At A Glance
A bit of an odd bike for an MTB magazine you might say, but bear with us, and of course the N+1 rule always applies. When Rou broke his leg and ankle, last year biking was off the cards, however as soon as he felt he could ride a bike again the urge was to stick to the roads, rather than risk another crash off road while he was still healing.Buy Hybrid Bikes on
Enter the Cube Hyde Race; if you don’t want to be a roadie, and wear all the Lycra and paraphernalia that goes with it, a hybrid bike is just the ticket. Equally, if you want a town bike that feels and rides like a nippy XC bike this ride fits the bill perfectly.
Finally, you’ll notice the Shimano Alfine and Gates Carbon Drive, this chainless system offers you 8-speed shifting with a range of over 300%, plenty for most applications. The beauty of this set up is that it is almost totally maintenance free. No chain to lube, no parts to scrub and clean and these hubs are good for a few thousand miles these days before they need any attention.
The whole bike is built up around Cube’s high-performance aluminium tubing with the usual high standard of finish that we have come to expect from the brand. Rigid aluminium forks hark back to the good old days of MTB, and the geometry isn’t far off a modern-day XC bike. Short 430mm chainstays, a 73-degree seat tube angle coupled with a 72-degree head tube and a reasonable 414mm reach.
Braking comes from the excellent Shimano BR MT200 Hydraulic Discs, Cube provides the bar and stem, and a comfy Selle Royal Prestige offers a solid perch. The seat post incorporates a built in super low profile light, which is a clever touch with a USB charging port. Cube’s own rims are shod with Schwalbe Marathon Supreme Kevlar tyres, and the whole affair is a murdered out black, save for a few flashes of green.
Priced at £949 for the Race version with a Pro version at £799, which features lower spec tyres, loses the illumination seat post, and uses the 8-speed Nexus version of the rear hub, it’s not a bad deal. In terms of modern tech, there is a lot of bang for your buck here, the Alfine hub alone is a chunk of money before you even start on the rest of the kit.
On The Trail
You can’t deny the joy of swinging your leg over a bicycle and going for a ride, almost 7 months after my crash I was given the all clear to spin the pedals again, albeit in a somewhat tamer manner than I am used to. I bloody loved it. Fears of the ankle being sore, or me being scared about falling off diminished in seconds. Despite it being foul weather and me hardly dressed for the occasion, and only heading out to go around the block to check everything was working I ended up losing myself. 12 miles later I was back, soaked to the skin and with a big stupid grin on my face.
I’ve been riding mountain bikes since I was 16; my first ride was a Trek 820 Antelope from 1992. After my crash, I knew riding on the road would be my first port of call, but the thought of getting a proper road bike just didn’t sit well. Oddly enough a trip down memory lane and the geometry on that 820 isn’t far off this one!
The Cube is a hybrid machine that feels like an MTB with slicks on when you ride it around town. I’d even be tempted to take it around the local woods in the summer, as I’m sure the tyres could handle a bit of dry single track just fine. It’s a perfect bike for someone who wants to perhaps keep fit over the winter on the tarmac but doesn’t want to go full drop bars.
The complete lack of maintenance is a boon too, making it easy to store indoors without leaking oil all over the place. The Alfine hub and Gates drive is really the heart of this bike and having only used the set up briefly before I was keen to see how I would get on over a longer test. It’s a game-changer in the real world, for sure it will never be as fast or as quick to engage as a chain set up, and you could argue over power loss through the Carbon Drive too.
However, for most people, including myself that just isn’t that much of an issue, the pick up is fast enough, the drive through the pedals is there, and the 8 speed and over 300% range hasn’t left me struggling at all. OK, so this isn’t going to be a match for the latest gravel bike, or a top spec road machine. But as I’m not wearing Lycra I’m not itching for Strava times on this bike, I’m just enjoying myself! If you want simplicity though and a bike you can jump on in jeans and skate shoes and go for a spin on then it’s tough to beat.
I really enjoyed the Cube ergonomic grips, these made riding very comfortable, which was vital after spending 8 months off a bike, it’s amazing what muscles you lose. The Illumination seat post is fantastic, but it does limit the amount the post can go into the frame by about 3 inches, so bear that in mind when sizing. I’m 185cm and went for the 58, and it just fits.
Another solid point to not are the Schwalbe tyres, being Kevlar I’ve had no punctures yet, touch wood. Usually, I swap out my road going bikes with gatorskins or something equally as drastic as I don’t like carrying a bunch of tools and puncture repair kit with me if I’m just nipping around town or to the pub. So far I’ve had no issues despite riding through some broken glass that I saw too late, sods law will now dictate a flat tomorrow morning.
The Hyde Race is a cracking bike; its upright, comfortable riding position makes it feel like an XC bike with slicks on. The Alfine hub with the Gates Carbon Drive is a superb set up for ease of use, a good range of gears and zero maintenance and the finishing touches Cube have put on the bike are the icing on the cake. Great tyres, a lovely cockpit and that integrated light in the seat post is a boon. The only issue I have now is that it’s so much fun to ride I’m going to be hard pushed to let it go and get on a proper MTB over the next few weeks!
This review was in Issue 58 of IMB.For more information visit CUBE Bikes
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By Rou ChaterRou Chater is the Publishing Editor of IMB Magazine; he’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but his passion for bikes knows no bounds. His first mountain bike was a Trek 820, which he bought in 1990. It didn’t take him long to earn himself a trip to the hospital on it, and he’s never looked back since. These days he’s keeping it rubber side down, riding locally and overseas as much as possible.