First Ride: 2020 Cube Stereo 170 SL 29

Aug 15, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  

170 seems to be a hot number these days, at least when it comes to the amount of rear travel on the latest batch of big wheelers. The Cube Stereo 170 is a new addition to this rapidly growing category, an aluminum 29er that's billed as a “mountain flattening machine.”

There are three complete bikes available, all with 29” wheels and all with aluminum frames. The Stereo 170 SL 29 shown here comes with a 170mm Fox 36 Factory fork, a Float X2 shock, Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain and 4-piston brakes, and a Newman Evolution aluminum wheelset shod with a Schwalbe Magic Mary up front and a Hans Dampf in the rear. It retails for $6,999 CAD.

Cube Stereo Details

• Wheel size: 29"
• Rear travel: 170mm
• Fork travel: 170 or 180mm
• Aluminum frame
• 64.4° - 65° head angle
• 435mm chainstays
• Price: $6,999 CAD as shown
The Stereo 170 TM 29 has a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil shock with a remote lockout, and a 180mm Lyrik Ultimate fork. Other build highlights include a Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain (the shifter is an SLX), XT 4-piston brakes, and e*thirteen's LG1 wheels. MSRP: $ 6299 CAD.

The most affordable Stereo 170 is the $4,899 CAD Race 29 model, which has a Fox DPX2 shock, Fox 36 Float Grip fork, SRAM GX drivetrain and Code R brakes, along with a Newman Evolution wheelset and a Maxxis Assegai / Minion DHR II tire combo.

cube stereo 170

Frame Details & Suspension Design

The Stereo 170 is constructed from hydroformed 7005 series aluminum (there's no carbon version, at least not yet) with an anodized finish on the SL version pictured here that should help it withstand the inevitable scrapes and scuffs.

cube stereo 170
cube stereo 170
There are separate mounting positions depending on whether an air or coil shock is used.

It's the two shock positions that differentiate the Stereo 170 from its contemporaries. Having multiple geometry settings on a frame is fairly common, but that's not what those two mounting positions are for. Instead, one position is for use with a coil shock, and the other for an air shock. The different positions and shock stroke lengths (230 x 65mm for coil and 230 x 62.5mm for air) are meant to create the desired suspension characteristics for each shock. In the coil shock position, the bike has a much more progressive leverage ratio curve to keep it from bottoming out too easily.

All of the bikes in the lineup are spec'd with a chain guide and bash guard, and they can all hold a water bottle inside the front triangle.

cube stereo 170
There's room for wide tires, although I'm not sure about that pokey bit on the seatstays.
cube stereo 170
A ribbed chainstay protector helps keeps things quiet, but I'd recommend adding some mastic tape on the part that's not covered - the chain can hit there too.


Cube have never been known for going too wild with their bikes' geometry numbers, and that remains true for the Stereo 170. There are three sizes, 18”, 20” and 22”, with corresponding reach numbers of 444, 464, and 484.

The head angle can be altered by .6 degrees by rotating the Across headset cups 180-degrees. The Stereo SL 29 that I rode comes with the cups in the steeper setting, giving the bike a 65-degree head angle out of the box.

Seat tube lengths have been falling over the last few years as longer and longer dropper posts become the norm, but Cube's numbers are still on the longer side, measuring 420, 470, and 520mm for the three sizes. The effective seat tube angle sits at a relatively steep 76.5 degrees.

cube stereo 170
Cube Stereo 170 TM
cube stereo 170
Cube Stereo 170 Race

First Ride

I was able to sneak away from the hustle and bustle of Crankworx Whistler to get a lap on the Cube Stereo 170 SL outside of the confines of the bike park. The ride started with a moderately steep fireroad climb, followed by some rooty singletrack made extra tricky by the recent rain, and then finished with a steep rock and root filled slice of trail perfection.

That ride also happened to be a ride that I recently did on the new Specialized Enduro, which also has 29” wheels and 170mm of travel. Those numbers may be the same, but the bikes have very different handling characteristics. The Stereo 170 felt closer to a long travel trail bike, while the Enduro sits much closer to the downhill side of the spectrum.

The Stereo was easy to lift up and over obstacles, and navigate around tight turns, but it didn't seem to have the same level of 'plowability' that the Enduro does. I had to concentrate a little more to stay on line when things got really rough, rather than just dropping my heals and turning off my brain. Keep in mind that I'd been on an S4 Enduro, which has a reach of 487mm and a wheelbase of 1274mm, compared to the 20” Stereo's 464mm reach and 1237mm reach – those number likely played apart in the difference in stability I was noticing.

The thing is, not all longer travel 29ers need to be mini-DH bikes. There's something to be said for more maneuverable, more versatile bikes with some extra travel to take the sting off those really rough sections of trail, which is the category the Stereo 170 SL seems to fall into, at least based on my initial ride impressions.


  • 49 1
 The different mounts for differing progression for coil/air is genius. I expect to see this in longer travel bikes in the future. Whenever I see a pit shot of a test mule with a few different mount options I get insanely jealous.
  • 3 0
 Its been on many other bikes in the past (like the GG bikes) but never marketed effectively. This, with a single sentence from one pb editor, is the real genius.
  • 6 0
 @hamncheez: true, usually it's under the guise of a flip chip (which most of us have an aversion to) and called something abstract like "Crush/Plush". And on some of the previous GG models it did affect the geo. Just clearly call it "linear/progressive" or in this case "coil/air" and don't mess with the geo.
  • 3 0
 My Titus El Guapo had that feature 6 years ago. It worked well too despite being less that a cm different.
  • 31 1
 Finally Cube has started making bikes that don’t look hideous. The last couple of years have seen a long overdue transformation in design on Cube mountain bikes.
  • 6 0
 But does it have a TWAT box?
  • 27 3
 Cube is definitely thinking outside the Box.
  • 5 3
 underrated comment
  • 19 1
 i have a hard time differentiating this and the trek right above it on the home page
  • 18 0
  • 2 0
 truer words have never been spoken
  • 9 0
 Who takes care of Canadian / North American sales and support for Cube? Asking for a friend... who whispers in my ear from my shoulder saying I need more bikes no matter how many I get.
  • 2 0
 Bowcycle in calgary. I think revolution cycles in edmonton. Not sure about bc
  • 7 0
 "The Stereo 170 felt closer to a long travel trail bike, while the Enduro sits much closer to the downhill side of the spectrum."

@mikekazimer : Does it feel a lot like the current gen Enduro? As that's my experience with the current bike.
  • 2 0
 I ask the same @mikekazimer Smile
  • 9 1
 @mikekazimer How would you compare these 170mm 29ers (Cube Stereo, Specialized Enduro, Santa Cruz Megatower, Scott Ransom, Rocky Mtn Slayer)???
  • 3 0
 I remember in 2004 I’d be trail riding my Bullit that had 150mm of rear travel and dudes would call it a DH bike. I’d say, no, really, you shouldvtry it. 6” of travel is perfect for rough fast trail riding. It pedals good too!
“Yeah right” they’d say and ride off laughing to themselves. In 2019, 150mm of rear travel is very common. I’ve been riding a 2016 UZZI for 3 years with 190mm rear travel and 27.5 wheels, it pedals much better than my bullit ever did and it’s a blast.

With advances in suspension technology, new materials, and an acceptance of new geometry and ideas, we’re seeing the rear travel numbers on aggressive enduro/trail bikes inch their way up literally, and I couldn’t be happier!,
  • 7 2
 Less than zero interest in this bike, but the different mounting option for air vs. coil is genius.
  • 4 1
 Care to elaborate a little more on the suspension and on the bike in general? More on the plush side or very progressive?

How does it climb, especially compared to the Enduro?
  • 4 0
 Is the hard tail called the “mono”? That would sound right. Enter more sound puns
  • 1 0
 Close, they have one called Analog
  • 5 0
 When seat tube is longer than reach I look to something else.
  • 2 0
 Everybody is complaining about the "to long" and "old school" Seat tube lengths. I have very long legs, I see no disadvantage for me, I am fine with the 520mm plus 170mm dropper post length to pedal uphill an efficient way.
  • 3 0
 'tis the week for long travel 29ers I guess
  • 5 0
  • 2 0
 feel like bikes like this would have been atop the DH podium not that many years ago...
  • 2 0
 The bottle cage needs to be closer to the shock, so you can fit more than 250ml kids bottle in there.
  • 2 0
 Cube always does this. No idea what their problem is!
  • 2 0
 The German sites will have this for $3200USD shipped but no shipping across the Atlantic. Just teasing all of us.
  • 2 1
 WTF is up with the saddle position. Seems to me that's a common problem with plenty of these steeper seat angled bikes.
  • 2 0
 That was how the rider before me had it. I slid it forward into a more normal position for my ride and didn’t have any issues.
  • 3 2
 Scott Ransom sales just went through the roof this week.
  • 2 1
 What do you mean by that?
  • 1 1
 @Isey: Ummmm Hi hahaha. Sooo 3 new bikes , some with multiple wheel size options, others not, some carbon only, others not, same design essentially but somehow the Ransom comes in at a much lighter weight, wheel size and material options. Can I expand further for you please.
  • 6 1
 @jorgeposada: now check the retail prices Wink
  • 1 1
 @likehell: You seriously think I haven't.
  • 3 1
 @jorgeposada: haha no, I think you had.. now you want the CUBE Wink
  • 1 2
 @likehell: Don't they teach you never to assume anything in Europe.
  • 4 1
 I assume you sound snobby.

Fits the stereotype of a Swiss bike enthusiast.

No offense Brendan,Dean and the freeride legends... you get paid to ride themWink @jorgeposada:
  • 1 1
 @Cherry79: That's the beauty of having your own credit card, welcome to earth.
  • 1 0
 @jorgeposada: never to assume anything.. like your assumption about the Ransom sales?
  • 1 0
 @likehell: That is called a joke since we are dissecting posts.
  • 1 0
 @jorgeposada: cheers buddy!
  • 1 0
 Needs longer travel dropper. Fail. each, their own.
  • 2 4
 Having loads of travel to bail you out of the trouble the geo got you in seems daft to me. I'd take a modern geo hartail over a old school bike with suspension any day. And I'm in no way a hardtail fanboy
  • 2 1
 Better than not having the travel to cope with the speeds that the geo needs to work well. Particularly if you are not keen on crashing.
  • 5 1
 I'm not sure that a 29in bike with a 64.5 HTA, a 76.5 STA and 435mm chainstays is an old school bike.
  • 2 1
 I've spent a lot of time on their 2017 stereo 160 with the old school geo. My only complaint is the high top tube; otherwise it's an awesome bike not just for the downs but pedalling and tech climbing it's just ace. The short reach has its advantages.
  • 1 0
 Sounds like Micro Climate or Dark Crystal.... lol
  • 1 0
 Still not getting on board with 29", they are just less fun!
  • 2 3
 oh here we go... yes, it looks like something we've seen before. get over it.
  • 4 3
 Looks flexy
  • 1 1
 Looks like a cube
  • 1 1
 Looks like a Process
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