The Axial GTC Pro sits in Cube’s ‘Woman Like Series’ and is aimed at women who want to up their speed and buy their first race bike.
Its agenda is clear from the off – the lightweight carbon frame’s oversized bottom bracket area, down tube and chainstays all scream stiffness and personal bests.
Living up to expectation, the Cube impressed us with its agility and speed. It made light work of sprints and accelerations, and took minutes off our usual commuting times. The same went for hills, the 50/39/30 triple chainset offering more than enough gears to get up local nasties.
Luckily, the light weight and stiffness don’t come at the expense of comfort or handling. The bike is responsive but not flighty, and holds its line well on descents. We also didn’t notice as much road buzz as you might expect from such a race-ready machine, the thin seatstays contributing to bump-smoothing.
It’s good to see Mavic’s Aksium/Aksion wheel/tyre package at this price point, the reliable wheelset rolling smoothly. The majority of the groupset is Shimano’s excellent 105, with an Ultegra rear mech ensuring clean, predictable shifts.
Geometry is female-friendly, although the short top tube is offset by the unisex Easton EA30 Aero handlebar – it’s wider than a typical women-specific model and left us feeling slightly stretched and fatigued riding on the hoods. That said, the aero wing shape is a treat, giving you a comfortable ledge when climbing or sitting up.
The Selle Italia X1 WLS Road saddle is racy but very uncomfortable – we appreciate that saddle happiness often comes down to personal preference but we were left dreaming of a cutaway.
We loved the red/orange colouring and total lack of ‘girly’ detailing, and the Cube received a lot more compliments from bike-obsessed male colleagues than a woman’s bike usually would. Seems ‘Man Like Too’.
This article originally appeared in Cycling Plus – Women's Edition