First Look | Cube Stereo 170 – big travel, small price tag

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For 2020 Cube has introduced a new big bike, the Stereo 170. With 29 inch wheels and 170mm of rear travel, it’s a bike for fast and steep descents, with enduro aspirations. 

The Stereo 170 will come in two variations: a coil shock equipped 170 TM 29, and an air shock equipped 170 Race 29. As well as the different shocks, the coil equipped TM version comes with a 180mm RockShox Lyrik Ultimate up front, while the Race comes with a 170mm Fox 36. Both use the same hydroformed aluminium frame, but make use of a couple of adjustment points to deliver a what Cube says is an ‘exceptionally adept mountain tamer, with progressive suspension and a confidence-inspiring feeling on the trail.’

Stereo 170 TM 29

Cube Stereo 170 TM 29
Looks proper.
  • £3,699
  • RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Shock, 230mm
  • RockShox Lyrik Ultimate Fork, 180mm
  • Shimano XT Brakes
  • Shimano XT 1×12 Drivetrain

Stereo 170 Race 29

Stereo 170 Race 29
Air shock set up, smaller fork.
  • £2,999
  • Fox Float DPX2 Shock, 230mm
  • Fox 36 Float Fork, 170mm
  • SRAM Code R Brakes
  • SRAM GX Eagle Drivetrain

The first point of adjustment is the shock mount. There are two separate positions on the linkage, clearly marked, for either a coil or air shock. This is to respond to the different characteristics of each type of shock, to deliver progressive travel in either set up.

Cube Coil shock
Bikes will come with red coils to match the frame!
Cube Coil shock
Clearly marked positions, no confusion.
Cube 2020
Science.

The second point of adjustment is in the headset, where there is a possible 0.6 degrees of angle adjustment using an angle set. This composite insert is simply turned 180 degrees to deliver either a 64.4 degree head angle, or a 65 degree one. This angle set has been designed between Cube and Acros, specifically for this bike, as Cube wanted an easy tool-free means of angle adjustment.

Cube 2020
0.6 degrees of tool free adjustment.
Cube 2020
E13 finishing kit.

Having seen coil shocks increase in popularity, Cube wanted to deliver a bike designed specifically to accommodate one, and the linear suspension they provide. While our pictures show a bike equipped with a black spring, the stock bikes will in fact have the red spring to match the fork and frame details – they just weren’t available in time for the launch. Colours aside, spring weights will match the bike sizes, so if you don’t fit into the predicted or average weight range for a bike of that size, you’ll need to look at purchasing the right spring for your needs.

Cube coil shock
You will get a red shock, like this.
Not super long – but you could probably size up.

The bike will only come in three sizes, with the smallest being an 18 inch frame. That’s not especially small perhaps, but these aren’t bikes that are super long, and I would think that many riders will be able to size up. For the launch, I rode the 18inch TM model bike (I’m 175cm tall and 65kg) – it felt comfortable and manoeuvrable, though I imagine I could also have ridden a 20inch frame without feeling odd.

Cube Stereo 170
Hydroformed alloy frame
Cube Stereo 170 Hannah
It’s an easy bike to get on and ride. No foibles.

With only a relatively short ride out on the bike, I shan’t pass full comment on the Cube Stereo 170 TM, but first impressions were good. The remote lockout on the shock came in handy on the long climb up to the start of the trails – it’s not a completely solid platform in locked out mode, but it’s not far off. It’s a while since I used a twist grip of any kind, and the mechanism felt perhaps a little retro to me, but I soon got used to it. Anyway, I got rather busy heading down.

Cube Stereo 170
Twist grip and push button shock lock out.

The trails I was riding were rocky and rooty, and all rather greasy after a heavy morning’s rainfall. There were some steep sections, but on the whole these were fast trails with many lines to choose from. I found myself letting fly, with the bike doing all the work below me while I played that game of jiggle and balance that comes with fast and rough lines. Time and time again I found myself holding speed and moving through obstacles, with no front wheel grabbing moments. The E13 tyres proved sticky and grippy, and even the roots gave me little cause for concern – apart from the occasional ‘ooh, I took off a rocky jump and now look at that rooty landing’. Such moments soon passed as I’d be on to the next section of rocks, roots and air time opportunities. I giggled my way through rocky lines, and for once was glad of photoshoot opportunities to push back up and do them again. In short, I had fun. When you check the price tag I can’t help but think that’s a lot of bike for the money, making it a strong contender for occasional bike park or big mountain trips.

Disclosure

Hannah’s travel and accommodation was covered by Cube/OneWay Distribution

Hannah Dobson

Hannah came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. Having worked in policy and project management roles at the Scottish Parliament and in local government, Hannah had organisational skills that SIngletrack needed. She also likes bikes, and likes to write.

Hannah likes all bikes, but especially unusual ones. If it’s a bit odd, or a bit niche, or made of metal, she’s probably going to get excited. If it gets her down some steep stuff, all the better. She’ll give most things a go once, she tries not to say no to anything on a bike, unless she really thinks it’s going to hurt. She’s pretty good with steri-strips.

More than bikes, Hannah likes what bikes do. She thinks that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments.

Hannah tries to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

Comments (6)

    I’ve always been interested in Cube bikes. But unfortunately after demoing a 22in Fritz last year I was put off. The geo is a joke in this day and age, especially for someone like me who’s 6’6”.

    Seriously? A shifter, lockout, dropper and brake levers, all on the left?

    £2k would be a smaller price altho not small

    That is shocking poor vfm

    The sizes aren’t in inches in terms of them corresponding to the seat tube length, they are numbers in isolation.

    For example;

    The 18 has a seat tube length of 420mm = 16.5″
    The 20 has a seat tube length of 470mm = 18.5″
    The 22 has a seat tube length of 520mm = 20.5″

    I still don’t understand why Cube do it that way, as its ridiculously confusing unless you study the geo charts. They are still behind the geometry curve as well.

    small price tag? £2,999 is a small price tag? Are you hiring at Singletrack towers? I’m obviously in the wrong job if you consider THREE THOUSAND POUNDS to be a small price tag, that’s a fairly major chunk of money for me

    I’d say £3k is a small price tag. For the parts that are on a proper bike, sold in actual bike shops. No it’s not cheap, but looks good value compared to the also just launched specialized enduro. A more interesting question is whether the EWS athletes start using this, or carry on with the smaller travel bikes.

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