Cube certainly has a strong presence in the world of enduro with team riders that include top EWS racer Greg Callaghan, Matt Walker who also rides for Cube’s downhill team and brand ambassador Nico Lau.
Over the years, Cube’s team of riders has ridden various bikes that have been shoe-horned into an EWS role, which have included various 650b Stereo models and AMS150s.
Bearings either side of the rocker link in the beefed-up seatstays mean no seatstay bridge is neededTom Marvin / Immediate Media
Developments in technology have meant that Cube has had to create relatively bespoke frames though to keep its riders on a competitive bike, but these bikes haven’t always been available to customers — that was until the 2015 EWS replica Stereo 150 was released.
In 2016, at the Irish Emerald Enduro EWS round, Callaghan decided to ride Cube’s Stereo 140 29 — a bike that hadn’t been designed with EWS racing in mind. Callaghan felt that the bigger wheels on offer would be a benefit, despite its steeper, shorter and taller geometry, and he went on to win the race ahead of Sam Hill and Richie Rude.
A classic four-bar suspension design is used, with an updated, more aggressive kinematicTom Marvin / Immediate Media
It was through this process that Cube decided it needed to build a dedicated 29er enduro bike and the result is the new Stereo 150 29, which was built with substantial input from Callaghan and Lau.
Cube Stereo 150 29
The 150mm frame is built for a 160mm fork with a 66-degree head angle, 75.5-degree seat angle, 435mm chainstays and a bottom bracket drop of 34mm. The 20in (effectively a Large) has a reach of 457mm and a stack of 633mm.
The frames are built from carbon, either the C:62 or C:68 varieties (more on that later), with a trunnion-mounted shock. The aesthetically hidden pivots all run on full bearings and thanks to a stiff rocker and the use of double bearings there’s no bridge on the chainstay or rocker link.
As you’d expect, the frame is based around 148mm Boost spacing and a +3mm outboard chainline to aid shorter stays. There’s an ISCG05 mount for those running a chainguide and capability to run the bike with a front mech, which is handy for Callaghan who runs a 2×11 Shimano Di2 setup.
Plastic inserts make swapping between cabling systems super easyTom Marvin / Immediate Media
Cable routing on the Stereo has been improved too, with the cables entering the front of the head tube, where the carbon is thicker.
There are new cable guides too, which are found across the whole Cube range, which decreases the number of frame models Cube has to deal with. It looks like a really easy to use system which should allow for a range of cable configurations.
Cube Stereo 150 29 suspension
Cube has re-worked the suspension kinematic on the Stereo 150 29 for 2018 to make it work better for more aggressive enduro racing. The biggest change is a much more progressive suspension feel, suited to EWS racing.
This has been done to boost stability and control when the frame is towards the end of its travel, and to improve mid-stroke support to prevent the bike wallowing in corners. It also provides a more supportive platform to push and pop the bike through the trail, while also increasing feedback through the pedals.
The Fox Float X2 offers all the adjustment you’ll ever needTom Marvin / Immediate Media
At the start of the stroke there’s a higher leverage ratio on the shock to improve small bump sensitivity when the shock is towards full extension, increasing traction and comfort over a longer enduro stage.
Right at the end of the stroke, Cube has changed things yet again. While previous models balanced the ramp up of the air shock with a linkage kinematic, which reduced its progression in order to allow the ‘everyday rider’ to get all the travel, the new version is more aggressive, maintaining its increased progression all the way to the end of the travel to suit more aggressive riders.
In terms of anti-squat (the stiffening of the suspension while pedalling) and anti-rise (the stiffening under braking) Cube says it has reduced both, making the frame more independent from pedalling and braking forces.
The new Fox 36 Factory with the Fit GRIP 2 damper is up there with the best forks on the marketTom Marvin / Immediate Media
Cube Stereo 150 29 carbon configurations
Cube offers two different grades of carbon frame: C:62 and C:68. The number refers to the percentage of carbon fibres in the sheet.
Cube aims to reduce the resin content yet further by adding ‘nano-particles’ to the resin, which it says acts like the sand on two sheets of sandpaper rubbing together — delamination being the main failure on a carbon frame.
SRAM GX Eagle is proving a popular choice with product managersTom Marvin / Immediate Media
The higher grade C:68 frame uses oval rather than round fibre batches, which are able to be packed closer together, further reducing resin content.
Here, where three layers of carbon fibre might have been used, Cube can squeeze in five. This method costs around 50 percent more, but reduces wall thickness by up to 25 percent.
Cube Stereo 150 29 models
Stereo 150 C:62 Race 29
Fox 36 Performance fork 160mm
Fox DPX2 Performance shock
Shimano XT 2×11 gears, RaceFace Aeffect crank
Shimano XT brakes
Newmen Evolution SL A.30 wheels
Cube Dropper post
€3,199 / £2,999
C:62 SL 29
RockShox Lyrik RCT3 fork 160mm
RockShox Super Deluxe RC3
SRAM GX Eagle
SRAM Code R brakes
Newmen Evolution SL A.30 wheels
Cube Dropper post
€3,499 / £3,499
C:68 TM 29
2019 Fox 36 Fit GRIP 2 36 fork 160mm
Fox Float X2 Factory shock
SRAM GX Eagle with X1 Carbon cranks
SRAM Code R brakes
Newman Evolution sl A.30 wheels
Fox Transfer Factory
Claimed frame weight 2,008g (white paint, 18in no shock)
Claimed bike weight 14.6kg (20in bike with super gravity tubeless tyres)
€4,499 / £3,999
Cube Stereo 150 29 ride impressions
I rode the top-end C:68 TM 29 bike for a day on drying tracks in Finale Ligure, and with Fox Suspension technicians on hand, spent a while getting the bike set up well — this was my first time riding the new Fit GRIP 2 damper (see my colleague Robin Weaver’s first impressions here), and there’s plenty to adjust.
As well as high and low speed compression adjustment, the Fit GRIP 2 damper gives high and low speed rebound controlTom Marvin / Immediate Media
The new suspension feel was perhaps the most obvious departure for Cube, noticeable on the very rough tracks I spent the morning testing on.
In addition to keeping the suspension supple, I spent a lot of time playing with the tyre pressures on the stiff-sidewalled Hans Dampfs that were fitted to the bike.
Once that was all sorted, the bike tracked the ground well, though I ended up running relatively low pressures to keep the grip high.
Soft compound Magic Marys up front are a sensible choiceTom Marvin / Immediate Media
The extra progression through the stroke was the most noticeable change, with what felt on initial testing like a very firm ramp late in the travel — not quite ankle blowing off the pedal firm, but certainly not sofa-like deep in to the travel.
This may sound like a negative on the face of it, but this is a bike built for the EWS race track where an aggressive suspension tune isn’t a bad thing. So. for its application, I think Cube’s done a fair job here.
The rocky trails of Finale Ligure proved a great testing ground for the Stereo 150 29Cube Bikes
The geometry, as we might expect from Cube, isn’t radical, and stacked next to what it might compete against in the EWS it would be considered short.
While this means the bike doesn’t feel like a sled, the low bottom bracket helps improve stability and it’s definitely a nimble bike that’s easy to move around.