At a Glance
First off, and for some most importantly, the Cube Sting WLS 140 looks great. In its vibrant Coral colourway, teamed with matching decals on the bars, saddle and forks, it looks slick. While away this summer, on more than one occasion, to friends' disdain, people looked straight passed an array of niche and top end bikes and the Sting became the centre of attention from passers-by while we sat having a lunchtime Demi Peche.Buy Trail Bikes on
Cube have been making bicycles for over twenty years and these days have a quality reputation, especially for producing world class mountain bikes and supporting teams across the board. The WLS (Woman Like Series) is a complete range of bikes aimed specifically at the female market, which in my opinion is an excellent move. Other companies in the past have been guilty of women-specific paint jobs on existing products whereas the Sting 140mm, is the WLS range’s first entry into the All Mountain Bike world, and it's the complete package.
Taking all the knowledge of over two decades of bike building and numerous professional riders and developers alike, Cube have created a lovely machine with geometry to match. The HPA Ultralight, Advanced Hydroform, Triple Butted frame is the same tubing technology used on all their high-end mountain bikes, providing a sturdy yet light product coming in at 13.05kg. The slightly steeper head angle and shorter reach than you may be used to seeing on frame specs works to provide a somewhat more upright, and in turn, comfortable riding position for the female form. I’m about 5ft 5” and was riding the 16” model. Combine this with the Fox Float DPS shock holding together the forged Trail Motion Linkage, providing a reliable, linear suspension system and you have an incredibly capable bike.
On The Trail
The first ride out was just a lap of the local loop, a good selection of woods, bogs and rocky sections where I took the opportunity to get everything set up. It didn't take much tweaking to get it feeling great, and I settled in for a quick lap on something familiar.
The XT drivetrain is, as expected a welcome addition to any bike; smooth shifting and solid gears. Combined with controlled, reliable breaking. I also took the time to maximise the XT levers' adjustability and found them just as powerful and agile once wound into a more comfortable reach position. I did feel that the bike was slightly over geared with the 2 x 11, I would put myself in the average fitness bracket, and never felt the need to go anywhere near the bottom end of the gears as it felt like I was going nowhere. If this were a long-term ride, I'd be very than tempted to go 1 x 11, and I'm sure that would be more than adequate.
The Sting comes with a female specific saddle, the SDG Allure, which I found to be incredibly comfy, which is often a surprise on a stock choice saddle. This is attached to the bike by an own brand dropper post, which although solid in its design, I found a little tricky to actuate at times. A comfortably wide 750mm own brand carbon bar helped add to the positioning on the bike while the stock Cube grips were quite hard, they provided adequate grip, again something that I would change out on a more long term test for something more personal.
After the initial local set up ride and a few trips out not too far from home I was lucky enough to take a trip out to the Alps and spent a couple of weeks riding in and around Chamonix. The Sting felt in its element and was really confidence inspiring both climbing and descending. The linear suspension set up was supported by the climb mode in the Fox Float DPS and the comfortable position on the bike meant it climbed (almost) effortlessly, even on some of the longer drawn out trails.
Once on the downs, seat down, shock back fully on, head in attack mode and the bike came into its element. The relatively steep curving top tube combined with the forged drop link to make for a very generous stand over height giving me the ability to maneuver myself around the bike with ease, and I found myself feeling increasingly confident on trail features that in the past may have made more of an impact. In the grand scheme, I'm not sure how hard I pushed them, but the fast-rolling Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres and DT Swiss, straight pull wheelset rolled fast, tracked well and kept me feeling comfortable and nimble on the trail.
Altogether I think you are getting a whole lot of bike for your money here, as often seems the case with Cube, a stable, capable suspension system, fantastic drive chain and braking combined with those female-specific angles and options that the WLS will surely build a strong name around. I think the 2 x 11 was a little excessive and there could be weight to be saved there, and the seat post actuation was a little frustrating, but maybe I just need a couple more pies before my next ride. All in, I’m a big fan of the Sting, I've ridden a few different bikes this year, and I'm genuinely a bit gutted to have to give this one back.Buy Trail Bikes on
This review was in Issue 44 of IMB.For more information visit CUBE Bikes