearing off a bit, l can look at how it stacks up as a mountain bike, and the difference between a ride on the Cube e-bike and a ride on my 2016 Foxy R.

It is still great fun smashing the climbs, but l miss the challenge that l get from doing them on an ordinary bike.
As a full on mountain bike the Cube being so heavy is a rough ride on rocky paths. The rear wheel does get good traction but l think full suspension would be better due to the weight of the back end.
But again, a lot of it is due to speed. If you ride the Cube at "normal" speed on the trail and not at it's maximum assisted speed then it feels similar in ride quality to my friends non-ebike Orbea hardtail.
On technical and rocky climbs it does do very well though, if you select a low gear and resist the temptation to go too fast. In low gear you can pick your way up climbs that would have most people walking or carrying their bike.
However it gets mixed reactions from people you meet (or overtake) who are doing that!
The assistance kicks in as you start to pedal, and increases with your input (there's a torque sensor) but there's a little "start" button on the side of the controls that gets it going with no pedal input so you can take over when the bike is moving.

What tends to happen is that l get to what would be the end of my ride and am not tired, so carry on and do twice the distance that l'd normally go.
The Cube is certainly well made. The battery rattles a bit on descents but everything else is really well made and works perfectly.

I was discussing bikes with a friend and we wondered who these e-mountain bikes are aimed at? The Cube is a hardtail mountain bike with full XT kit and riser bars clearly meant to go off road.

But mountain bikers don't seem to buy them. Well, l have never seen one on my trails in three years.
I bought it for my wife but she won't go off road any further than canal tow paths and the like.

I should really have got her a trekking or hybrid road bike l guess.

I'm going to alternate between bikes for a while to see if the Cube has a place in my mountain biking.
I'll update from time to time.

I also found an easy way to remove the speed limiter. The speed sensor is on the chainstay with a magnet on one of the spokes of the rear wheel.
Unscrew the sensor and zip tie it to the other side of the chainstay, then attach the magnet to the end of the crank arm.
As the crank arms turn a lot slower than the wheels, the bike thinks you are doing about 10mph when you are really going 25.
Obviously the readings of speed/range etc are of no use when you do this.
Personally l have left it as standard but some will want to go faster no doubt.
 

WoodlandHills

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
77
Points
8
I like the idea of the "start button", getting going on a steep hill is just about the only time where a throttle would be necessary. Being able to get that initial boost to mount and get the pedals turning would be a huge safety aid. I wonder if it would be Class 1 legal since you can't modulate it like an actual throttle?
 

boss

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
189
Points
16
WH, I rode a Yamaha equipped Haibike that pulled from the first effort, so maybe that's next for more PAS systems.
 

lotusdriver

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
9
Points
1
I tried the Haibike but it did not seem quite as well designed as the Cube.
But l believe the Yamaha motor unit is just as good as the Bosch one.

The self start button is very gentle, you push the button and it builds up slowly to about walking speed.

I never used it, as the assistance starts anyway within a half turn of the pedals, but my wife (we finally got out tonight) found it a help if she stopped on a hill.

My wife loves the e-bike, says it is exactly what she needs. On an ordinary bike she struggled to ride fast enough to balance on hills. While l can balance right down to a standstill my wife needs walking pace before she feels confident on the bike.
 

richde

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
1
Points
1
I think the purpose of that is to be able to push the bike without it dragging...at least that's what Shimano says about their system.
 

syl3

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
10
Points
1
Don't bother, it won't work. bosch fixed this in late 2011. after about 5 seconds the motor cuts the power if it keeps pumping juice and the speed stays the same.
 

leeboh

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
36
Points
6
My take, " wheel spin in the mud and removed the speed limiter" I guess 1 could not over ride this function. Good that the UK has a freedom to roam rules there. One can ride anything anywhere?
 

lotusdriver

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
9
Points
1
You can't ride on footpaths everything else is OK.
E-bikes are legal anywhere you can ride a regular bike.
I tested the "start" button today and it cuts off as soon as you get on the bike. I think as suggested above it's mainly for pushing the bike.

I do find a hardtail hard work on the trails around here. I was out tonight and some of the paths are very rocky. My backside was really taking a pounding! On flat paths it's difficult to stay out of the saddle while pedalling, l guess l have been spoilt by 140mm travel at both ends.

I met a guy on a fully rigid bike who had done all the routes l'd done and he said it was alright. And his bike basically had road tyres on it.
 

WoodlandHills

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
77
Points
8
Look into getting a suspension seatpost like the Thudbuster or the Suntour NCX to take the edge off of the hits. Also, ebikes need a different style of seat than p-MTBs: you will not be spending much time at all bent over the handlebars or standing up like a racer, but rather you will be seated with your back at a more upright angle of 60* or so most of the time. Since you are going to be sitting and pedaling under assist more of the time you need a wider and softer seat than a pushbiker, Selle Royale make a good line with gel padding for your hip bones.
 

lotusdriver

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
9
Points
1
Another ride on the e-bike yesterday.

I'd been out on the Foxy and then got invited on an evening ride so took the Cube.

After a bit of laughing and poking fun (at the e-bike) we set off, the battery seems to be lasting longer now, 15 miles mainly off road and it was only half gone.

I tried again riding without the motor, OK downhill and on the trail but uphill was a nightmare of low gear effort.

There's not much else to report. The bike does well off road and climbs really well of course, if out of the saddle the power needs turning down or it will lurch forward as you pedal.
Maybe more practise needed with technique.

Good fun but nice to get out on the Foxy again this afternoon.
 

faunus

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
10
Points
1
I am glad you are enjoying your Cube - I enjoy riding mine.

But if your experience is anything like mine - if it goes wrong or breaks you're on your own.

I have tried to get mine repaired and parts replaced for almost two months. Cube, Bosch and the dealer (Gears Bikes Toronto) will not even talk to me. I've written to them all and phone where possible, but they ignore me completely - Cube is the worst followed by Bosch.

Not the kind of service I'm used to - appalling really.

I hope your experience is better than mine ...
 

lotusdriver

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
9
Points
1
That's shocking service.

Your contract is with the bike store and not Cube or Bosch so your communication should be addressed to them.
It's unlikely that Cube/Bosch will be interested. The days of customer care/loyalty have sadly in the main part, gone.
Although there are exceptions.
 
Top Bottom