CUBE Bikes AMS 130 Race  2012 Mountain Bike Review

CUBE Bikes AMS 130 Race 2012

Reviews / Trail Bikes

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One hundred and thirty millimetres of rear travel is something of a new concept for me. All my first bikes were downhill orientated and any riding I did that didn’t need that much rear suspension I simply did on a hardtail. More recently any full suspension ‘trail bikes’ I’ve ridden have tended to have either 150 or 160mm at the back. Like so many others out there I simply assumed more is better.

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The Race model sits bang in the middle of the AMS 130 line up, sandwiched between the more expensive SL and the slightly cheaper Pro versions.

When it comes to looks the Race is definitely somewhat of a grower. The matte black paint job is not going to jump out and grab your attention, but the closer you look at it the more you’ll appreciate its subtle little details.

For instance there’s the white, red and blue graphics on the tubing, matching the company livery. Then there’s the colour coding of the red fork graphics; red graphics on the rims, red hubs, red rear mech hanger, red detailing on the brakes; the list continues. But it’s all done in such an understated manner that it avoids looking brash or hasty. Integrated gear cables help to keep the fluidity of the frame lines, finished off with some very clean welding lines.

Look at the spec on the bike and you’ll be equally impressed. Fox take care of the suspension with a Talas RL at the front, which can be set to run either 110mm, 130mm or 150mm of travel, and a Performance Float RP23 rear shock.

The Formula RX brakes bedded in nice and quickly and provided plenty of stopping power and modulation, while the 180mm rotors hint at the bikes all mountain credentials. Sun Ringle provide the wheelset with 2.5 Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres. Gearing is taken care of with a mixture of Deore SLX and Deore XT components, including a 10 speed XT rear derailleur and XT cranks with a press-fit BB system.

The frame itself is made of 7005 series High Performance Aluminium (HPA) and features a tapered head tube for a stiffer front end.

Last time I reviewed a Cube (the Hanzz SL back in issue 8) I was criticised for being overly generous and complimentary about it, so this time I was ready to scrutinize everything about this bike. But truth be told as soon as I started riding it I fell in love with it.

Weighing just over 13kgs and with a set of fast rolling tyres this is a quick bike. The four link suspension pivot gives a smooth progression throughout all 130 mms of travel whilst still being nice and spritely whilst pedalling.

Being a few inches over six feet tall sizing can sometimes be an issue for me. A medium can sometimes be too small but a large can often leave me feeling too outstretched, and not in complete control. Others have complained about the AMS’ relatively short top tube but I found the sizing to be spot on. Cube’s size tuned kinematic system means that every bike, regardless of size has the same suspension characteristics, which is always good to know when you’re unsure of what sizing to go for.

Okay so I may have clipped the pedals on the odd root because of the low BB height and the stem might be a little on the long side for my taste, but apart from that the AMS 130 race was a joy to ride. Anyway a low BB allows for much better cornering and if you don’t like the stem it’s a pretty cheap and easy part to swap. 130mm of travel is more than enough for almost all cross-country and trail riding, and if things do start to get a bit on the rough side the Talas forks can always be set to 150 to give you that little extra comfort.

At only £1,899 the AMS 130 race is an absolute bargain, you’ll be getting a hell of a lot of bike for the price.

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This review was in Issue 15 of IMB.

For more information visit CUBE Bikes

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