The Stereo 150+, the Stereo 140 29, the AMS 100 29 and the Reaction Hybrid e-MTB.
We were invited to visit Cube’s swish new factory to have a look at the 2017 range. Here are the four key bikes.
Overall, 2017 looks like a year for Cube to consolidate its position rather than bring anything ground breaking to the table, but with a range this broad, there’s something for everyone and the quality and pricing is very competitive throughout.
Founded in 1996, Cube is one of a breed of German brands that has generated massive growth in recent years. Based in the former East German town of Waldersdorf in an absolutely huge, brand new 42,000m2 warehouse and assembly plant.
That said, with a capacity for turning out 500,000 bikes a year (that’s one every thirty seconds!) from the facility, Cube is fast becoming one of the major global players in both the complete bike and parts and accessories marketplace.
The brand’s 2017 range offers a huge array of models that span the full gamut of mountain biking. A big emphasis is e-bikes, where, like many others, the brand sees its focus for next year.
Around twenty percent of Cube’s unit sales have been e-bikes in 2016 and the brand expects this to rise further. In fact, growth has been so rapid that pedal assist bikes formed a range of four bikes in total for Cube just four years ago; today that has morphed into a monster offering of 104 different e-bikes in total!
Like Cube’s full suspension bikes, the main electric highlights stem from incremental (rather than wholesale) design changes.
1. 2017 Cube AMS 100 C:68 SLT 29
- Scissor like suspension linkage is dubbed ‘FSP 4-link’ suspension.
- New swanky German brand Newmen provides stem, bars, rims, saddle and seatpost.
- Rear fast-rolling Schwalbe ‘Thunder Burt’ XC tyre is a new design to us.
- Both fork and shock use remote lock-outs to maximise efficiency.
The only completely new mountain bike model for 2017 is a 100mm travel full suspension AMS model. Aimed squarely at XC and Marathon racing, the rig is designed purely to look, climb and ride fast, with few concessions for trail riding in terms of geometry or specification.
The most expensive, carbon-framed, model uses Cube’s C68 carbon blend that ensures a minimum 68% carbon content (compared to resin or filler) in the frame.
The Boost axled frame has two ‘proper’ bottle cage mounts and fully internal routing for any configuration of electronic or mechanical 1 or 2x drivetrains.
The total weight for an 18in frame without shock is a none-too-shabby 1,550g. This means with some weight-saving equipment choices like a 1×11-speed SRAM drivetrain with ultra lightweight Race Face carbon cranks (rather than SRAM’s new 12-speed Eagle), the complete top-end SLT model weighs just 8.9kg.
Cube are so obsessive about saving weight on the C:68 models in fact that by not using paint and less colour and graphics, the top-end SLT bike save between 150 and 170g in paint.
Cube is also speccing high-end ultra light parts from Newer – a new German brand that’s spun off from Syntace – and these parts including one of the lightest stems on the market and featherweight (yet still wide) carbon rims.
2. 2017 Cube Stereo 150 HPA Race 27.5+
- Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.8 chosen over wider 3.0in tyres and mounted to Answer Plus Atac wheelset with 40mm internal rims.
- Competitively priced Stereo uses Boost 148 frame with slightly altered geometry to better suit Plus tyres attributes.
- SRAM GX drivetrain is one of the few 1x-specific gear combos on offer in the Stereo range.
- Cube’s neat-looking own brand dropper post is a common site on 2017 bikes.
Cube doesn’t seem that hyped on ‘plus’ tyres and only offers two plus sized models with 150mm travel (which can’t accommodate 29-er wheels due to a specific shorter chainstay length to make Plus more playful).
Moving up in travel, the popular Cube Stereo frame remains largely unchanged for 2017. In total, a whopping 15 models are offered spanning travel options from 120mm to 160mm.
The 140mm Stereos gain a 10mm bump in fork travel this year to 150mm – mainly enabled since Fox’s newest 34 forks have a shorter axle to crown measurement.
Two women’s models, labelled ‘Sting’, are available too with 140mm travel at both ends, specific suspension tunes and frame sizes down to a diminutive 13.5in.
All Cube full suspension bikes share a relatively low standover height and use a horst link, four-bar suspension platform right up to the hefty, 180mm travel, Fritzz enduro rig and the DH machine being raced on the World Cup circuit by Cube’s new downhill team.
The Stereo is available in both 27.5in and 29-er, but the smaller frames are only available in the smaller wheel size.
3. 2017 Cube Stereo 140 C:68 SLT 29
- Lots of Fox rear shocks with EVOL air cans for 2017 – the bigger air can means the bike can ride higher in its travel and offer better sensitivity.
- 2x drivetrains are still a big deal for Cube – Stereo models need to match all global markets so lots of mix and match between drivetrain and suspension options.
- Top-end build means Fox Factory level suspension with Kashima coatings everywhere and the lightest parts from brands like Syntace.
- Despite the EWS pedigree, Cube sells the 29-er 140mm Stereo with a distinctly ‘trail’ build – SRAM’s lighter Level brakes and Schwalbe 2.35in Nobby Nic tyres are case in point.
One particular highlight is Cube’s 140mm travel 29-er Stereo. It’s a bike we’re keen to get in on test, since it’s the same rig the brand’s successful Enduro World Series race team have chosen to race on throughout the 2016 season.
The 140mm travel machine comes with an equivalent fork, even if the Action Team chooses to race on a 20mm longer 160mm fork and a burlier set up overall.
This specification choice mirrors a common thread running through Cube’s range of how the bikes are targeted at ‘real’ mountain bikers rather than elite racers – geometry is deliberately not as slack/low and aggressive as some other brands – especially on the shorter travel full suspension bikes.
Cube told us how the bikes are tested on local trails around the Waldersdorf factory – we found the terrain is a good match for UK riding with a blend of gnarly, rough rocky sections and superb swooping forested singletrack trails at an elevation up to almost a 1,000m.
4. 2017 Cube Reaction Hybrid HPA SLT 500
- Aluminium Superlight frame with ‘Gravity Cast’ to incorporate Bosch motor.
- Bosch Performance (250Watt) CX Drive Unit now has brand-new, more minimal bar mounted display unit.
- New for 2017 Fox 34 Rhythm fork with 2-position Sweep adjust GRIP damper.
- Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres comes in 2.6in size for e-bikes in both 27.5 and 29-er – there’s also a tougher, brand new Apex casing -just don’t call it a Plus tyre!
A completely new mainframe that integrates the Bosch motor inside the downtube and bottom bracket assembly.
Cube claims this ‘Gravity Cast’ construction massively increases stiffness and also allows for a lowered weight placement for the heavy battery and motor assemblies.
Cube has tested all the currently available drive units and has chosen Bosch motors for increased real world power and consistency.