Bang up-to-date with a stretched out, low-slung frame with neat features
The 2019 Cube Stereo 150 29 is bang up-to-date with a stretched out, low-slung frame with neat features, great lines and added standover clearance.
Cube’s Stereo has always been available in an array of different travel and wheel size options, so it should come as no surprise that it been a really successful bike for the German brand.
Cube Stereo 150 C:62 SL 29 review
It’s evolved over the years with new trends and technologies, but the Stereo shape has always been conservative, with taller, shorter frames than other brands pushing the trend for longer/lower bikes.
Well, that’s all changed with the new Stereo 29.
The 66-degree head angle is sensible rather than radical, and a steeper 75.5-degree seat angle targets improved climbing efficiency. With a low-slung BB, the riding position keeps your weight stable while hitting berms or down, super-techy steeps, without being so low that pedals clip the ground when sat down climbing.
The full carbon frame, where the C:62 denotes the 62% fibre/resin ratio in the lay up, makes for a really lightweight chassis with stylish pivot housings and shortish chainstays
Be careful with Cube’s sizing chart though; its recommended height range is low, and we went up a frame size to a 20in for a more ‘standard’ fit. Thankfully the extra standover clearance allows for this.
A piggyback RockShox Super Deluxe shock has a bigger negative air chamber to help initiate movement. The shock is well tuned to the 4-bar suspension design, making the 150mm back end track well with support for cornering, while still maintaining pace over repeated hits.
Up front, the 160mm RockShox Lyrik suspension fork is best on test with a stiff chassis and high-end RCT3 Charger II damper. It uses the ‘standard’ 51mm offset, which makes for a lighter feel at the handlebar with less of a stabilising effect on the steering than the Whyte S-150. Fighting for grip in the steepest ruts and muddy chutes, this effect will be subtly noticeable to some, but the Lyrik’s superior damping and control compensates for any potential negatives. The longer fork offset also makes the bike feel bigger, which is a bonus on the Cube.
SRAM’s Code R brakes and GX Eagle drivetrain with lightweight carbon cranks cover stop and go duties, and there’s a noticeable performance advantage from the precision Code brakes compared to the Guides.
Cube’s lightweight Newmen wheels are a cut above too. Wide enough for modern, large-volume tyres, they pack more smart tech and features than there’s space to expand on here. The ride and acceleration is extremely lively, and they’re super tough thanks to a flared-out rim profile. Schwalbe tyres offer a grippy, UK-friendly Magic Mary up front, but the skinny, fast-rolling, Hans Dampf rear tyre favours sheer pace over maximum grip and control, which is obvious in the wet.
Our only real gripe in an otherwise flawless specification is Cube though is it own brand dropper post – it works OK, but it has a flexy, and not very ergonomic, remote lever and less positive action.
Cube’s latest Stereo rides every bit as light as the scale suggests. From the very first climb it felt punchy and efficient at short, sharp bursts and extend fireroad drags. The climbing position is sorted and the pedalling action very smooth and efficient even when sprinting hard, with just the slightest whiff of egg-shaped pedalling in the biggest 50-tooth Eagle cog.
The Stereo darts down trails with a lively feel too. The Lyrik fork never gets flustered and it’s easy to manoeuvre the bike around, wiggling through kinks in the trail or smashed roots and rocks. The rear suspension isn’t glued to the floor over every ripple, but there’s a rounded, damped feel that absorbs square edge hits without losing pace or feeling too spongy in the mid-stroke.
It’s hard to identify why, but there’s a slight sharpness in the Stereo’s stiff carbon frame, especially at the front end, which means it doesn’t quite feel as well damped or as forgiving as the Whyte. And, combined with the slightly steeper geometry, there is less calmness at speeds where longer, more stable (and less nimble) 150mm bikes excel.
On paper, the Cube Stereo 150 SL 29 is tough to beat. It’s light, capable and comes with an amazing build kit. The ride quality is versatile and balanced too. So even if the 150mm travel Stereo leans more towards aggro trail riding than pure enduro speed that’s no bad thing when the majority of UK trails mean carrying speed. So the latest Stereo feels light and urgent, but the revised geometry still won’t be progressive enough for the most aggressive riders. So even though the huge improvements in shape, looks and attitude make this a really successful Stereo reboot, the Whyte S-150 has the edge.