CUBE Bikes Stereo 140 Super HPC TM 27.5  2015 Mountain Bike Review

CUBE Bikes Stereo 140 Super HPC TM 27.5 2015

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

CUBE Bikes 359,165

At A Glance

The Cube Stereo has been around for a long time, and appears in many different guises in the Cube line up. This flavour of Stereo is the 140 SUPER HPC TM 27.5 version, which when translated means the standard 140mm travel Carbon frame, with a 150mm pike (rather than a 140mm fork) and equipment aimed slightly more towards gravity assisted riding. In the marketing blurb they even use that word, 'Enduro', which can mean many things, but definitely suggests downhill performance is paramount.

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The spec includes a wish list of components that trail bikes of this standard should have, with SRAM covering the drive train with an XO1 set up, and stopping duties are covered by their Guide brakes. The wheels, nicely colour matched, are tubeless ready from DT Swiss. It's great to see some proper tyres from Schwalbe, which again suggest the bike should be at home in the rough stuff.

The rest of the bike is hard to fault, with the industry standard Reverb dropper post and Race Face kit sprinkled liberally. On paper, this bike doesn’t really have any flaws, and at the wallet-friendly price of £2999, it's a fantastic looking package.

Cube know how to make carbon frames, and this is a beautiful example. Their Advanced Twin Mould process precisely and accurately layers up fibres to create a strong, light and stiff frame. The frame also features some lovely touches including a chain suck plate and routing for Di2 if you ever fancy going for electric shifting! The four bar suspension set up is controlled with a Fox CTD shock, which is easily reached whilst pedalling to firm things up if needed.

On The Trail

The most striking thing about this bike is its weight: most trail bikes of this price would have some sort of a weight penalty, but the Stereo is exceptional. Get pedalling, and the power transfer is fantastic through the incredibly stiff and light frame. Suspension is well damped by the Fox shock, but I still found myself using the CTD switch to firm things up on the climbs.

This bike begs for more power, tempting you to pedal harder and faster, and rewarding you with a fantastic return of speed for your investment. With a steep seat angle and a short top tube, this is undeniably a short bike, and things feel a little cramped up front. However, this doesn't seem to affect handling on the ascents too much, and pedalling both in and out of the saddle felt comfortable and efficient.

The Stereo is a fantastically playful bike, any excuse to get airborne off the smallest of trail features is taken, and I found myself constantly looking for opportunities to get wheels off the ground. The light and stiff feel of the bike allows tremendous speed to be gained from every pumped roller and berm, which only increases the fun. This nimble and manoeuvrable style is fantastic on technical and flowing single track, where speed is gained as much through pedalling effort as the pull of gravity.

After grinning my way round a few laps of single track, it was time to see what the limits of this Stereo might be. Enduro racing in the UK generally means steep, fresh cut tracks verging on DH trails, and with this in mind I went in search of some more testing trails.

It became immediately obvious that the Stereo will hop, skip and jump over the rough stuff rather than plough through it. This light and playful personality comes at the expense of high-speed stability and lines need to be chosen carefully and accurately.

When pushed fast, it coughs and splutters in the rocks and where the Pike copes easily, the back end can't always cash the cheques that the front is writing. Couple this with some really steep gradients and the short front end really becomes apparent, with small fore and aft body movements unbalancing the bike and causing it to trip over through steep downhill corners.

On slightly less DH orientated trails which mix gravity fed speed with flat out pedalling, the bike comes into its own once again, mixing the pump and jump ability whilst still coping with bouldery and rocky ground.

A mention has to go out to the tyres, which are some of my favourites, with a Hans Dampf up front and a Rock Razor out back. The semi slick rear is great as a heavy-duty fast rolling tyre, but in its hard compound version it is wild and character building in anything other than bone-dry conditions.

Overall

This bike is an incredible package of frame quality, fantastic components and an exceptional price. The Stereo can cope with all but the steepest and roughest trails, and take you back up for more easily and efficiently. Sizing is crucial, so it's definitely worth swinging a leg over one before parting with cash. It would be great to see future versions becoming a touch longer, making a great bike brilliant.

Frame: Super HPC Monocoque Advanced Twin Mold Technology, ARG, ETC 4-Link, AXH
Forks: RockShox Pike RC Solo Air 27.5, 15QR Maxle, tapered, 150mm
Rear Shock: Fox Float CTD BoostValve, 200x57mm, Climb/Trail/Descend mode, LV air canister
Chainset: Race Face Turbine Cinch 32T, 175mm, Oversized Aluminum axle
Brake/Shift Levers: SRAM X01 Trigger, 11-speed
Front Derailleur: e*thirteen XCX High Direct Chain Guide
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X01, 11-Speed
Cassette: Sram XG-1180, 10-42
Chain: KMC X11
Rims: DT CSW EM 2.7 straightpull wheelset, 15QR/X12, 584x25C tubeless-ready rim
Front Tyre: Schwalbe Hans Dampf Kevlar 2.35, TrailStar, Tubeless Easy
Rear Tyre: Schwalbe Rock Razor Kevlar 2.35, PaceStar, Tubeless Easy
Brakes: SRAM Guide R, Hydr. Disc Brake 180
Handlebars: Race Face Evolve 1/2" Riser, 750mm
Grips: CUBE Race Grip, 1-clamp
Headset: CUBE I-t integrated, top 1 1/8", bottom 1 1/2"
Stem: Race Face Evolve 31.8mm
Saddle: Selle Italia X1 Trail
Seatpost: ockShox Reverb Stealth 31.6mm, 125mm adjustable seatpost, internal routing
Seatclamp: CUBE Screwlock 34.9mm
Weight: 11.9kg

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This review was in Issue 37 of IMB.

For more information visit CUBE Bikes

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By Ewen Turner
Ewen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.

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