Review: 2021 Cube TWO15 HPC SLT - DH Bike Week

Feb 11, 2021 at 8:41
by Dan Roberts  


It's hard to rival a full on downhill bike, and we do love them here at Pinkbike. As our resident artist, Taj Mihelich, cleverly suggested - The King With Two Crowns.

The Cube TWO15 HPC SLT marks the start of a week of downhill bike content. We've a review a day, culminating in a comparison of these four DH bikes. So if you're missing the How Does It Compare section, then hang tight and that's where it'll be.

But let’s not stand on ceremony and jump right in.





Cube are no strangers to racing. Their long serving team has seen the racers on countless versions of the TWO15 as trends and tools for speed changed.

For 2021 they introduced two new versions of it, one catering more for the bike parks and one with racing firmly in its sights. That HPC version is the one we’ve been testing in its SLT guise.

They’ve also put their money where their mouth is with their recent signing of Danny Hart, who will be aboard this latest iteration come Maribor in not that many months.
TWO15 HPC SLT Details

Rear wheel travel: 198mm
Fork travel: 200mm
Wheel size: 29"
Material: Carbon fibre mainframe & link / aluminum chainstay & seatstay
Sizes: M, L & XL (tested)
Weight: 15.9kg / 35.05lbs (L, w/o pedals)
Price: €5,999
More info: cube.eu

There’s no beating around the bush with what this bike is for, and while the name and overall layout remain similar there are a whole host of changes to the new version, some quite drastic when looking back to the previous bike, that are touted to make it a much faster bike.

But are those changes in the right direction? There was only one way to find out.







bigquotesOn longer, smoother, more open turns the Cube really is a rocket. You can not even bother with the brakes and just set up high and really lean it in, opening up the corner to give you more time for the exaggerated choreography that is needed. In precisely those turns the Cube is probably the fastest of all the bikes we tested and is certainly the most stable and unflustered. Dan Roberts





Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
This is Cube's first composite DH frame, with a carbon mainframe and link.


Construction and Features

While not their first company rodeo with composite materials, the TWO15 is Cube’s first time using it in a downhill application. The mainframe and rocker link are made from carbon fiber, while the seatstay and chainstay are aluminum. It’s a pretty voluminous main frame too, with the large diameter down tube being front and centre in the show. The composite rocker is clever in its construction - it's devoid of pockets that could potentially hold mud.

As opposed to a lot of other rocker pivot style bikes, the shock piggyback is down at the main frame and in the case of the TWO15 it’s turned around too, with it facing the seat tube. This mirrors the previous bike, and looks like it allowed Cube to remove some belly from the down tube and have the rocker moving the lighter end of the shock around. Access to the adjusters is still good too on the spec Fox DHX2 shock.

Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
Carrying on from the previous TWO15, the shock's piggyback is mounted to the mainframe and turned to face the seat tube and allows a less pregnant down tube bend.
Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
That down tube is a big one, but it's protected well with the large, stick on down tube protector.

Interestingly, Cube went with an imperial length shock. Compared to the metric equivalent there’s 1.2mm more stroke in an 8.7mm shorter shock, which is a win-win situation. And with Fox’s commitment to imperial lengths for the near future Cube felt confident to go that direction. There are some other brands, like EXT and Öhlins, who still make imperial shocks too. But RockShox don’t offer any new shocks in imperial, and there is a tiny bit of doubt as to just how long imperial will be offered for.

The aluminum rear end of the bike is pretty clean, with a 203mm post mount brake as standard. Although the large sculpted seat tube does look a bit out of place with a round seat post sticking out of it, and it would be interesting to see how clean the sharp edge along the top tube stays after many a season of mud littered riding.

Cable routing is all internal, with the fork bumpers doubling up as the cable entries. This is another bike that suffers from internal cable rattle, especially inside the boom box like down tube.

Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
The adjustable headset cups drop into the frame in one of two settings.
Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
Small pegs on the cups key with molded recesses in the head tube and stop any turning.

Stick on frame protection covers a big portion of the down tube, chainstay, seatstay and even heel rub areas, although it was already peeling off out of the box and can be seen peeling off in the marketing photos from Cube. These bikes aren’t cheap, and while it’s nice to see the thought about protection on the frame it often feels like more of an after-thought in cases like this, especially when some of the other bikes on test do such a good job on this detail.

All versions of the TWO15 come with adjustability in the form of headset cups. They’re made by what seems to be the current leader of the headset mafia, as nearly every new bike at the moment has Acros, and drop into the frame and have two small protrusions that key into molded slots in the head tube to give only the two exact positions. They are however made of plastic and I cringe every time I think of that and back to the one and only time I tried plastic headset cups on a pump track bike, only to have them last one and a half laps before destroying themselves into many, many pieces.

On the positive, the system does allow half a degree of angle adjustment very quickly without completely dismantling the front of the bike. It does need a fair bit more preload from the also plastic top cap, and while there are markings on the cups to help alignment, it’s certainly not the most intuitive or well-marked. With both grooves in the cups facing forwards, the bike is in the slack setting. Turning both grooves to face backwards puts the bike in the steep setting.







Geometry & Sizing

The TWO15 is available in M, L and XL sizes. Gven that the HPC is a full 29” wheeled bike, Cube might have forgone the S size due to the shorter rider trouser clearance issue with a big wheel flying around in the back. Interestingly, we’ve already seen a modified mullet version under Danny Hart.

There are some big jumps in the sizing too, with 20mm in reach difference from M to L and then 27mm from L to XL. While I could ride an L, it would have then been the shortest bike on test and so I opted for the XL.

Our TWO15 measured fairly close to the stated geometry - reach was a touch shorter at 485mm, head angle was a bit slacker at 63°, the chainstay was a bit longer at 447mm and the BB height was a bit lower at 339mm, which also increased the stack to 657mm.

The headtube length on the Cube is quite a bit longer than the other bikes we tested, at 124mm, and means that even if you like a high bar height, you need to slam the top crown on the forks. Our SLT version came with a 20mm rise RaceFace SixC bar, which did help even it out a bit. But smaller riders and fans of a low bar height could have some issues.

With the adjustable headset cups the head angle can either be altered by 0.5°. While it will alter the rest of the geometry slightly too, Cube commented that they wanted to try to focus on one specific geometry adjustment rather than a large, full bike change.





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Suspension Design

The four-bar layout of the TWO15 is more recognisable than in the likes of the Specialized Demo and Canyon Sender, and while it’s pretty much the same as the ever-comparable Session, it certainly doesn’t look like one.

Cube made further changes in the suspension department, with a greatly upped amount of progression compared to the old bike, up at 42%. That means high initial starting ratios, up at 3.5, multiplying the force coming from the rear axle into the shock and in turn moving the shock shaft slower than a lower leverage bike.

Anti-squat and anti-rise also saw an increase too, with the new bike having 125% anti-squat, in a 32/18 gear combination, and 48% anti-rise at 25% shock stroke sag. Those values never dip below 0%, like the old bike.

In many ways the increase in anti-squat and anti-rise are on trend and a welcome addition. But the drastic up in progression is going a bit against what we’re seeing on a lot of other DH bikes, which are reducing overall progression after a period of high percentage values.





Specifications
Release Date 2021
Price
Travel 198
Rear Shock Fox DHX2 Factory
Fork Fox 40 Factory
Headset Acros Angle Adjustment
Cassette SRAM X01 DH, 7s
Crankarms Race Face SixC 165mm 32T
Chainguide MRP SXg
Bottom Bracket Race Face Press Fit
Chain SRAM PC 1110
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 DH
Shifter Pods SRAM X01 DH
Handlebar Race Face SixC
Stem Race Face Atlas 35
Grips SDG Thrice
Brakes Magura MT7 203mm Discs
Wheelset Race Face Atlas
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary / Big Betty Super Gravity Soft
Seat SDG Fly 2.0
Seatpost SDG I-Beam Carbon


Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot

The Two15 HPC SLT was a bit of a change to the regularly RockShox sprung bikes in test. Up front is a Fox 40 Factory fork and out back is the company’s DHX2 Factory shock.

There is a SRAM X01 drivetrain though combined with Race Face Sixc cranks and MRP chainguide. Race Face Atlas wheels are clad in a Schwalbe Magic Mary / Big Betty combo in Super Gravity casing and Soft compound. Braking is done with Magura MT7s and 203mm rotors front and rear.

Touchpoints are the Race Face Sixc bar, Atlas stem and SDG grips, along with an SDG I-Beam seat post and saddle.

Our size XL bike weighed in at 15.9kg or 35.05lbs.

The TWO15 HPC SLT retails for 5,999 EUR with currently there being no RRP in USD.





Bike Setup

Sadly, another bike in our group test to arrive with no suggested settings. Our XL size came with a 475lbs spring and I went off the recommended settings printed on the side of the Fox 40, saying 76psi, for the first ride.

The TWO15’s huge progression in the leverage ratio makes a bike that even a passing breeze would begin to compress the suspension, and bouncing around in the car park it feels very soft and supple. I stuck with the recommended settings in the fork in an attempt to match the feeling in the fork with that at the rear.

The SixC bars come stock at 820mm wide and there’s even spacers included for under the direct mount stem. While I do have a bit of an ape like stance, the 820mm bars made me feel like I was a kid riding my Dad’s bike, so I trimmed them to 800mm and ran with no spacers under the stem. I also started with the bike in the slack head angle setting.


Dan Roberts // Technical Editor
Age: 34
Location: Champéry, Switzerland
Height: 188cm (6'2”)
Weight: 75kg (165 lbs)
Industry affiliations / sponsors: Garage Bike Project, former engineer at Scott Sports
Instagram: @le_crusher
Test Locations: Champéry, Morgins, Bex, Dorenaz, Chatel, Morzine & Bernex



Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot

Performance

My first ride on the Cube was by now a familiar scenario after already riding the likes of the Commencal Supreme and Canyon Sender, whose reviews are coming up. That singletrack mind to only go fast is very much there and you can almost feel the bike’s urgency to go as you’re stood at the top of a run. Getting further into the run is where the Cube begins to have a different character to the others. You begin to feel less an active part of the ride, almost as if the bike would go the same speed without you on it. That runaway feeling needing a lot of body language to keep in check.

On longer, smoother, more open turns the Cube really is a rocket. You can not even bother with the brakes and just set up high and really lean it in, opening up the corner to give you more time for the exaggerated choreography that is needed. In precisely those turns the Cube is probably the fastest of all the bikes we tested and is certainly the most stable and unflustered. But a DH track is not just exactly those turns.

Tighter turns, or ones in quicker succession, really need some muscle to flip the bike over from side to side. Or coming in ferociously hot to a very tight turn requires the same level of muscle. Something that when doing full runs is very much noticeable. The Cube can be a really tiring bike to ride.

When the terrain undulates is where the Cube also needs some serious body language. That high progression and ratios in the suspension translate into a lot of vertical chassis movement, something that needs to be controlled with your natural suspension in your arms and legs. Don’t put the work in on the Cube and it won’t let you get away with it. It’s sometimes a weird feeling to be so active in the movements yet feel less of an active part of the ride.


Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot


With the bike’s geometry and suspension, a lot of the input from the rider is diluted before it becomes an action. And with the speed that the bike wants to do, it leaves you having some serious internal discussions about if you’re up for that much commitment. While that level can be a lot of fun, I’m not entirely sure it’s something people are going to be up for every run of every day, something that is really highlighted when going back-to-back with the other bikes and comparing the speeds and how much you need to invest in the bike.

Trying to control the big bouncy chassis of the Cube leaves you with not many tools left over to fine tune and tweak. The high ratios need a lot of damping and a big spring, which in turn needs more damping, pushing you into a corner of setup if you really want to reduce the chassis movement at speed. The traction the suspension offers is incredible, but traction is certainly not there all the time at race speeds, where chassis composure takes precedence.

The progressive nature of the suspension also lends the Cube to riding dynamically low in its travel, which combined with the low BB means that it’s often making friends with the ground. And this makes me wonder if it’s how Cube landed on an adjustable head angle. Perhaps dynamically the bike is too slackened out and they were struggling with front end grip, something that can easily happen when you let your guard down and aren’t aggressive with getting your weight a bit more forward.


Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot


That lead me to running the adjustable headset in the steep position. It made the front wheel a bit more manageable with the bike riding a bit deeper in its travel and put a bit more load on the front wheel, which again helped in those aforementioned scenarios when it got a bit choppered out. It is a quick change to do and you don't even need to take the top crown off. But after a few times of playing around with the head angle, the plastic top cap gave up and split, so I swapped it out to an aluminium one for the remainder of the test, especially with the advice from Cube that this headset needs more preload than a regular one. This didn't do anything for my thoughts that plastic isn’t the material of choice for DH headsets, with the cups being a proprietary part.

Normally I would be adding a bit more air into the fork, especially if the Fox 40 was specced on some of the other bikes with a more stable chassis. On the Cube however, a slightly softer setup on the fork actually complemented the rear and helped me keep my weight more central and more of it on the front wheel. A stiffer fork often felt like it pushed my weight too much onto the rear and only exacerbated the problems. That tendency to end up a bit in the back seat remains on the Cube and you have to consciously maintain or pre-empt keeping a good riding position.

I’ve had experience in not only riding but developing bikes in the past with high levels of progression and leverage ratios, and it was a bit of déjà vu from those experiences with the Cube. Looking at some of the other DH bikes that have been released recently, or even what the race teams are now running goes a little against the high progression idea. Just as there is a too linear a bike, there can also be too progressive a bike. And I wonder if Cube has gone too far away from the happy window where all the factors are balanced.





Maintenance

Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
The plastic headset top cap gave up after a few times adjusting the head angle.
Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
There's frame protection in all the needed areas, but it's very poorly stuck down and is coming un-stuck at a rate of knots.

The Cube’s open frame makes it easy to keep clean and work on. There are few overlapping frame areas but not that many places for the thick mud to collect, although the sheer size of the downtube allows more mud to stick to it. The composite link also has no moulded in pockets meaning there’s no space for mud to collect on it.

Despite the internal cable routing on the main frame and chainstay, it is easy to strip the whole bike down to work on. The brake actually runs external on the chainstay. But it can be a real pain to get the fiddly little plastic bungs around the cables back in the mainframe. It’s familiar hex tool interfaces throughout the bike too, with a couple of small sizes in some important places however. Like a 3mm for the lower shock bolt.

The down tube protector covers really well and remained stuck on. Which can’t be said for the chainstay and heel rub protection, which do have a tendency to come unstuck.

Unfortunately, there’s a complete lack of user or service manual for the TWO15, leaving you to take the bike apart to figure out the bearing sizes and some common sense on reassembly with grease and thread locker.





Technical Report

Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
The MT7 brakes were powerful, but power is nothing without control, as a certain tire manufacturer says, and the flex in the system makes it hard to meter out the braking power around the bite point.
Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
Race Face's Atlas wheelset worked perfectly through testing and remained true and tensioned despite a good beating.

Magura MT7 Brakes: While it was a bit of refreshing sight to have something other than SRAM Codes, the Maguras have one major flaw. While the power is undeniable, even with just 203mm rotors, there is simply so much flex in the system, mainly coming from the lever, that the bite point of the brakes when you’re riding almost vanishes. That makes it really hard to meter out the brake power to the available grip, especially when the ground is wet and traction isn’t there.

Race Face Atlas Wheels: The Atlas wheels spun perfectly, stayed true and never dropped tension throughout the test. It’s up for debate if you need that many points of engagement in the rear hub, but they continued to work well no matter what we threw at them. The offset spokes in the rim are a bit shorter due to the enormous hub shells.

Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
Fox's new 40 is simply brilliant. After many a Boxxer, the 40's suppleness and, mainly, composure was really up there, the faint damping noises being the only noticeable thing while it went about its job underneath you.
Cube TWO15 HPC SLT Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
The Magic Mary and Big Betty combo from Schwalbe is a good choice, but the Super Gravity casing and Soft, not Ultra Soft, compound let them down a bit. They do wear pretty well though.

Fox Suspension: Another refreshing sight was the Fox suspension and was a treat to ride, especially the new 40 which was a standout fork in the group test. It was soft when you needed it to be, hard when you needed that, had good ride height and just seemed to blend away leaving only the small damping schlurp to let you know it was doing its job underneath you.

Schwalbe Tires: The Magic Mary / Big Betty tire combo was an interesting one and worked quite well. But once I was accustomed to the Ultra Soft compounds that some of the other bikes came specced with, the Soft compound had noticeably less grip, especially in damp conditions. While some lighter or smoother riders will likely get away with the Super Gravity casing tires, they don’t quite perform as well as a full-on DH casing tire, especially on a bike that wants to go real damn fast. They will hold onto rubber and wear a whole lot better than the Ultra Soft compound, though.





Pros

+ Huge speed in the right terrain and style of riding
+ Fantastic performance from the Fox suspension, especially the 40 fork
+ Incredibly supple suspension
Cons

- Suspension may be too active
- Requires more muscling around than the competitors
- Particular sizing and geometry details





Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesThere are lots of traits on the TWO15 that I love, like its stability at speed and its suppleness no matter what you’re rolling over. But there are a few traits and design choices that leave me a bit cold, especially in combination with one another.

While the speed of the bike is there, it’s only accessible in the right terrain and riding style. Outside of that and you’re on a runaway freight train that needs a lot of piloting to grab the reins.

While the new TWO15 is definitely a step on from the previous bike, in comparison to the current crop of DH race bikes, and especially the ones we also tested, it doesn't quite match up to the rest of the pack. It’s not as much of an all-around sorted package of geometry, suspension, chassis and details that the best in test exhibited.
Dan Roberts







210 Comments

  • 240 5
 This is good! Unpopular opinion: We need more DH bike reviews!
  • 56 2
 What's unpopular about that!
  • 4 0
 Yup
  • 14 28
flag TheR (Feb 16, 2021 at 9:43) (Below Threshold)
 I agree, but reading is for dirt roadies! Where's the video???
  • 23 0
 @TheR: There's a four DH bike comparison video coming on the 22nd.
  • 9 0
 @dan-roberts: See, you probably wrote that somewhere for us to read, didn’t you?
  • 8 0
 @TheR: Videos get me in trouble at work, so I vote for text
  • 225 1
 Garbage review, didn’t tell us how it climbed.
  • 76 3
 No mention on whether it fits a bottle in the frame!
  • 50 0
 What size dropper could I put in....200mm???
  • 16 83
flag seismicninja (Feb 16, 2021 at 6:13) (Below Threshold)
 @ReformedRoadie: the water bottle comment is getting old...
  • 75 0
 @seismicninja: the comment section would be a barren wasteland if you eliminated repetition, and this bike totally looks like a Session.
  • 2 0
 Like an XC bike....
  • 7 0
 I need to know the STA
  • 2 0
 @texag:
Bat outta hell...

Scalded monkey...
  • 20 0
 Every bike climbs like an XC bike now, didn’t you know! Except XC bikes, they climb like eBikes.
  • 3 1
 @ReformedRoadie: ferret up a trouser leg
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: it does look like a sess tho for real
  • 14 0
 We need an "impossible descent" comparison test.
  • 107 0
 I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that we see dh bikes being reviewed. The constant:"you dont need a dh bike anymore" drives me nuts...
  • 35 1
 Yeah I feel like it has been kind of shoved down our throats a bit. And then you hear a random comment on a video of how nice a dh bike feels and "oh how I've missed riding a dh bike". Everything seems to come full circle though, so it wouldn't surprise me to see Enduro bikes become less trendy and dh bikes rise again in popularity. Super excited about dh reviews too. Thanks Pinkbike!
  • 6 0
 Why can’t I upvote this more than once
  • 3 0
 I like disappearing into the background of what’s hot. The one bike that does it all mind frame makes sense for the average rider as bikes are stupid pricy these days and when somebody rolls up with a trail destroyer dh rig you know they are your people.
  • 2 0
 A couple of times I’ve thought that if I had to just have one bike I might just keep the dh. It’s that much more fun!
  • 3 0
 DH bikes are awesome! I guess what people mean is that you can do just about anything on a decent enduro bike but with less snow, more possibilities of year round lift access riding DH bikes may well make a bit of a comeback
  • 94 0
 A DH bike review, thank you PB you made my day !
  • 29 1
 @dan-roberts your reviews are really well detailed and informative, one question that I'm going to ask though is if this is a pure bred race bike? Just thinking of my fantasy dream team for 2021 and Mr Hart Salute
  • 4 0
 Yes it is
  • 20 1
 Everything the reviewer says about the bike being a handful makes me think he should've tried a smaller fram size.
  • 11 0
 You're asking @dan-roberts when you should be asking @dolores
Smile
  • 6 0
 @excavator666: Endless rushed Gwin-style tweaks to Danny's frame incoming!
  • 7 0
 @excavator666: Riding the L would have been possible, but then it would have been the shortest bike on test. And the XL measured 5mm shorter in reach than claimed. Apply that to an L and it would have been pretty short for me.
  • 2 1
 @excavator666: Maybe they were right that a large should only be around 460 reach. I'm 5-10 have two large bikes from the same brand (Transition Throttle and Patrol). The Patrol is 475 reach and the Throttle is 450. The Throttle definitely fits better. I need 50mm high rise bars on the Patrol to get the right cockpit set up but get a way with normal 20mm rise on the Throttle, and it goes around corners better.

Enduro Magazine had a race bike test over the summer and found that slightly shorter bikes were actually faster on their test track which had lots of fast turns in it. Even Richie Rude rides a size M SB150, which was the fastest bike in their test.

Longer bikes are easier to ride fast in a straight line, but I think now that I have a bit more skill a shorter bike that is more maneuverable is actually faster overall. Next race bike will have a reach of 450-460.
  • 2 3
 @excavator666:
The increased effort it takes to handle the bike is due to your efforts being lost in the suspension, not it being too long.
  • 1 1
 @mtb-thetown: but it’s also all in the seat tube angle as well as the reach, the steeper that gets the shorter the distance to the bars, I’ve recently gone to crazy long 490 reach on my Cotic at 180cm. It fits like a glove and feels great everywhere as you’re so central to the bike, you never feel like an otb is on the cards, especially on drops and it feels fine on twisties too
  • 2 1
 @dan-roberts still though.

@mtb-thetown: I prefer a more compact frame also. 5'11" and riding a 2017 Taniwha Large (which is more like a medium by today's standards). It fits good and is very agile.

@ayanamishinji01 is it though?

@sewer-rat seat tube angle irrelevant on a DH bike surely?
  • 1 0
 @excavator666: yeah possibly, I was responding to the other post ref the comparison between the Transition throttle and patrol. However thinking about it, is it irrelevant in tracks that need some pedalling put down seated where they are trying to get every last watt into the cranks? I’m unsure, could argue that the seat angle and reach leads to increase in power through the back wheel, NEED DATA
  • 1 0
 @excavator666: if you think about it actually it’s completely relevant, could you drop into sections as fast with the seat further over the back wheel? Could you pedal as efficiently sat on the seat in flat / motorway sections of track with it halfway up the top tube or over the back wheel? Would aerodynamics be altered with the seat tube angle when riders are tucked, quite probably if they are less stretched out, so come to think of it, I think seat angles are absolutely relevant
  • 2 0
 @sewer-rat: tenuous points, well made.
  • 2 0
 @sewer-rat: I've ridden my friends XL Sentinel with a 500mm reach enough times to know that a super long bike ain't for me. It definitely feels like a rocket ship in a straight line and has no trouble on bumps and drops, but I can don't need help with those parts of the trail. I want a bike that begs for speed in corners even at the expense of straight line speed.

I'm also surprised that British riders and companies have embraced the long bike trend since nearly all the trails I see there are fairly flat but with super fast turns.
  • 31 3
 ok, someone has to say it, at this point.
  • 70 0
 Looks like a Gambler?
  • 10 0
 @Davec85: well played, sir.
  • 7 0
 its a gambler , its a session, its a kona nnoo its a updating iron horse sunday hahahha
  • 2 0
 I came here specifically and ONLY to see how many comments before somebody said it. It really took a lot this time. Haha
  • 23 0
 I am no fan of Cube bikes. But I sincerely hope Danny will be able to get a good result on this thing.
  • 14 1
 Cube bikes always seem to underperformed when entering field tests. For instance, in the 2018 DH field tests that was run by Paul Aston, the Cube was described as the least adapted bike for a DH race. Enduro-mtb also described Cube enduro bikes as more nervous and less competent than direct competitors. All of these make Cube bikes really not appealing to me, even if they offer good value equipment wise.
  • 49 0
 Picture this. You can buy a Cube Stereo 170 SL for 4k and a Specialized Enduro frame for 3k.
- Swap all the components from the Stereo to the Enduro frame and you will have a better Specialized Enduro than the one specialized sells for 7k and an extra frame and shock.
- Conclusion. They might not be 80% of the performance, but they are 200% of the value.
  • 15 0
 @Xavier-dh25: what you've just said makes me realize that Cube is not a frame maker company but rather a component retailer company !
  • 4 0
 @AAAAAHHH: a very affordable one! ????
  • 2 0
 Ignore the ????. It's just pinkbike being outdated.
  • 3 0
 @AAAAAHHH: Considering how bad some frame-makers are at speccing fit-for-purpose components, there is a lot to be said for Cubes approach.
  • 2 0
 Watching the follow cam behind Danny the other day I would say the big bike is still nervous, whether that matters to him or not is obviously something else. It just looked tiring to me and a potential handful in proper wet conditions.
  • 12 0
 Did I read correctly that the headcups are ‘plastic’ and drop into the frame so no interference fit? It even has a plastic top cap?!

If that’s right, just why? Why would you take a bike designed to see the most extreme riding possible and fit a part that is almost obviously not going to be as reliable as an aluminium / interference fit alternative?

Maybe the plastic cups are more friendly to the carbon headtube / frequent change overs, cost maybe.
  • 3 0
 **IF** the plastic cups hold up, I could see one advantage in that they would probably never creak like a metal on metal interface would.

If I owned this bike, I think of want to keep a few spare sets of cups stashed away.
  • 3 2
 Cube is hot garbage
  • 6 0
 I believe Danny is riding a mullet option which will make his bike more agile and solve some of the above mentioned issues in handling. Matched with the flat at racing nature this bike was clearly intended for it will be interesting to see that first timed race against others.
  • 6 0
 Is it common that the actual geo measurements on a frame are different than the geo chart? Never seen that in a review. Or was that measured with tires on, which I suppose could result in a slightly different HA, reach, and cs?
  • 5 0
 This, I found that part especially interesting. Would really like to know how the manufacturing tolerances are like, and if they differ between brands.
  • 4 0
 afaik, yes. There's slight deviations from the paper during manufacturing, like a mm or two here and half a degree there. Easy one to check your own HTA with a clinometer phone app
  • 2 0
 Can say my commencal supreme sx was reviewed on PB a couple of years ago with a stated HTA of 65*. Commencal geo charts confirmed.

Actual HTA was same as DH coming in at 63* with the same lyrik 180mm fork listed on the build. No complaints here though!
  • 8 1
 A good alloy bike should have a frame that is +/- 2-3mm for pretty much all the geo. Angles should be within a quarter to a half degree. A bad frame...? Double or triple that amount. Carbon is typically better than that and also generally deviates less between production runs.

With regards to this review its worth noting BB height depends entirely on tire size, and reach is VERY hard to measure accurately as it is a virtual number. CS is pretty easy to measure within 1mm with a tape measure and within 2mm seems good. There is not a ton of inclinometers better than a half degree (all the cheap digital ones you see that were designed for setting table saws show to the .1 but absolute tolerance is .5deg). On a DH bike its also very easy to adjust the head angle by .3deg just from crown/stanchion position. I would guess since its a carbon bike the HA is dead nuts and it was setup preference or measurement error that lowered it.
  • 8 0
 We 3D scanned all of the four DH bikes we tested, plus a bonus extra one, ready for another series of Behind the Numbers. But it meant that we could very easily comment on the real world geometry compared to on paper. Tyres were definitely on the bike.
  • 3 1
 Pieces of it cracked and continued to crack off during test, geometry didn't match published geometry, and it wouldn't go around corners in the size tested. We loved it!
  • 1 0
 Yes, sometimes. My dh bike was pretty much bang on but my trail bike was not even close, more than 12mm off on the wheelbase!
  • 8 0
 A bit of a shame it's review isnt that confidence inspiring. For once I think Cube have cracked it in the looks dept.
  • 7 0
 Would like to see a test of the Atherton DH rig. Or maybe like a a Foes hydro. Just not the same brands and bikes we see tested year in and year out.
  • 5 1
 I've got one of these on order because i got a steep discount and the geometry looked like cube finally managed to get something right but this review doesn't inspire too much confidence. Guess I'll be in the market for a good frame to swap the parts over
  • 25 1
 Its just one review of one guy. Maybe you will come to a different conclusion. Don't worry
  • 4 0
 @kingofbike:
I'll test it for sure, but the review sounds exactly like the caracteristics of every cube bike I've ridden to date. High in the front and a suspension platform that needs way too much dampening. But first it has to show up at all, delivery is sceduled for july...
  • 1 1
 @lettucelover: sure they're not well known for good bikes. But the Geo and Kinematics are actually pretty modern.
  • 2 0
 @lettucelover: sounds more like the opposite, because they used to be way linear and now the tester says it is too progressive
  • 1 1
 @likehell: @likehell: funny, 42% isnt that high on the list of current bikes, also some bikes went up, like the demo went to around 56%
  • 1 0
 @Y12Sentinel: I don´t know where you came to that number but demo progression is 31.4% and there is no recent DH bike anywhere near the number you stated.
  • 1 0
 @Y12Sentinel: Would also love to see where 56% came from. Current one we measured was 35%.
  • 1 2
 @dan-roberts: did the demo not increase in progression?
  • 1 0
 @Y12Sentinel: it did, from f*ck all to number mentioned above.
  • 4 0
 a big shoutout for this review! even tough i'm in no way in the market for a downhill bike. this review would help me so much in a buying decision. some much in depth information like the lack of user manual, availabiliy of the shocks, measured geo vs geo chart, kinematics, plastic parts etc. this kind of information is so valuable. i wish there was more like that in other reviews not just waterbottle and STA and ride characteristics. very well done.
  • 3 0
 "This is another bike that suffers from internal cable rattle,"

Unacceptable in 2021. Six _thousand_ euros (what's that like 7 grand in dollars?) for rattly cables? Get the f*ck out of here; and we'll hear when you're finally gone because the cable noise will be gone.
  • 3 0
 If only there were a way to make the cables quiet and easy to replace. Maybe in a fantasy world someone will find a way.
  • 2 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT:
Ya mean with something like neat and tidy cable clips on the outside of a frame? Nah man, that sounds dumb.
  • 6 0
 DH Bike Week survey: Cube frame or pube frame?
  • 4 0
 No mullet option is a big oversight. At least specialized have offered it now on the 2021 demo after the 29 only 2020 model. I would expect cube to follow next year.
  • 4 0
 Danny's riding a mullet i think?
  • 4 0
 @Dan-roberts: it looks like the Magura levers are the two finger composite ones, correct? You think this vague feeling would be remedied with the one-finger aluminium ones?
  • 9 0
 In my opinion, yes. I run Maguras on all my bikes and there is a significant improvement in flex and feeling when running the one finger aluminum levers. I kinda like the flex on my tamer bike as I find it useful in moderation, but I could see it being a problem with huge brake forces on a DH bike.
  • 2 0
 @JasonALap: thanks for sharing the experience. Smile
  • 1 0
 I was also very surprised by that comment. To me, the stocker levers are super good and offer a consistent bite point the whole way through the pad life.
  • 5 0
 Odd thing is mt7's comes as standart with 1 finger hc levers, they stopped putting 2 finger levers 1.5 years ago
  • 1 0
 I have MT5's on a 2021 Stereo 170 and i can assure you they do feel like shit in the car park test due to the flexy lever. However they do work great when riding actual trails.They are super powerful, biting hard just as the pads come in contact with the rotors. As you apply more and more force, the flex in the lever works as having a regressive leverage ratio before completely locking the wheels, giving brilliant modulation. You won't feel the flexy lever as you're riding, just the great modulation when getting near the limit of grip.
  • 4 0
 magura's feature lever-flex as modulation ????
Their 4-pot caliper is awesome though, and the 203mm discs are 2mm thick, so its a nice braking set up.... i just replaced my MT-5 levers with Shimano's.... #shigura
  • 1 0
 @Noeserd: as the aftermarket option, yes, but Magura does a lot of mixing and matching at the oem level to reach a certain price point. I think I've even seen their top tier lever with full adjustment paired with their entry level two piece caliper.
  • 1 0
 @JasonALap: hc3 with mt2 caliper what!? it probably costs around the same as mt6
  • 1 1
 Yeah. Weird spec of the composite lever on a full on top spec race rig. Can't think of a single DH racer who would ever want composite levers if they have half a clue.
  • 3 0
 Is it even a MT7 brake if the levers aren't HC3?
  • 5 0
 I would take magura brakes over anything sram produce any day of the week. Absolutely superb brakes.
  • 2 0
 Yeah I really don't get why Magura don't make the HC single finger style levers standard across all brake sets. They are so much better.
  • 1 0
 @minix Less lever flex would help for sure. In the car park the bite point is noticeable. But out on the trail the flex just masks it and it's hard to use the brakes power for the available grip. If it's such an easy way to up the performance then I'm confused as to why this wasn't specced.
  • 2 0
 @dan-roberts: I'm guessing for the same reason they went with plastic headset cups: to save a few dollars.
  • 1 0
 @JasonALap: plastic headset cups? You're either tricking me into skimming the article again or lying.
  • 2 0
 @JasonALap: oh for heavens sake. You weren't joking.
  • 1 0
 I have the hc3 mt 7 and the lever does not flex at all Smile
  • 1 0
 @dan-roberts: seems a weird choice indeed. Could be, like @jasonalap suggested, a pricing issue.
  • 1 0
 @two-one: So now you have the wandering bite point syndrome? And trying to modulate a Shimano servo-wave brake lever is like attempting to stick two magnets with the same polarity together. @mikekazimer
  • 1 0
 @matt-beer: on my shigura set i havent found any wandering bite point problems... and havent noticed a lot of that on my other shimano brakes either. Maybe I dont ride hard enough, or maybe my bleed procedure addresses it, dont know.
The modulation is great, but you do have to get used to the setup. If you come from a set of worn SRAM G2's, they will feel like a catapult.
  • 4 2
 Danny (their new rider, possibly the most talked about move this off season) riding it as a mullet and Cube dont even mention it? As in, is it a straight wheel swap or is there a different linkage or shock stroke used?

If their entire marketing budget is basically "hey look, its Danny Hart" can we actually buy or build ourselves the bike he uses?
  • 4 0
 From what it looks like they've made him a new chainstay and seatstay for the mullet setup.
  • 2 0
 I dont think Danny solely signed a deal just on the bike.iwm sure with there resources and his knowledge this brand will improve there bikes.look what gwinn did with yt and now intense these riders arnt just paid to win its a whole package It clearly wasn't working for him on saracen.hartenstern and atwill got some good results on these bikes iwm sure Danny n team will iron out any issue. From a buyers point aesthetically its very pleasing but as far as iwm concerned there made of cheese
  • 5 0
 Needs more letters in the name. Cube TWO15 HPC SLT QRS FVMC Race 29
  • 1 0
 WTF FFS !
  • 3 0
 That's a hell of a Scrabble hand.
  • 4 0
 Welcome to the 1300mm+ wheelbase life boys. Gotta stay up on that pony and spank it around to get it going the way you want.
  • 4 0
 Although I have no need for a downhill bike, I am going to happily read all of these reviews.
  • 2 0
 @dan-roberts Why do DH bike have a comparatively shorter reach than most enduro bikes? It seems they would be on par or longer considering you are in the standing position for the majority of the ride.
  • 2 0
 You have to look at the whole bike, not just the reach number. There's more travel and more aggressive geometry on a DH bike. Playing with the reach, potentially in a shorter direction compared to a shorter travel enduro bike, can help keep the whole package more manageable. But it depends on the intention of the DH bike, as quite a few we tested had reach numbers matching the same size enduro bikes from the same brand.
  • 1 0
 The stack is so much higher. Mixed with the slacker head angle, your wheelbase would be wild if the reach was super long
  • 2 0
 @dan-roberts: also they have (sometimes a lot) higher stack which equates to a longer main frame compared to lower stack numbers with the same reach. The slacker the HT angle, the shorter a bike with lower stack effectively gets when you raise the bars to proper height.
Solely comparing reach actually isn't a very precise way of comparing frame sizes although everyone is doing this.
  • 7 2
 Alternate explanation: trail bike reach numbers are too long these days, and DH bikes are closer to the right numbers. Jack Moir rides a 470mm reach size large Canyon Strive instead of the 495mm XL. I realize he's a bit of an outlier, but find me a competitive EWS pro riding a bike with a reach length above 500mm and I'll send you a high five in the mail.
  • 2 1
 @TEAM-ROBOT: that many 190+ cm riders in the ews?
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: pole team riders were doing pretty well in 2019? Not that many other brands offer +500mm reach bikes without meter long seat tubes or ridiculously unbalanced FC:RC ratios.
  • 1 0
 Looks nice. Cool to see Maguras specced as stock. I can't speak to the mt7 but I do have mt5s on my bike. The one finger lever is on my upgrade list. What I did do was switch to the mt7 pad system. I like that so much better. They feel better to me and they're so much easier to work with. I am also running TruckerCo pads. I like them better than stock.
  • 2 0
 This bike is a real beauty at a fair price, its major defect is that the shop close from home can't even order it! Almost impossible to buy...
  • 4 0
 Needs more muscling around hence why they signed a guy with massive balls.
  • 1 0
 I don't really understand the comment about the high engagement of the Atlas rear hub. You want the fastest engagement possible on a DH bike. @Dan Roberts can you clarify why you mention that?
  • 4 0
 I'd bet it has something to do with pedal kickback and potential negative affects on suspension. I also notice hub engagement much less when going downhill, but appreciate it during technical climbing.
  • 2 0
 Once you're in the speed zone where points of engagement affect the influence of impacts being felt by the rider, more can have a negative impact.
  • 1 0
 @dan-roberts: and that to me has never made much sense. I've always enjoyed the faster engagement on my DH bikes as it gives my feet a better platform to not rotate forward with lots of impacts. The "no chain" sensation isn't something I've ever enjoyed on my DH bikes.

Sure, you can get used to running with no chain and maybe pull a Gwinner of a run, but at the same time, if given one or the other to race and ride DH, I'm picking fast engagement over something like Deore every time.
  • 2 0
 Based on the reviewer sizing up, and his subsequent feeling of sluggishness, perhaps this is a bike where you shouldn't size up.
  • 3 2
 'The Cube can be a really tiring bike to ride' ....rewind to yesterdays video where Danny finished his run without being out of breath..
  • 4 1
 When bled properly the MT7 has got a quite firm bitepoint actually
  • 1 0
 A friend of mine has MT5s with 180mm rotors on his bike and I am quite impressed with them TBH. Especially for the price. He scored them 2nd hand for like $60! Didn't touch the front just swapped it straight away and no issues. The rear shortened the hose, new olive & barb, 3 minute bleed, and done! I actually prefer them to my SLXs.
  • 1 0
 Pink bike. Please buy the rights to Balfa and bring them back in production Also do a review on an old chumba wumba or mountain cycle frame!
  • 1 0
 Why the f*ck would you put an imperial shock on a new bike? "Oh its shorter for the same stroke" That's what trunnion is for ???
  • 1 0
 Danny's best runs are right on the edge of control... At least they look that way. Hmm.
  • 2 0
 Danny's balls are big enough to tame this beast!
  • 1 0
 Awesome! I wonder what other bikes they will be reviewing. There are so few DH rigs being released these days...
  • 2 0
 Grey on Grey, looks real sharp on this Cube
  • 2 0
 To small !!!!’ In the XL
  • 1 0
 That's what he said!
  • 1 0
 I'm so stoked for DH week. DH bikes (aside from mine of course) definitely do not get enough love these days.
  • 2 0
 How are you going to name it the two15 and have 198mm of travel.
  • 1 0
 Looks alright. Don't like the name though, would've been more interested if it was called the One98
  • 1 0
 Haha we might update the old -looks like a trek session- so the new phrase will be -it looks like a scott Gambler- lol
  • 1 0
 Which all got their styling cues from Kona, so ya. Bike design has stagnated.
  • 1 0
 Too active of suspension...uhhhh, such a good feeling to see a DH bike review again other than cross country or enduro!
  • 1 0
 This is the first Cube bike that I’ve ever liked. All the previous generations looked fugly!!!
  • 4 7
 It does make you wonder, for someone like Danny Hart, is the bike they’ll ride or the offer (money) on the table the biggest factor when deciding who to ride for? From this review it seems like the cube may hold Danny back, which even if it’s just by a second or two, can be the difference between winning and being off the podium. Also, for riders where there’s only one offer on the table, from a brand with poorer bike design, it must be tough KNOWING you’ll be slower but that’s your only option to race full time.
  • 14 4
 "the Cube is probably the fastest of all the bikes we tested and is certainly the most stable and unflustered"
  • 7 0
 I imagine the way Danny and the rest of the top riders ride, their set ups and preferences are in a completely different ball park to us mortals. What makes us feel uncomfortable might be what Danny wants in a bike. I imagine he tried a few frames but saw some potential in the Cube.........factory tuned suspension and support could change the bike completely to what it is out of the box. The plastic headset cups are a bit daft though and you've got to build a bike for the mass market I suppose?
  • 5 0
 I would disagree here, as it reads like the Cube really needs speed and a firm hand to get the most out of it. It also reads like Dan should have gone for the smaller size. Was missing a comment on that!
  • 10 0
 I'm pretty sure that the bike itself is almost irrelevant to a rider's team choice, as long as its not a total failure (very rare these days).
And regarding race results, team infrastructure, chemistry, mindset and support likely matter far more than the bike itself. Look at Jack Moir being super successful on his stitched together, outdated, too small, unridable-geo-by-pinkbike-standards, Canyon Strive.
  • 4 1
 @djlucas: plastic headset top cap, not cups. Big difference and if the latter exist, it's on a Barbie tricycle.
  • 9 1
 @Kai-P: read that paragraph again. Smile
  • 1 0
 I think it's not abot the bike ''being a little worse'' it's more about the personality if the bike and if it suits you, but good question.
  • 1 1
 @brianpark: don't you hate it when the context is lost in the sound byte.
  • 4 0
 @BenPea: read it again? Pretty sure he mentions the plastic cups, its the top cap that did split.....sorry to be pedantic.....but you started it!!
  • 3 0
 @djlucas: sorry pal, I jumped the gun a bit. It sounded too implausible to be true, but there it is in the text. I skimmed through too quickly. Lesson learned.
  • 2 0
 I doubt it. The comments about it needing more muscling around and hard work it your riding it all day don’t really apply to a racer. I’m sure Danny is more than strong and fit enough to make the bike go exactly where he wants it to. He wants the fastest bike over a 5 minute or less run. Not necessarily the easiest to ride
  • 4 0
 Tester: Bike is too fast and I don't have enough muscle
Danny: What?
  • 3 0
 @BenPea: hah, no worries, it is hard to believe!?
  • 2 0
 @CM999: sure, but over days of practice, and qualis that extra muscling might make a racer that little bit more tired on race day compared with the others.
  • 2 3
 @brianpark: read the whole review? Nah, that's not how things work here.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: right, but with caution. I've been told that Jack Moir deliberately chose to ride a L-sized bike...
  • 1 0
 @Kai-P: You took the quote out of context and left out a few things that completely change the meaning:

*On longer, smoother, more open turns* the Cube really is a rocket. You can not even bother with the brakes and just set up high and really lean it in, opening up the corner to give you more time for the exaggerated choreography that is needed. In precisely those turns the Cube is probably the fastest of all the bikes we tested and is certainly the most stable and unflustered. *But a DH track is not just exactly those turns.*
  • 1 0
 I think 463mm to 490mm is 27mm not 37mm
  • 1 0
 Don't say it... don't say it haha!
  • 1 0
 What? No mention of water bottle mounts?
  • 1 4
 Imperial vs metric shocks, hmmm is there really benefit for moving to metric?

I think its just one way to make more money for bike comppanys, just like super boost...

For consumer its bit of a shit show on frame warranty point of view, bought non boost Imperial shock frame 4 years ago and frame has 5 year warranty on it, it breaks down and what you get? A new boost frame that takes metric shock? There you go, you can sell your nice 800€ Imperial öhlins shock for 300€ and non boost mavic deemax wheel set for another 300€... Buy new set of boost wheels and shock and boom you are just around - 700-800€ short...
Not happened to me but just thinking all the possible scenarios...
  • 2 0
 From my understanding of the change, there really is no performance benefit of moving from imperial to metric. From a podcast with the guy from Rockshox his claim was that it was a move to standardized shock sizes more than anything. I think the concern with this being spec'd with an imperial shock is that it is a size that isn't guaranteed to be supported going forward so you could find yourself in a situation where you are unable to buy a replacement shock or have to buy.
  • 1 0
 @mtmc99:

Interestingly it has made buying shocks easier and parts easier too.

I would argue trunnion has made a bigger difference due to the shorter length needed to get the same stroke.
  • 1 0
 @mtmc99: There absolutely is potential for performance benefit(there is literally more space inside the shock), it´s up to each manufacturer to use it wisely though.
  • 1 0
 @Mondbiker: There's absolutely a performance gain by moving to longer metric shocks, but most of the benefit is for air shocks. A longer body allows for a bigger negative spring, which allows for a more coil-like feel. For coil shocks, I'm not aware of a benefit. Some other guy in the comments mentioned bushing overlap for coil shocks. Maybe that's a thing.
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: bushing overlap for coil shocks is definitely a thing. Grab an old DHX2 and you'll see just how much you can throw that shaft around side to side by hand. Given the vagaries of frame alignment plus variable amounts of side loading depending on design and that lack of bushing overlap translates to poor seal longevity.
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: yep, bushing overlap is one, better mounting hardware would be another, proper HBO would be also easier to implement. Air springs, meh, vorsprung did great job with imperial shocks so I don´t think metric was necessary for that. Speaking of big negative chambers, still makes me scratch my head why the hell RS don´t offer megneg as standard and small air can as option for those few unlucky riders with bad kinematics frames. As you can see, no matter how much space you have available you can still leave it perfectly unused lol.
  • 1 0
 But how does it climb????
  • 1 0
 What a well done review. Thanks for that!
  • 1 0
 Shouldn’t it be the ONE98?
  • 1 0
 DH Bike week HYYYYYYPPPPEEEEE
  • 1 0
 Great. I'd love to read more articles and topics on dh and rowing dh.
  • 2 2
 Too active suspension?!? That's not possible if i pay for 200mm of travel imma use all 200mm of that travel
  • 1 0
 Great looking bike for sure!
  • 1 0
 I will add my "it looks like a Session" to the list of posts here.
  • 1 1
 Not a single water bottle mount. C'mon Cube Wink
  • 1 1
 yes, but the true question is, does it hold a bottle in the frame?
  • 1 0
 This bike looks fastt!
  • 1 2
 'Less pregnant...singletrack mind...whose who's'--will there be an English version of this review? Cubes are strangers
  • 1 0
 I love DH BIKE WEEK
  • 1 1
 Jeffery Epstein didn't kill himself. This bike looks like a session.
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