As we often expect from the German mega-brands, Cube has managed to squeeze some rather tasty kit on to its carbon front, alloy rear trail bike for the money.
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- The Cube Stereo 140 HPC TM 27.5 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.
Fox’s latest 150mm 36 Factory GRIP2 fork is one of the best on the market, while there’s a matching Factory DPX2 shock out back, with all the adjustment you’ll realistically need on a trail bike, controlling the 140mm of travel.
Fox contributes the excellent Factory level Transfer post, while RaceFace the finishing kit and SRAM the GX Eagle drivetrain and powerful Code R brakes.
I was also impressed with the Newmen Evolution SL A.30 wheels, which seemed fairly light, had a decent hub pickup at the back and were wide enough to give ample volume to the tyres.
The use of the 36 and Code brakes give a fair indication of how Cube expects the Stereo 140 to be ridden. It’s a bike that’s clearly aimed at the more aggressive end of the spectrum. However, the geometry from Cube doesn’t quite match that, certainly from a UK perspective, where longer, slacker bikes are the norm.
The 20in test bike I had (large equivalent) has a reach of 458mm, which is relatively short for such a bike, and a head angle of 66.5 degrees — not steep, but certainly not slack.
The chainstays are 425mm long, so in fairness fairly well balanced with the shorter front end, but this combines to give a wheelbase of 1,189mm, which isn’t particularly long.
The 470mm seat tube isn’t the shortest around either, so ‘sizing up’ to a 22in wasn’t possible for our 6-foot testers, who otherwise would have appreciated the extra 20mm of reach on offer.
My test bike unfortunately came with Schwalbe Fat Albert tyres, which compromised grip and control in the wet. They also have a very rounded profile with little shoulder tread, which doesn’t help in softer conditions. However, stock bikes should come with Magic Mary/Hans Dampf stock tyres, which will improve this.
The suspension feels smooth at the back, soaking up small bumps effectively, however its support comes late in its travel, so I found myself pretty deep in the suspension at times I wouldn’t have wanted to. As such, it gives a ‘trap door’ feeling to the back end. Adding compression damping helped, but then compromised ride quality over small bumps.
This is in contrast to the front suspension, which is well supported and very well controlled. As such, on the trail this left me feeling that there was an imbalance between front and rear suspension.
Combined with the less than ideal tyres and conservative geometry, this left the bike feeling more nervous than the burly componentry would have suggested on paper — certainly on the rougher, steeper trails in my testing period.
A longer wheelbase (via reach and chainstay figures, and head angle) would definitely be of benefit on looser and steeper trails, while a better supported rear suspension would boost composure through repeated hits and while pushing through rollers and berms.
Despite all of this, the Stereo worked well on flowing trail centre type trails, where decent pedal efficiency, yet comfortable suspension, rules the roost, with enough travel available to get you out of trouble on isolated impacts.
With a carbon front triangle and some higher-end kit, Cube has kept the bike to a respectable 13.51kg, which certainly helps things on the climbs. As such, on longer days in the hills, the Stereo is a fair companion, certainly when compared to some more descent-focussed trail bikes.
Cube Stereo 140 HPC TM 27.5 specifications
- Sizes (*tested): 16, 18, 20*, 22in
- Weight: 13.51kg
- Frame: HPC Carbon front triangle, 6061 Alloy rear, 140mm 650b
- Fork: Fox Factory 36 FIT GRIP2 150mm
- Shock: Fox Factory Float DPX2
- Chainset: SRAM
- Cassette: SRAM GX
- Chain: SRAM GX Eagle
- Mech: SRAM GX Eagle
- Shifters: SRAM GX Eagle
- Wheelset: Newmen Evolution SL A.30
- Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary Addix Soft 650×2.35in (f), Schwalbe Hans Dampf Addis Speedgrip 650×2.35in (r)
- Stem: RaceFace Turbine R 50mm
- Bar: RaceFace Next R 780mm
- Headset: FSA
- Saddle: SDG FLY MTN 2
- Seatpost: Fox Factory Transfer 150mm
- Brakes: SRAM CODE R200/180
Cube Stereo 140 HPC TM 27.5 geometry
- Seat angle: 75 degrees
- Head Angle: 66.5 degrees
- Chainstay: 42.5cm / 16.73in
- Seat tube: 47cm / 18.5in
- Top tube: 61.4cm / 24.17″
- Head tube: 12.7cm / 5in
- Bottom bracket drop: 1.6cm / 0.63in
- Wheelbase: 1,189mm / 46.81in
- Stack: 61cm / 24.02in
- Reach: 45.8cm / 18.03in
|Name||Stereo 140 HPC TM 27.5|
|Available Sizes||16in 18in 20in 22in|
|Saddle||SDG FLY MTN 2|
|Top Tube (in)||24.17|
|Seat Tube (in)||18.5|
|Wheelset||Newmen Evolution SL A.30|
|Stem||RaceFace Turbine R 50mm|
|Shifters||SRAM GX Eagle|
|Seatpost||Fox Factory Transfer 150mm|
|Rear Tyre||Schwalbe Hans Dampf Addis Speedgrip 650x2.35"|
|Brakes||SRAM CODE R200/180|
|Rear Shock||Fox Factory Float DPX2|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM GX Eagle|
|Handlebar||RaceFace Next R 780mm|
|Front Tyre||Schwalbe Magic Mary Addix Soft 650x2.35"|
|Frame Material||HPC Carbon front triangle, 6061 Alloy rear, 140mm 650b|
|Fork||Fox Factory 36 FIT GRIP2 150mm|
|Chain||SRAM GX Eagle|
|Frame size tested||20in|