Cube Cross Race review

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£999

The Cube Cross Race handles in a relaxed manner

BikeRadar verdict

4 out of 5 stars

"A superbly equipped cyclocross machine with a nod to some all-rounder ability"

Saturday, December 29, 2012 8.00am By

Superficially this 2013 model looks similar to the 2012 one, but the frame has been tweaked to incorporate a tapered (1 1/2in  to 1 1/8in) head tube and fat bladed carbon fork for improved steering precision, and a skinnier seatpost for extra comfort on rough ground. 

  • Highs: An excellent aluminium frame and carbon fork, with quality Easton finishing components
  • Lows: Minimally spoked wheels are flexy and noisy on rough terrain
  • Buy if: You want a great value ’cross bike that won’t need upgrading for ages

The skinny seatstays, a slim but comfy Selle Italia saddle and Schwalbe 33mm Rocket Ron tyres add to comfort on demanding terrain, while an oversized shape-shifting top tube and down tube help create a chassis that’s incredibly stiff under power. Internally routed gear/rear brake cabling is a mixed blessing: it flatters clean frame lines and stays better protected from the elements, but servicing is more fiddly. 

You’ll be lucky to find better kit on a bike at this price. A Shimano 105 drivetrain twins a 46/36 chainset with a 12-28 cassette, perfect for all but the steepest off-road climbs. 

The Avid rim brakes were very squealy until the first muddy ride, where their more vague performance on muddy rims made us miss the other bikes’ disc brakes. But we love the extra brake levers on the bar tops in challenging off-road scenarios: they allow you to brake hard when off the back of the saddle on steep bumpy drops and you can constantly cover the brakes when cruising, either off-road or in traffic.

As an all-purpose bike the only thing the Cube lacks is seatstay rack bosses: you’ll need P-clips or a centre-strut rack fixed to the seatstay bridge. It does have eyelets on the rear dropouts and the fork legs, and there’s room to fit bigger tyres if you fancy heavy-duty touring. 

Cube cross race:

Small-knobbed ’cross treads grip well in most off-road conditions but wear quickly on tarmac. The wheels are Easton’s flat-spoked, aero-rimmed, red-hubbed EA50s and the stem, bar and seatpost are all quality Easton offerings too. 

Weight is excellent, and a fairly relaxed head angle gives confident handling on and off-road. The saddle-to-bar reach is shorter than on a lot of 56cm bikes, but that can be a bonus for some. 

Handling was relaxed without feeling cramped, and a slightly longer stem wouldn’t mess with that. Our only gripe was that the stiff frame and low spoke count make for a clackety ride on bumpy terrain, with some rim flex and brake block rub when climbing or sprinting out-of-the-saddle.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

What's the score with BikeRadar reviews? You can find a full explanation of our ratings here.

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Specification

Name:
Cross Race (13)
Brand:
Cube Bikes
Price:
£999

Available Sizes:
53 56 59cm 62cm
Bottom Bracket:
Shimano 105 external alloy cups
Brakes:
Avid Shorty 6
Cassette:
Shimano Tiagra 10-speed, 12-28
Chain:
Shimano Tiagra 10-speed
Fork:
Carbon blades and dropouts, chromoly 11/8-1½in steerer
Fork Weight:
1750
Frame Material:
TIG-welded 6061 double butted alu, replaceable hanger
Front Derailleur:
Shimano 105 34.9mm clamp-on front
Front Hub:
Sealed cartridge
Front Tyre:
SCHWALBE
Handlebar:
Easton alloy shallow anatomic, 42cm, OS
Headset Type:
FSA semi-integrated Aheadset, 11/8in-1½in sealed cartridges
Rear Derailleur:
Shimano 105 mid cage
Rear Hub:
Sealed cartridge
Rear Tyre:
SCHWALBE
Rims:
Easton EA50 Aero
Saddle:
Cube by Selle Italia, steel rails
Seatpost:
Easton forged alloy, twin bolt micro-adjust clamp, 27.2x350mm
Shifters:
Shimano 105 10-speed
Stem:
Easton forged alloy, 10cm, four-bolt OS bar clamp, twin bolt 11/8in steerer
Weight (kg):
9.57
Weight (lb):
21.1
Brake Levers:
Tektro AL721

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