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Grouptest: EWS Race Bikes – Cube Stereo Action Team Review

The Cube Stereo, with its bright orange Cube Action Team paintwork, looks damned quick even in the bike stand. With wins in the Trans Provence and a narrowly- missed victory in the Enduro World Series because of a time penalty, Nico Lau has already proven that this bike can be ridden seriously fast.

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Nico Lau’s working horse was charged hard by us over the rocky trails of Finale.

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The bright orange Cube Stereo looks pretty fast, even by just standing there. It completed the track in an impressive 2’02.31.

The specification is very similar to that on the Stereo 160 SUPER HPC SLT and uses a SRAM XX1 drivetrain and Avid Elixir 7 Trail brakes, unlike the bikes of the team riders. The aesthetically pleasing and super-light Race Face Next SL cranks are a real eye-catcher, complementing the other well-chosen and reliable lightweight components which together make up the amazing 12.15 kg weight, even with the heavy Schwalbe SuperGravity tires!

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The low weight is immediately noticeable on the trail. The Stereo sprints forward eagerly, urging the rider to pedal harder and go even faster after every curve. For longer climbs the bike has an effective remote lever on the bars which stiffens the Fox 34 Float 160mm fork and Float CTD shock in a fraction of a second.

The bike’s ride qualities are probably best described with the words fleet-footed and lively, but in narrow twisty sections it isn’t particularly agile due to its relatively long chainstays, and thus requires a little extra pressure on the bars. On rough steep sections it shows good stability.

The shock on the race bike is more progressive at the end of the travel when compared with other Cube Stereo production bikes we have ridden. It is still quite linear and uses up a lot of the travel, but it doesn’t bottom out as quickly as we have come to expect from this bike. The balanced character of the whole bike is enhanced by the well-chosen combination of tires: a Schwalbe Magic Mary at the front and a Rock Razor at the back offer fantastic grip and braking traction as well as good rolling resistance.

Weight fetish. To achieve the phenomenal total weight of just 12,15 kg, weight was saved in every possible area without compromising performance. 
The superlight Race Face Next SL cranks are a special treat – a big thumbs up from us!

Weight fetish: To achieve the phenomenal total weight of just 12,15 kg, weight was saved in every possible area without compromising performance. The superlight Race Face Next SL cranks are a special treat – a big thumbs up from us!

Keep on rollin. Well chosen tires save valuable seconds. Grip and traction are most important at the front whereas puncture resistance and low rolling resistance are the focus at the back. The Schwalbe duo of Magic Mary and Rock Razor are thus the perfect choice, and for us the best combination on test.

Keep on rollin: Well chosen tires save valuable seconds. Grip and traction are most important at the front whereas puncture resistance and low rolling resistance are the focus at the back. The Schwalbe duo of Magic Mary and Rock Razor are thus the perfect choice, and for us the best combination on test.

Race proven. The Cube Action Team used the light carbon frame of the Stereo for the whole of last season. Apart from the paintjob, it is exactly the same as the standard model. However, we noticed play in the shock bushings even after the first ride.

Race proven: The Cube Action Team used the light carbon frame of the Stereo for the whole of last season. Apart from the paintjob, it is exactly the same as the standard model. However, we noticed play in the shock bushings even after the first ride.

Perfect performance. The Fox 34 Float with RAD internals impressed all the testers with its excellent performance. Good responsiveness, lots of feedback for the rider, and sufficient reserves for all situations make it a perfect race fork.

Perfect performance: The Fox 34 Float with RAD internals impressed all the testers with its excellent performance. Good responsiveness, lots of feedback for the rider, and sufficient reserves for all situations make it a perfect race fork.

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The Cube Stereo 160 Super HPC SLT 27,5 is available for 5.199 EUR.

Conclusion: In the hands of an experienced pilot, the Race Stereo is a formidable weapon! Its low weight, well-chosen components, and plush suspension make it a hot candidate in the fight for podium places.

Go back to the article: Grouptest: Enduro World Series Bikes

You can read an in-depth feature about the EWS Race Bike test and our conclusions in the ENDURO issue #010! As usual it’s free & only digital for iPad, Android-Tablets and Online-Viewer: Issue #010.

Text & Photos Christoph Bayer

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