Good bike but if you have the cash, we’d recommend getting the next model up
On the Cube Stereo 150 C:62 SL 29, the C:62 of the mealy-mouthed model name indicates the level of carbon used for the frame construction.
One look at the 2020 Cube Stereo range and it would be easy to assume you’re seeing double, triple or even quadruple. Because in addition to offering the 29er Stereo with 120mm, 150mm or 170mm travel, there’s also a range of 140mm-travel Stereo bikes rolling on 27.5in wheels. In a nutshell, anything that’s not DH or XC race comes under the Stereo umbrella.
At the heart of the latest Stereo frame is the Trail Motion rocker link. The oversized one-piece carbon construction does away with the need for a stiffening seatstay bridge, while the hidden pivots that connect the link to the carbon stays give a sleek, smooth appearance. So we were somewhat surprised to find superfluous cable guides tucked underneath the non-driveside dropout. It turns out, this is the same seatstay assembly that Cube uses for the Stereo Hybrid ebike range and the extra guides are for the speed sensor.
On the Cube Stereo 150 C:62 SL 29, the C:62 of the mealy-mouthed model name indicates the level of carbon used for the frame construction. In this case the frame shares the same sizing and geometry as the more expensive Stereo 150 C:68 bikes but uses a heavier-grade carbon. Not that you could tell there’s been any cost saving, as this is easily one of the best-specced bikes we’ve tested recently.
Like previous Stereo frames, the sizing is inches, so the Cube Stereo 150 C:62 SL 29 is available in 16, 18, 20 and 22in frame sizes. This equates to S, M, L and XL and thankfully not the length of the seat tubes. In fact, our size 20in test bike had a regular 18.5in seat tube, so plenty of scope to upgrade to a 170mm dropper post if needed. That’s not to imply that the sizing on the Stereo is progressive though, as the 457mm reach measurement on the 20in makes it the shortest bike in the test.
Fox Factory-level suspension adds a level of adjustability – especially at the fork. In this instance the 160mm-travel 36 Float Factory gets a FIT Grip2 damper with independent high and low-speed compression and rebound adjustment. Put simply, it has four-way adjustable damping. The fork on the Cube was satin smooth. So much so, we added more compression damping for extra support.
We also used the 3mm hex adjuster to add compression to the DPX2 rear shock, to gain more support from the 150mm rear suspension when climbing. And that’s the real beauty of the higher spec kit; you can tweak it on the fly.
With a Shimano XT drivetrain, the Cube certainly wins in terms of one-upmanship. And while it’s nice to get the best possible kit for your money, in a blind test you’d be hard pushed to tell it apart from SLX. Actually, that’s not totally true, as the intermittent bite-point that has plagued so many bikes equipped with XT four-piston brakes is instantly apparent.
Even the Schwalbe tyres are of the highest spec, the Magic Mary/Hans Dampf combo in Addix Soft and Speedgrip compounds offering traction where it’s needed most, without adding extra drag on the climbs. They even have the SnakeSkin casings – a rip-stop like fabric in the sidewalls – to reduce tearing.
The difference between a Scott Genius 940 and Cube Steroe 150 couldn’t be more pronounced. In fact, the Cube ticks all of the boxes for a modern trail bike bar length in the longer, lower and slacker geometry equation.
On the trail, both bikes are diametrically opposed too. The Scott offers a smooth supple ride, while the Cube frame felt stiff and a little lifeless, so better suited to heavier riders. Also, given that the suspension on the Cube felt soft and a little wallowly on the climbs, we were expecting the Stereo to offer a magic-carpet ride on the descents… it wasn’t so. The rear suspension felt harsher off-the-top and slow to react to square-edge hits. So while Cube has delivered a superbly specced lightweight trail bike for the money, the shock tune needs refining if it’s to deliver the complete package.
Despite having the best spec for the money of any 29er on test, Cube has left some easy gains on the table when it comes to the suspension and the shock tune. There’s also a question mark over the Shimano XT brakes, so if you have the cash, we’d recommend getting the next model up. At £4,499 you get the lighter C:68 carbon frame and more importantly the four-way adjustable Fox Float X2 shock and consistent SRAM G2 brakes.