Cube AMS 130 Race - First ride £2299

Redesigned German trail bike

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

For 2011, Cube have put their efforts into a redesign of their All Mountain System bikes. Each travel segment includes a range of prices – the Race is second in the 130 line-up, with the Pro and Team below and SL above it.

Ride & handling: Decent trail bike that offers impressive value for money

The AMS 130 Race has a 110/130/150mm TALAS fork supplied specially by Fox Racing Shox. The idea is that the 130mm setting, matching the rear travel, is the default, with shorter and longer settings available.

We used the 150mm position mostly, dropping it to 130mm for sustained climbing. It’d be fine with a fixed 150mm fork though; the Cube is well mannered on all but the steepest climbs, and the slightly slacker front end resulting from the longer fork is more engaging on the descents.

Four-bar rear ends tend to be fairly vice-free performers, and Cube’s is no exception. It’s linear through the stroke, giving ready access deep into the travel. That’s good in some situations, but it can be wallowy. Fighting that tendency is a bit more chain growth (which leads to pedal kickback) than some bikes.

The AMS 130 looks like the trail rider’s pick of the range on paper, and the 150mm fork option is a very good bit of thinking. We rode the AMS 150 alongside the 130 and feel the 130 is a better bet – with the fork at 150mm, the geometry is nigh-on identical, but doing without that 20mm of rear travel saves you over a pound in weight.

Frame & equipment: Revised rear suspension plus great fork for the money

There’s a tapered head tube up front for a 1.5/1.125in steerer. Top and down tubes are extensively shaped, with roughly triangular cross-sections. The down tube has substantial flares at both ends, increasing weld area at the head tube and bottom bracket junctions.

The bottom bracket is made in two halves, and incorporates the main swingarm pivot. The two-piece construction allows Cube to machine out material from the inside of the forged halves before welding them together.

Thanks to Specialized’s control of the US patent for chainstay pivots, such pivots are a rarity from US manufacturers. There’s no restriction on bikes sold outside the US, allowing Cube free rein to put together traditional four-bar bikes.

Cube have also revised the rear suspension, tweaking the positions of pivots and adjusting stay and linkage lengths on different sizes of bike, compensating for the fact the rocker has to be in a different place on smaller frames. The chainstay pivots are clevis-style items, positioned further from the rear axle than many four-bar setups.  

At £2,299, you’re getting a good deal – the Fox fork in particular is a notch above what you might expect for the money. The 20in bike we tested looks a bit gawky – although the standover is an inch lower than the 2010 AMS, it’s still a tall bike. The 18in looks better proportioned, but watch the sizing – the 130 is on the short side in the top tube.

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