CUBE Bikes Stereo 140 HPC SL 2018 Mountain Bike Review

CUBE Bikes Stereo 140 HPC SL 2018

Reviews / Trail Bikes

CUBE Bikes 349,691

At a Glance

When Cube rolled out their 2018 range last year it featured a mix of both old favourites and revamped models. The Stereo range didn't get a huge overhaul other than some tidy batteries on the electric range, and in the standard bikes, the 120 and 160 remained unchanged. It was the 140 that had seen the full makeover and was turning heads partly because of the new frame, but also from the lack of a 29er model!

Buy Trail Bikes on

The 140 for this year gets a new frame and a different style, and for the moment only in 650b wheels. More angular and purposeful, the new model has a carbon front and an aluminium rear. The front, being carbon, allows for some sharp-edged profiles and a beautiful continuous line down from top tube to seat stay. Classic design, well executed.

Interestingly Cube sought to rid the frame of what they call, 'ungainly rockers' and 'unsightly pivots', hiding these in the frame and adding to the sleek look. Beyond the aesthetic, they have aimed to improve the performance too with a shorter rocker and improved suspension. Carbon has allowed a huge downtube and massive bottom bracket area to provide stiffness. The frame is, of course, Boost and they managed to shorten chainstays to a minimal 425mm!

Whilst on the numbers, Cube have decided to lengthen the 140 to bring it towards more modern reach numbers. Now, this is Cube, so don't expect massive reach numbers but the 20-inch size has gone up in reach from 444mm to 458mm. Better still for the tall the 22 inch now grows to a 478mm reach. Head angle clocks in at 66.5 and the seat tube at a nice and steep 75.2 degree. Together these numbers add up to a modern and capable trail bike.

Those eagle-eyed readers will have noticed a front mech on this model, and two of the three models have these. This is the HPC SL model and sits in the middle at a shade under £3000, with a model sat £500 below (HPC Race) and £500 above (HPC TM).

This build gets a full Fox treatment with a Float DPS Evol and a set of 34s up front. Shimano does the duties for the most part with XT doing nearly all the jobs. Wheels are Fulcrum and are good and wide in their profile shod with new Nobby Nics in the fast but exciting Speed Grip compound. Cube finish off a few parts with a dropper (150mm) and grips but you do get Raceface bar and stem which is a classy touch.

On The Trail

It's a neat package. Lightweight, smooth lines and great kit all for a competitive price. Cube can certainly put together a brilliant bike even if I do take issue with a couple of points, such as front mechs and tyre choice, but these are mostly just personal preference.

The idea of a trail bike has been perhaps pushed to the point that some feel it's just a short travel enduro bike, especially in the UK. For Cube a trail bike has to be light, fast and appeal to a very broad market which is what the 140 is all about. It needs to balance efficiency with stability and really reward power on the pedals and give a lively ride without needing to approach warp speed.

The top model (HPC TM) shows that the chassis could be more enduro focused. It comes with a one-by drivetrain, Fox 36s and a very much more aggressive build, suggesting how capable the frame could be, but this build here is a definite trail bike build.

So, I may have issues with front mechs, but each to their own and once you get pedalling you can easily forget. What you can't forget is that the dropper lever is compromised by the shifter and the ergonomics get a bit lost. The only other niggle are the rims which still need a rim strip to set up tubeless, this would be something to ask your bike shop to sort out for you before you roll away.

On the trails though is where this bike comes alive. First up is an impressive turn of speed from the pedals, and with that stiff frame, power transfer is excellent. Stamping on the pedals gives fantastic torque and instantly makes you feel fitter. This is key to making a great trail bike and Cube have got it spot on here. Like an excitable dog let off the lead... it's gone.

Playing about on the Stereo and throwing your weight around, I quickly found out how short the back end is. Just think about manuals or merely glance at the sky and you'll be on the back wheel. This backend is tight, and as such makes it exceptionally playful and manoeuvrable. Coming from big long enduro bikes, it's refreshing to feel the agility available in a compact bike.

High cadence, high-speed singletrack passes in a blur with the pace of the Stereo, but as things get a bit wild the tyres remind you that they are not the grippiest. Fast rolling they certainly are, but the grip is a secondary factor. That nippy, playful style also gets a bit wild when the going is steep and balancing weight between the wheels is more of a challenge than a big enduro bike. The benefits, however, are the speed and efficiency, allowing for a more engaging ride on moderate terrain.

Carving up turns on the twisty trails is a joy, with the suspension sitting happily in the mid-stroke without blowing through the travel. This allows the bike to lower through a turn then be ready to hammer the pedals on a firm platform as you exit. It really does encourage you to empty your energy reserves into the drivetrain.

It's great to get on a bike and be reminded what a genre is really about. Trail bikes can get a bit lost against the Enduro and All Mountain machines. To be fair to the Stereo, with 140mm travel and a 150mm fork this could easily do damage at a local enduro in the right hands. However, the DNA of this bike is firmly in the 'pedal fast everywhere' category and thus will reward most where pedalling and efficiency is king.

It was no great surprise that the front mech didn't win me over, and I soon rejigged the cockpit to prioritise access to the dropper lever over shifting. Also, the tyres did ok, but Speed Grip is not a tyre compound for UK conditions no matter how fast they can roll.

Cubes dropper post is great and in 150mm drop is perfect for the bigger sizes. Fox 34s have proven themselves once more to be a great contender to the Revelations and Pikes, but larger riders may see the benefit of a stiffer fork, which is available on the HPC TM model.

As a new Chassis, The Stereo 140 is a rapid piece of kit that looks exceptional. With three models this middle ground model is good, but I would perhaps push for the next one up if possible as the spec there is really fantastic!


The Spirit of the trail bike is alive and well in the Stereo 140. Hot on the pedals and designed to make you feel fit and smoke your mates both up and down the hill. The limits of the Stereo can only be found in the super steep and rough trails, but you'll still come out smiling and be fresh enough for another round.

Buy Trail Bikes on

Do you enjoy reading IMB Magazine, using our App and website? We now need your support to keep IMB going. Support IMB from as little as £2 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you!

Support IMB

This review was in Issue 53 of IMB.

For more information visit CUBE Bikes



By CUBE Bikes

Mountain Bike Reviews - CUBE Bikes Stereo 150 TM 29 2018
Mountain Bike Reviews - CUBE Bikes Stereo 150 TM 29 2018
CUBE Bikes Stereo 150 TM 29

The story behind the new Stereo has already been told when I wrote up the first ride a few months back. In short, Cube's enduro team had access to a long travel 650b bike but chose to ride the shorter travel 29er (stereo 140) and Greg Callaghan ended up winning the Irish round of the EWS on board the big…

Mountain Bike Reviews - CUBE Bikes Stereo Hybrid 160 SL 500 27.5 2018
Mountain Bike Reviews - CUBE Bikes Stereo Hybrid 160 SL 500 27.5 2018
CUBE Bikes Stereo Hybrid 160 SL 500 27.5

Cube has been in the ebike game since the start, and are now refining their mountain bike offer into an even more sleek package. For this year the Stereo Hybrid hides it's battery inside the down tube to create a fully integrated system. The Hybrid 160 is their biggest hitting ebike with 160mm of rear travel coupled with a 170mm…

Mountain Bike Reviews - CUBE Bikes Stereo 140 HPA SL 27.5 2017
Mountain Bike Reviews - CUBE Bikes Stereo 140 HPA SL 27.5 2017
CUBE Bikes Stereo 140 HPA SL 27.5

The Stereo range is broad and is a name applied to lots of bikes in the Cube range. They all feature the same suspension platform but come in 4 different travel sizes, 120mm, 140mm, 150mm and 160mm. They are available in aluminium or carbon (in some models), 27.5 or 29er and the 150mm version is now with Plus size tyres.…

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.

Tried this? What did you think?


Subscribe it's Free!

Win a Fresh IMB Organic Hoody and T-Shirt this issue in our FREE subscriber prize draw.

By subscribing you will not only be first to read the mag but automatically entered into the prize draw every issue!

Draw closes on Sat 20th Apr, 2019
First name is required.

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy

Subscribe Another
Fresh IMB Organic Hoody and T-Shirt

Issue 56 Sat 16th Feb, 2019

Fresh IMB Organic Hoody and T-Shirt


Issue 55 Fri 19th Oct, 2018

GoPro Hero 6 Black Action Camera


Issue 54 Mon 20th Aug, 2018

A Load of Protection Gear From SixSixOne


Issue 53 Wed 27th Jun, 2018

GoPro Hero 6 Black Action Camera


Issue 52 Mon 30th Apr, 2018

A Whole Bunch of Goodies from DMR Bikes


Issue 51 Fri 23rd Feb, 2018

Exposure Joystick M12 Legendary Bike Light


Issue 50 Thu 21st Dec, 2017

Protective Gear From Bluegrass Eagle


Issue 49 Wed 25th Oct, 2017

Complete Riding Outfit From Cube


Issue 48 Sat 19th Aug, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 47 Sun 20th Aug, 2017

Complete Riding Outfit from Vaude


Issue 46 Mon 17th Apr, 2017

Rinsekit Black Pressurised Portable Washer


Issue 45 Wed 15th Feb, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 44 Fri 16th Dec, 2016

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 43 Thu 20th Oct, 2016

GoPro Hero 4 Session Camera


Issue 42 Mon 22nd Aug, 2016

Range of Top Riding Kit From Dainese


Issue 41 Sat 20th Aug, 2016

Set of LTR Boost Forks From Lauf


Issue 40 Mon 20th Jun, 2016

Some Fantastic Riding Gear From Fox


Issue 39 Fri 19th Feb, 2016

Set of Riding Gear from LEATT


Issue 38 Thu 17th Dec, 2015

Complete Night riding Setup from Exposure Lights


Issue 37 Fri 23rd Oct, 2015

Complete Riding Package From ION


Issue 36 Mon 24th Aug, 2015

One of Three Osprey Escapist Packs

Dan, Joe and Edgar

Issue 35 Thu 18th Jun, 2015

Complete Riding Kit from Endura


Issue 34 Sat 18th Apr, 2015

Pair of Adidas Evil Eye Evo Glasses


Issue 33 Tue 17th Feb, 2015

GoPro Hero4 Silver Edition


Issue 32 Thu 18th Dec, 2014

Load of Riding Gear from Cube


Issue 31 Fri 17th Oct, 2014

Sweet Set Up from Deity Components


Issue 30 Mon 18th Aug, 2014

661 Recon Helmet, Gloves and T-Shirt


Issue 29 Thu 26th Jun, 2014

Set of DMR Accessories


Issue 28 Wed 16th Apr, 2014

Set of X-Fusion Sweep RL2 160mm 27.5 Forks!


Issue 27 Fri 14th Feb, 2014

Complete Set of Riding Kit from IXS


Issue 26 Mon 16th Dec, 2013

Bontrager Rhythm Elite TLR Disc Wheelset


Issue 25 Wed 16th Oct, 2013

Reflex Mk2 and a Diablo Mk5 Light from Exposure


Issue 24 Mon 19th Aug, 2013

Pedros Apprentice Tool Kit


Issue 23 Mon 17th Jun, 2013

Superstar Components Wheels and Pedals


Issue 22 Tue 16th Apr, 2013

Brand New iPad Mini


Issue 21 Fri 15th Feb, 2013

Go Pro 3 and Goodies From One Industries


Issue 20 Sun 16th Dec, 2012

Box Full of Goodies From Cube


Issue 19 Tue 16th Oct, 2012

Complete O'neal Riding Kit


Issue 18 Wed 15th Aug, 2012

Osprey Raptor 14 Pack and Swann HD Freestyle Camera


  1. The Promotion is organised by IMB and the participating brand stated on the subscribe page. You are providing your information to IMB, not the participating brand. The information you provide will only be used for the purpose of facilitating the Promotion and notifying you when new issues of our totally free magazine are released. We will never sell or supply your details to any 3rd parties.
  2. You can opt out of any future emails by clicking the unsubscribe link within the footer of the email at any time.
  3. The winner will be notified by email shortly after the closing date shown. Previous winners will not be eligible to win again until at least three new Promotions have run.
  4. Winners must reply to our email within two weeks or a new winner will be drawn. Please check all spam folders to avoid loosing out.
  5. Participants only need to enter once in order to be eligible for all future prize draws.

Share - CUBE Bikes Stereo 140 HPC SL 2018