Efficient, versatile and fun; they’re the culmination of these terms. Even once you think they’re at their limit in terms of capabilities; they’ve got more in reserve. So why are they still overshadowed by enduro bikes? We’re talking trail bikes, the true workhorses of the mountain bike world. Whether it’s for a quick blast after work or back-to-back hard days crossing the Alps, the spectrum for these bikes is huge and that’s exactly why they’re often to go-to bike for people looking for the perfect all-rounder. We took eight of the most exciting trail bikes for 2015 to France and put them through their paces under the beating hot sun. While you’ve got to wait until issue #016 of ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine for the results, here’s a sneak preview of our trip, the tests and the first impressions of the CUBE Stereo 140 Super HPC Race 27.5.

The Stereo cuts quite a figure in the blazing sun of the provence.
The Stereo cuts quite a figure in the blazing sun of the provence.
The Stereo 140 Super HPC Race in it's full glance.
The CUBE Stereo 140 Super HPC Race in its full glance.

Brand new, lower and almost as long as its name: the CUBE Stereo 140 Super HPC Race 27.5 has had a complete overhaul of its geometry but has kept its super low weight. Weighing in at 12.05kg despite the change in tyres (Hans Dampf/Rock Razor instead of Nobby Nic), the CUBE is one of the two lightest bikes in our tests, the other being the Giant. The 2x XT groupset promises versatility and durability, and the 140mm FOX Factory suspension shows encouraging downhill skills – and that’s the stock build (we’ve checked). For further tuning they’ve also opted to widen the cockpit. But with the mechanics of the rear end essentially the same, we are left begging the question of whether this new modified geometry and full carbon rocker might lend to a more progressive rear? All the answers will be revealed in the upcoming issue #016.

Shimano XT 2-fach Gruppe und bei DT Swiss gefertigte Systemlaufräder sollten auch auf Dauer einwandfreie Performance bieten.
Shimano XT 2x groupset and the DT Swiss wheels should guarantee first-rate performance for the long haul.
FOX Factory Fahrwerk gibt’s ab Werk – im Gegensatz zu den verbauten Schwalbe Rock Razor und Hans Dampf Reifen. Die rüstete CUBE für unseren Test nach.
FOX Factory shock and forks come as spec – unlike the Schwalbe Rock Razor and Hans Dampf tyres that CUBE added for the sake of our tests.
Auch das breite RaceFace-Cockpit ist nicht serienmäßig verbaut. Optische Leckerbissen: farblich passende Schaltzughüllen und die tadellose Zugführung. Hier hat man übrigens die Wahl, ob diese innen- oder außenverlegt ablaufen soll.
And nor does the RaceFace cockpit come straight from the shop. Bit of a looker: colour-coordinated cable housing and fine-looking routing. Here you’ve got the choice of internal or external cabling.

Price: 3,599 € | Weight: 12.05 kg | Wheel size: 27,5” | Frame size: 20” | Travel f/r: 140/140 mm | Top tube effective: 608 mm | Wheelbase: 1.171 mm | Head angle: 67.5° | Seat angle: 74.5° | Reach: 444 mm | Stack: 607 mm

For more information visit www.cube.eu.

The Test

These are exactly the sorts of bikes we’ve tested in this group test. And just like the previous group test, we chose not to order specific bikes from the manufacturers. Instead, we gave them the test criteria and left the decision up to them.

“In this group test we want get to grips with the real workhorses of the riding world. The bike should be as versatile as possible, guaranteeing a fun ride on virtually any type of trail, whether it’s the post-work blast or a multi-day Alpine ride,” was the message given in the briefing.

Die Bikes sind bereit für den Test.
The Bikes ready for testing.

For the travel, we settled on between 120 and 150 mm, and we opted for a price range of

€ 3,500–4,500. To improve their bike’s performance, companies had the freedom to alter the spec – this was restricted to small(ish) details that any dealer could adjust for the customer before they buy the bike. This included, but wasn’t limited to: the cockpit, the wheels and the option of a dropper seatpost.

The Bikes:

Cannondale Trigger Carbon 2 | Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 EX | CUBE Stereo 140 Super HPC Race | GIANT Trance Advanced 1 | Scott Genius 710 | Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon | Rose Root Miller 3 | Rotwild R.Q1 FS

As we mentioned earlier, we’d chosen bikes that were all-rounders, ones that would be regularly confronted with diverse terrain on which it would have to continuously prove its worth. These eight candidates accompanied us to Provence, France. It wasn’t just long rides on the agenda either – we’d also scouted out a secret spot with some pretty demanding jumps. This is where their limits would be pushed. But, it should be mentioned that not every bike is primed for such tasks – if in doubt, check the manufacturer’s authorisation.

Over the coming weeks we’ll introduce you in more detail to the individual bikes on our website. However, the results will only be revealed in issue #016 of ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine. Until then, have fun reading the current issue. As always, it’s available digitally at no cost for tablets, iPhones and on our online viewer.

Words: Christoph Bayer, Andreas Maschke Photos: Christoph Bayer

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