Since it was launched, Cube has supplied the Stereo in two wheel sizes: the 27.5” wheel model used by the Cube Action Team appeals to racers, where as the 29” version is mainly for trail riders. The Stereo 140 HPC PRO is one of two 29” bikes in our test and the only one with a carbon front triangle. The latter keeps the total weight just under 14kg.
The stiff frame propels you forward on the way up: although the rear end flexes just a little in the open “descend” setting on the Fox Float shock, switching to the “trail” mode stops any pedal bob completely without loss of traction. Even technically demanding and rocky ascents are mastered superbly by the Stereo, not least because of its large wheels. The slightly stretched, very central position is ideal for long rides.
The Stereo’s greatest downhill strength is stability. The linear rear suspension isn’t particularly soft or responsive, but it is stable in the middle of the travel and makes use of the whole travel when needed. Because the end of the travel is not very progressive, however, bottoming out is sometimes unavoidable. This is not true for the Fox 34 fork, which has a smooth responsive feel at the beginning of the travel and a well-defined progression at the end. Despite this difference, the front and rear suspension actually work well together.
The large wheels and 452mm chainstays keep the bike securely on course, but agility is sacrificed for stability. Extra effort or an active riding style is needed to persuade the bike to change direction quickly. The low top tube creates plenty of standover room and helps to make the bike feel safe in steep terrain, as do the grippy Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires. We were also impressed by the Shimano Deore A-M615 brake, which offers good modulation and reliable power at a reasonable price.
“Keep on rollin’” is the motto of the Stereo 29. It makes the most of its 140mm travel, and the rear end, though not especially sensitive, drives the bike forward. This and the well-chosen components make the Cube a top bike for trail riding.
Go back to the article: “Grouptest Trailbikes: Eight Entry-level Trailbikes”
You can read an in-depth feature about the group test and our conclusions in the actual ENDURO issue #009! As usual it’s free & only digital for iPad, Android-Tablets and Online-Viewer: Issue #009.
Text & Pictures: Christoph Bayer