Cube’s Attain is the Bavarian brand’s first proper take on an endurance road bike. Previously, it had stuck to race-orientated geometry with nods to comfort in the choice of tyre, bar and saddle.
This time, the great-looking frameset combines a super-skinny, full-carbon fork that’s designed to be race-bike stiff laterally but give a little fore-and-aft movement to help curb tiring vibrations.
Similarly skinny seatstays, which are less radically dropped than those on the Giant Defy or Cannondale Synapse Carbon 4 that I’ve also been riding lately, are there to offer some rear-end flex to smooth out the ride.
Cube Attain GTC SL geometry
My 56cm test bike offers sporty geometry, with a steep 73.5-degree seat angle putting you directly over the cranks to make the most of your power.
The 72.5-degree head angle is just half a degree more relaxed than your average race bike, and the resulting ride position is sporty but not extreme.
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.6||74||73.5||73||72.5||72.5|
|Head angle (degrees)||71.5||72||72.5||72.5||72.5||72.5|
|Seat tube (mm)||460||490||520||540||560||580|
|Top tube (mm)||517||537||560||575||590||595|
|Head tube (mm)||130||152||182||202||222||242|
Cube Attain GTC SL spec details
Our test bike’s matt-black finish has only the lightest of paint touches, so you can see the carbon through the finish.
The glossy black graphics add a touch of class and everything is very well coordinated, making the GTC SL a premium-looking offering.
As is usual for Cube, the Attain really hits the mark when it comes to value. The only deviations from Shimano Ultegra are a step down to a 105 cassette and standard rotors rather than Ice Tech.
I can forgive that when you consider you’re getting one of the best mechanical groupsets ever made.
The shifting is superb, and the brakes offer control, power and a progressive feel.
Yes, I did manage to make the rotors protest occasionally on some long descents on a hot day, but it’s nothing I’d mark the Cube down for.
The Fulcrum Racing 77 DBs are OEM (original equipment manufacturer) wheels, so aren’t available aftermarket. They’re based on Fulcrum’s Racing 6 DB and share the same low-profile 24mm rim with a 20mm internal width.
They’re tubeless-compatible too. The hubs are basic but, in true Fulcrum style, they are well made, free-running and the freehub picks up quickly.
The Continental Grand Sport tyres have most of the features of the brand’s premium tyres, and in this SL guise they’re clincher-only.
The 28mm width shapes up well on the Fulcrum rim and I came away impressed both by how well they rolled and how tenaciously they gripped in the corners.
Cube Attain GTC SL ride impressions
The Attain doesn’t quite match the smoothness of the best endurance road bikes when riding on poorer tarmac surfaces, where it feels a little firmer, but it’s not uncomfortable.
However, I was really impressed by how the Cube felt. It’s especially good when climbing, the frame feels taut and responsive and it properly punches up climbs – the steeper the better.
I’d also love to try the Attain with a set of genuinely lightweight road bike wheels because I’m convinced that would make for a formidable combination on alpine ascents.
When you do get to point the Attain downhill, it’s quite thrilling to descend on. It’s not as sharp and reactive as the Synapse or as balanced as the Defy, but it’s confidence-inspiring and very rapid.
It’s all down to the combination of the excellent tyres and great contact points. I love the shape of the Newmen Wing Bar, with its slightly oversized diameter, mid-compact drop and fantastic, thick Acid bar tape.
It’s a positive grip and the bar feels stiff, but without amplifying road chatter.
The carbon seatpost is great for the price and the short Natural Fit Venec saddle deserves a lot of praise for its slender dimensions and high-density padding, which manages to be both unobtrusive and give proper shock-absorbing comfort.
Cube Attain GTC SL bottom line
The Attain GTC SL is a great-looking, very stealthy bike.
The kit level outdoes its rivals and the ride is well worth shouting about too.
It may not be quite as impressive as bikes such as the Giant Defy, but for under £2,500 there’s little that can touch Cube’s high-performing, big-mile-eating machine.
How we tested
Endurance road bikes, at first glance, look much like the bikes you’ll see professional cyclists riding, but look more closely and you’ll see there are some subtle but significant differences, which make them more suitable for the likes of you and I.
An endurance bike is made for day-long comfort, for example, with a more upright geometry to suit. They will often be designed with versatility in mind, too, with clearance for wider tyres and mudguard mounts for winter riding.
In this test of three of the best endurance road bikes around £3,000, each machine was set up and checked over by our workshop manager, Will Poole, before going to our senior road technical editor, Warren Rossiter.
Warren tested all three on his go-to roads on Salisbury Plain, including a high-tempo, two-and-a-half-hour ride to dial each bike in, before multiple outings on an 82-mile (132km) loop.
For good measure, and to see just how versatile the latest gravel bikes are, Warren also took in some of Salisbury Plain’s wide gravel roads.
- Cannondale Synapse Carbon 4 review
- Cube Attain GTC SL
- Giant Defy Advanced 0
|Available sizes||50, 53, 56, 58, 60, 62cm - 56cm|
|Handlebar||Newmen Evolution Wing Bar 42cm|
|Tyres||Continental Grand Sport Race SL 28mm|
|Seatpost||Newmen Evolution 27.2mm|
|Saddle||Venec Natural fit|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Ultegra|
|Grips/Tape||ACID Bartape RD|
|Bottom bracket||Shimano 86mm pressfit|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Ultegra|
|Frame||GTC Twin Mold carbon|
|Cranks||Shimano Ultegra 50/34|
|Cassette||Shimano CS-R7000 11-speed 11-32|
|Brakes||Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors|
|Wheels||Fulcrum Racing 77 DB|