Cube is an absolute monster. Not in a bad way, but in a big way. While the likes of Specialized and Trek are the bicycle behemoths you come across daily here in the UK, over the channel Cube is a force to be reckoned with. With an ever expanding range (there are over 100 e-bikes, for starters!), there’s plenty to look out for in 2017. Here’s a run-down of some of the most interesting mountain bikes Cube has to offer next year.
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Reaction Hybrid HPA SL 500
If you keep up to date with XC bikes, you’ll have come across the Cube Reaction in various alloy and carbon guises, filling a wide range of price points. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, e-bikes are a big thing, especially with our continental cousins, so it’s no surprise that Cube is keen to show off the latest model.
While most e-bike systems either look pretty clunky or are so integrated into the frame that they become hard to access and service, Cube’s new ‘monocoque gravity casing’ manages to offer smoother, better integrated lines with plenty of access still available.
The battery is sunk into the downtube and only 20 percent of the system is outwardly visible — but it remains easily accessible, and you can actually charge the battery while it's still located in the bike. Cube has its own casing for the motor too, which remains a Bosch Performance CX 500Wh version which has a better integrated skid plate.
Keeping all this nice and compact means there’s better water bottle provision within the frame’s triangle. The cost? 400g extra in the frame… Is that a big deal, given how heavy e-bikes are? That’s your call.
Stereo Hybrid 140 HPA SL 500 27.5+
Catchy name aside, it’s pretty obvious what we have here. Not one for those afraid of committing to a niche or two, this is a plus-tyred, full suspension e-bike (if that name didn’t give it away).
At the heart of the bike is a heavily hydroformed, triple butted alloy frame, using Cube's four-bar suspension system to drive a Fox Float DPS Evol air-can shock, providing 140mm of travel. The Stereo doesn’t yet have the fancy gravity casing for the motor and battery, but it’s a platform that’s been around for a couple of years now, and one which propelled EWS photographers around the race courses.
In keeping with trends of the day, the plus tyres (2.8” Nobby Nics) are mounted on a boost spaced DT Swiss wheelset for extra drivetrain room and wheel stiffness, while Shimano XT makes it go and Magura MT5’s bring it to a halt.
The (normal) Stereo comes in 120, 140, 150 and 160 models, with a couple of carbon options too. For those looking for a bit of pedal assistance you’re limited to 120, 140 and 160mm options, and only the shorter Stereo Hybrid 120 comes with the mid-grade C:62 carbon option. The Stereo Hybrid 140 HPA SL 500 27.5+ is priced at £4,299.
Sting WLS 140 SL 27.5
No bike brand’s line-up is really complete without some non-tokenistic women’s bikes and Cube has a pretty comprehensive range, tying in nicely with those found on the other side of the gender divide and denoted with the WLS tag. While there aren’t huge differences, other than the colours (which are decided by poll by Cube’s female staff members), the sizing goes down to a compact 13.5”.
The Sting comes in 120 and 140mm versions (although we’d like to see a few more options), and the 140 SL looks to be a winner. 150 front, 140mm rear travel is controlled by tuneable Fox 34 Float fork and DPS shock, with the fork featuring Boost spacing and the frame benefitting from the same hydroforming processes to the tubesets and ETC 4-Link suspension set up.
ISCG mounts mean a single-ring, non-chain dropping set up isn’t far away either. Stop and go is provided by Shimano XT, while the bike rolls on Fulcrum Red 66 wheels and Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres. Cube’s own dropper post also makes an appearance and we reckon for £2,599 you can’t go too far wrong.
Stereo 160 HPA Race 27.5
No funny business here, the Stereo 160 HPA Race is a budget(ish) 160mm gravity orientated trail bike. HPA Ultralight alloy tubing keeps the weight reasonable, while Boost spaced frame and forks mean there’s ample stiffness for when the trail gets rowdy.
The RockShox Yari RC fork is a class leader, while the Monarch DebonAir shock is a decent match.
Keeping with the SRAM theme, there’s a GX1 11-speed groupset with the now ubiquitous 10-42t cassette, while ever popular Guide R brakes bring it all to a halt.
Why is this a bike to be excited about? Well it’s a fair priced bike with which everything should just work. There are no obvious weak points in the spec, so if you’re looking for a bike you can just pick up from the shop and go ride down technical trails, for a hundred quid over two grand, this may well be worth a look.
Two15 HPA SL 27.5
Cube’s DH presence has been pretty quiet up until now. Early DH frames (arguably) had reliability issues, but it’s great to see the Big C bringing a DH bike to the market – currently well piloted by Greg Williamson and Matt Walker.
While there’s a top of the tree HPA SL version, at £5,199, we rather like the look of the ‘entry’ level Race version, at £3,199.
At this price you get 215mm of travel controlled by a Fox Van RC shock, with a super long stroke. The seat tube is a split affair with the shock nestling between the two uprights. To keep the shock in tip top condition there’s a neat Velcro-strapped carbon fender tucked between wheel and shock.
Up front a Fox 40 Performance Elite fork should keep the front wheel glued to the ground, and chunky Schwalbe Magic Mary’s should keep you pointing in the right direction. Other nice spec choices include the MRP chain device, a rider’s favourite, and RaceFace bar/stem.
AMS 100 C:68 SLT 29
Swinging all the way to the other end of the spectrum is the AMS, Cube’s full suspension XC rig.
Its main design focus (other than the obvious fast, light, stiff etc) was clean lines. The rocker linkages do have bolts, but they’re nicely hidden under a cover to keep the aesthetic analysts happy.
Every brand bangs on about its top level carbon, and Cube isn’t much different, with the C:68 denoting its top level composite. Cube reckons that by having the carbon fibres evenly distributed through the thread, it can get its carbon layers thinner than competitors, and reduce the amount of resin used from 40 percent to 32 percent.
Cube then uses a blend of Ultra High Modulus, High Modulus Spread Tow and Intermediate Modulus fibres to get the right mix of strength in each area of the frame and nano particles in the resin to get a better distribution when in the high pressure carbon moulds. Phew, impressive stuff (we think).
Anyway, back to the bike. As you’d imagine from a top-end XC rig it’s dripping in desirable parts: a Fox 32 StepCast fork, Float DPS Factory shock, SRAM Level Ultimate brakes and (interestingly) a SRAM XX1 groupset. Why interesting? Well, we’d have expected SRAM’s all-singing, all-dancing XX1 Eagle group to adorn the frame, but Cube reckons 11-speed XX1 with the RaceFace Next SL carbon crank is lighter.
Cube was keen to point out that its design allows for two bottle cages inside the frame’s main triangle, which is better for marathon racing, and it’s also stealth dropper compatible.
Finally, this year we’re seeing less paint, and white paint in particular, on Cube's XC race bikes. This is because white paint is heavier than other colours as you have to use more of it to stop the base colour bleeding through. Paint is a significant addition to the weight with the average frame having 140-170g of paint slapped on.
If you want one of these bad boys you’ll be shelling out £5,199.