TURN UP THE STEREO

THE CUBE STEREO 140 HPA PRO

Australian Mountain Bike - - Tested - PHO­TOG­RA­PHER: TIM BARDSLEY-SMITH TESTER: ANNA BECK

Cube is a Ger­man bike man­u­fac­turer, founded in 1993. De­spite be­ing a rel­a­tively new com­pany (in the grand scheme of bi­cy­cle pro­duc­tion) Cube are now ex­port­ing to 60 coun­tries and are best known for their range of moun­tain bikes. Any­one with a keen in­ter­est in the En­duro World Se­ries will know the brand’s pro team, the Cube Ac­tion Team, fea­tur­ing ath­letes such as Nico Lau and Greg Cal­laghan. Though Cube have been in Aus­tralia for a num­ber of years, they’re not a ma­jor player in the mar­ket as yet, al­though they do of­fer a com­plete range of bikes for all moun­tain bike dis­ci­plines: from cross-coun­try to down­hill. We tested one of the most pop­u­lar moun­tain bik­ing plat­forms at the moment - a 140mm 27.5” trail bike - in the form of the Cube Stereo 140 HPA Pro. This is Cube’s en­try level bike in this Stereo range: sport­ing an alu­minium frame, and a mix­ture of XT, SLX and RaceFace com­po­nents, along with the Fox Rhythm and Fox Float DPS shock, and Cube’s own pro­pri­etary drop­per.

FIRST IM­PRES­SIONS

Looks-wise, the Stereo is on point with matte grey and neon orange; a colour­way that has been em­braced re­cently by mul­ti­ple moun­tain bike man­u­fac­tur­ers. Hav­ing said that, this colour scheme will likely be quite di­vi­sive and elicit a love/hate type of re­sponse. The lines of the bike aren’t un­ap­peal­ing. Cube have specced the bike with both black and orange ca­bles which once again is a risky move; what one per­son will love the next will feel looks cheap. In­ter­est­ingly enough, the bike fea­tures in­ter­nal ca­ble rout­ing which is aes­thet­i­cally a win for the end user, and in­evitably a bug-bear for your me­chanic. The four bar link­age and sturdy welds leave lit­tle to the imag­i­na­tion re­gard­ing where the weight of the bike is held, though the An­swer Atac AM wheel set also holds a fair bit of beef but also plenty of re­li­a­bil­ity. Con­ti­nen­tal Trail Kings adorn the hoops, and while they’re not the stur­di­est of tyre in re­gards to side-wall sta­bil­ity, the tread pat­tern is a good all-round op­tion. The driv­e­train is a pic­ture of XT and SLX, with RaceFace cranks and cock­pit com­po­nents - good solid re­li­able op­tions. The ini­tial as­sess­ment of the Stereo was that it was a bit weighty; high­lighted by the ef­fort re­quired to hoist it onto the bike rack. But given it is built for more down than up, and has the gear­ing to get it up a hill if the need arises - would it be an is­sue on the trail? The bike’s build is a solid pick. If it was our own we would sim­plify the driv­e­train to a 1x set up, crack out the tube­less goop (as the Stereo came as­sem­bled with tubes) and add some burlier rub­ber. How­ever, the ques­tion it all boils down to is: “How does it ride?” So we took to the slopes of New Zealand to find out.

ON THE TRAIL

The bike tested was the 18” model; per­haps slightly on the large side for us but not out of the ball park in terms of length when paired with a 50mm stem. The top tube length on the bike, at 590mm, sits in the mid­dle be­tween the long and

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