Gran Turismo Composite, in case you’re wondering. We all know what Agree means, but GTC, less so. Agree isn’t the most aspirational, thrusting and macho name for a bike model, but has been a staple of Cube’s lineup since the beginning – indeed, one of our testers owns a six-year old GTC Race, while the 2012 model scored highly in our sister mag Cycling Plus's Bike of the Year lineup that year.
Things have definitely moved on in that time, as, seemingly, has the ethos of this model. Over the years it has progressed from being a pure-bred race machine to something a little more diluted as styles have changed. The graphics tell us that we’re riding Ready For Race Geometry, which is borne out by our 56cm model’s short 145mm head tube, giving plenty of room for the rider who wants to get down. Overall sizing is on the small side, and we’d consider sizing up from our usual choice in future, but with saddle setback sorted, and reasonable reach from the bar and stem, we easily got comfortable.
A full Shimano Ultegra groupset – gears and brakes – is a steal at this price
The frame looks smooth and flows from tube to tube with subtle ridges adding stiffness where needed. The requisite beefy down tube and chainstays brace a massive bottom bracket area, containing a press-fit unit. Slim seatstays and a 27.2mm seatpost promise to look after your back end too, so it looks promising so far.
Components comprise a complete Ultegra groupset – a steal on a bike this competitively priced. The gearing supplied is somewhat at odds with the frame’s race designation and geometry though, with a common 50/34 road compact mated to a long cage rear derailleur and less common 11-32 cassette. For all round riding, this combination will get you absolutely anywhere – you’ll certainly not want for bail out gears if you take a trip somewhere brutally hilly – but if you want to go racing, there are a few oversized sprockets there that you probably won’t want to haul around.
Performance is slick and reliable, as always, the Ultegra levers in particular feeling ergonomically and mechanically excellent. The rear brake cable is routed thorugh the top tube, but all the other cables have external routing, which simplifies maintenance, but may also require more of it. Mavic’s improved Aksium S wheelset and Aksion tyre package are a solid and swift choice, a worthwhile step above many budget alternatives, and capable of handling some considerable use.
While the ride quality is on the racy side, generous gearing provides an insurance policy for steep climbs
The Cube acquitted itself well over several hours riding, the front end feeling like walking a happy dog, always inquisitive to see what’s around the next corner. It’s an efficient climber and packs a decent sprint too, with great power transfer and solidity in the right places. Cornering is accurate and helped by the file tread on the shoulders of the newer 25mm Aksion rubber, and the bike changes direction well, ideal for mid-corner flicks.
We did find the ride quite firm, certainly more race than endurance-orientated, although fitting a carbon seatpost and plusher saddle would definitely help. The Cube-branded finishing kit is a departure from the usual Syntace fare, and it performs well, with the bar in particular is a good shape. The Agree GTC Race does give off some mixed messages, but if you like a racy position and want to make swift progress without being beaten by the climbs, then this could be the bike for you.