German manufacturers Cube have unveiled their 2011 mountain range, including a completely new AMS full-suspension line-up, new hardtails in carbon fibre and titanium, and a redesigned freeride bike.
The AMS line includes bikes from 100 to 150mm of travel, all using variants of a four-bar suspension design. Pivot locations and rocker dimensions vary not just between bike models, but also between different sizes.
The idea is that this delivers optimised suspension performance for different riders – smaller people typically being lighter and hence using lower spring rates. Cube call this Size Tuned Kinematics, and are clearly keen on the concept despite the considerable extra work involved.
The focus of the 100mm-travel AMS Super HPC is squarely on cross-country racing. It's the only carbon fibre bike in the AMS range, and an impressively large proportion of it is carbon. The dropouts and rocker linkages are all carbon, the post-mount rear calliper bracket is carbon, the headset bearings drop straight into a carbon head tube and most of the pivots have just a light aluminium sleeve bonded in. It all adds up to a very impressive weight of 1,900g (4.2lb) for the frame and shock.
Even the rocker linkages on the 2011 Cube AMS Super HPC are carbon fibre
The rest of the AMS range is hydroformed aluminium, with key constructional features in common across the AMS 110, 130 and 150 bikes. All have 142x12mm through-axle rear ends claimed to increase stiffness. Bottom bracket shells are made from forged halves that incorporate the main pivot in a hollow, lightweight unit and accept press-fit bearings. Head tubes take tapered steerers, while the rear ends are designed for post-mount brakes and gear cable routing is internal to the down tube.
The hydroformed aluminium AMS 130 is aimed at trail riders rather than racers
The demo bikes at Cube's 2011 press launch, which were production spec but without paint, had Fox forks, with a custom 110mm-travel unit on the AMS 110. For 2011, Fox's TALAS fork comes as stock with two travel settings rather than three, with the AMS 150 having a 150/120mm fork.
Interestingly, though, the AMS 130 features a three-position 110/130/150mm fork. The bike is intended to run at 130mm most of the time, with the 150mm option for more challenging descents, and it works a treat. We suspect this will be the most popular AMS in the range, particularly in the UK.
With a through-axle rear end, tapered head tube and up to 150mm of fork travel on offer, the AMS 130 should be able to tame any trail
The popular Stereo and Fritzz suspension bikes are essentially unchanged, but there's a redesigned Hanzz freeride/light downhill bike. This has 188mm of coil-shock travel at the back matched with a 180mm Fox 36 Van fork.
The Hanzz freeride bike has been redesigned and now sports 188mm of rear travel
There are a number of hardtail developments for 2011. The new Reaction HPL drops 250g compared to the 2010 Reaction and there's a new flagship carbon bike, the Elite Super HPC, which comes in at a competitive 950g. That's 20 percent lighter than the 2010 Elite HPC but the frame is claimed to be 10 percent stiffer. The Super HPC has internal cable routing and a “Double Flex Stay” rear end. The junction between seatstays and seat tube is a little like a pair of leaf springs and is designed to add some comfort to the back end.
The Elite Super HPC is Cube's flagship carbon hardtail
Cube have also designed an all-new 3Al/2.5V titanium frame, the Elite HPT. The HPT has a bunch of features that are increasingly commonplace in carbon or aluminium but rare or unique in titanium – a tapered head tube, post-mount brakes and press-fit bottom bracket. Pricing and availability of the new bikes hadn't been confirmed at time of writing, but you'll find further details at www.cube.eu.
Also available is the new titanium Elite HPT, with some unusual features