CUBE Bikes Fritzz 160 TM 27.5  2014 Mountain Bike Review

CUBE Bikes Fritzz 160 TM 27.5 2014

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

CUBE Bikes 358,773

At A Glance

Cube are a brand that has never failed to impress, so there was stiff competition in the office when it came time to get first dibs on the Fritzz, I won and it was with high expectations that the Cube was put together ready for immediate action.

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The TM model comes in a rather striking raw and green livery and has a purposeful look. It is also a familiar one; the Fritzz is essentially an aluminium version of the highly rated Stereo from last year with a few tweaks. So, a 160mm travel hard-hitting Enduro rig, just the type of bike that I like to ride!

Tech Heads

The HPA aluminium frame carries forward the geometry from last seasons Stereo but now features a standard tapered head tube for greater angle set compatibility and ISCG05 mounts. These tweaks are important and match the existing features such as an X12 rear thru axle and full internal cable routing including dropper cabling.

Cube utilizes their in house ETC 4 Link suspension system, this is basically a classic four bar that uses a near horizontal rocker link. A characteristic of this system is that there is very little kickback when pedalling through rough ground and that braking when descending has a minimal effect on the suspension operation, more on this later.

Kit wise the TM model is the top of the shop, high end components include Fox Float Fit 34 Factory with trail adjust forks, a remotely operated Fox Float X CTD which comes with a “racing in mind” tune for this model.

Shifting is handled by Shimano XT, it worked flawlessly throughout the test. An E Thirteen TRS+ 22/36 crankset is specced up front and made a welcome change from the norm, stiff, light and reliable it too worked without drawing attention to itself for the duration.

Stopping power came through Formula T1s brake set, a long time favourite and for good reason, they offer high power with excellent modulation.

DT Swiss CSW EM 3.7 Straight pull wheels offer solid construction at a sensible weight; the 25mm rim width offers enough room to mount some big rubber. In this case a set of excellent Schwalbe Hans Dampf tyres, I am glad to report Cube have not cut corners here, you get a Trailstar up front and a Pacestar out back and all in Snakeskin.

ARock Shox Reverb stealth takes care of dropper duties, this is topped with a quite frankly brutal SDG Circuit MTN saddle that may suit some but most found it a touch unforgiving.

Up front a very nice Easton Haven stem grips 750mm wide Easton Haven alloy bars and Cube grips finish things off.

Cube Fritzz TM 18’’

Seat tube 470mm
Effective top tube 586mm
Head tube 120mm
Chain stay 442mm
Front triangle 730mm
Wheel base 1172mm
BB drop -14mm
Head angle 66.5°
Seat angle 74.6°
Reach 420mm
Stack 616mm

Weight w/o pedals 30.5lbs

On The Trail

I like the geometry on the Cube Fritzz, the top tube length is bang on for a comfortable riding position and the seat tube angle places you in an ever so slightly front bias position.

Get your butt off the saddle and that front bias riding position is still there, it is not enough to load the wrists to the point of discomfort but it is enough to ensure you drive the front through corners which soon translates into high trail speeds.

What I am not so keen on is the Fox units, Fox recommend setting them up at 15-20% sag when set in Descend mode. This makes them reasonably active but lacking in support in the Descend mode but they feel harsh in Trail and Climbing is practically a lock out.

In the end I set them with wet weather traction in mind in Descend and hard-hitting race type riding in Trail. Once I had the balance sorted the bike came alive and I really appreciated the remote on the rear shock, which was useful on mixed terrain.

Climbing on the Fritzz was a dream; with the horizontal rocker at the heart of the four bar system there was plenty of traction. You do need to get the rear shock set up perfectly to achieve this though, be prepared to experiment a little.

Cruising on the Fritzz TM does not bring the best from it, hit the trail fast however and things liven up, the harder and faster you go the better the Cube behaves and I found myself ragging the hell out of the bike, the trail and myself on an almost constant basis. A few days spent touring the Welsh trail centres was anything but relaxing but it did result in a string of significant personal bests on pretty much every section.

For

I am a huge fan of the geometry on the Fritzz, it is comfortable yet places you in just the right place to really drive the bike hard.

Putting the suspension units aside the kit on the Fritzz TM is all good stuff, true fit and forget stuff that just does its job.

True race bike potential at a very sensible price.

Against

In the TM guise the suspension units limit the scope of appeal.

Overall

I have made it clear that the Cube Fritzz TM is a bike that needs to be ridden hard to get the best from it. This is mainly due to the nature of the Fox units and for some this will suit but for many it will not.

This should not put off the more relaxed rider from looking at the Fritzz range, the geometry is superb and with some more compliant suspension units, available on other models, the Fritzz will be a comfortable, fast bike that will inspire confidence and there will be added traction at the rear wheel.

Overall I grew to love the Cube Fritzz TM 27.5, it made me work hard and together we pushed my personal performance levels up.

If you are a serious Enduro fan and are looking to crack the top ten then the Fritzz TM could well take you there, for those that just love taking part the rest of the range is certainly worth a look.

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This review was in Issue 27 of IMB.

For more information visit CUBE Bikes

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By Nigel Garrood
Nigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!

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