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
- RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Shock, 230mm
- RockShox Lyrik Ultimate Fork, 180mm
- Shimano XT Brakes
- Shimano XT 1×12 Drivetrain
Stereo 170 Race 29
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hannah’s travel and accommodation was covered by Cube/OneWay Distribution