Cube AMS HPC XT review

Value-packed carbon racer

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £2,599.00 RRP | USD $4,444.81

Our review

A great value carbon racer with decent all-round potential if you switch the bars
Skip to view product specifications

Cube definitely benefit from having a big German market presence in terms of value, and if you want an ‘old skool’ racer dripping with state-of-the-art composite components you can’t go far wrong.

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Very light and remarkably well equipped for the money with a very effective suspension setup, the Cube is potentially a fast, capable and enjoyable short travel trail bike for those who can look beyond the loud Euro racer paintjob and bar ends.

Ride & handling: Take this bull by the horns and it’ll charge through the trails

Some people are going to take one look at the loud team edition paintwork, flat bars and bar ends and immediately write off the Cube as a pure Euro racer. Some of our testers who switched onto it half way through tricky technical rides unsurprisingly struggled. Give it some time and an open mind though, and it’s a surprisingly versatile high-velocity ride.

While the head angle is still steep at 70.5°, that’s half a degree less than many of the Cube’s race-oriented rivals, resulting in a more secure feel at higher speeds or on steeper descents. That’s a 24in flat bar too, so even with bar ends it’s wider than most.

The suspension is really well sorted: unlike most rocker or even FSR systems, it runs a minimum low-speed compression tune for good small bump/ripple sensitivity and excellent traction, and even the short 165mm shock can take a decent hit without knocking you out of kilter.

Cube AMS HPC XT
Cube ams hpc xt: cube ams hpc xt
Seb Rogers

Despite this, the linkage configuration means it still pedals firmly without irritating bob while the Horst Link chainstay pivot means it’s not bothered by braking either.

If tuneable stiffness is what you want, it’s only a turn of the dial on the Fox RP23 shock and a flick of the ProPedal platform damping lever away.

Add the obvious frame stiffness from front to back, a very low overall weight plus super-fast rolling Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres, and acceleration and altitude gain are no problem.

Seeing a set of bar ends again – about 10 years since we last used them – reminded us how much that extra leverage can help when you absolutely have to get every last muscle twitch you can muster through the pedals.

180mm rotors front and rear mean you’ll never be short of stopping power either. That said, a wider riser bar would really let you capitalise on the stiffness and suspension performance in more technical terrain situations.

While the current economic climate means overall prices are going up, carbon fi bre is defi nitely still falling to more affordable, and not just aspirational, price points.
While the current economic climate means overall prices are going up, carbon fi bre is defi nitely still falling to more affordable, and not just aspirational, price points.: while the current economic climate means overall prices are going up, carbon fi bre is defi nitely still falling to more affordable, and not just aspirational, price points.
Seb Rogers

Frame: Sturdy chassis with sorted suspension

The HPC (High Performance Carbon) frame is typical of the German market where stiffness is king, so it may not be superlight but it is ox tough.

The head tube, curved down tube, bottom bracket area and asymmetric stays are all seriously oversized. A broad X-brace on the stays, deep socketed dropouts and twin buttress fins ahead of the extended seatpost all add extra rigidity.

Cube add a chainstay rather than seatstay pivot to take the wheel path outside of a simple arc. The long, laid-back linkage changes the shock rate and leverage ratio significantly as it pushes through the stroke.

Cube also get props for reasonable mud clearance at the rear, a chain protector behind the chainset and room for two water bottles. The hollowed out CNC machined seat quick-release is a cute detail too.

White carbon bar ends are retro-race-tastic!
White carbon bar ends are retro-race-tastic!: white carbon bar ends are retro-race-tastic!
Seb Rogers

Equipment: Full suite of carbon kit, but wider bars would be a control bonus

At this price you normally have a choice between a carbon frame with vanilla components or an alloy frame with fancy bits, but the Cube delivers a proper double whammy deal.

The remote lockout equipped Fox RL fork is worth £685 alone, and the carbon Tundra saddle is also a pricey bit of kit. New lightweight DT Swiss wheels certainly aren’t cheap either.

The super pricey Racing Ralph tyres they’re wrapped in are a superb mix of high speed and better than we expected grip for race/marathon work. You even get a proper custom white-shouldered version to match the frame.

The white customisation extends through the full suite of carbon fibre Syntace finishing kit and even the top-spec Tundra saddle is the perfect match of carbon rails and white upholstery.

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In fact the only pimp-free pieces are the Shimano XT kit, but they’re certainly powerful and precise in stop/go terms, and XTR or SRAM X.O versions of the HPC are available for those with much deeper pockets.

The Racing Ralph tyres are a custom white shouldered version
The racing ralph tyres are a custom white shouldered version: the racing ralph tyres are a custom white shouldered version
Seb Rogers

Product Specifications

Product

Name AMS HPC XT (09)
Brand Cube Bikes

Description Also available as frameset
Rims XPW1600
Top Tube (in) 23.1
Standover Height (in) 28.9
Seat Tube (in) 18
Chainstays (in) 16.7
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.8
Weight (lb) 25.24
Year 2009
Weight (kg) 11.44
Stem F119 oversized
Shifters Deore XT SL-M770 Rapidfire plus 9-s
Seatpost P6 Carbon 31.6mm
Seat Angle 73.5
Saddle Tundra Carbon
Rear Shock Float RP23 165 mm
Available Colours Black Team
Rear Derailleur Deore XT RD-M772 Shadow
Pedals Egg Beater
Headset Type Orbit Z 1.5R Semi integrated
Head Angle 70.5
Handlebar Syntace Duraflite Carbon icl. RFR-Barends
Front Derailleur XT FD-M770 E Type
Frame Material HPC Monocoque STK Twin Mold Technology
Fork 32 Remote Rl100 100mm Remote lockout
Cranks Deore XT FC-M770 44x32x22T.,175mm integr BB
Chain CN-HG93
Cassette Shimano Deore XT Cs-M770 11-32T..9s
Brakes Deore XT BR-M775 hydr Disc Brake (180/180mm)
Available Sizes 14 Inches 18 Inches 20 Inches 22 Inches
Wheelbase (in) 42.6