With its Shimano XT rear mech, 27 gears, classy tyres and ‘Competition Line’ frame tag, the Attention is certainly a bike that will seduce many riders in the shop. But a bike can be more or less than the sum of its parts, and even a first push on the low-budget SR Suntour fork before we set off left us wondering if this might be yet another bike that’s had its potential muffled by the marketing need to stay just under the £500 mark. The proof is always in the ride.
Ride & handling: Upgrade the fork and you'll have a great budget trail bike
The fork lost its initial plushness after a couple of rides as it was affected by the ingression of wet dirt, but that was the only thing we could find to moan about on the Cube.
The big tyres almost made up for this, boosting shock absorption and line holding ability through slippery corners.
The Attention dealt well with all terrain types except rocky downhills, where the 80mm travel fork couldn't really deal with fast bumps.
Fast singletrack riding was confident and climbs were a relative breeze with the fast-rolling tyres.
Frame: Versatile all-rounder chassis with plenty of clearance
Despite the ‘Competition Line’ top tube label, Cube’s entry-level frames are all-rounder offerings constructed to span a wide price category.
The Attention still has cantilever brake bosses on the seatstays, as there are cheaper models in the same range without disc brakes. There are rack eyelets too, as well as two sets of bottle cage eyelets.
The RFR (Ready For Race) geometry is a misnomer – as Cube says: “The touring character and frame geometry with its shorter top tube is dedicated to a relaxed, comfortable ride position and pleasant riding characteristics...” There’s nothing wrong with that, but there will be as many riders put off by the ‘Ready for Race’ tag as attracted by it.
The Attention’s flared head tube is supported by a big gusset-reinforced down tube, bi-axially ovalised at both ends to achieve maximum weld contact at the ends.
A sloping top tube gives lots of standover clearance and the seat and chainstays maximise heel clearance and mud room around the comfy rear tyre.
Equipment: 27-speed drivetrain and superb tyres, but fork lets the side down
The SR Suntour XCM fork isn’t great: compression feels fine, the spring preload dial works and the leg-top lever lockout is very effective, but only workable with the bike static and the fork fully extended. There’s a dull top-out thunk at full rebound, which can be irritating on bumpy terrain.
The drivetrain is where the Cube really stands proud. It has a nine-speed cassette, and that’s good if you think you might be upgrading other parts in the future – like getting a better fork.
The XT rear gear mech, Deore front and Deore shifters are unusual on a £500 bike since the 2009 price hikes, and they give you a slicker shift feel and better longevity than the Alivio mechs that typify this price point. Most riders will be happy with the brakes too – Shimano budget offerings are reliably solid.
The Attention’s wheels are well built and fairly light, the low weight coming mainly from the Schwalbe Nobby Nic and Racing Ralph treads – big air chambers boost comfort and shock absorption, and the low-profile tread pattern is fast rolling and surprisingly grippy.
An FSA bar and stem combo is better than many we see on £500 bikes, while the Scape saddle, seat post and grips are above average too.
You could go £100 up-range to Cube's Acid model but you’d still only get a RockShox Dart 3 fork, so get this bike and look for a good deal on a better fork.