Cube compact hybrid 20 electric bike review

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Compact electric bikes offer the middle ground between fully folding and regular bikes. They usually have collapsible handlebars and can be easily fitted into the back of an SUV or estate car for ease of transport. Another great feature is they are designed to be adaptable for riders of all sizes – from a teenager through to a 6-foot-plus adult.

cube compact 20" electric hybrid bike front left view

A lot of manufacturers are catching on to this new trend in urban transport. In this review, I will be looking at the Cube Compact 20″ Hybrid electric bike.


Having previously ridden a Tern GSD and Orbea Katu E, I can honestly say that I’m impressed with these bikes. Their initial appearance can be somewhat deceptive. When I first laid eyes on the Katu I thought ‘That’s way too small for me’ but after some adjustments to the seat height and handlebars, I felt at home the minute I sat on it.

The same is true of the Cube compact. Its design ethos is the same as the aforementioned bikes – small, medium or large – one size fits all! You can adjust the height of the handlebars (and angle) and also alter the saddle height plus the step-thru design means anyone can ride it with ease.

Like the Orbea, the Cube uses a Shimano Nexus internally geared hub. On the Cube it is a 5-speed (as opposed to an 8-speed on the Katu).

Electric components

Most fully folding electric bikes have small hub motors in the front or rear wheel. These are fine for city riding, but they’re not as energy efficient as mid-drives like the Bosch motor, nor do they produce the same level of torque. The reason mid-drive isn’t usually found on fully folding e-bikes is that motor placement can affect the foldability of the bike. This is where compact hybrids come in – you can have a rigid framed bike with a short wheelbase and a mid-drive motor.

bosch active line ebike system with battery and display

Bosch Active Line Plus

The Bosch Active Line Plus motor sits at the lower end of Bosch’s e-bike motor range and it is specifically designed for city bikes and hybrids. It doesn’t produce the sheer grunt of the Performance Line motor, but what it lacks in overall torque it makes up for with efficiency.

The maximum torque output of the Active Plus is a respectable 50Nm, which when compared to the average hub motor of 35Nm is a considerable improvement. But where the Bosch motor comes into its own is in the way the motor produces that power.

Bosch Active Line Plus motor

All Bosch motors use a sophisticated torque-based pedal sensing system – this ensures the electric motor is giving you the right amount of assistance in proportion to the amount of effort you are putting in. If you are cruising along at a nice steady cadence of flat ground then the motor will give you a little help. The second you come to an incline and need to pedal a little harder, the motor will amplify your effort seamlessly.

bosch purion ebike display

Bosch’s neat Purion display offers the rider 4 levels of assist: Eco, Tour, Sport and Boost – in Eco mode, you will barely notice the motor assisting you, but pedalling will seem so much easier. Stick it to Boost mode and it will amplify your pedalling input by up to 260% making you feel like an Olympian!

Bosch 500Wh Battery

The Cube Compact uses the Bosch PowerPack 500Wh battery, which should give a potential assist range of anywhere between 50 to 80 miles. It’s even possible to squeeze 100 miles out of a single charge, but you will need to stick to Eco mode and use it only on hills. Check out your potential range using the Bosch eBike range calculator.

cube compact 20" hybrid electric bike

Bike components

Considering the compact nature of the Cube, they haven’t skimped on components.  The sturdy aluminium rigid frame is lightweight, yet tough and this bike is equipped with all the optional extras you will ever need. Including front and rear mudguards, a pannier rack, kickstand, lights and of course, the excellent Shimano drivetrain. Extra wide 2.4″  tyres ensure extra comfort, regardless of the terrain.


The Shimano Nexus 5 geared hub is complemented with an FSA 44t crankset with 165mm crank arms, giving you ample gear range for most city riding. My testing ground is rural Cornwall and couldn’t be further from this bike’s intended domain.

cube compact electric bike rear view showing shimano nexus hub

I have some very steep hills where I live and although the Cube coped surprisingly well considering the limited gear range, I did find myself having to still put in a fair bit of effort on the 15% climbs.

On the flat and moderate hills, it performed excellently and I would have no hesitation in saying this bike would be perfect for urban use.

The great thing about internally geared hubs is you can change gear when stationary, meaning you don’t need to down-shift when approaching traffic lights or if you need to stop suddenly.


Braking is provided by Shimano’s reliable BR-MT200 hydraulic brakes. Although these are entry-level brakes, they do the job well enough. They are much better suited to city riding and I felt they offered more than adequate braking power.

Wheels and Tyres

The wheels are Cubes own EX30 32h 20″ rims which are designed to cope with the rigours of city streets. I found they also handled the back lanes of Cornwall rather well, and the 2.4″ wide, high-volume Schwalbe Super Moto-x tyres negated the need for suspension. These tyres will make riding on multiple surfaces easy. You could even get away with a spot of light trail riding. These tyres also offer a good degree of puncture protection.


The alloy superlite frame is designed to be light and durable, while at the same time offering a comfortable riding geometry. I found the handling to be very nimble and sure-footed. There are also mounting points for a bottle cage and a large front basket.

cube compact hybrid electric bike review

The overall finish and feel of the frame is one of high quality. Neat internal cable routing finishes off the package nicely.

Finishing Kit

Cube comfort trail handlebars with a width of 720mm and a 15-degree setback add to the relaxed nature of this bike. There is also a ByShulz Speedlifter twist pro stem, that can be adjusted for reach and height, and the handlebars can be fully collapsed, making transportation much easier.

The Cube Compact is fully kitted out for city riding and commuting, with all-weather protection from full-length front and rear mudguards. There is also a rear pannier rack a kickstand and front and rear lights. If you want to carry extra cargo, there is the option of a front cargo rack that can carry up to 12kg in weight.

front cargo rack for the cube compact electric bike


Frame: Aluminium Superlite, Comfort Ride Geometry, Semi-Integrated Carrier, Double Butted, Front-Carrier Ready, Slider Dropout
Fork: Aluminium
Headset: FSA No.10, Semi-Integrated
Stem: BySchulz Speedlifter Twist Pro SDS T14
Bars: Cube Comfort Trail Bar, 15° Setback, 720mm
Front Brake: Shimano BR-MT200, Hydr. Disc Brake (180mm)
Rear Brake: Shimano BR-MT200, Hydr. Disc Brake (160mm)
Shifters: Shimano Nexus SL-C7000-5
Speed: 12
Rims: Cube EX30, 32H, Disc, Tubeless Ready
Front Hub: Shimano HB-TX505, QR, Centerlock
Rear Hub: Shimano Nexus SG-C7000-5D, 5-Speed, Nut
Front Tyre: Schwalbe Super Moto-X, Double Defense, 64-406
Rear Tyre: Schwalbe Super Moto-X, Double Defense, 64-406
Seat Post: Newmen Evolution, 27.2mm
Saddle: Natural Fit Nuance Lite
Chainset: FSA Metropolis Comfort, 44T, 165mm
Chain: KMC Z610
Pedals: Basic Resin Flat
Weight: 23.7kg
Battery (Wh): 500wh
Motor: Bosch Drive Unit Active Plus Generation 3 (50Nm) Cruise (250Watt)
User Interface: Bosch Purion

Who is the Cube Compact Hybrid Electric Bike aimed at?

I can see the Cube Compact Electric hybrid bike having a broad appeal – it is equally suited to weekend recreational riders as it is the busy urban commuter or delivery rider. It would also make a great e-bike for all the family, and despite its size, it can carry quite a bit of cargo (especially with the optional front basket fitted).

There are many applications with a bike like this. One that springs to mind is it would make a great bike for delivery riders. The decent battery range means you can cover a lot of miles on a daily basis between charging.


Compact hybrid bikes are a fairly recent addition to the cycling world, they offer relative portability (when compared with regular bikes) and they are designed to carry reasonable loads and can be used by all the family.

The Cube Compact Hybrid Electric bike is a contender in the price steaks, it’s a bit pricier than the Orbea Katu E-30, but a lot cheaper than the Tern GSD S10. It offers everything you would expect from a versatile e-bike – comfort, battery range, nimble handling and the ability to carry (small) amounts of cargo.

Another great thing about the Cube is the way it handles rough terrain. Having extra wide tyres on smaller wheels is important, especially when riding roads littered with potholes and debris. I found the Compact handled some of the very rough back lanes of Cornwall with ease and not once did I feel the bike was going to slip from under me.

My overall opinion is it’s a great little e-bike in a neat package and with its cargo-carrying potential it could quite easily replace the car for small journeys and even trips to the shops.

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  1. I’ve been doing about 2000 miles a year on ebikes for the past four years and my Cube Compact is easily the best one that I have had. The one before was a Cube Town Hybrid which is almost the Compact’s bigger brother with a very similar spec. The real joy of the Compact is much more maneuverable and has a very tight turning circle. It also disk brakes which work very well.

    The feature that makes this bike stand out is how you are able to turn the handlebars by 90 degrees which helps parking in tight spaces or inside.

    I use my ebike for exercise and unlike others find its hill climbing abilities to be OK. You just move the power to Turbo and drop your gears to the bottom two. It is a pedal assist bike and not a moped

  2. Hi Tony

    Your review is very helpful. I’m trying to decide between the Tern HSD S8i (expensive) and the Orbea Katu or the Cube compact hybrid (more in line with my budget). I like the fact these three bikes all have hub gears therefore are easy to maintain but I’ve read reviews that say the Cube Sport Hybrid has a more powerful motor and good mountain bike gears. I want the bike for shopping to partly replace the car and I live on a hill (just below Crystal Palace, London). Do you think the lower powered fewer gears of the Cube compact hybrid would be adequate for carrying loads and climbing a hill?

    1. Hi Sue,

      The Sport hybrid version of the Cube compact would (in my opinion) be much better for hill climbing and carrying loads. The Bosch Performance Line motor produces significantly more torque and the gearing will be more suitable for getting up steeper hills (44t front with 11-36 10-speed rear). You could lower the gearing on the geared hub version by swapping either the front or rear sprocket, but the Active plus motor doesn’t have the same ‘get up and go’ as the Performance Line motor.

      I hope this helps, if you have any more questions, please let me know.


  3. Hi Tony
    Thanks for your great review. I ordered this bike because I wanted one which would be suitable for both me (5’6″) and my husband (5’10”). It’s just arrived and actually, with the saddle at its lowest the bike is still too tall for either of us. I can’t even reach the ground. So reading back I’m surprised that it was suitable for your daughter at 5’1″.
    Are you able to get the saddle right down to meet the top of the post? If so I wonder if there is a fault with mine because it will only go so far.
    Apologies for using you as customer service! I can’t seem to find any guidance online about this.
    Thank you, Millie

    1. Hi Millie,

      I had a similar issue recently with a Raleigh Motus e-bike, the seat post clamp needed to be fully loosened and there was insufficient grease on the post itself. The saddle should go all the way down to the top of the tube (where the clamp is). Did you purchase the latest model (2021) or was it the 2020 which I tested? I’m not sure if the seat post length has been changed on the later model. If so this can be remedied by purchasing a shorter seat post. The diameter of the seat post should be 27.2mm.

      I hope this helps, let me know how you get on and if you need any more help, give me a shout.

      All the best,

  4. Hi Tony, I am hoping to purchase a cube and have one question. I live in Cornwall and I’m planning to cycle to work 12 miles there and 12 miles back. Would it be a good buy to do this distance.


    1. Hi Lynn,

      I personally found the Cube Compact to be surprisingly comfortable despite being quite tall, it’s one of those bikes that fits riders of all sizes. I would imagine it should be perfect for a 12 miles each way commute. Living in Cornwall you’ve probably got a few hills to negotiate. I tested it on the long steep climbs coming out of the Lynher Valley near Saltash and it coped with them remarkably well.

      If you need any more advice, please let me know.


  5. Hi… I’m 6’5″ and have had two Brompton Electrics… the first had the motor and controller replaced at the factory and it was worse than before. I waited six months then ordered another hoping they had sorted the problems of the motor cutting out. It was marginally better (only just) but one of the other problems was having to stretch over the handlebars to the battery to change the power setting… rather unsafe!
    I’m very interested in the Cube Compact and would be interested in your views about ride quality (smoothness over rougher ground) compared to the Brompton.
    Unfortunately the Sport version has sold out so I’d have to go for the standard version with the Active Line Plus…. I’d be interested in your views about this motor compared to the Brompton front hub motor which suffered from rather dangerous wheelsman at times.

    1. Hi Geoff,

      As much as I’m a fan of Brompton bikes, I think the e-bike version needs improvement. The Cube Compact is a great bike in my opinion and although it can’t be fully folded like the Brompton, it’s still small enough to put in the back of a hatchback or saloon car that has folding seats.

      As far as riding over rough ground is concerned, I rode the test bike up to the edge of Bodmin moor and took it on about half a mile of rough gravel track and personally I thought it handled very well. It does have high-volume Schwalbe tyres which are designed to cope with rougher terrain and Cube have given it a classification of 2 on their website, meaning it is designed to cope with light off-road riding.

      The Bosch Active Line Plus motor is very smooth, quiet and efficient – much more so than the small hub motor fitted to the Brompton. And as the motor is mounted centrally and low down, it gives the bike a very stable feel.

      As far as sizing is concerned, I’m just over 6ft and there was still some adjustment left in the saddle height.

      I hope this information helps, if you need any more advice, please let me know.


  6. Hi – do you think this bike would be suitable for a 5ft tall woman living in Falmouth with the steep hills here?

    Would be very grateful for your thoughts.

    I have a Haibike Trekking but my wife wants a smaller step through as the Haibike is too high on the cross bar.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      My 12-year old daughter could ride it comfortably and she is 5’1″ tall, so I would say that it should be suitable. It’s one of those bikes that can be adapted to suit riders of all ages and heights. It’s got quite a short wheelbase and you can adjust the height of the handlebars and saddle substantially.

      I hope this helps, if you have any more questions please let me know.


      1. Brilliant – thanks for taking the time to reply. This is a great site – really useful.

  7. Hi,

    many thanks for your reviews, they are extremely helpful. I am currently trying to decide between the Katu e-30 and this Cube Hybrid 20”.

    Could I ask you to do a quick comparison on these two models – more specifically on:
    – weight
    – comfort/easy to drive
    – parts/electrical

    Many thanks,

    1. Hi Fernando,

      It’s a difficult choice, the Orbea Katu e-30 is slightly lighter than the Cube (22.3kg vs 23.7kg) and has a greater gear range (Shimano Nexus 8 vs Nexus 5 on the Cube).

      The Cube has the Bosch Active Plus motor whereas the Katu has the Active (which produces slightly less torque). The Cube has the a more powerful 500Wh battery vs 400Wh for the Orbea.

      As far as comfort is concerned it’s a close call, but the Cube was better suited to me (I’m 6’1″) and had more adjustment in the handlebar height and angle.

      If it was my money, I would be inclined to go for the Cube. It’s a bit more expensive, but has a greater battery range and slightly more powerful motor. I did prefer the 8 speed gearing of the Orbea though.

      I hope this helps, if you have any more questions, please let me know.

      All the best,

      1. Hi Tony,

        thanks for getting back to me so promptly. I will try to test both before I make my decision, but your comments were very helpful.


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