The Cube Aim SL comes in £50 cheaper than most entry level hardtails and still boasts some impressive components
While other brands might try to force their own signatures onto their designs, Cube seems content to put together a perfectly simple mountain bike in the form of the Aim SL 27.5. The no-nonsense aluminium frame is made up of nice, honest shapes, and the spec is straightforward and decent, too.
We’ve seen that Shimano Altus and Acera drivetrain components are pretty much the default option at this price point, certainly among global bike brands, but impressively, in the Cube’s case we also get superb Shimano M355 hydraulic discs.
Generally, there’s an overall sense of ability that inspires confidence, particularly at higher speed. Handling is direct and balance is steadfast. It’s a decent climber too, even if the frame felt a tad short. The stiff rear ensures that every pedal stroke counts, and being relatively lightweight certainly helps too. Although it’s fair to say the Cube Aim SL is better pointing downhill than up.
It’s not perfect though. The Suntour XCM fork should be a step up on the XCT version found on the Kona, but in this instance it actually seems pretty clunky and rattly once you get off the towpaths and onto proper trails. And we have a slight question mark over the sizing — the 18in coming up a bit short next to other hardtails — so it’s worth a visit to a bike shop to get comfortable.
In fact, there’s no excuse not to buy it from a real bike store because, as most entry level hardtails cost £500 and the Cube Aim SL has an RRP of £450, it already has a £50 head start on its rivals.