Resplendent in red and white, the Cube Agree is no shrinking violet. It’s not performance-enhancing, but we do like the bar tape that changes colour halfway down the drops.
There’s more to a good bike than looks though, and under its warpaint, the Agree delivers.
- HIGHS: Superb balance between stiffness and comfort
- LOWS: Spec can’t quite match the best of the competition
- BUY IF… You want a good-looking, affordable all-rounder
The bike is a fine example of the ‘fat underneath, thin on top’ school of frame design. Cube has used a press-fit bottom bracket shell and pushed the down tube out as far as possible.
There’s lots of volume around the shell, and the chainstays are deep. But the pencil-thin seatstays made us briefly think Cube had sent a steel bike, and the top tube tapers to a flattened oval towards the seat tube.
Cube has specced Shimano Tiagra throughout. The latest 10-speed Tiagra is good stuff, with light, accurate shifting. The levers don’t feel as solid as 105’s, and Tiagra still has exposed gear cables, but it does a perfectly sound job.
The Tiagra brakes are rather more convincing than the non-Shimano units found elsewhere, too.
Finishing kit is Cube’s own, with the Wing Race bar the standout part. It’s a conventional enough compact shape, but the tops are flattened into an ‘aero’ section. With brake cables under the tape as well, the tops work best if you don’t grip too hard – they can feel a bit fat. Keep your hands relaxed and they’re comfy.
With a short head-tube and back end, the Agree GTC is very much a race-style bike, and the compact bar means that the riding position isn’t ultra-aggressive.
It’s easy to pick up speed on it too – it weighs under 9kg and all that volume in the bottom half of the frame gives it a kick when you put the power down.
The clever bit is that it’s as supple as any other bike here on cruddy roads. There are a couple of component choices that help – 25mm Schwalbe Lugano tyres are immediately more compliant than 23s, and the 27.2mm seatpost has significantly more bum-saving flex than larger diameter items. But the slender stays and flattened top-tube certainly appear to help, giving the Agree a great blend of rush and cush.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.