Last year Cube’s Stereo family stopped short (or should that be long?) of the 120mm-travel category, delivering 140 and 160mm through its flagship bikes. Now that platform has been extended to include this short-travel Stereo 120, leaving behind some weight and cost in the process.
The result is that the Stereo is mixing it in a pretty congested market, competing for your attention with some brilliant bikes, chiefly the Specialized Camber Evo and Whyte T129S. It’s a shame Cube didn’t have this bike a few months ago as we could have had them all lined up in last month’s 29er bike test. Maybe next time…
Before I’d even ridden the HPC 120 Pro it was clearly an impressive bike: it looks fantastic, the carbon front triangle gives it some graceful lines and an aluminium back-end keeps the price reasonable. Speaking of cost, it’s a great value bike with XT components (including best-in-class XT brakes) and that quality frame and serviceable suspension. It’s the trade-off you get for losing 20mm of travel over the 140mm Stereo.
The bike comes with a Stealth Reverb dropper post, not just the claim to be ‘dropper post ready’ as so many bikes are. The stem’s too long and the handlebar a touch too narrow for trail riding though, even if Cube is billing it as a marathon bike. The triple chainset points it squarely towards climbing and fire-road bombing too. I found the reach a little short for a 20in bike — at 6ft 1in I feel the third largest (of four) size should fit me and I shouldn’t have to resort to the largest size available.
Out on the trail the bike feels lightning fast — it’s very light for its price, and the Nobby Nic tyres roll pretty quickly and felt almost benign in the super-muddy and clay-caked conditions of the South Downs. Everything about the bike feels taut and stiff, from the XT drivetrain to the frame and onto the fork: a RockShox Reba with a remote lockout for long fire-road climbs. I’d infinitely prefer the remote lever not to be there though, as it’s unnecessary for efficient climbing and there are now six cables/hoses clamped to the bar, which is way too much congestion.
A little more room in the cockpit would improve the Stereo, so it could be worth going up a size. It’s got a different attitude to the comparable Camber and T129, more geared towards efficiency than descending, which makes it a real contender if you’re after a bike to ride all day long.
- Frame Carbon monocoque front triangle, aluminum 6061 T6 rear, 120mm
- Shock Fox Float CTD BoostValve
- Fork RockShox Reba RL 29, PushLoc, 120mm
- Wheels DT CSW AM 2.9 wheelset, Schwalbe Nobby Nic Kevlar SnakeSkin 2.35in tyres
- Brakes Shimano Deore XT 180mm
- Drivetrain Shimano XT crankset, Shimano XT mechs
- Components Cube 720mm bar, Syntace stem, Selle Italia X1 saddle
- Weight 13.19kg (29.1lb)
- Sizes 16, 18, 20, 22in
- Size ridden 20in
- Head angle 68.7°
- Seat angle 70.6°
- BB height 335mm
- Chainstay 448mm
- Front centre 719mm
- Wheelbase 1,167mm
- Down tube 702mm
Did you know: there’s an electric version of the Stereo? take a look at this promo riding video.