Cube’s extravagantly-named AMS 100 Super HPC Pro sits towards the cheaper end of the German company's short-travel line-up, with only the aluminium AMS 100 below it. £2,199 is an impressive price for a full-carbon fibre frame with decent equipment.
Ride & handling: Aggressive riding position lets you put the power down
The Cube is very much in the European head-down cross-country tradition, with steep angles and forward weight distribution. With geometry generally getting ever-slacker, it’s easy to forget that bikes like this work very well in singletrack – you can stay in the middle of the bike, pedal and flick it through corners.
The downside is a nervousness on faster, rougher trails, although the AMS’s stiff frame and decent fork keep things going in the right direction. The rear suspension is best run stiff to avoid blowing through the travel, which keeps the bike feeling taut and lively at the expense of small-bump sensitivity. It's a convincing off-the-peg race with upgrade potential.
Frame: Full-carbon chassis at a great price
Traditionalists will love the look of the AMS 100. Of all the available full-suspension layouts, a four-bar back end with the shock under the top tube looks most like how you expect a bike to look. There’s another advantage for racers, with room for two sets of bottle bosses inside the main triangle. Despite the almost old-school appearance though, the Cube packs in plenty of construction tech.
A key advantage of carbon fibre is that it’s of sufficiently low density as to allow designers to use lots of it without much of a weight penalty. Cube have taken full advantage of the press-fit bottom bracket shell to push the triangular-section down tube out to the maximum possible width. The gear cables are routed inside the down tube, while the rear brake hose is routed down the outside to save having to detach one end to fit or remove the brake. A stainless steel plate protects the carbon chainstay from any potential chainsuck damage.
Equipment: Decent spec but there's scope to go lighter with future upgrades
Cube have gone to town with colour co-ordination on the AMS 100, with the yellow and blue frame graphics mirrored on the DT Swiss wheelset and Selle Italia saddle. It’s an eye-catching combination. Look past the colours and you’ll find a well-rounded parts spec based around a 3x10 Shimano SLX/Deore XT transmission mix – XT for the bits you’ll notice (cranks and rear mech), SLX for the rest. You can’t really go wrong with SLX and XT.
A RockShox Reba RL fork graces the front end, complete with remote lockout lever. DT Swiss wheels are shod with voluminous 2.25in Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres. They’re the high-spec Evo tubeless-ready versions too, which is good to see. Formula RX brakes do the stopping while the finishing kit features a Syntace cockpit (plus rather bulky foam lock-on grips) and Cube’s own RFR seatpost.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.