Cube Sting WS 140 HPC SL review

Capable trail bike that punches above its weight

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
£2,300.00 RRP

Our review

An upgradeable trail bike with decent spec for the money
Pros: Up to date geometry, 2x groupset gives a huge range of gears for climbing, impressive to see a partial carbon frame at this price point
Cons: Awkward reach to dropper remote, 2x system adds complication to shifting and cockpit and adds weight
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Cube, along with Liv and Canyon, is one of the few bike brands opting to produce women’s specific frames. The Sting WS is a model that’s been developed for female riders and does not share frame geometry with other bikes in the Cube lineup, although it fulfils the same riding niche – trail riding – as the Stereo.

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  • The Cube Sting WS 140 HPC SL is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2019. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub page.

This 27.5inch-wheel bike combines 140mm rear travel with 150mm up front, and up-to-date modern trail geometry that puts it on a similar standing to bikes such as the Liv Intrigue, Canyon Spectral and Specialized Stumpjumper.

In fact, Cube has done a great job of making a bike that looks and rides like it were several hundred pounds/euros/dollars pricier than it actually is.

Fox 34 forks provide 150mm of front-end travel
Fox 34 forks provide 150mm of front-end travel
Aoife Glass

Cube Sting WS 140 HPC SL frame

The Sting WS boasts a carbon frame with alloy rear triangle, which helps reduce costs while also giving the bike some natural flex that adds to its playful trail feel.

Geometry is modern with a head angle of 66.5 degrees, an above-averagely steep seat angle of 75.2 degrees, which helps place the rider comfortably over the bottom bracket for increased efficiency when climbing, and a reach of 438mm, which feels like the sweet-spot for women’s trail geometry and is longer than most.

The bike has short 425mm chainstays which give it a nimble and agile ride feel, making short work of uphill switchbacks and twisty descents. However, you pay the price for this on faster, bigger terrain as nimble turns to nervy.

While aesthetics aren’t everything, I’m rather taken with the blue and teal tones Cube has opted for matching fork and wheel decals, and together with the sleek, straight lines of the frame it makes a tidy package. Internal cable routing ensures that silhouette remains uninterrupted.

Cube Sting WS 140 HPC SL kit

Part of the reason the Sting WS handles like a pricier bike, apart from the frame, is that a fair chunk of the spec is very similar to what you’d find on a much more expensive bike.

The Fox Float DPS Evol shock doesn’t have quite the rebound adjustability of the pricier DPX2, but it’s on a par with bikes several hundred pounds more expensive, as are the Fox 34 Rhythm forks with up-to-date GRIP dampers.

140mm of rear travel is controlled by the Fox Float DPS Evol shock
140mm of rear travel is controlled by the Fox Float DPS Evol shock
Aoife Glass

Cost has been saved and weight gained on the 2×11 Shimano XT/SLX gearing. 2x systems are definitely not fashionable in the UK, US and Australia, but they remain popular in continental Europe. They do provide plenty of gearing, but that’s tempered by the annoyance of extra cabling, derailleurs and shifters.

A Race Face Aeffect SL crankset with 175mm cranks completes the groupset, and unusually for a women’s bike this doesn’t alter with different frame sizes.

While the brakes work okay, they do have a flexy feeling to them
While the brakes work okay, they do have a flexy feeling to them
Aoife Glass

While the Magura MT Trail brakes with 180mm rotors front and back have decent stopping power, the feel is on/off with little modulation, making subtle speed control in technical terrain tricky. The levers themselves also feel a little twangy.

Finishing kit is alloy with a Newman Evolution stem and 760mm bars. Cube has also managed to squeeze in its proprietary dropper with 125mm of travel. It’s a little on the short side but it’s plenty for the majority of trail riding, and the smaller size comes with a shorter 100mm travel dropper.

Cube Sting WS 140 HPC SL ride impressions

One big niggle is in the cockpit set-up. Having a 2x drivetrain means the front shifter jostles for position with the dropper remote, and on several occasions I’ve dropped gears when I meant to drop my post, leading to a few mildly hilarious offs. This may be something that regular riders get used to.

The bike was also prone to getting choked up on mud and filth when riding in mucky conditions, which is pretty much a year-round occurrence on my local trails.

The dropper and chainring shifter are a little too close for comfort
The dropper and chainring shifter are a little too close for comfort
Aoife Glass

I found the dropper action stiff, and combined with it’s position further away from the grips, it was hard to get the necessary leverage. Playing with the position would help this, but so would upgrading to a 1x drivetrain if the additional gears weren’t needed.

That said, it’s nice to have a ‘granny ring’ for long, steep climbs and technical ascents, giving legs the chance to spin up with minimal force.

The shifters and brakes have a more vague, flexy feel than higher-spec models, but they do the job just fine even if they don’t respond as nicely.

Cube Sting WS 140 HPC SL overall

The Cube Sting WLS features a frame with women's specific geometry
The Cube Sting WLS features a frame with women’s specific geometry
Aoife Glass

I was impressed that Cube has managed such a good package for the price, combining a carbon/alloy frame and great spec.

It’s essentially got everything you need for a wide range of trail riding, from local woods and trail centres up to chunkier terrain, all-mountain excursions and the odd uplift day at the downhill tracks.

At it’s heart though it’s a trail bike, so while it can handle beefier rides, it can get out of its depth — especially the brakes and shifters. However, it’s also very upgradeable, and you wouldn’t go wrong up-speccing parts as you go and keeping the bike for several years.

It’s lively without being nervous, confident without being boring, and surprisingly light.

Cube Sting WL specification

  • Sizes (*tested): 13.5, 16, 18″*
  • Weight: 13.1kg
  • Frame: Carbon fibre with alloy rear triangle, 140mm travel
  • Fork: Fox 34 Rhythm, Tapered, 15x110mm, 150mm, 2-Position Sweep-Adjust GRIP Damper
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS EVOL, 185×52.5mm Trunnion Mount, Open/Medium/Firm Mode
  • Chainset: Race Face Aeffect SL 34x24T, 175mm
  • Cassette: Shimano SLX CS-M7000, 11-42
  • Chain: KMC X11
  • Mech (F): Shimano SLX FD-M7020-D, Direct Mount, Side Swing
  • Mech (R): Shimano XT RD-M8000-DSGS, ShadowPlus, 11-speed
  • Shifters: Shimano XT SL-M8000-I, Direct Attach
  • Wheelset: Fulcrum Red 77 Boost, 15x110mm / 12x148mm, tubeless ready
  • Spokes: 28/28
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Nobby Nic, Addix Speedgrip, Kevlar, Tubeless Easy, 2.35
  • Stem: Newmen Evolution 318.4, 31.8mm
  • Bar: Newmen Evolution 318.20, 760mm
  • Grips: CUBE Race SL Grip 29.5
  • Headset: FSA Orbit I-t, Integrated, Top 1 1/8in, Bottom 1 1/2in
  • Saddle: Natural Fit Active Race WS
  • Seatpost: CUBE dropper, 31.6mm
  • Brakes: Magura MT Trail Custom, Rotors 180/180
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Cube Sting WL geometry

  • Seat angle: 75.2 degrees
  • Head angle: 66.5 degrees
  • Chainstay: 42.5cm / 16.73in
  • Seat tube: 42cm / 16.54in
  • Top tube: 59.08cm / 23.26in
  • Head tube: 11.7cm / 4.61in
  • Bottom bracket drop: 1.55cm / 0.61in
  • Wheelbase: 116.5cm / 45.91in
  • Stack: 60.1cm / 23.66in
  • Reach: 43.8cm / 17.24in

BikeRadar would like to thank 661 Protection, Northwave, Effetto Mariposa and Finale Ligure for their help and support during our Bike of the Year test.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Sting WS 140 HPC SL
Brand Cube Bikes

Available Sizes 13.5in 16in 18in
Rear Tyre Schwalbe Nobby Nic, Addix Speedgrip, Kevlar, Tubeless Easy, 2.35
Wheelbase (in) 45.91
Top Tube (in) 23.26
Seat Tube (in) 16.64
Chainstays (in) 16.73
Spoke Type 28 / 28
Wheelset Fulcrum Red 77 Boost, 15x110mm / 12x148mm, Tubeless Ready
Weight (kg) 13.1
Stem Newmen Evolution 318.4, 31.8mm
Shifters Shimano XT SL-M8000-I, Direct Attach
Seatpost CUBE Dropper, , Handlebar Lever, Internal Cable Routing, 31.6mm
Seat Angle 75.2
Saddle Natural Fit Active Race WS
Rear Shock Fox Float DPS EVOL, 185x52.5mm Trunnion Mount
Brakes Magura MT Trail Custom, Rotors 180/180
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT RD-M8000-DSGS, ShadowPlus, 11-Speed
Headset Type FSA Orbit I-t, Integrated, Top 1 1/8", Bottom 1 1/2"
Head Angle 66.5
Handlebar Newmen Evolution 318.20, 760mm
Grips/Tape CUBE Race SL Grip 29.5
Front Tyre Schwalbe Nobby Nic, Addix Speedgrip, Kevlar, Tubeless Easy, 2.35
Front Derailleur Shimano SLX FD-M7020-D, Direct Mount, Side Swing
Frame Material Carbon fibre with alloy rear triangle
Fork Fox 34 Rhythm, Tapered, 15x110mm, 150mm, 2-Position Sweep-Adjust GRIP Damper
Cranks Race Face Aeffect SL 34x24T, 175mm
Chain KMC X11
Cassette Shimano SLX CS-M7000, 11-42
Frame size tested 18in