Inside Cube Bikes

Jan 26, 2016
by Matt Wragg  



If you are living on the left-hand side of the Atlantic, there is a good chance that Cube are the biggest bike company you have never heard of. Like most German brands, their roots lie in offering value and features to a market who are far more interested in this than having the 'right' name on their headtube. Yet while many of the other German brands fighting for these consumers have gone down the direct sales route, Cube have eschewed this and built their business around the traditional dealer-based model. While their model may be traditional, that doesn't mean their approach is and they manage to keep their prices within a few percent of their direct sales competitors. They have never been big fans of marketing either, their marketing department is tiny compared to their size, as owner, Marcus Puerner, has built their company on the ethos that their best advertisements are the bikes themselves.

These days they aren't just competing with the established, American brands on price either, their bikes perform at the highest levels - as Nico Lau and Greg Callaghan proved, riding their Stereo full suspension platform to victories at the Enduro World Series. This mix of performance and value has made them the biggest bike manufacturer in Europe today - selling half a million bikes a year, without selling a single bike in the largest market in the world, the US. We took a look inside their headquarters in Waldershof, Germany to get a feel for the scale of this quiet giant.



Cube Factory
Cube's current headquarters are this relatively modest building in the small town of Waldershof, just a few kilometres away from the Czech border.







The top floor of the building is where you will find Cube's development, product, sales and marketing departments - for a company like Cube, it's a very small setup indeed - the emphasis for Cube is firmly on the making of the bikes, and the business around them is kept as simple as possible.


Michael Prell of Cube bikes
All of Cube's bikes are designed by this small team in this office. In fact one man, Michael Prell, is responsible for the geometry and suspension on every bike Cube make today. This makes him one of the most prolific designers anywhere in mountain biking and we have an in-depth interview with him on bike and suspension design coming soon.



Inside Cube
The wallchart in the sales office shows just how far globally Cube is spread - the blue pins represent the markets where Cube currently sell bikes, and the yellow pins where they are thinking about heading. If you are reading this in America and are keen to get your hands on a Cube bike, then it's bad news for you - while they are looking at the US, they aren't the sort to rush into something, so the chances of seeing Cube on sale in the immediate future are pretty slim.







Downstairs, on the first floor is Cube's testing lab - it is here they exhaustively test not just their frames, but the components they build their bikes with and the various combinations of frames and components they use together. This means that when they sell a bike they know precisely how every element of the bike should perform and can be confident their buyer is getting a reliable bike.


While this may look like the bastard offspring of a mountain bike and a torture chamber, it is Cube's geometry mule. They can change every element of the bike's geometry to dial in every measurement to the millimeter in the ever elusive hunt for the perfect riding position.This is only used for fully rigid bikes though, because full suspension bikes have constantly changing geometry, so the only way to figure them out is to get people out and riding them.


On the same floor as the testing lab is the prototype and development area - here they have the equipment to produce small prototype parts, like linkages or dropouts, plus they do a lot of 3D printing to test the form and fit of parts before they request the larger prototypes from their manufacturer.



On the next floor up is assembly - this is where it all begins for the 800 bikes per day that Cube currently produce. It all begins with quality control - each frame is carefully inspected, measured and its conductivity checked to test the quality of the metal or carbon. Every Cube bike comes with this note on the top tube, which is the control document from the checks, so you can be sure your bike meets their high standards.


Before assembly of the bike itself can begin each component needs to be checked and prepared to be sent to the assembly line. This is broken down into a series of teams, so there is one team who prepare the cockpit - bars, stems, shifters and brakes - another team who prepare the cables and hoses and the largest team of all for the wheels.






Because Cube build their own wheels, aside from the factory wheelsets they use, their wheel process is so involved it is split into several smaller teams - together they put out 1600 wheels per day. The first team mount the spokes onto the hubs ready for assembly, a second team then laces the spokes and hub to a rim before it is run through the machine wheel builder. Finally tyres, cassettes and discs are mounted on the wheels and they are ready to be sent to the main assembly line.




From the initial prep of the frame, the bikes follow a number of steps on their way to being ready for shipping. The marked difference between Cube and the direct sales brands is the level of detail on the final steps - working with dealers mean that those final steps are done by the dealers, rather than Cube. That is always one of the strong arguments for buying from a local bike shop - that your bike will be checked by someone you know and it can be set to your personal preferences ready for you, rather than a factory default.





While Cubes headquarters right now are relatively modest there is a big shift coming in the near future. Just over the road from their current headquarters is their new facility which they are just in the process of building. It is on an entirely different scale to their setup today and with a planned production capacity of up to 3,000 bikes per day those kind of numbers and their consistent year-on-year growth would put them close to the rarefied air currently shared by industry giants like Trek and Specialized in the none-too-distant future.


MENTIONS: @cubebikesofficial




182 Comments

  • + 133
 I think Cube will get to a point where they challenge Trek, Spec and Giant in the low end of the market, their cheaper bikes look expensive.... problem is, their expensive bikes look cheap, kind of catalog, they dont excite like the high end offerings from the other big players.
Thats just my opinion, and im not hating, and i know theres more to a bike than looks, but if it doesn't excite you then why would you investigate further?
Loved the piece by the way and good luck Cube.
  • + 10
 It's all in the eyes of the beholder, I think the Stereo action team looks nice this year. It was a pig in previous years though.
Is it still a bit tall though? Haven't checked the numbers.
  • + 27
 the reputation of Cube is definetely not the best in germany... they have to work on that
  • + 35
 What is it with Cube speccing the tiniest little bearings on their sus linkages? I have worked on a few and the bearings are always knackered. Looking at their new DH rig doesn't fill me with hope either. Those main pivot bearings look about as large as a 608 skate bearing???

Look at Rocky Mountains take on almost exactly the same layout and you will notice one hell of a contrast...
  • + 13
 I've never had to worry about bearings on the stereo, I snap it every 3 months of riding so I get a new one! And I don't mean on purpose it just gives up lol. Although I did buy a GT sanction frame to replace I've gone back to the cube because it's better, rough stuff and flow trails!
  • + 2
 Yeah, I didn't have much luck with their bearings. I looked at that table and thought it was pretty cool, but may need to place some folded over coasters amongst the pivots to stop the rocking. It's been about a year since putting some enduro bearings in, good time to check if it was the size or quality of bearings.. still keen to ride their two15 though, or stereo, or....
  • + 14
 Friend of mine was art director at Trek/Bontrager for a while and he was saying exactly that: trek was most scared of cube.
I think they need to work on their identity and brand image though. As i previously said, never rode one but since german i don't doubt the quality or ride, more that they don't appeal or communicate well. 'Cube' might be iconic but i am not sure what kind of values it transmits. I think Trek has a similar problem by the way so they bought gary fisher only to manage to hollow out that one. I think the only german brand with steedz and that communicates well and has an own identity is nicolai. Think of the valued 'liteville'. What is it supposed to mean? Is it french? Or an asian trying to google translate something into american english? It can be so easy. Nike paid for the damn 'swoosh' 15$. Sure that was a ripoff but with a vision. German brands don't have an inspiring vision on mtbing, they have the vision of engineers and salespeople.
Not meant negatively in any way. Just an analysis.I would be very happy if german brands rocked, then i would not need to but US and canadian frames.
  • + 2
 Just the thing is that they aren't cheap. In fact, they are priced the same like spez, trek and giant.
  • - 53
flag jzPV (Jan 26, 2016 at 4:26) (Below Threshold)
 you've got a point. what puts me off cube bikes is their target audience: the middle aged, not very fit dad who, at best, rides at the weekend. therefore their bikes are pretty lame. they feel strange (short and high, kind of like a roadbike) and can't be pushed very hard. also look at the ews team's setup: pretty strange, just to make the bike work. the us brands just generate a buzz like you said, and they mostly are a good time.
another typical german target audience are those guys who ride the steepest switchbacks down at walking pace just to make it while having exactly no fun at all.
  • + 59
 I'm a middle aged dad who rides at weekends (owning a house and having a kid to feed means I have to work)
Do you have a problem with me @jzPV?
  • - 43
flag Sontator (Jan 26, 2016 at 5:23) (Below Threshold)
 Well... one would assume that since you have limited time due to family and work you are not ideally informed and could spend your hard earned money better were you so. For this reason your choices are seen with contempt and don't serve as role model. Additionally due to disinformation you get potentially coopted by the bike industry as an example to serve their own interests.
  • + 74
 I'm a middle aged dad with three kids, and I actually ride a cube (stereo 160). According to you I'm a problem, however I wasn't middle aged when I bought my first Marin back in 1987. Yes I do ride weekends and no I'm not going to win anymore races but I still love it so fu*k you.
  • + 3
 My LBS mention there parts infrastructure far away from matching trek/Spesh wait time is weeks vs days.
Like the bikes but they do come up short even the new 2016.
  • + 23
 Just because a person works does not mean they're less informed.
  • + 3
 Vertriders
  • - 37
flag Sontator (Jan 26, 2016 at 5:55) (Below Threshold)
 Well they have to divide their time between work and their other interests so someone who is a sponsored pro probably is more informed.
  • + 1
 same boat with you on cube. low end looks great, but as it goes up the ladder they don't look that appealing like Spez, trek, and other big brands that when you go up the product hierarchy the look and feel goes up too.

but that's just me. I'm pretty happy that we're getting more brands known today. I just hope merida chimes in the Enduro/DH disciplines then we're talking
  • + 16
 @Sontator, are you as sponsored pro with no other interests and no job?
As for being ideally informed, it seems like you're aware of this new thing called "internet"? We didn't have it when I was young, but it is a really great way of getting as much information as you can consume from the comfort of your...well wherever. Being a bit older, I have owned quite a few bikes too. Older is normally wiser.
  • - 18
flag Sontator (Jan 26, 2016 at 6:26) (Below Threshold)
 @Dobbs59 No offence intended. I also mean first hand experience: if you live on the trail you will know first hand what works and what not. I am not better informed than you but the other guy was asking what the problem is with weekend warriors and I was pointing ut that they have less 'experience' and exposure and for that reason they are less fit as brand ambassadors: if you see cubes being ridden by dads all the time you associate the brand with them and might get to the conclusion that they are enticed by practical advantages - easy to get, affordable, nonetheless quality - but have no experience with other potential issues, whether it is a fun bike or not, as due to their lack of exposure they don't have the amount of first-hand knowledge a park rat would have. In short, you know what i mean.
  • + 14
 What do you think we did before we grew up and had kids?
  • - 18
flag Sontator (Jan 26, 2016 at 6:41) (Below Threshold)
 How many years ago is that?
  • + 11
 Do you understand the concept of "experience"?
  • - 18
flag Sontator (Jan 26, 2016 at 6:46) (Below Threshold)
 You probably have experience with certain bikes and parts, no doubt. But someone who is going riding several times a week with mates at this time including some new bikes about which we are talking probably has more insight than you do, experience notwithstanding.
  • + 7
 Who do you think knows more about football, Ruud Gullit or Memphis Depay? (put in friendly dutch players for you)
  • - 14
flag Sontator (Jan 26, 2016 at 7:02) (Below Threshold)
 I am Italian and have no idea about soccer but I would say Ruud Gullit has a lot of experience but the other probably young guy is closer to the pulse of the present day. But your comparison does not stand unless you were a pro level racer some years back.
  • + 19
 @Sontator , I ride every Tuesday night all year round regardless of weather, also every Sunday. Within the group there's a real good mixture of brands, none are cheap. We ride bike parks, Alps hell I even lived in the Pyrenees for three years. We've been doing this continually now for 15+ years, and as I said I started riding Dartmoor in 87 and rode up Pran plaz Chamonix first in 92, before disc brakes, gasp !! You sir are a knob head.
  • + 4
 "If you live on the trail" - I find that other people know what works, just for them not for others. So; @Dobbs59 knows what is best for him, not anyone else.

So you're telling me people who ride on the weekends, me included as a Uni student don't know if a bike is fun? Check yourself....

Insight into different bikes yes, not into whether a bike is good.
  • + 5
 "Ruud Gullit has a lot of experience but the other probably young guy is closer to the pulse of the present day"

The pulse of what? We're talking about knowledge. Football is football and riding is riding. Exactly how much do you think it's changed?
A couple of degrees head angle? An inch extra reach? 12mm higher hub? Hardly groundbreaking.
  • - 6
flag Sontator (Jan 26, 2016 at 7:18) (Below Threshold)
 @u-otter-b-sry No need to feel threatened. You are an excellent experienced above average weekend +1 warrior and nobody has the right to take that from you despite the way you express yourself. By my experience there are many other riders termed weekend warriors due to the lower amont of riding they get to do by circumstances or personal choice, no problem with that, we are not judging who is the better mountainbiker, that are less experienced and if many of them end up riding a certain brand then it becomes a stereotype (the irony of it) that the people that ride that bike have little experience and their choice in bike might reflect that, hence the bike might be not the best of the crop, whether that might be of interest to anyone, factual or fictitious and that is what we were discussing, that cube has a weekend warrior image in germany according to jzPV from germany and if you take offence from it that is your issue.
  • - 5
flag Sontator (Jan 26, 2016 at 7:30) (Below Threshold)
 @Dobbs59 My dad was a f*cking surgeon and has 40 years of experience cutting people up. Yet by his own admission a younger practicing doc in the OR every day despite less experience will know about the latest procedures, tools, ideas in the discipline better than him and have a steadier hand. That is what I mean by being in touch. There are the giants and then there are dwarves but they are standing on the shoulders of the giants so they can see further than the giants. Where would evolution come from otherwise? Why does not someone young chime in here and say what they think?

Furthermore it is up to anyone to decide how heavy recent changes in geometry or components weight and if you have not ridden such a bike you should not relativize it and if you have and find there is no difference then say so and accept if for someone else the difference is tangible.
  • + 12
 Ive owned 3 cubes with another on order at the minute. Ive also had a specialized and a lapierre. Im not middle aged (23) . I am a qualified mountian bike coach. Im not a dad and in not as unfit as your comment persues - maybe I'm an anomalie. Bikes are about feel and preferences - they are obviously pleasing a certain amount of people as they have growth year in year out like the article says. I think your assumption is ignorant as well as misinformed as i have plenty of fun on any bike. Its the riding that makes it fun not how or what your bike is. @jzPV
  • + 5
 But the real question is, WHAT TEAM WILL GWIN BE ON FOR 2016??????
  • + 6
 "My dad was a f*cking surgeon and has 40 years of experience cutting people up."

My dad was a paratrooper and spent 20 years shooting and hitting people with blunt objects. That has about as much relevance to riding bikes as being a surgeon does.

As for bikes, there is a difference. But it is a very small one.

Interestingly, around here most middle aged, middle class parents ride santa cruz and yetis (I don't though)
  • + 3
 Well he's not middle aged so he can't ride a Cube, apparently !
  • + 4
 @Sontator i'm not threatened in the slightest and i'm only of average experience, so no need to patronise me.. i think if you take a step back and look at what you have been saying you will find that you end up, inadvertently or not, coming across rude.
  • + 0
 @Dobbs59 Interesting! How is cube market presence in the uk compared to sc&yeti?
  • + 2
 Tiny. I have seen very few on the trails, I don't think I've ever seen a Stereo in the flesh. SC, Yeti, Orange, Spesh, Giant, Trek all popular. YT and canyon gaining traction. This is MTB only, no idea on roadies, hybrids etc.
  • + 2
 What is Canyon's reputation like? Can't get them in Canada yet but I am interested...
  • - 2
 @u-otter-b-sry that comment was directed at @konabigshed , my mistake
well, let's say i got used to dutch ways of communication which is in your face direct but not intended rude but i know what you mean. For me it is from the start about what I see as an unclear brand identity for cube and other german brands and out of professional interest it bugs me. The classic cool identity are the US brands with a history in the earlier years of the sport. They have an authentic history, part of a scene and that image works well. In Germany you cannot replicate that so what would work as a brand image for brands with the history of german brands? Where do they come from? Classic sales? Engineering? Roadie? The consequence of all that is that in germany there is a certain stereotype which was discussed above and which does not say anything about the quality of the bike yet could be more ideal. I don't know any of my 'cool' - meaning experienced - german friends who would ride any of those brands, they all go for S, SC and the likes. YT is doing it well with the events and rider they sponsor and the image they are creating, and yet, YT, spelled out that it Young Talent. I could imagine a better name. As i said, Nicolai is the only story that works for me. Sort of industrial, hardcore in the sense of heavy machinery, with that name, works, the bikes also work. But then the guy was just called that and had nothing holding him back like some other history in road bikes, sales&distribution.
  • + 2
 @JustBuyIt Reputation pretty solid I would say, image, i would say similar to cube.
  • + 3
 @JustBuyIt A few of the early Capras cracked, but were replaced with no major problems. Not heard of much wrong with the kit since then. Their biggest issue is availability, often long waiting periods. In all, no great shakes. Good kit.
Found a UK thread on the cube stereo : )
"It's a munter."
" that bike is a minger even to my twisted perception."
"hurts my eyes"
"that is minging"
"Pretty ugly"
"honkin. "
For those not familiar with Uk slang, these aren't compliments....
  • + 1
 @JustBuyIt I got really excited when I saw that blue pin on canada, then I realised it was a lie
  • + 1
 @ePerron Cube is here! Just not in a big way... There's a store in Toronto, don't think they have a lot of selection though but I'm sure that will change.
I think I confused some people though, I was asking @sonnyy what Canyon's rep was like in Germany (in a Cube thread). This may sound like heresy on Pinkbike but I also ride road and the Canyon CF SLX looks awesome!
  • + 1
 indeed
  • + 3
 @jzPV If you think road bikes are, "short and high," ( Direct quote-(short and high, kind of like a roadbike)), then maybe it isn't the middle aged dads that are misinformed...
  • + 6
 @Dobbs59 , Funny I just don't get bike hate, my last bike was a Kona dawg which I loved but the internet was full of Kona haters, now I've got a Cube Stereo 160 which I think is great but again , haters !! I sure can pick em !
I would have liked a Kona Process 153 but it didn't come near the Cube for value.
  • + 1
 Nor me, I quite like it! Mind you the rear brake cable routing would prevent me ever buying one. The cube team should hang their heads for that one.
  • + 4
 Cube in Canada appears to be priced the same as every other bike (TWO15 listed @$9,999CDN.) No gains there. The Stereo 160 looks to be a step above the equivalent Radon frame which are similar in aesthetics to my 2011 Norco Range.

As a 30 yr old single male I find YT has a terrible name and an even worse image! But I don't have any tattoos or piercings and I seldom, if ever consume energy drinks, so I may not be their target audience.

Canyon's Shape Shifter Geometry interests myself as it isn't another Funnybot German value company with 4-bar linkage.

That Mojo-Nicolai with the Pinion Gearbox is so effing on point though!

PS Cube Stereo is running Boost 148 Wink
  • + 6
 I figured if it's good enough for Nico Lau to win rounds of the EWS it was going to be OK for a middle aged man !!
  • + 5
 There's a big difference in bicycle knowledge between the guy who buys his first mtb during his midlife crisis and buys the most expensive bike his lbs stocks, because it must be the best, and the guy at the same age who has been shredding his bike hard for many decades. Obviously the second one will have more knowledge about bikes. I think sontator and jzPv were referring to the first one but couldn't find the right words. Not meaning to say anything bad about that group though, they chose an awesome sport to do and couldn't agree more with them to start mtb'ing. Who cares at what age you start, as long as you enjoy riding your bike.
  • + 3
 @konabigshed : don't worry about the haters, often those are just stupid kids with lack of knowledge about bikes. Especially the Kona haters have no idea what they are talking about and only make themselves look ridiculous.
  • + 2
 Hi @Mattin , I'm not worried dude, I just didn't like the earlier arrogant comment from jzPv. I'm not getting off my bike , what ever it is until I can't get on it.
  • + 4
 @gonecoastal YT must be an attitude then, because I'm 50 and see nothing wrong with the YT name or marketing image/scheme. Some live young, some don't. I didn't negprop your remark, just wanted to say 'Sorry for Partying'.
  • + 4
 That moment you realize they made a table out of better frames than you own:-o
  • + 8
 Middle age dude who works = someone who can buy a carbon super bike and not have it be life changing financial decision. Suck it kids. Smile
  • + 4
 I like cat
  • + 1
 @endlessblockades I guess that is why there is a multitude of bicycle companies for one to choose from!
  • + 1
 This comment section got out of hand fast (should be the tagline for every pinkbike article).

@gonecoastal, agree with you on the YT marketing and branding. Doesn't appeal to me and im 25, but i still bought one, because for the money, it was the best looking frame with the angles and parts list to match.

I did find your comment on the Canyons interesting though, when the shapeshifter first came out it screamed reliability issues to me and low and behold, they're dropping like flies and canyon cant back them up. I dont think this is an age thing, maybe just a representation of profession or education? (meaning what you're educated in, not whether you're educated or not)
  • + 1
 @bluumax "I dont think this is an age thing, maybe just a representation of profession or education? (meaning what you're educated in, not whether you're educated or not)"

Nice save!
  • + 1
 @bluumax "I dont think this is an age thing, maybe just a representation of profession or education? (meaning what you're educated in, not whether you're educated or not)"

Nice save!
  • + 1
 like to keep it on the edge.
  • + 1
 @bluumax I have yet to see a Canyon bike over here. I have no idea what the track record for ShapeShifter is. Are the issues with Shapeshifter shock failures, pivots, frames or a combination of all three? Appearing to NOT use a proprietary rear shock for their travel/geometry reduction is where the interest came from. I have little desire for proprietary e2e or stroke lengths, or yokes such as Specialized uses.

I can't say I require travel reduction during very many of my rides, but I'm sure certain people in certain areas do. Saying that if I was offered the chance to take a Strive or Scott Genius LT for a proper demo I wouldn't say no to either one.
  • + 1
 @gonecoastal, Seem to be a hell of a lot cracking (which can also be said for the YT capras), and yes, it seems the shapeshifter does have reliability issues.
Also, whilst the shock you can see on the bike isn't propriety, the shapeshifter canister is, which is basically a small reverb attached to a link, this is the part that seems to be the issue, and it seems canyon are struggling to keep up with the failures.
  • + 37
 I think its fair to say they took inspiration from the Orange 5 on their latest design

www.pinkbike.com/photo/12990313
  • + 2
 Haha!
  • + 3
 Except sleeker..
  • + 2
 Probably wont crack as easy.
  • + 3
 and lighter
  • + 1
 Pretty sick, instead of snapping, this bike only lengthens, and you can readjust it afterwards again with your allen key
  • + 26
 Hmmm...

So we had that article "The Rise of the German Mountain Bike Industry - Opinion ".
One day later the "Cube Global Squad-Team" is presented.
One day later the "Inside Cube Bikes"-""""Report""" is shown.
...accompanied by large Cube Global Squad banner on top of PB's website.

I am curiuos what Step 5 will bring us.

Amazig to see a hard and expensive marketing campaign start from the earliest beginning.
  • + 14
 Step 5: profit.

Oh wait...
  • + 60
 I love conspiracy theories. Would you like a tinfoil hat to go with that?

If you had read the article yesterday, you would know that this is part of a series which includes Canyon, Rose and YT.
  • + 7
 I love your articles and especially your pics, Matt Wragg- no doubt about it. I have read all of them, also the announcement for the upcoming reports. And I now that telling the difference between journalism- and advertising- texts ain't always easy.
  • - 3
 No points for guessing who's paying the bills!
  • + 34
 Or, you know - day one - an article about the German mountain bike industry, which promises a series of articles on a bunch of German companies. And Day two - the first of those articles.
  • + 12
 Step 5: "Aaron Gwin rides for Cube Global Squad"
  • + 18
 Imagine if YT had covered PB in ads and sponsored conte............ oh. wait.
  • - 1
 The only way to know whether it is journalism or a campaign is to check the flows of money. Tell us Matt. A bit of transparency. Look how happy people were with Larsi Sternberg admitting to the chainstay problem. People are a bit more clever nowadays. probably admitting that the 'german brands' want to polish their image and into the party would even be more efficient than those indirect reports to subtly set the stage and affect the mindset of the audience. Probably it still works but it is not so funny, innovative, interesting, progressive. Not so 'long, low and slack', more like roadie. Show us how committed you are really, german bike brands ; )
  • + 7
 @BIKERIDE2011 let's say it is the most expensive and well thought out marketing campaign ever developed... Why would that upset you? This isn't the 9 o'clock news and the biased product review is missing from your list. If you took away all the articles that were motivated by increasing publicity/improving image of some company or individual, you'd have just about nothing left. Not just in the bike industry either of course, there would be no professional stories made in any industry ever. Any good content out there in the magazines and on the websites is put out there for a reason - it has to be - or nobody would get paid.
  • + 7
 The german bike industry, just like their economy, is the largest in Europe and, like it or not, they've changed the way the business works by removing the middleman, in addition YT is selling more and more Capras in North America, so all these articles are more than justified. Hell, if that motherfucka Hitler had realized that Europe could be conquered without firing a single shot...
  • - 3
 @natedh9 I strongly disagree. There should be something like neutral reportage. It does not need to be like sending someone to work undercover in a 'german bike factory' and reporting how things go but fact over fiction, 'objectiveness' instead of putting something reasonably in the best possible light. Immagine you were best friends with mr cube and you went for a beer together, there you would get probably more realism: he would tell you what goes really well but also what goes not so well. Just read an analysis of a company or business endeavour on for example 'the economist' and you will see differentiated analysis written in a very professional way. There is journalism and there is marketing and saying journailsm does not exist is just wrong. Just it has to be found out who would pay for proper journalistic content. We cannot complain as pb is free and the advertisers pay the bills. As long as the distortion is not blatant i am fine with that. But don't tell me it is the only way.
  • + 7
 @sontator The MTB scene is small and Pinkbike is free, as you point out, so I'm thinking the thought of enduring a certain percentage of content that might be pseudo-promotional in order to benefit from an increased amount of entertainment shouldn't be too horrifying...

You could be right - true, clean journalism is probably out there and the wider world is much too big to make the generalization I did - but asking for it 100% pure wouldn't be sustainable in this small industry in my opinion. Should we start by burning every MTB magazine we've ever bought with a cover featuring bikes or products from companies paying for ads within?

Also we're only talking about the coverage of riding bikes for leisure... All harmless fun!
  • - 5
flag Sontator (Jan 26, 2016 at 4:36) (Below Threshold)
 @natedh9 As you pointed out I pointed out that it is free and mostly harmless so i agree and am happy to have it even as is and never remotely suggested anything of burning magazines where ads were bought for featured product. But that is the past, the way it has been done.

Wouldn't a bit more of transparency be interesting? I don't mean it in a scary fundamental way, more in 'we are all on the same boat'. Wouldn't it be nice if in a collegial way the article introduction could read something like: "our new friends at brand x who by the way were so kind to buy us nice things in exchange for getting acquainted with you guys because they want in on the mtb party in the US so enjoy our show as we take the shots from their chocolate side - yet we still like you guys too so doctoring of shots was kept to a minimum." Just a bit more in tone with how we would deal with other guys on the trail, less attackable because it is out in the open and you have a chance to decide how to deal with it and in a way added information as well: as mtb enthusiast i love the gossip, no? You feel exclusive and part of the scene if they let you in a bit more. Better than being treated like a pack of sheep, no? I see it as an opportunity for companies to make a splash.
  • + 10
 Don't even know why everyone dicks on PB for potentially "promoting" Cube, but when it's Hope nothing? Look at the Hope Pro 4 behind-the-scenes, where are your comments about "impartiality" on that?
  • + 1
 the stage 5 is the in depth interview with the dude who creates all these crappy bikes.....said the article!!!!
  • + 0
 Oh I perfectly agree with you. I don't know why it made me react now, the issue is the same and works for any 'featured' brand. Somehow as I know 'the german bike brands' and am wondering about their 'selbstverständnis' i could not resist it.

But instead of taking it as negative criticism or bashing - which it isn't - I would prefer a discussion about brands and marketing and what we as the audience would like to have.
  • + 4
 @Sontator Funny and interesting for the readers, helpful and effective for the industry not so much! If you want to go 'inner circle' you can always join in and get an industry job. Or go 'Team Robot' and start calling people out, this time with your own site dedicated to exposing the ironies of in-industry favoritism... Could be good Wink
  • - 2
 @natedh9 You almost had me there - team robot and inner circles, what a choice.

Your first sentence is exactly the misconception that I am trying to address: I believe it would benefit the industry as well. It would cause a stir because it is still unheard of, it would project trust and ultimately, say something did not go as planned and would expose your 'insecurities', why not be open about it? Why not avoid making claims altogether? Sooner or later it will surface anyway, you still have to make up for it, maybe it will have staid it under the blanket a little longer and let you sell a bit more but your reputation will have been harmed long term. Be proactive instead, state your ambitions and you will get sympathy points instead of being the ice cold perfect untouchable superhuman whom nobody can stand. Say it as it is is I think the attitude with a future.

Anyway, I am happy you are making steps in my direction and are so open to say that you prefer to be helpful and effective for the industry rather than funny and interesting for the readers. Very interesting! It was not that hard. I like your newfound verve ; )
  • + 1
 I think your issue is with Cube, judging by your cynical comments about where they find their labour, not this "marketing"..
  • - 2
 Sorry, yes that one was a bit under the mark and unnecessary. But no, no problem with cube specifically, just interested to think about mtb marketing. I was not even the one who started the discussion about such articles. Back to the issue, there is nothing bad about having Czech workers. As I said it is just an assumption. Probably working in Germany they would be bound to german wage agreements with trade unions so the workers probably get paid well compared to Czech standard. If not the location is advantageous for labour cost. Either way nothing bad about it.
  • + 18
 Sontator - We should run "Between Two Ferns" for MTB.
- Hello, what's the name of your company.
- Cube
- You like Hip hop?
- Ummm yes
- So you like Vannilla Ice
- No
- Ice Cube?
- emm what? aaaah yes I like Ice Cube
- doesn't it bother you that your 2016 bikes look like they are 2 years old?
- ... eeeh kheh hehe, no, they are not, actually...
- the reach on your bikes is shorter than my dads Heimlich, can you comment on that?
- I...
- Don't bother, do you have something on your Strava that could impress me?
- depends, I rode Anaconda trail at Garda lake under 7 minutes, also when in Whistler, travelling with our EWS team, I scored the best...
- boring, freaking BORING! What is this?! (hits the man with March edition of 2007 DirtMag)
- emmm, I think we should end this interview, I don't want to...
- from which part of Germany are you?
- Emmm, Hanover, but I was born in Munich
- Can you say Strudel?
- Yes I can, off course, what does it... it's an Austrian cake anyways
- I don't care. While we're at it - Didn't you annex them in 1939?
(silence)
- Do you know that Specialized Rockhopper is faster than your DH bike?
(man leaves the room)

EXCLUSIVE
  • + 1
 You'll have to pry my YT out of my dead American hands.
  • + 1
 Love it WAKI! XD Instead it all seems stuck in a cold war mentality. giggles
  • + 25
 Value?!?!, their alloy DH bike goes for 10k Canadian. Almost double the 2015 tues pro CARBON!

Value isn't the first word that comes to mind...
  • + 2
 While you may be right that Cube bikes aren't the cheapest, saying they're expensive just by comparing to YT is irrelevant... How much are the Trek, Specialized and Giant alloy DH bikes?
  • + 19
 Dont think you realize how much more expensive bikes are in europe/uk, the kona process 134dl for example would convert to about 6300CAD at uk prices. same with spes and trek. the alloy enduro for example is the same price as a full carbon stereo and way lower spec'd.

you simply can't compare like for like across the atlantic.
  • + 0
 The Giant Glory 0 Advanced is listed at $8249 Canuck bucks. Last years Glory 0 with an alloy frame was under $6000. Different suspension components but a lot of that is personal preference and/or service centres in your area.
  • + 3
 glory advanced in the uk would equate to nearly $11000 canadian.
  • - 1
 @b45her Thanks for that absolutely useless cost comparison. If Giant Canada suddenly closes their doors we'll all keep in our minds how expensive importing a Giant from the UK would be. Wink

CDN dollar has plummeted in the past year. Many bike prices are up double digits compared to last year on same component specs.
  • + 1
 why useless? i was just showing the huge difference in prices on either side of the atlantic.
  • + 12
 PB doing a series on the big German brands that are not yet a real presence in North America makes sense - there's huge potential for change in the competitive landscape, as these are well-established, well-financed companies. It only stands to reason that their entry into the North American market would have significant impact. The intro article made a good case for the relevance of the series.

Why people are surprised that the first article in that series is a bit of a fluff piece is a mystery to me, however. When was the last time that you read a profile on a brand, any brand, whether on PB, or on bikemag, or dirtragmag, or anywhere, that wasn't? Factory visits always have a bit of a gee wiz component to them. Those tend to be impressive places, with lots of awesome visuals, and indeed the people working in the bike industry tend to be really into what they're doing - it's self-selecting that way (say you're a mechanical engineer in Germany - there's a plethora of opportunities for you if you're any good - working for a bike company will only make sense then if you're into bikes, otherwise you'd be better off in cars, or machines, etc. Same with marketing people - they'd probably make more in pharma or consumer goods marketing than in bikes.)

PB and the rest of the MTB media are not investigative journalists. There are no huge conspiracies (well, other than wheel sizes and hub standards, of course... Wink ). They report on a sport that's mostly about stoke and fun and getting out there and playing with bikes. And they report on an industry that produces, at its heart, toys (sure, transportation, too - but PB and the rest of the MTB media don't really focus on that - we're not debating transportation policy here - we're mostly interested in shredding).

I like seeing "how it's made" type of stuff. It's fun, and tickles my inner geek. I'm sure I'm not alone in that, and yes, those things will be fluff pieces most of the time, unless the writers happen to uncover dumping toxic materials behind the factory during their visit, or forced labor, or some other unlikely scoop. Where the MTB media could actually earn some journalism merits is in reporting on supply chain issues and what they mean for the industry. There's a lot of lively debate about whether direct sales will, over the long term, benefit the consumer or not. So a bit of analysis on that sort of thing would provide a lot of good material. Alternative (outside LBS) service models. What it truly takes to get warranties processed when dealing with central distributors. What each of these companies do for the sport as a whole (sponsoring events, trails access and stewardship, etc. - I can see the direct impact of LBSs in my local community; the big direct sales players all are passionate about their sport as well, so perhaps it would be interesting to see how/if they follow through on that and support the sport the same way, or perhaps even better, than the traditional model). Again, there's a lot of material there, if anybody in the "MTB media" wanted to go all journalist...
  • + 4
 I'm sorry this post is too well reasoned and rational for Pinkbike. Neg props.
  • + 8
 Cube was my first bike, one of the best I ever had. Good quality, awesome paint job and really good price. In last few years price went up a little bit, but anyway awesome bikes ! Now I own a Rose, bike is great, but the paint job and design are not so nice, but riding downhill with Rose is pure fun ! Big Grin
Good job Germany bike industry !
  • + 12
 its refreshing to see a bike factory that isnt in asia for a change.
  • - 4
flag Sontator (Jan 26, 2016 at 2:23) (Below Threshold)
 The frames are made in asia, innit? They are assembled in Germany. (on the border to Czechoslovakia probably by Czech low wage workers - just an assumption)
  • + 9
 There is no such country as Czechoslovakia.
  • - 3
 There is in the history books. Forgive me i am old and nostalgic.
  • + 2
 it's been erased for a fair few years.
  • - 1
 Czech Republic and Slovakia are seperate. No such thing as Czechoslovakia anymore.
  • + 2
 Oh c'mon guys, seriously!
  • + 5
 and slovakia is formed entirely out of our stolen land...
  • - 2
 Yes mate! Giv'em!
  • + 2
 nah mate, no jokes. this is the sad truth
  • + 8
 I bought a Cube CX bike (Cross Race SL). Fantastic bike, great spec and geo, excellent quality. Half the price of the same kind of spec bike from Trek or Spec.

Will definitely be buying Cube again.
  • + 7
 As until now, Cube is a pain in the ass for most dealers.

I started beeing a cube dealer back in 1997, almost everything was better then. Service, communication and availabillity of the bikes was tremendously good.

Today it's diffrent thing, and has been for the last eight.
Far to many bikes, simular in specs and looks. The production quote for one year is achieved with the pre-order of the dealers alone. And that even before Eurobike. That means there is basically no time for post-production of certain models if someone orders it after november/december of the current year. So you won't be able to buy your bike in the actual season it is for. And that means: If you wan't one, you have to order it blind and without testriding it at the local shop OR ...

... you buy that f*cking thing online. And that is the whole destination where CUBE is heading. They just don't care anymore if the local bikeshop has there bikes or not. They are available online, somewhere... and remember: There financial goal for the year is already achieved throu the pre-order. Everything else is bonus.
The sad thing is they don't have the guts to tell everyone were they are heading. Instead they take what they get until the smaller dealers (who made them what they are now) ending the contracts from there side. In 5 years CUBE will be a direct seller, with a few conceptstores, such as YT, Radon, Rose and Canyon.

Ah, and all that in-house building? Never had so much trouble with any other manufacturer in the last 15 years. Pour bearings, poor assambly, especially with the wheels build by Cube themself. The "first-check" of the components is a joke as well. Eight out of ten Brakes (mostly Shimano and Magura) have got some grease or lube on the rotors, or/and the pads. Another classic are poorly assembled cable housings and cheap shifting cables. Never had so much trouble with noisy, creacking bikes as well.

There's more were that came from ...
  • + 1
 I agree on the number of models. Even from a customer's perspective it's confusing. To make things worse: Which marketing department had the glorious idea to name XC, all-mountain and enduro bikes all "Stereo". Just plain stupid.
  • + 6
 I own a Stereo 29..great trail bike with great geometry (i slacken 1 degree ha)..
I have only one issue..the graphics..why put a hundred of symbols lines numbers fades writtens and not a one tone flat paint and a simple write ??!! That would be thounsand ways simpler and better..
  • + 4
 flag jzPV (4 hours ago) (Below Threshold) show comment
you've got a point. what puts me off cube bikes is their target audience: the middle aged, not very fit dad who, at best, rides at the weekend. therefore their bikes are pretty lame. they feel strange (short and high, kind of like a roadbike) and can't be pushed very hard.

Looks like it's being pushed pretty hard in this vid?


www.pinkbike.com/news/live-to-ride-rob-williams-video-2016.html
  • + 6
 Pinkbike suddenly has a hard on for cube... They do make some nice bikes though
  • + 1
 hope they are better quality wise than from 2 years ago
  • + 2
 I bought my first Cube in June last year and haven't been disappointed, as far as bang for buck goes there was no other manafacture at the time that beat it for value. I have run it through its paces and no issues, my only complaint is that spares are a little sparse but are obtainable. I have had everything from Trek to Marin to Curtis and this bike is a hot contender against two big wigs and a local frame builder in terms of geometry and build quality. I can see these guys going from strength to strength especially with more coverage around enduro. Road bikes look pretty awesome and almost want to sell my Giant Defy to have a matching mountain bike and road bike.
  • + 2
 I dunno... the operation looks impressive, but have you ever sat on a Cube full suspension bike? To me they feel terrible - the sizing is all over the place, geo is just weird on some of them, and somehow even though most of their bikes are really well specced for the price, they still look really cheap... not that looking inexpensive is a real problem, but it sort of is if you're spending thousands. Also, I hope they stop making anything other than frames themselves - felt a Cube dropper post? Jeeeeesus.... That said I hope they put out some decent stuff soon though because their operation seems pretty cool and the more good bikes out there the better :-)
  • + 2
 I am on my second Cube, the first an AMS130 was very good. As I got better I changed it for a Stereo. There are newer bikes that may be flashier, more modern or whatever. I find the Stereo very good. On the strength of this we then bought a second hand Fritzz for my son and rebuilt it. Also a stunningly good bike. Some of the paint jobs are interesting (the Fritzz was white sludge/maroon with a touch of yellow) but a powder coat sorted that out. The Stereo has more panels of colour than strictly necessary but at least it is white, black and grey.

As for the bearings, if you look after it and and do not belt it with a pressure washer there are no problems. A pressure washer will kill any bearing regardless or size or the bike manufacturer.

Across most of the range you get an awful lot of bike for you money.
  • + 2
 It's a fair read, I just want any to know how the big American brands will approach price long term vs cheaper brands.
They always had that were producing a better product but once that's matched?
  • + 1
 @mattwragg - those weighted testing rigs look pretty intense. Would Pinkbike consider doing a tech piece on the QC/lab testing that frames and components get put through at the factory? Surely one of the manufacturers would be keen to show off their gear - or do they keep these things a secret?
  • + 5
 ah man the photog's skills ain't helping that girls mustache
  • + 2
 I don't think that is a mustache, its what's known locally as bushlip...
  • + 1
 What is all the fuzz about? I ride a Specialized SJ FSR 29 Expert. In this price range Cube still has great value. The thing that kept me from buying the Stereo in 2013 was the specs. Eg 3 x 10. Three of my friends ride Cubes. On the Austrian market Cube has an image like VW. Good value for money. Of course the rather similar Audi has more prestige. And if you have got the money you will think about buying a merc or a BMW.
  • + 0
 I ve seen a lot of cube full suspension bikes come into the workshop and the vast majority have issues with pivot bolts working loose, bearings being loose in carbon frames, cracks, and even bolts being too long in the rocker so have excessive play in linkage.....we went to a cube demo day and four dealers from around England grabbed the rep and told him about these same issues we were all having....his response...well I ve had cubes for years now and never had that issue.......yes mate its a conspiracy...we got together earlier and made it all up!
  • + 3
 At first glance I thought the title said "Ice Cube Bikes" and I was very confused yet oddly excited.
  • + 1
 Cool article!

Surprised by this: "industry giants like Trek and Specialized in the none-too-distant future."

I thought Giant was the largest, both by self-branded volume, and the volume they make for other manufacturers.
  • + 1
 sounds like the R&D team at cube needs to listen to these PB comments and fix there bearing /linkage issues. Spend all the money on R&D ya like cube but all ya gotta do is read the first 15 comments on this thread.
  • + 2
 Surely those in north America can order from Chain Reaction? They sell all the CUBES... still, now I understand why they hardly ever get tested.
  • + 2
 Am I the only one that thinks their model lineup is confusing as hell? They've got like 500 different Stereo models and the lower end models are called "race."
  • + 1
 I do like the look of Cube bikes and they are great value but im not convinced with their build quality or their speed in sorting warranty claims. Will be a make i will always avoid unfortunately
  • + 2
 Do inside, Banshee, Ragley and Hope please. MTB Insight did an episode on Hope and it was great. The inside *insert company name here* Pinkbike are doing are good
  • + 3
 The Geometry Mule is awesome!
  • + 2
 Love these inside look articles. Interesting to see what goes into making bikes.
  • + 2
 this inside series is awesome. pls more (i know 3 more from germany are coming)
  • + 3
 Asking the real question here : WHAT ARE THE RED PINS FOR ?!
  • + 1
 Those are the missle silos. Matt Wrag has now "disappeared".
  • + 2
 Oh shit, I feel stupid now. Missed this one. Frown
  • - 1
 +4
flag velociraptor-clintthrust (1 hours ago)

Pinkbike suddenly has a hard on for cube... They do make some nice bikes though

What do you think the new wear house is for, I didn't see any 3000 pd bike assembly factory. They'll bring them in boxed from asia like everyone else.

The new 140/160/200 bike look good enough to recommend / ride.
  • + 1
 nope, the low end stuff up to about £600 is built in asia, everything further up the scale is built in germany.
  • + 2
 In Kasakhstan, bike rides you!
  • + 1
 hello my name Börat
  • + 1
 very nice how much?
  • + 1
 They build 800 bikes they build a day, how many of those are Electric bikes?
  • + 1
 how the heck is CUBE in contact with Algeria, but the US is a future market???

JUST TAKE MY AMERICAN MONIES ALREADY!!!
  • + 2
 Take your money and spend it on people who feel their ready for our market such at YT and Commencal.
  • + 1
 The US bike market has too much sex and drugs,,,, Pube would get eaten alive out here. Thier only competition in Algeria is a $10,000 horse.
  • + 9
 because murica is not the only market in the world. i think the american market is pretty satisfied at the moment (compared to other country markets) so its only wise from cube to first observe before jumping in to it! long term business strategy doesnt contain eating every cookie you can get!
  • + 2
 Or the probably feel they do not have the manufacturing capacity yet to sell in the USA yet.
  • + 4
 If you wait until this afternoon, we are running a piece that will answer these questions for you...
  • + 2
 @SteveDekker, LMFAO !! Roger that one !!
  • + 1
 And the delivery of my Cube has just been postponed from week 7 to week 23... WTF
  • + 1
 Same here, from week 6 to week 19. . . Big Grin
  • + 2
 Amazing article. One day I will have a Cube I love them
  • + 1
 Why all this cube press lately???....gwinny goin there???
  • + 1
 I would consider a proposal to be the Mongolian dealer. Awaiting your DM.
  • + 1
 yeah, that table top lathe...sweet.
  • + 1
 Ps I rode the yt capra several times... Also a bike that is fun to ride
  • + 1
 nice, but more interesst about the eBike Fullsuspension sector!!
  • + 0
 Originally it was supposed to be Pube bikes but then someone told the boss what pubes mean in English.
  • + 1
 Knipex pliers. I approve.
  • + 1
 How to make an ugly bike 101...
  • + 1
 Maybe one day 3D printing for metallic frames!! Wink
  • + 1
 America is over run with bike makers right now.
  • + 1
 I want that table top lathe and milling cutter. Badly.
  • + 0
 Edit:^^^^^^^


flag keystonebikes (1 hours ago)

its refreshing to see a bike factory that isnt in asia for a change.
  • + 1
 opa! Brasil... Future market!!!!!
  • + 1
 Cube might as well take that yellow pushpin out of Middle America.
  • + 1
 I wonder how much cube is paying for the coverage?
  • + 1
 Love these inside look stories. MOAR PICTURES!!!
  • + 0
 Gwin going to Cube....eh...is it tues day?
  • - 3
 This new dh rig looks terrible, like something strait from mid 90's...
Kind of a mixed Kona Stinky/Stab with Giant ATX.
maybe this rig rips, but in my honest opinion it looks far from amazing.

Cheers
  • + 0
 I want to see a video of that handle bar test!
  • + 4
 "Bar test" - here it's called pub crawl...
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