Cube’s Ltd Comp is one of the best specced bikes we have seen at this price. It’s heavier than some, mainly because of its coil-sprung fork, but has enough highlights, on paper at least, to make it look like a category winner before you even start to ride it. So does the Cube live up to its just-out-of-the-box promise?
We simply couldn’t fault the ride and the parts detailing of the Cube. It’s comfy and conﬁdent on the trail and the fast tyres go a long way to ensuring that the 28lb heft never feels like a problem, even on climbs. We have tested a couple of lighter bikes, and a couple that offer a more exciting ride, but none match the combination of conﬁdence, comfort and parts spec of the Ltd Comp.
Ride & handling: Comfy, confident trail feel
While the Cube isn’t exactly an exciting bike to ride, it’s reassuringly conﬁdent and fun on all but the most radical terrain and its superb parts speciﬁcation is a performance bonus on the trail as well as a value bonus for the wallet. An air fork would be nice, but at this price we’re not moaning. A coil-sprung RockShox Tora fork and big tyres run fairly soft are the next best thing and we had absolutely no issues with comfort or control.
Its climbing prowess and ﬂickability on singletrack falls slightly short because of its weight, but 28lb is about average for a bike at this price and the fast rolling treads, neutral handling and soft sprung fork make it easy to comfortably carry speed across the sort of terrain that slows less well sorted machines. Big tyres and a soft-sprung fork help on rough downhill terrain too, and the geometry felt spot-on for powerful pedally sessions through our favourite twisty singletrack.
Frame: Nicely designed – makes later weight-saving upgrades worthwhile
The ﬂashy appearance of the Ltd Comp won’t appeal to everyone, but if you don’t like the white, red and highly polished aluminium look you could opt for the much more subtle black anodised version, with black parts detailing. Tube proﬁles include a fat biaxially ovalised down tube designed for maximum weld contact areas at either end and reinforced behind the head tube. The top tube is radically ovalised, wrapping around an extended seat tube and straight into the top of the seatstays. Big chainstays curve in for heel clearance, there’s a padded chainstay protector to quiet chain slap and there are luggage rack mounts and two sets of bottle cage bosses.
Equipment: Excellent 30-speed drivetrain and thoughtful mix of classy ﬁnishing parts
The parts speciﬁcation is superb for its RRP but you’ll be considering a bit more than initial RRPs when you’re shopping for a bike around this price. The RockShox Tora fork is coil sprung but the spring on our test bike seemed softer than the spring in the same fork on other bike brands we've tested. With a preload dial, bar-mounted lockout and good rebound adjustment the Tora is a decent fork on a bike at this price.
Drivetrain parts are without compromise too. A Shimano XT rear gear is backed up by 30-speed SLX shifters, giving a massive range of gears including a 34-tooth biggest sprocket out back so that you can stay in the middle chainring on all but the steepest climbs. The crankset is Shimano’s hollow axled no-groupset offering, and shifting remained superb throughout the test period.
The Shimano brakes are powerful and predictable and the predominantly Shimano theme continues to the hubs, which are laced to decent RFR ZX24 rims shod with Schwalbe’s fast rolling and surprisingly grippy 2.25in Rapid Rob treads. The high proﬁle of these tyres noticeably adds comfort and shock absorption because you can run them at 30-35psi without instantly expecting to pinch puncture.
It’s great to see high proﬁle fast rolling tyres on a European bike, many of which still seem to spec old-school skinny racer treads. Big fat tyres with a well-spaced low knob proﬁle, like this, offer the best of all worlds. They roll fast, they grip well, they self-clean and add to the suspension effect for extra comfort on rough terrain.
The slightly more comfy than usual RFR branded saddle, an Easton EA30 stem and 26in handlebar are nice ﬁnishing touches, as is the two-bolt seatpost. Double clamp bolts are a bonus, especially for heavy riders. We still come across a lot of posts, especially on lower budget bikes, that just won’t hold the saddle tight on rough terrain. An extra clamp bolt helps.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.