Alex Rafferty rides the 2013 Cube Stereo 140 29er (Cube)
For 2013, Cube have made some big changes to their mountain bike line up. ‘Out
with the old and in with the new’, seems to be the plan.
Most notably the old
DTC (Dual Trail Control) range from 2012, including the Sting, Stereo and
Fritzz are replaced by the new Stereo ETC (Efficient Trail Control) range. The
new Stereo range includes the HPC 160mm 650B and the HPC 140mm 29er.
We’re sitting in the Cube pits in Alpe D’Huez over the infamous
Megavalanche race week. There are few better places to get your bikes, seen,
test ridden and pushed to the limits than this. The varied terrain takes on
steep singletrack, epic boulder fields and bike parks as far as the eye can
see. Cube rider Nicholas Lau did the Megavalanche race and finished in
second place on board his new AMR 150, a true testament to the bike and quality
of rider Cube are creating and supporting.
The 2013 Stereo range will see considerable changes
in geometry and build over existing models. The low rear triangle and slack
seat tube angle proved to be too flexible on the 2012 model. By steepening
the seat tube and raising the seat stays, the new Stereo range benefits in
stiffness and climbing ability and now out performs the AMS 150 in tests. The
bikes will have a considerably slacker head angle at around 66.5 degrees
compared to the traditional 68 degrees on previous models.
“The majority of bike companies are pursing progressive suspension designs or
adopting the linear approach”, said Michael Prell from Cube’s RD department.
“Cube’s new suspension set up is designed to be constant, meaning
there will be no variation of rebound damping throughout the full travel range
and will also allow for faster recovery of full travel after big hits.”
Like all bikes in the new Stereo range, the 650B frame (2.08kg including shock) has a tapered
steerer, integrated cable routing, press-fit bottom bracket, integrated post
mount brakes, 12mm rear axle and customised Fox suspension tuning. Cube have
repositioned the bearing seats in the frames in order to avoid using aluminium
to house the bearings – instead integrating the bearing seat into the carbon
layup, saving weight and increasing stiffness.
The 650B (160mm) will be made in three builds, the top of
the line being the SLT model (XX and Race Face NEXT SL groupset with Reynolds
carbon wheelset at £6,599) weighing in at less than 10kg, full build. Followed
by the SL (XO groupset with DT Swiss AM 2.7 wheelset at £3,999) and the Race
model (XT groupset with DT Swiss AM 2.7 wheelset at £2,999).
As part of the new ETC range, the Stereo Super HPC 140 29ers (2.1kg including
shock) will benefit from the same upgrades as the 650B frame and again the
bikes will be offered in three models, the SLT (XX and Race Face NEXT SL
groupset with Reynolds carbon wheelset at £6,299) followed by the SL (XT
groupset and brakes, with DT Swiss AM 2.9 wheelset at £3,699) and the Race
model (XT groupset, Magura brakes and SR Radium MA wheelset at £2,999)
AMS 100 Super HPC 29
Another new bike in the line up is the AMS 100 Super HPC 29, developed from
the 26” XC race bike available last year, Cube have taken their 2013 design
plans and created a racing machine fit for World Cup podiums. The depth of
development in the frame is evident through Cube’s STK (Size Tuned Kinematics)
geometry. “This means that every frame size has adapted linkage geometry
ensuring all frames have the same travel and suspension ratio”, said Prell.
Cube have developed their own 29er ‘Agile Ride Geometry’, which uses forks with a 51mm offset, thus having the same steering angle as
on 26” bikes, a bottom bracket height the same as their 26” bikes, and Cube have rotated
the front mech forward to create the space to allow for short chain stays, which according to Prell “improves the cornering and handling of the bikes.”
To keep up
with the new Stereo range the AMS 100 will also benefit from tapered steerer,
integrated cable routing, press-fit bottom bracket, integrated post mount
brakes and a 12mm rear axle and dropout compatible with Shimano direct mount
The AMS 100 29er will be made in 4 builds around the same
frame (1900g inc. shock). The SLT (XX groupset, Formula R1R Brakes and Easton
EC90XC wheelset at £6.099), the SL (XO groupset, Magura MT8 brakes and DT Swiss MA 2.0
wheelset at £3.699), the RACE (XT groupset, RC Tune brakes, DT Swiss MA 2.0
wheelset at £2.899) and the PRO (SLX/XT groupset, Magura MT2 brakes, SR Radium
MA wheelset at £2.399).
Elite Super HPC
Cube haven’t just focused on designing new bikes and adding to their range,
they’ve also made positive changes to existing models such as the Elite Super
HPC 29 Hardtail. “We’ve redesigned the seat stays and added a 12mm rear axle
system to create better stiffness and performance. Also the carbon fibre layup
is improved to further increase strength and lower the weight to less than
1000g, 150g lighter than last year”, said Michael Prell.
The Elite will be made in the similar range to the new stereo production bikes
with the SLT (XX Groupset, SID XX fork and Easton EC90XC wheelset at £5,299), SL
(XTR groupset, Fox float 32 fork, DT Swiss MA 2.0 wheelset at £3,699), Race (XO
groupset, SID RL fork, Reynolds wheelset at £2,749) and the Pro (XT groupset,
SID RL fork, DT Swiss MA 1.0 wheelset at £2,299).
Cube’s already impressive range of bikes is about to take a serious hit of
adrenaline for 2013, and there are already some exciting rumours about what’s
planned for 2014. Watch this space.