CUBE Bikes Sting WLS 120 SL 29  2014 Mountain Bike Review

CUBE Bikes Sting WLS 120 SL 29 2014

Reviews / Trail Bikes

CUBE Bikes 402,599

At A Glance

Women’s bikes are becoming ever more prevalent amongst the big manufacturers. The growing number of women in the sport is leading to more and more designs specific to the female form. WLS stands for Women Like Series and Cube have incorporated 3 bikes into the range, two hardtails, the Access WLS GTC that is a race inspired machine and the more trail orientated Access WLS SL. At the top of the pile sits the full suspension Sting WLS 120 SL 27.5/29

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The 27.5/29 numbering can be a little confusing, so to clarify the smallest frame size, which is 13.5 inches comes with 27.5 wheels to suit the smaller rider. All the other sizes, 16, 18 and 20 come with the larger 29inch wheels.

Tech Heads

The purple and pink frame caused a stir when it arrived in the office; it adorns the top spec SL model. It’s an aluminium 7005 series triple butted frame with an ETC 4-Link suspension set up that is being used on the majority of the bikes in Cube’s line up. It separates the braking from the suspension design so it doesn’t influence the stroke of the 120mm of travel.

The front fork is a custom tuned Fox Float 32 CTD 29 with 120mm of travel, this is matched by the Fox Float CTD shock in the rear.

Drivetrain duties are catered for by Shimano with XT front and rear mechs, SLX shifters and an XT 3x10 crankset finishing off the package nicely.

Braking duties are performed by the Shimano Deore M615 hydraulic disc brakes with a 180mm rotor on the front and a 160mm rotor on the rear.

The cockpit is a mixture of Cubes own parts and Syntace, the latter being used up front with a Syntace Vector 700mm handlebar and a Syntace F149 stem. A Cube Prolight seatpost holds up a Selle Italia X1 WLS saddle.

DT Swiss look after the wheels with their CSW MA 1.9 straightpull wheelset. Schwalbe finish of the package with a Rocket Ron Kevlar 2.25 on the front and a Racing Ralph Kevlar 2.25 on the rear.

Cube Sting WLS 120 SL 29

High BB Medium
Seat tube 470mm
Effective top tube 588mm
Head tube 120mm
Chain stay 452mm
Wheel base 1151mm
BB offset -38mm
Head angle 69°
Seat angle 74.5°
Reach 422mm
Stack 620mm

Weight w/o pedals 29.4lbs

On The Trail

Having spent most of the summer riding 26” wheeled rigs round the local trails, and downhill machines in the Alps it felt strange getting back on 29” wheels. Thankfully the comfortable geometry of the bike, and the smooth handling meant it didn’t take too long to get used to.

Climbing, both on fire roads and technical trails is a doddle thanks to the larger wheel size. I generally forgot to change to the Climb option on the shocks when I got to the hills, but the bike still handled well and I didn’t notice any pedal bob or extra energy being wasted through the suspension. In fact, most of the time I was getting to the top ahead of friends who would normally beat me, and had found the climb a breeze. This is definitely one of the assets to a 29” wheeled bike!

Whilst on the subject of the CTD shocks, I found that the rear one is positioned quite low. It does the job of suspension perfectly, but it’s quite a reach to the CTD lever on the rear shock, and hence why I tended to ride with in in Trail mode the whole time.

I often lean towards the small size of men’s/unisex bikes, as I like to have room to move around the bike and not feel like I’m being over stretched when it comes to pointing downwards and getting your weight back. Surprisingly I felt instantly at home on the 18” model and wasn’t looking to reduce the reach by changing the stem straight away as is often the case. However it is worth mentioning the seat tube is quite long, at 5’8 I could really do with a smaller frame size, even though usually I can get away with riding an 18” frame. I couldn’t use a dropper post with 125mm of travel on this bike as even with the post slammed into the frame the seat was too high fully extended. It would definitely be worth swinging your leg over a bike in a shop to ensure you get the right size.

Despite the Sting’s more XC roots, and the fact it is a 120mm travel rig, it performs brilliantly on trails and swallows up roots and rocks like the Cookie Monster enjoys biscuits. It’s fast and once you’ve got it rolling it just flows itself round the trail without too much effort. On some really technical and rocky terrain you could be forgiven for thinking you were riding something with a lot more travel. The bike just seems to want to go further and faster and, as though it has a mind of its own, wants to tackle more challenging trails than you would initially deem it suited to.

One thing that is worth mentioning is that it doesn’t come with a dropper seat post as standard. Given the versatility of the Sting this would be a definite asset, and something to think about upgrading almost instantly. We added one to the bike whilst testing it and it made the whole experience even better, particularly when riding very varied up-and-down trails.

Cornering was fun and inspired the confidence to go faster round the next one. The smooth and rapid rolling meaning you don’t have to put as many pedal strokes in between sections makes trails feel as though they flow better than you remembered they did.

As with most 29ers, jumping and drops take a bit more getting used to. Larger wheeled bikes just tend not to feel as agile in the air. The Sting is more than capable of taking on these obstacles, but you’ll need to ride the bike and try them a few times before the feeling and handling becomes familiar.


A bike that can handle more than it lets on, and it does it in a very stylish and fun manner.


The only thing we’d want to change on this would be adding a dropper seat post. The bike is so adept as such a variety of terrain it would just enhance the smooth experience.


We really enjoyed this bike. It surprised us with its ability to handle some rough, steep and rocky descents, whilst carrying us up hills with ease, even making the climbs enjoyable! It would make a brilliant all-rounder for trail centres, local loops and just looking awesome in your workshop, or on your wall, it looks that good!

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This review was in Issue 26 of IMB.

For more information visit CUBE Bikes


By Mary Booth
Mary Booth has been a keen mountain biker for decades; she grew up on the Purbecks in the South West of England and has spent thousands of hours on the trails in that area. She moved to the South East to work in the IMB office and regularly gets out to the Alps and the Surrey Hills where she loves to ride the more technical trails…

Tried this? What did you think?