Cube is a less well-known brand in the UK compared to some of its main competitors, but it is a huge German company with a fleet of bikes covering over 360+ models across nearly every bike market.
It has a comprehensive range of full-suspension bikes, ranging from its AMS 100 cross-country speed machines to the Stereo 120, Stereo 140, Stereo 150 and Two15 downhill bikes. What was missing, perhaps, from a complete line up, was a super enduro/bike park/call-it-what-you-will bike to match the likes of the YT Capra, Radon Swoop 170, Propain Spindrift and Canyon Torque.
So, for 2020, along with a refresh of all its current models, Cube launched the Stereo 170 29, a big-wheeled, big-hitting bike to tame the downs and winch you back to the top.
In fact, the Cube Action Team, its enduro race team, used these new bikes at the latest round of the Enduro World Series in Whistler, Canada.
The Cube Stereo 170 TM 29 is a mean looking bike that is ready to tear up the trails
The Stereo 170 29 is available in three models: the Race, TM and SL. The Race and SL models run an air shock, while the TM (shown here) comes with a coil shock.
One neat feature of the Cube is that it has two mounting points: one for a coil shock and one for an air shock. So it hasn’t had to compromise the suspension kinematics to make the frame compatible with both types of shock.
Another smart feature is the changeable headset cups, which let you run a steeper or slacker head angle without having to fiddle about pressing in angle sets or using eccentric bearings.
Cube Stereo 170 29 frame
Internal cable routing keeps the Stereo 170 TM 29 looking neat and tidy, so do the hydroformed aluminium tubes.
This new Stereo 170 rolls on 29in wheels. Cube committed to this wheel size after seeing its racers, both on the enduro team and downhill team, choosing the bigger wheels, even with the option of running 27.5in. This convinced Cube that 29-inch was the best wheel size choice.
The three models are constructed from a full aluminium frame using hydroformed tubes to get the best balance of weight, strength and stiffness. Cube says it might produce a carbon frame if the team ask for one, but right now it’s happy to stick with a metal foundation.
The bikes feature internal cable routing to keep them looking clean, and a chunky chainstay protector and down tube cover to help keep the bike quiet. The bearings are covered for extra protection from mud and water, and the pivots are hidden for a clean look.
Cube Stereo 170 29 suspension
The Stereo 170 uses a four-bar linkage, which is used across all of Cube’s full-suspension platforms, which, as you’ve guessed it, provides 170mm of travel.
As mentioned before, the new Stereo 170 is compatible with both an air or coil shock. A flip-chip on the rocker link and two different bottom mounting points create different frame progressions suited to each shock type, rather than trying to sacrifice optimal frame kinematics by using the same mounts for each shock.
The flip chip allows you to run either a coil shock or air shock without comprised progressivity.
Sebastian Förth, Cube product manager for full suspension bikes told us: “A lot of racers were testing with coil shocks in bikes that were designed around air shocks, but it just did not work properly. They were running crazy shim stacks to get the progressivity, but the sensitivity was lost”.
So Cube decided to produce a frame that gave the riders a choice of what they felt was best, depending on what style of riding or feeling they were after.
Cube doesn’t recommend running a coil shock in the air mounting position and vice versa, and as such, has used two different stroke shocks to stop customers doing this. The air shock is 230 x 62.5mm, and the coil is 230 x 65mm, both giving the full 170mm.
Altering the shock position slightly changes the frame progression to optimise it for either a coil or air shock.
Cube Stereo 170 29 geometry
Cube may have been somewhat conservative in the past with it geometries, and while it has certainly updated its range to modern standards, its sizes may still limit tall and short riders.
Due to the 29in wheels, there is no XS size. Reach figures jump up in 20mm increments from 444mm in size small up to 484mm in the large size. These are contemporary figures, but people wanting an extra-large bike will be disappointed too because this size is also missing .
The three sizes come with 18in / 420mm, 20in / 470mm and 22in / 520mm seat tubes, which are sensible, but perhaps a little tall for people wanting to run extreme seatpost drops, but that’s not always necessary.
The chainstays are a compact 434.5mm across all sizes, which helps keep the bike nimble, and there is a 25mm bottom bracket drop, which isn’t the lowest out there but should provide a sure-footed ride.
The effective seat tube angle is 76.5 degrees, which is relatively steep and will help make climbing more comfortable.
Another main feature with this bike is the adjustable headset cups developed by ACROS. By changing the directions of the cups you can slacken the head angle from the factory 65 degrees to 64.4 degrees for a slightly more aggressive front end.
It also drops the bottom bracket by 1.6mm and changes the seat tube angle by 0.2 degrees. It also shortens the reach by 2mm.
These are all very subtle changes but should help to give the bike extra stability for those riders wanting the most gravity focused ride.
Cube Stereo 170 29 specifications
RockShox Lyrik Ultimate forks are a great addition to a well-specced bike. These are hard to beat in performance terms.
The Stereo 170 TM comes with a spec list that should remain upgrade free for a while. It has 180mm RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2 forks matched with a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate Remote shock and a TwistLoc Remote Lever. That allows you to firm up the suspension from the bars to provide a better pedalling platform.
Shimano’s new 12spd drivetrain takes care of the gears, with an XT crankset and a mix of an XT mech and STX shifter. It uses e.thirteen’s TRS+ 9-50=tooth cassette, which offers a 556 percent gear range.
Shimano also takes care of the brakes with its new four-pot XT brakes, which slow down ethirteen’s LG1 EN Plus wheels.
Keeping you in control are ethirteen’s LG1 EN tyres in 2.35in width. Also from ethirteen are the Plus 35 bars and stem.
ethirteen provides plenty of components for the Stereo 170 TM 29. Its bar and stem combo have a good shape and comfortable ride.
A Cube branded 150mm dropper post and SDG Radar saddle finish off an impressive build.
Cube Stereo 170 TM 29 initial ride impressions
The Cube Stereo 170 TM 29 is perfectly happy when the trail gets rough and rocky.
While I only had a very limited time on the Stereo 170 TM out at Cube headquarters in Germany, it was clear this bike can handle its fair share of abuse.
The capabilities of the RockShox suspension meant this bike could tackle rough rocky terrain with ease, and it was easy to become confident on.
While the trails I rode had limited steep terrain and twisting turns, this bike was great a keeping its composure on repeated hits. It climbed surprising well for a bike with this much travel and a coil shock too — and I can admit I was very impressed with RockShox’s TwistLoc remote, which was very intuitive to use and kept the bike from sagging into its travel too far.
The Stereo 170 is definitely a bike I would like to spend more time on in more familiar terrain to see how it can corner and handle a mix of trail features, not just how well it deals with the bumps.
Cube Stereo 170 TM 29 early verdict
It’s too early to tell after only one ride, but it sure can keep its composure over rocky ground at speed.
Cube Stereo 170 range and pricing
Stereo 170 SL: £4,099
Stereo 170 TM: ££3,699
Stereo 170 Race: £2,999