Bargain hybrid bikes: Cube Hyde review
Anyone contemplating the switch from car to bike will benefit from a machine geared towards the demands of the urban environment.
Having given it a revised frame for 2018, Cube bills the Hyde as the ideal companion for tackling mean city streets.
From the powerful hydraulic disc brakes providing all-weather stopping power, to the fast-rolling tyres, and slick Shimano 27-speed transmission – could the Hyde be all the bike you need to beat the traffic?
Slickly presented, the Hyde’s frame features a tapered head tube, along with hydroformed main tubes and cast dropouts.
Composed of quality heat-treated 7005 aluminium, it’s stiff, lightweight, and being German also features an integrated kickstand mount.
With tubes joined by smooth, double-welded seams these supposedly increase strength, and certainly look nice.
Cable management is equally winsome, with integrated gearing lines piercing the frame behind the head tube.
For ease of servicing, the rear hydraulic brake cable is left exposed along the down tube, while the front is pinned inside the fork.
With straight, slender, tapering legs this is similarly lovely looking. Even with huge tyres fitted, both it and the frame include space for mudguards, along with both front and rear racks.
A lot longer than most rigid options, its additional length means it’d be possible to swap in a suspension model later if you so wished.
The Deore rear derailleur isn’t quite the newest model available. With nine gears instead of 10, we missed the extra sprocket less than the clutch mechanism featured on the latest design.
This stops the chain flapping around over bumpy ground, although its loss won’t be felt by those who stick purely to the tarmac.
Elsewhere the more budget Acera groupset provides the shifters and front mech, with both working nicely.
With many makers swapping in a cheaper chainset it’s good to see a more durable Shimano triple bolted to the Cube.
Allowing you to replace individual chainrings as they wear out it’ll save money on servicing over time.
Stopping the Hyde are Shimano BR-M315 hydraulic disc brakes, always good to see given their solid performance.
The silver tabs on the saddle are a little silly. Aping the appearance of rivets on a traditional leather saddle they don’t actually serve any purpose beyond looking nice.
Still, they do at least pull that trick off. We were less keen on the actual shape of the saddle which we found a little narrow for such an upright bike.
Of a better width are the bars. At 660mm they’re wide enough to be stable, but not so expansive as to risk hitting wing mirrors when filtering through traffic.
Rotating around bombproof Shimano hubs, the Hyde’s wheels are stiff, tough, and should in all fairness last a long time.
Easily adjustable, the availability of Shimano spares is unbeatable, while their centre lock system also makes swapping disc rotors easier. Laced to them with 32 spokes, the Alex rims are eyeleted for strength.
While they’re tubeless-compatible the fitted Schwalbe Big Apple tyres aren’t. Still, regardless of only working with conventional inner tubes we’re big fans.
Part of the Schwalbe’s Balloonbike range, their huge volume allows them to work at low pressure to provide a high degree of natural suspension.
Key to the bike’s ride characteristics, they’re certainly worth giving a try.
On the road
We were expecting a lot from the Hyde. Good looking and with a solid spec, it got off to a promising start.
Uniquely it employs huge 2.35in tyres of the kind more frequently found on mountain bikes, except denuded of their knobbly tread.
Despite a stiff aluminium frame these oversize wheels take a while to get going, although with a head of steam built up, it feels as if they’ll plough through anything.
Wrapped in those enormous tyres, the outer diameter of the Hyde’s wheels is bigger than most 700c bikes.
This huge volume of air allows the Hyde to float along. Key to its handling characteristics, they’re surprisingly fast rolling, while the cushion-like suspension allows the rider to smash over obstacles without getting too shaken up.
They also impart almost comical levels of grip, meaning you can rip around corners with little risk of sliding out.
On the flip side, we don’t reckon these big wheels are quite as easy to start up or keep rolling as more regularly sized alternatives, yet it might be a trade worth making given their ability to soften the ride, along with the fact that they’re unlikely to get caught out by potholes or uneven drain covers.
Less prone to being railroaded from under you than slimmer models, they make the Hyde feel like a very safe place to perch.
Shimano brakes are a perfect match, providing a similar level of quick-stopping security.
Combined with excellent shifting performance, and slick looking own-brand finishing kit, there’s no obvious weak link in the Cube’s well-balanced spec.
Surprisingly upright, the Hyde creates a riding position that’s easy on the back and shoulders. With space to accommodate huge tyres the fork crown itself is very tall.
Slotting into a decent length head tube, and finished with a sizable top cap, the result is a handlebar position that towers above the other bikes.
Twinned with this is a rangy top tube, meaning all in the Cube comes up bigger than expected. As it doesn’t have a huge amount of standover this makes getting a good fit especially important.
Assuming you do the Hyde is a fun bike to ride. Light and stiff, it’s more than happy to be thrown about, with the fork being staunch enough to carve turns, while the tyres trample over obstacles with alacrity.
Rumbling along happily on tarmac, they’re bulbous enough to survive off road, too. However, while grippy in the dry, a slick tread means they soon meet their match in wet and slimy conditions.
Getting too wild on the trails will also highlight the lack of standover, increasing the risk of whacking your person on the top tube in the event of a crash – not usually relevant on the road.
Full specifications and more details: https://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk/nsearch/?q=cube+hyde