The iXS NotARace Test Session not only brought us a taste of World Cup riding again, it also brought with it the new tech we're used to seeing on the downhill race circuit too. From a new Gamux downhill bike to prototype tires and wheels, there was plenty we could stick our camera lenses at and get all the juicy details on.
One brand that were keeping things a bit closer to their chest was Cube with their new downhill bike. Yes, this isn't the first we've seen of the bike as both Phil Atwill and Max Hartenstern have been posting teaser pictures on their Instagrams since February, but it was our first chance to see it in the flesh, up close and personal.
The most obvious change to the bike is the front end, which is now a flowing carbon shape. All previous Cube downhill bikes have been blocky aluminum frames, including the 29er Two15 HPA the team were riding last year. We'd guess that the new carbon frame not only brings lighter weight but also a lower standover and other geometry tweaks. The stays look like they're going to remain aluminum for now, something we couldn't previously see from the low-fi Instagram pictures and videos.
The suspension philosophy looks like it will be staying the same on the new bike with an old-reliable Horst Link system still the linkage of choice, as it continues to be for most downhill bikes out there at the moment. We've no doubt that Cube have refined the kinematics of the link though as we've noticed both Max and Phil Atwill have been running the bike with coil shocks where they generally used air shocks when racing on previous versions of the bike.
Max was running 29" front and rear, not the mullet 29/27.5" set up we've seen Commencal and Specialized opt for with their new bikes this past month. However, looking at the linkage, it seems there may be some adjustability there so we wouldn't be surprised if running the mixed wheel set up is an option for those racers that want it.
We were initially expecting some solid news on this bike as the race season began in Lousa, but with the start of the season being pushed back and potentially not happening at all, we're sure it won't be too long before we get some more concrete details on the new bike.