Back when the days seemed longer and a quick little ride didn’t require wearing nearly all the kit you have, I received this fine carbon machine through the door. The 2016 Cube Stereo C:62 Race 27.5. Now I’ve had a few months to get out and give it a pasting, here’s the low down.
- Frame – Carbon Monocoque
- Fork/Shock – Fox 34 Float FIT4/Fox Float DPS 200x57mm
- Gearing – Shimano XT (2×11)
- Brakes – Shimano XT
- Wheels – Answer Atac EM QR15/Boost 148×12
- Tyres – Schwalbe Hans Dampf Kevlar/Rock Razor
- Handlebar/Stem – RaceFace Ride
- Grips – Cube Race Grip
- Seatpost – Rock Shox Reverb Stealth 31.6mm 150mm Drop
- Saddle – SDG Circuit MTN
- Seatclamp – Cube Screwlock
- RRP – £2999.99
Before this I had the Stereo 140 HPA Pro 27.5, anyone can be forgiven for getting slightly baffled by Cube’s huge range of seemingly similar bikes with similar names. The 140 I had before is basically the little brother of the 160 I have now and with an Alloy frame instead of carbon. From spending quite a bit of time on them both, they are quite different beasts. The 140 is a great little bike but it was more at home blasting around trail centres, when things got a little jazzy I found it floundering slightly. The 160 though is much more at home on the steeper techy bits.
- Integrated Cable Routing
- Stealth Dropper Ready
- Tapered Headtube
- Press-fit BB
- Integrated Post Mount
- Boost 148mm
- Agile Trail Geometry
Fox have got everything covered here, with their 34 Float FIT4 up front and the Float DPS taking control at the back. I’m not one who likes to fettle too much with suspension. I’ll make sure I get it set up right but then minimal fussing after that. I hardly needed to touch these after initial set up, the on-the-fly adjustments take care of most situations. I mainly used the medium and firm modes, even on the more technical of trails not requiring the fully open option.
Geometry (based on 18″ model)
Head Angle – 66 degrees
Reach – 428mm
Top Tube Horizontal – 586mm
Seat Tube – 420mm
Seat Tube Angle – 75.15 degrees
Chain Stays – 435.5mm
Wheelbase – 1179mm
Kit-wise, you can’t really go wrong with shimano XT, ok so it’s not as light as other options but I’ve always found it good and robust. XT is also obviously a lot cheaper than XTR and the equivalent SRAM alternatives, helping bring the coast of this bike down to a very reasonable £2999.99. The 760mm wide RaceFace bars are a little on the narrow side for me and possibly a few others. Although these are easy to change and a lot of people have a personal preference with bars anyway.
It took me a while to convert to the 1 x 11 drive chain setup and having done so I’ve now got used to it. Riding a bike with 2 x 11 again, it seems a little overkill. I’d rather see it with a 1 x 11, it currently looks like the 2017 version will also be coming with the 2 x 11 setup.
As well as having more travel than its little 140 brother, the 160 is also a little longer and slacker. This makes it handle better when things speed up and get more techy. It’s not the longest bike I’ve ridden in this category, so it’s not as stable as some during the really fast stuff. On the flip side, the short chainstay keeps it nimble and helps it climb well. Coming from a DH background, that’s still where my focus is but I can still tell when a bike climbs well and this one does.
How does it rate?
So the Cube 160 C:62 Race, would I ride one full time? Yes I would, for sure. It’s a really capable bike, weather you’re heading up or down. It’s got a good range of kit on it, some you may want to upgrade as an when needed but it’s a great starting point. There are a few bits I’d change but mainly down to personal preference. As mentioned before, I’d go for a 1 x 11 setup, some wider bars and I’m also not the biggest fan of the Schwalbe RockRazor.