Cube’s Agree GTC has been a high value all-round stalwart for several years and for 2014 it’s cheaper and better equipped. The Agree GTC SL frame has evolved over time and is now a really well-proven piece of composite engineering.
Actually, to be precise it’s two pieces, because Cube uses a twin-mould technology to make sure each half of the main frame is laid up as accurately as possible and that all excess heavy resin is squeezed out of the structure during manufacture. It’s totally up-to-date in terms of features too, including Cube’s own-brand full carbon tapered fork that uses a tapered steerer, from 1 1/2in at the bottom to 1 1/8in at the top, to give crisp and accurate steering.
Inside the head tube the fork steerer tapers from 1 1/2 to 1 1/8in
At the rear of the bike, the tapered seatstays become flat in the centre and contribute to the comfort of the rear end. The bottom bracket is a press-fit style that can take any axle size. Gear and brake cabling is internal and different covers on the cable ports tucked aerodynamically into the spine of the down tube can be configured for either electrical or mechanical shifting.
The kit that comes with this Cube is undoubtedly a big draw. A complete Shimano Ultegra 6800 transmission would be enough of a coup on its own but you also get Ultegra’s excellent powerful, feedback-rich, symmetrical dual-pivot brakes. They need treating with care at first, but the extra power and control are great to have once you’re used to them. The straight-pull-spoked DT Swiss wheels feel good and look even better, while the trustworthy Schwalbe Ones they're shod with underline the ride with a silky, clean-rolling feel on smoother surfaces.
German lightweight performance specialist Syntace provides the crisply detailed, distinctively back-swept bar and stem, and Cube’s seatpost is a Syntace copy too. Even the bolted seat clamp and the two-tone bar tape on the compact-bend bar looks super clean and suggests a machine with a much more expensive price tag. Top kit also takes complete bike weight below the 8kg mark, and the Agree’s low weight and compact nature is noticeable straight away.
Though reassuring through corners, the Agree GTC SL is also snappy courtesy of the short wheelbase
The backward swept top section of the Syntace bar looks weird, but the way the shape puts the bar under the heel of your palm is really comfortable for relaxed riding. While the lower front end might make it less suitable to stiff-backed riders, it does drop weight lower over the front wheel, and with an accurate feeling fork, relatively slack 72-degree head-tube and the excellent Schwalbe rubber, it’s a very reassuring bike to push through corners and to tackle descents on.
It’s certainly no barge, though, because the short wheelbase keeps things snappy when it comes to changing lines – though not quite up to the standard of the top of the range Litening – and the DT Swiss wheels are usefully sharp and responsive if you’re chopping around trying to avoid potholes and the like.
The low overall weight and smaller jumps between gear ratios on the 11-speed cassette make it easy to sustain a smooth cadence on rolling terrain, and it’s no slouch on climbs or kicking out of corners either. Its firm and light frameset gives it an enthusiastic ride character.