Hard to fault at this price, the new Cube Stereo performed really well on test, with a killer parts spec, robust frame construction and was loads of fun to ride.
The not-so-minor details
Cube Stereo 140 HPC Race
Lively and fun.
Needs tubeless and a cable trim.
Front end wanders on steep climbs.
The new Cube Stereo 140 is one of the best value mountain bikes we’ve seen this season. For $4K there’s a lot to like about it on paper, and after a few weeks riding we’ve found it equally as impressive.
Watch the full video review below.
The Stereo is a 140mm travel bike with a 150mm travel fork and 27.5” wheels. That means it’s here for a good time with plenty of travel for getting rowdy and smaller diameter wheels for a playful ride. The carbon front end is paired to an aluminium rear end; you could say it’s the best of two worlds, the stiffness and lively nature of carbon with impact resistant and lesser expensive material aluminium.
At 13.5kg on the scales, it’s lighter than we’d expect for a bike at this price point.
Chunky frame with a high-end appearance.
We like the overbuilt construction of this bike and the huge carbon tubing – the downtube is enormous – and the way the linkage bolts are hidden from view, accessed via the inside of the frame, it gives the bike a sharp and high-end image.
Frame geometry wise, the Stereo doesn’t stray too far from what we are used to from similar bikes from major players like the Giant Trance, GT Force, Specialized Stumpjumper and so on with a reasonably roomy front end and short 425mm chainstays. A 66.5-degree head angle strikes a balance between twitchy and sluggish.
Now let’s look at the parts, we keep saying it, but for $4k it’s highly appealing.
A Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain and Deore brakes are more than up to the task, and the Raceface single-ring cranks are a damn sight more suitable to Australian conditions than the double chainring version option of this bike sold in Europe – phew! Though it does look like the long-cage rear derailleur is left on to suit the dual ring option, no biggie.
Rims are 30mm wide, the chunky Schwalbe tyres are tubeless ready, but it’ll require additional parts. So, get the bike shop to chuck in some tubeless rim tape, valves and sealant, and you’re set. An essential upgrade to let the bike live up to its real potential.
Suspension wise, the FOX fork and shock are right on the money. While the Rhythm 34 does feel a little less composed than the higher level FOX forks, it’s still super supple and sensitive, and the three position rear shock gives excellent control over how you wish the bike to behave when pedalled, a nifty feature not often seen at this price point.
The Stereo has a dropper post too, see, it really has all the ingredients for a proper thrashing.
We had many great rides on the Stereo on our local trails; it’s a lively ride with rapid steering. Compared to many 29er trail bikes we’ve been riding, the smaller diameter wheels on the Stereo make it a blast to muck around in the jump park too, taking off and landing with high precision.
The 27.5” wheels might be a compromise to some on super rough and fast terrain when compared to a 29er, but we think they make up for it in the tight singletrack and fun sections of the trail. That’s why we believe the Stereo would be an excellent option for the type of rider who likes to ride aggressively, has the terrain that requires generous suspension travel and isn’t afraid of getting airborne.
Convert it to tubeless, give the cables a trim, and you’re good to go.