CUBE Bikes AMS 120 SL 29  2013 Mountain Bike Review

CUBE Bikes AMS 120 SL 29 2013

Reviews / Trail Bikes

CUBE Bikes 402,599

At a Glance

Cube have been turning out some very sorted bikes over the last few years, their growth in popularity seems to keep on growing and with a great spec at a great price they offer fantastic value. The AMS 120 has always been their stalwart trail bike range. This year sees a difference though, as far as Cube are concerned if you are riding trails designed for this style of bike, then you need a 29er! With 7 bikes covering a range of price points there is only one 26 inch wheeled bike in the line up and that is the entry-level model. The SL version we have here is just one step down from the ultra bling SLT version yet still features a dropper post and even carbon cranks to save weight.

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Tech Heads

The AMS 120 is built around an HPA (high performance aluminium) hydroformed frame, triple butted 29er specific geometry combines with their Efficient Ride Control FSP 4-Link suspension set up. A tapered head tube up front and the now ubiquitous 142 x 12mm rear axle should ensure it is future proof.

Suspension is looked after by Fox with a 120mm 32 Float 29 CTD with FIT damper and Q15 axle up front and a Float CTD Adjust BoostValve 200x51mm on the rear offering 120mm of travel.

Handlbars and stem are a Syntace oversized affair with the bars at 700mm wide and a Selle Italia X1 Saddle is held in place by a Crank Brothers Kronolog 125mm adjustable seatpost with remote lever.

The wheelset is a light and stiff offering from DT Swiss, the CSW MA 2.0 Straightpull with a 19.5mm rim and 15QR front and rear X12 hubs. These are shod with the excellent Nobby Nic Kevlar 2.35 tyres from Schwalbe.

Stopping is looked after by Formula RC Tune hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear. The reach and contact are both adjustable without tools.

Drivetrain is a very high-end all SRAM XO affair with XO Carbon 3x10 cranks, XO 10 speed long cage rear derailleur, XO 3x10 speed shifters and an XO 3x10 speed front mech.

Cube AMS 120 19inch

Seat tube 470mm
Effective top tube 597mm
Head tube 125mm
Chain stay 452mm
Wheel base 1145mm
BB height to Hub -40mm
Head angle 69°
Seat angle 73.5°
Reach 415mm
Stack 626mm

Weight w/o pedals 28.7lbs

On The Trail

Cube have made a bold statement putting their AMS 120 range almost totally in the domain of the 29er. However, in our eyes they have got it just right, the sorts of trails this bike is designed for is exactly the kind of duties a 29er trail bike will lap up. The AMS 120 SL does just that, the lightweight wheelset enables speedy acceleration, something that 29ers with lower spec wheels sometimes struggle with. Once up to speed the familiar flow and pace is there in abundance. The 120mm of travel almost puts this in the realm of the long travel 29er, and while the geometry gives a nod towards a more XC orientated ride, the bike can handle so much more. We gave the AMS 120 SL a thrashing at the local DH track, it isn’t as gnarly as Fort William, but the bike handled the jumps, drops and steep chutes just fine.

Cornering can be a little tentative at first, but the grip offered by the excellent tyres and increased footprint from the bigger tyre size is phenomenal. Even though the frame is a medium at 19 inches you can feel a little perched on top of it, a nod towards the XC geometry, so getting it over in the corners can at first be a little daunting. Once you gain confidence though the bike can really bite and give you some rewarding feedback as it goes round the bends.

Climbing is excellent on the AMS 120 SL, the geometry and suspension is really tuned and you get hardly any pedal bob, put the rear shock into climb mode and the ride gets even stiffer delivering every bit of power through the pedals to the wheels.


Very well kitted out with excellent componentry, there won’t be much you would want to change out of the box. Fun to ride, fast and flowy with heaps of grip in the corners. Great for long days in the saddle or short blasts round the local


It is worth sitting on one before you part with your cash, our 19 inch model is classed as medium, but felt a little big, especially as the Kronolog seat post takes up a little space and effectively adds a couple of inches to the saddle height. You might need a smaller size than you would normally plump for.


As a marathon all day slogger, or a fast XC blaster, even as a slightly bigger hitter the AMS 120mm is extremely capable. It was great fun to ride on a variety of terrain and a bike we really enjoyed. Many of you reading this will be used to 26 inch wheeled trail bikes, if you are more likely to keep your wheels closer to the ground than 6 foot off it, the advantages of a 29er could weigh heavily in your favour.

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This review was in Issue 22 of IMB.

For more information visit CUBE Bikes


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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