The Cube Reaction C:62 is a great choice if your priorities are low weight, drive stiffness and a quality 2×11 transmission. Its plasticky tyres, skinny wheels and heavy QR fork will all need replacing though.
The Shimano XT crankset is a definite highlightMick Kirkman / Immediate Media
Cube has maxed out the stiffness via the dimensions of the twin-mould carbon monocoque. The bulged head tube leads into a big box that extends into the massive polygonal down tube, which gives full-width support of the press-fit bottom bracket shell.
Chunky geometric chainstays taper toward the bolt-thru Boost dropouts. Cube even uses Shimano’s direct-mount rear mech standard for locked-down shifting accuracy. Above the power transfer line, things are a lot slimmer, with the top tube starting deep but tapering towards the skinny, extended seat tube.
The rear brake and gear cables run all the way through from neat blocks in the head tube to halfway down the chainstays. You can change the inserts to run a stealth dropper post, although the 27.2mm seat tube diameter limits your options.
Cube’s ‘Agile Ride Geometry’ is up to date, with a 69-degree head angle, low bottom bracket and short, responsive chainstays. The top tube and reach are short as well though, and the head tube is 10mm taller than on the other XC bikes that were also on test, which included the Trek Procaliber 6, Bianchi Grizzly 9.2 and Specialized Chisel Comp X1.
Cube Reaction C:62 kit
If you prefer a shorter bike and want a machine that responds well when you lay the watts down, then the C:62 is an excellent upgrade investmentMick Kirkman / Immediate Media
Thanks to the low weight of the carbon frame, the Reaction is still competitively light even with a RockShox Recon Silver fork that has both steel legs and a steel steerer tube.
It’s a QR unit with basic lockable ‘TurnKey’ damping and a simple ‘PopLoc’ remote on the narrow 700mm Cube bar. The wheels are also heavy, despite their narrow rims (21mm) and Schwalbe Tough Tom and Rapid Rob tyres (53mm) — the old Nobby Nic and Racing Ralph treads repurposed with a cheaper, harder compound.
The Shimano XT crankset is a definite highlight, and the SLX shifters and mechs give a really light, slick action compared to NX Eagle. Twin-ring 36/26×11-42t gearing gives a significantly higher top gear and essentially the same bottom gear (95-18 gear inches) as the 30×11-50t (80-17.5) set-ups on the Bianchi and Trek mentioned above.
Shimano’s Deore hubs will run for ages if you learn how to adjust the bearings, but their MT200 brakes are numb compared to the MT400s on the other bikes.
Cube Reaction C:62 ride impressions
Cube’s ‘Agile Ride Geometry’ is up to date, with a 69-degree head angle and low bottom bracketMick Kirkman / Immediate Media
While the frame’s weight advantage is buried in the complete bike weight, its stiffness is obvious under power. And the hard-compound tyres roll quickly, so on smoother trails it’s an impressively quick bike.
That short wheelbase and back end mean it’s lively and agile too. But, even with skinny stays and a slim seatpost to suck out some of the ground shock, it still gives a thumping ride over bumpy terrain.
The basic tyre carcasses and narrow rims don’t help either, so new rubber and then new wheels should definitely be on your upgrade list to bring out the full potential of the frame.
Fresh tyres would also solve the lack of wet-weather grip from the Schwalbes, although they’re still significantly more predictable than the Kenda tyres on the Bianchi.
RockShox’s Recon Silver isn’t as consistently controlled as some other forks and there’s more twist from the QR wheel connection when you lock the front tyre into a dry turn.
The 700mm bar and 90mm stem leave the steering short of leverage and sensitivity too, making it harder to pry the relatively stable-steering Reaction off-line or react quickly to sudden traction slips or line choice changes.
A wider bar isn’t a wallet breaker, but be wary of fitting a significantly shorter stem because that’ll make the already compact frame feel even shorter and more upright.
But if you prefer a shorter bike and want a machine that naturally responds well when you lay the watts down and is only going to get better with upgrading, then the C:62 is an excellent investment.
Cube Reaction C:62 specifications
Sizes (*tested): 15, 17, 19*, 21, 23in
Frame: C:62 carbon fibre monocoque
Fork: RockShox Recon Silver TK Solo Air w/ PopLoc remote, 100mm (3.9in) travel
Chainset: Shimano Deore XT M8000, 36/26t
Bottom bracket: Shimano PF
Cassette: Shimano SLX M7000, 11-42t
Chain: KMC X11
Mech: Shimano Deore XT M8000
Shifters: Shimano SLX M7000 (2×11)
Hubs: Shimano Deore M6000
Axles: 9x100mm QR (f), 12x148mm Boost (r)
Rims: Cube EX21
Spokes: 32 stainless
Tyres: Schwalbe Tough Tom Active (f) and Rapid Rob Active (r) 29×2.25in (53mm measured)
Wheel weight: 2.28kg (f), 2.88kg (r), inc tyres
Stem: Cube Performance Pro, 90mm
Bar: Cube Flat Race, 700mm
Grips: Cube Performance
Headset: FSA Orbit I-t, integrated
Saddle: Cube Natural Fit Active Race
Seatpost: Cube Performance, rigid
Brakes: Shimano MT200, 180/160mm rotors
Cube Reaction C:62 geometry
Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
Head angle: 69 degrees
Chainstay: 42.5cm / 16.73in
Seat tube: 47cm / 18.5in
Top tube: 61cm / 24.02in
Head tube: 12cm / 4.72in
Bottom bracket height: 30cm / 11.81in
Wheelbase: 1,115mm / 43.9in
Stack: 62.7cm / 24.69in
Reach: 42.5cm / 16.73in
15in 17in 19in 21in 23in
Schwalbe Rapid Rob Active, 29x2.25in (53mm measured)
Top Tube (in)
Seat Tube (in)
Bottom Bracket Height (in)
Cube Performance Pro, 90mm
Shimano SLX M7000 (2x11)
Cube Performance, rigid
Cube Natural Fit Active Race
Rear Wheel Weight
Shimano Deore M6000
Shimano Deore XT M8000
FSA Orbit I-t, integrated
Cube Flat Race, 700mm
Front Wheel Weight
Schwalbe Tough Tom Active, 29x2.25in (53mm measured)
Shimano Deore M6000
'C:62' carbon fibre monocoque
RockShox Recon Silver TK Solo Air w/ PopLoc remote, 100mm (3.9in) travel