Cube LTD Team review£949.00

Eyecatching, well equiped racer

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Cube Bikes are rapidly creating a reputation for sorted rides carrying excellent componentry for their cost. The LTD Team is literally one of the most polished looking bikes we’ve seen for a while.

Big tyres and a quality fork take the edge off potential harshness but, even if you switch out the long, narrow cockpit, the Team will always be a speed bike rather than a play bike. If that’s what you want though it looks great, is naturally rapid and comes really well equipped for the money.

Ride & handling: Fast marathon race/epic ride hardtail that relies on tyres and fork for comfort

Narrow Easton bars and a relatively long stem mean the Cube is unmistakably racey in feel. Keep it moving quickly though and stick to more flowing trails and that’s where it really shines.

Minimal flex from the bars to the back wheel means it’s very positive under power and climbs are relished rather than dreaded. The choice of 2.25in tyres rather than skinnier 2.1in tyres also stops it pinging around randomly in the rough.

That means more traction coming into and out of corners, and more comfort on longer rides. The knowledge that the semi-slick rear will always step out sideways before the front disconnects also gives a useful rear wheel steer option once you’re used to it.

The Motion Control damping of the RockShox fork is notably more controlled than the cheaper TurnKey option commonly found on bikes at this price when it really starts kicking off under your wheels. Having the lockout lever on the bars means you can run it slightly softer than normal but still stiffen it for sprinting.

The overall result is a bike that encourages you to push it harder the more you ride it, rapidly outstripping initial impressions and pushing it towards the top of all of our testers’ ‘most wanted’ £1,000 bike list.

Frame & equipment: Excellent fork and brakes on a tight, fast riding and eye-catching frameset

Cube spend a lot of time and money making sure their bikes look good. The LTD Team's two-colour paint job features polished cutout decal panels and tyres, and contact points are all custom colour matched too. If that sounds too much, there’s a stealthy looking black anodised version.

Frame beauty is more than just skin deep though. The inset headset keeps the front end low for speed and there’s loads of hydroformed flow from tube to tube to create an almost carbon look. Complete bike weight is usefully low, but you still get rack mounts for commuting.

For a sub-£1,000 bike there are some cracking components on board that deliver a genuine value boost. The RockShox fork gets remote control lockout and proper Motion Control damping, which makes a big difference on descents.

The Formula RX brakes are control-rich and confidence inspiring and there’s a Shimano XT rear mech highlight on the transmission. While the Schwalbe Nobby Nic and Racing Ralph tyres aren’t the full tri-compound spec, they still add useful float and speed to the Shimano Deore-based wheels.

Easton kit is always a welcome sight in terms of reassuring quality. However the narrow bars and long stem definitely prioritise straightline speed, stability and breathing space over improved control on tighter, more technical trails.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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