The Cube Elly Cruise Hybrid 500 is a stylish and classically-proportioned city bike that offers a comfortable and unfussy city ride. It's definitely a bike for cruising rather than speeding, and if you’re looking for a leisurely bike that still has enough power to get you up the hills, it’s definitely one to look at. The updates for 2018 don’t affect the overall package that much and the new version looks as well-specced as this one, and is probably better looking with the full-size drivetrain.
Cube have clearly gone to a lot of trouble to give the Elly Cruise a classic look; it's certainly a very non-threatening package that looks like it'll be most at home rolling around at no great pace. Even so, there's quite a lot going on with the frame here. "Elly Cruise has the same attention to detail in terms of stability and safety as all of our hybrid bikes", say Cube. "That means you can take innovative frame details like the double chainstay, highly rigid, hydroformed easy entry frame design and complex double chamber seat tube for granted."
The double chainstay isn't immediately obvious looking at the bike thanks to the fully-enclosed chain, but there's an extra stay on both sides of the rear of the Elly Cruise. The rack is also an integrated part of the frame, so there's a fair bit of structure back there; the rack system is modular so the battery mount and the pannier rails can be replaced if necessary.
Power is provided by a Bosch Active Line motor, with a 500Wh battery (a 400Wh option is available too for £200 less) and a Purion display. The Purion isn't our favourite option for mountain biking as the buttons can be fiddly to actuate when you're bouncing down a rock garden, but it's neat and unobtrusive here. 2018 bikes get the newer direct drive Active Line Cruise motor, with a full-size 40T chainset and a full chain case. In terms of performance it’s not going to make a huge difference but it does make the bike more classically pretty, and the new motors are a bit lighter and quieter.
The shiny silver alloy bars and stem are finished off with faux-leather wrapped grips and you get a big, shiny bell too.
The Elly Cruise uses Shimano's Nexus 7-speed hub gear. That means the chain doesn't move about so it's possible to fit a full chaincase, which Cube have sensibly done. All other city essentals are there too: a good rear-mounted kickstand, a set of slive chromoplastic mudguards and integrated lighting.
At the front you get a SR Suntour NEX-E25 fork with 63mm of travel; we're not convinced that you get much benefit from a suspension fork on a bike that's as upright as this in terms of position, but the Suntour unit is at least a good quality fork and we'll reserve judgement until we've put the miles in. The 50mm Schwalbe Fat Frank tyres should do a decent job of smoothing out the potholes. Also: they look great.
Cube use Magura's HS-11 hydraulic rim brakes for the Elly Cruise. Maguras have always had a strong following over on the continent: they're powerful, the pads are easy to change and they rarely require any maintenance. They're a less common sight on UK-spec bikes but you needn't worry about whether they'll stop you or not.
Riding: Cruise by name and cruise by nature
This Cube Elly Cruise is the perfect bike for easy town riding. It feels quite big and the overall weight of the bike is reasonably high, but the low standover and upright position make it very easy to control, and there’s plenty of power available from the Bosch mid motor. Up my benchmark climb on the commute (1.5km at 5%, with a 12% section) the bike never struggled, although progress was a bit slower than it would be on a smaller, more nimble bike with the same drivetrain. The 500Wh battery gives the bike a very decent range too, almost enough for a full week of commuting. On the flat in lower modes you should expect to get 60-70km out of a battery at least, which should ease any range anxieties.
Sometimes open frame bikes like the Elly Cruise can feel a bit vague, as there’s no top tube to triangulate the frame and add stiffness. Here that was never an issue: the giant down tube and double chainstay design makes the bike plenty stiff enough that steering is accurate and power transfer immediate. The stepover is about as low as you can go with a mid motor design, so it’s easy to get on and off and will appeal to anyone that has limited flexibility too.
Everything on the bike looks the part, and works well. The leather-look sprung saddle is comfy for the short to mid-range trips you’re likely to do, and the matching grips are good too. Shimano’s Nexus 7-speed hub gear is a reliable, well-proven unit; it’s a little bit more prone to falling out of index than the more expensive Alfine hubs, and when you’re under power going uphill it has a tendency to hang on to the gear you’re in when you shift down, so you need to back off the power momentarily for crisp shifts when you’re climbing.
Magura’s HS11 brakes are really popular on the continent and offer lots of predictable braking power. Rather than using a pivot the pads are pushed by a piston towards the rim, so they’re always perpendicular; that makes for even pad wear and consistent performance right through the pad. It’s easy to replace the pads too, just pull the old ones out and shove the new ones in with no need to re-align.
The built-in rear rack is very sturdy, and the bolt-on pannier mounts and sprung rear platform give plenty of options for carrying your gear. I fitted a couple of different pannier designs with no issues.
Any problems with the bike? Not really: Cube, like most European manufacturers, would probably tell you that their customers expect a suspension fork and that’s why they spec one. On a bike this upright it’s really surplus to requirements, although the Suntour NEX25 unit fitted is fairly decent and didn’t give me any problems with brake judder or vague steering. The Bosch Purion display still isn’t my favourite, and I’d much rather have a central Intuvia display and a bar remote on a bike like this, but it’s not a deal breaker.
Overall the Cube Elly Cruise is great for doing what it’s designed to do: cruise. The ride is comfortable and easy, the motor performance is excellent and the component package is high quality and good for the money. If you’re looking for an easy-to-live-with city bike and you’ve got plenty of space to store one, you can add this one to your list.
Updates for 2018
The main change for the 2018 bike is that it uses the new direct drive Bosch Active Line Cruise motor, that swaps the little drive ring at the front for a standard sized chainring. The motor has the same torque as the unit tested here, but it’s a bit lighter and quieter. The bike swaps the rack battery for a standard PowerPack mounted behind the seat tube; that’s better for weight distribution although we didn’t have any real issues with handling. The bike uses pretty much the same components for the build: hub gear, brakes, front light (the rear has changed because of the battery position), suspension fork, mudguards saddle and bar grips all roll over. Tyres are 42mm Schwalbe Big Bens instead of 50mm Fat Franks.
||Aluminium Superlite, Trekking Hybrid Premium Comfort, IC, Double Butted
||Easy Entry: 46, 50, 54, 58
||SR Suntour NEX-E25, 63mm
||FSA No.10, Semi-Integrated
||CUBE Comfort City Stem, 31.8mm
||CUBE Comfort Shape Bar
||CUBE Urban, Silicon
||Shimano Nexus SL-7S31, Revoshift
||system Magura HS11, Hydr. Caliper Brake
||FSA Metropolis Urban AL-8, 18T
||teeth Shimano Nexus, 22T
||KMC Z610, EcoProTeQ
||CUBE SX24, V-Brake, 36H
||hub Shimano HB-T4000, QR
||hub Shimano Nexus SG-C3000-7R, 7-Speed, Nut
||Schwalbe Fat Frank, 50-622
||CUBE PP Trekking
||CUBE Performance Post, 27.2mm
||CUBE HYBRID Performance Close, 31.8mm
||Trelock Bike-i Retro Ebike
||Busch&Müller Toplight 321 E Plus
||CUBEstand Pro, Adjustable
||SKS Chrom Retro
||Hebie Chainglider Bosch
||CUBE Integrated Carrier, SnapIt Adapter and Rails
||Bosch Drive Unit Active (48Nm) Cruise (250Watt)
||Bosch PowerPack 500