Cube Reaction C:62 review£1,399.00

Carbon frame with XT highlights is ripe for upgrading

BikeRadar score3.5/5

The Cube Reaction C:62 is a great choice if your priorities are low weight, drive stiffness and a quality 2x11 transmission. Its plasticky tyres, skinny wheels and heavy QR fork will all need replacing though.

Cube Reaction C:62 frame

The Shimano XT crankset is a definite highlight
The Shimano XT crankset is a definite highlight

Cube has maxed out the stiffness via the dimensions of the twin-mould carbon monocoque. The bulged head tube leads into a big box that extends into the massive polygonal down tube, which gives full-width support of the press-fit bottom bracket shell.

Chunky geometric chainstays taper toward the bolt-thru Boost dropouts. Cube even uses Shimano’s direct-mount rear mech standard for locked-down shifting accuracy. Above the power transfer line, things are a lot slimmer, with the top tube starting deep but tapering towards the skinny, extended seat tube.

The rear brake and gear cables run all the way through from neat blocks in the head tube to halfway down the chainstays. You can change the inserts to run a stealth dropper post, although the 27.2mm seat tube diameter limits your options.

Cube’s ‘Agile Ride Geometry’ is up to date, with a 69-degree head angle, low bottom bracket and short, responsive chainstays. The top tube and reach are short as well though, and the head tube is 10mm taller than on the other XC bikes that were also on test, which included the Trek Procaliber 6, Bianchi Grizzly 9.2 and Specialized Chisel Comp X1.

Cube Reaction C:62 kit

If you prefer a shorter bike and want a machine that responds well when you lay the watts down, then the C:62 is an excellent upgrade investment
If you prefer a shorter bike and want a machine that responds well when you lay the watts down, then the C:62 is an excellent upgrade investment

Thanks to the low weight of the carbon frame, the Reaction is still competitively light even with a RockShox Recon Silver fork that has both steel legs and a steel steerer tube.

It’s a QR unit with basic lockable ‘TurnKey’ damping and a simple ‘PopLoc’ remote on the narrow 700mm Cube bar. The wheels are also heavy, despite their narrow rims (21mm) and Schwalbe Tough Tom and Rapid Rob tyres (53mm) — the old Nobby Nic and Racing Ralph treads repurposed with a cheaper, harder compound.

The Shimano XT crankset is a definite highlight, and the SLX shifters and mechs give a really light, slick action compared to NX Eagle. Twin-ring 36/26x11-42t gearing gives a significantly higher top gear and essentially the same bottom gear (95-18 gear inches) as the 30x11-50t (80-17.5) set-ups on the Bianchi and Trek mentioned above.

Shimano’s Deore hubs will run for ages if you learn how to adjust the bearings, but their MT200 brakes are numb compared to the MT400s on the other bikes.

Cube Reaction C:62 ride impressions

Cube’s ‘Agile Ride Geometry’ is up to date, with a 69-degree head angle and low bottom bracket
Cube’s ‘Agile Ride Geometry’ is up to date, with a 69-degree head angle and low bottom bracket

While the frame’s weight advantage is buried in the complete bike weight, its stiffness is obvious under power. And the hard-compound tyres roll quickly, so on smoother trails it’s an impressively quick bike.

That short wheelbase and back end mean it’s lively and agile too. But, even with skinny stays and a slim seatpost to suck out some of the ground shock, it still gives a thumping ride over bumpy terrain.

The basic tyre carcasses and narrow rims don’t help either, so new rubber and then new wheels should definitely be on your upgrade list to bring out the full potential of the frame.

Fresh tyres would also solve the lack of wet-weather grip from the Schwalbes, although they’re still significantly more predictable than the Kenda tyres on the Bianchi.

RockShox’s Recon Silver isn’t as consistently controlled as some other forks and there’s more twist from the QR wheel connection when you lock the front tyre into a dry turn.

The 700mm bar and 90mm stem leave the steering short of leverage and sensitivity too, making it harder to pry the relatively stable-steering Reaction off-line or react quickly to sudden traction slips or line choice changes.

A wider bar isn’t a wallet breaker, but be wary of fitting a significantly shorter stem because that’ll make the already compact frame feel even shorter and more upright.

But if you prefer a shorter bike and want a machine that naturally responds well when you lay the watts down and is only going to get better with upgrading, then the C:62 is an excellent investment.

Cube Reaction C:62 specifications

  • Sizes (*tested): 15, 17, 19*, 21, 23in
  • Weight: 12.35kg
  • Frame: C:62 carbon fibre monocoque
  • Fork: RockShox Recon Silver TK Solo Air w/ PopLoc remote, 100mm (3.9in) travel
  • Chainset: Shimano Deore XT M8000, 36/26t
  • Bottom bracket: Shimano PF
  • Cassette: Shimano SLX M7000, 11-42t
  • Chain: KMC X11
  • Mech: Shimano Deore XT M8000
  • Shifters: Shimano SLX M7000 (2x11)
  • Hubs: Shimano Deore M6000
  • Axles: 9x100mm QR (f), 12x148mm Boost (r)
  • Rims: Cube EX21
  • Spokes: 32 stainless
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Tough Tom Active (f) and Rapid Rob Active (r) 29x2.25in (53mm measured)
  • Wheel weight: 2.28kg (f), 2.88kg (r), inc tyres
  • Stem: Cube Performance Pro, 90mm
  • Bar: Cube Flat Race, 700mm
  • Grips: Cube Performance
  • Headset: FSA Orbit I-t, integrated
  • Saddle: Cube Natural Fit Active Race
  • Seatpost: Cube Performance, rigid
  • Brakes: Shimano MT200, 180/160mm rotors

Cube Reaction C:62 geometry

  • Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
  • Head angle: 69 degrees
  • Chainstay: 42.5cm / 16.73in
  • Seat tube: 47cm / 18.5in
  • Top tube: 61cm / 24.02in
  • Head tube: 12cm / 4.72in
  • Bottom bracket height: 30cm / 11.81in
  • Wheelbase: 1,115mm / 43.9in
  • Stack: 62.7cm / 24.69in
  • Reach: 42.5cm / 16.73in
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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