Calibre Two Cubed review

One hell of a bike for the price

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
£400.00 RRP

Our review

Inevitable cost compromises, but its geometry and spec make it a great deal at £400 (if it fits)
Buy if, You want a sorted bargain bike
Pros: Excellent frame shape and handling; surprisingly smooth ride; hydraulic brakes and Shimano Altus gears
Cons: Limited size range; basic fork; no stealth dropper routing
Skip to view product specifications

There are always going to be compromises at this price, but GO Outdoors’ in-house brand has done a great job with the Two Cubed. Its contemporary geometry and impressive kit for the cash make it a great buy.

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Calibre Two Cubed frame

The Two Cubed replaces the Two Two. It runs on 650b (rather than 26in) wheels and gets a new frame with impressively up-to-date trail geometry. That includes a 465mm reach on the large size, which makes it longer than the Voodoo Hoodoo and Vitus Nucleus, and a lot lengthier than most bikes at this price. The wheelbase is also the long.

At 67.5 degrees, the head angle is relaxed enough to add stability without being too stubborn at low speeds. The 44mm head tube means you can upgrade to a tapered fork at a later date. While the high bottom bracket improves pedal clearance, it can give a slightly precarious feel in corners.

There are no upper rack mounts to match those on the dropouts and no routing for a stealth dropper. The lack of bottle bosses on the seat tube means you can slam the fixed post right down though, and it’s a ride-smoothing 27.2mm number.

If you’re not worried about lifting the bottom bracket even higher, there’s room for bigger tyres too. To minimise costs, Calibre doesn’t do XS or XL sizes, but there’s a choice of two colours.

Its contemporary geometry and impressive kit make it a great buy for the price
Its contemporary geometry and impressive kit make it a great buy for the price
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

Calibre Two Cubed kit

Calibre has managed to fit kit that would shame most big-brand bikes costing well over £500. You get a 3×9 Shimano crankset, gears and hydraulic brakes. It has a RockShox fork too, even if the 30mm legs and coil spring with fixed rebound make it a skinny and not very adjustable unit.

The Schwalbe Tough Tom front tyre is a remould of the classic Nobby Nic tread and gives acceptable dry-conditions grip despite its hard-compound rubber. While the Smart Sam rear tyre is tough and fast-rolling, it’s got definite slip issues off-road.

The rims are drilled for car-type Schrader valves, not the Presta style found on most MTBs. Although the 60mm stem is longer than I’d choose, the 760mm flat bar gives ample steering leverage. You even get lock-on grips.

Calibre Two Cubed ride impressions

While there are inevitably aspects of the Two Cubed that need to be worked around, its geometry and overall shape really stand out for the money. Not least because that’s the one part of a bike you can’t upgrade or significantly modify.

Yes, it lacks the tapered head tube, wide ‘Boost’ back end and other future-proofing features of pricier bikes. But its ride quality is surprisingly good, with a smooth rear wheel feel.

The generous reach/wheelbase and 67.5-degree head angle mean it puts its wheels in the right place and keeps them there
The generous reach/wheelbase and 67.5-degree head angle mean it puts its wheels in the right place and keeps them there
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

The generous reach/wheelbase and 67.5-degree head angle mean it puts its wheels in the right place and keeps them there far better than any other £400 bike we’ve ridden — and many more expensive models.

Even the plasticky front tyre has a better chance of staying hooked up in such a sorted chassis. Given that clattering pedals and twitchy steering can be distracting for newbie riders, I’ll even forgive Calibre the slightly-too-long stem (cheap and easy to swap) and higher-than-needed bottom bracket.

Even the best £400 / $634 / AU$889 bike comes with compromises though. The almost continual centre-line tread of the rear tyre gives it easy speed on the road but means it spins out on any vaguely damp, loose or lumpy terrain.

While it manages a veneer of smooth control on lightly-rippled bridleways and flow trails, the XC 30 fork soon gets panicked and jarring on rowdier surfaces too.

The Shimano brakes could also do with a bigger rotor for hacking off speed faster. That said, it’s important to remember that most of the Calibre’s price peers still use spongy, adjustment-needy cable disc brakes.

Despite its chain slap, the mostly Shimano Altus gearset is also a definite win at this price. In other words, while it’s not perfect, I’ve never tested a more trail-ready bike for under £400 than the Two Cubed.

Calibre's Two Cubed
Calibre’s Two Cubed
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

Calibre Two Cubed details

Budget bargain: There are only three size options, but the Two Cubed’s geometry is sorted and the ride feel of the frame is remarkably good.

Slippery Sam: A Schwalbe Tough Tom tyre adds traction up front but the fast-rolling Smart Sam rear rubber isn’t so clever when it comes to off-road grip.

Fork flaws: Even the best £400 bikes have compromises and while RockShox’s cheapest fork is okay for cruising, it really is a shocker over rocks.

Calibre Two Cubed specifications

  • Weight: 14.18kg
  • Frame: 6061-T6 aluminium alloy
  • Sizes: S, M*, L (*tested)
  • Fork: RockShox XC 30 TurnKey, 100mm (3.9in) travel
  • Headset: 1.125in
  • Hubs: Shimano TX505
  • Axles: 100mm QR (f)/135mm QR (r)
  • Rims: Alloy
  • Spokes: 32x steel
  • Wheel weight: 2.32kg (f), 3.09kg (r), inc. tyres
  • Tyres: WTB Trail Boss wire bead 27.5×2.25in
  • Crankset: Shimano MT100, 40/30/22t
  • Bottom bracket: Square-axle cartridge
  • Mechs: Shimano Altus
  • Shifters: Shimano EF505 (3×9)
  • Cassette: Shimano HG200-9, 11-34t
  • Chain: KMC
  • Brakes: Shimano MT200, 180/160mm
  • Bar: Alloy, 760mm
  • Stem: Alloy, 60mm
  • Grips: Entity lock-on
  • Seatpost: Alloy
  • Saddle: Calibre

Calibre Two Cubed geometry

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  • Head angle: 67.5 degrees
  • Seat angle: 73 degrees
  • Reach: 440mm / 17.32in
  • Bottom bracket height: 330mm / 12.99in
  • Chainstay: 435mm / 17.13in
  • Seat tube: 510mm / 20.08in
  • Top tube: 620mm / 24.41in
  • Wheelbase: 1,150mm / 45.28in

Product Specifications

Product

Name Two Cubed
Brand Calibre

Available Sizes S M L
Rear Tyre WTB Trail Boss wire bead 27.5x2.25in
Wheelbase (in) 45.28
Top Tube (in) 24.41
Seat Tube (in) 20.08
Chainstays (in) 17.13
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.99
Spoke Type 32x steel
Weight (kg) 14.18
Stem Alloy, 760m
Shifters Shimano EF505 (3x9)
Seatpost Vitus
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Vitus
Rims Alloy
Rear Wheel Weight 3090
Rear Hub Shimano TX505
Bottom Bracket Square-axle cartridge
Rear Derailleur Shimano Altus
Headset Type 1.125in
Head Angle 67.5
Handlebar lock-on
Grips/Tape Alloy, 60mm/ Entity
Front Wheel Weight 2320
Front Tyre WTB Trail Boss wire bead 27.5x2.25in
Front Hub Shimano TX505
Frame Material 6061-T6 aluminium alloy
Fork RockShox XC 30 TurnKey, 100mm (3.9in) travel
Cranks Shimano MT100, 40/30/22t
Chain KMC
Cassette Shimano HG200-9, 11-34t
Brakes Shimano MT200, 180/160mm
Frame size tested M