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Cube Stereo 120 Range Review

Cube Stereo 120 Review

  • Price Range: £1,169.10 - £2,699.10
  • Discipline: Full Sus MTB
  • Usage: Mountain Bike Cross Country
  • Generous component spec
  • Efficient ‘fully active’ suspension
  • 27.5 & 29er wheel options
  • No dropper post on aluminium models
  • XC geometry limits serious downhill use
  • Narrow 720-750mm handlebar

Updated: 3rd April 2017

Overview

The Cube Stereo 120 is the ideal companion to take with you on long, all-day tours and marathon mountain bike rides. Engineered in Germany, using advanced materials and the most up to date manufacturing techniques, Cube mountain bikes are a force to be reckoned with, and the Stereo 120 brings that force to the crosscountry mountain bike scene. 

With its geometry set squarely on the endurance side of mountain biking, you would be forgiven for thinking the Stereo 120 can’t keep up with its longer-travel Stereo 140 and 160 siblings on the descents. However, the Stereo 120 shares the same four-bar suspension design, which gives it fantastic trail-hugging ability on all but the gnarliest descents.

Cube Stereo 120 Review: Frame

Frame

Light & responsive

Depending on your budget, the Cube Stereo 120 is available with either an aluminium or carbon/alloy frame. On the alloy models, the frame is made from Cube’s top-spec Aluminium Ultralite which uses a 7005 alloy & triple-butted tubes that are incredibly strong, impressively lightweight and very stiff. Higher end models use an Advanced Twin Mold carbon fibre front triangle for an even lighter and stiffer frame.

This stiffness is one feature that make the Cube Stereo 120 a fantastic bike to ride. By keeping the frame stiff and letting the suspension do the work, the Stereo 120 is a wonderfully responsive and agile bike to ride. You don’t just ride the trail, you feel the trail. Tied in with the bike’s Agile Trail Geometry – which gives the bike a more compact construction – the Stereo 120 aims to please.

If asked to define the bike in two words, we would describe it as ‘taut and stiff.’ It’s the sprinter of the group.
– Enduro-MTB.com

Cube Stereo 120 Suspension

Suspension

Efficient trail control

The bike stays composed on reasonably technical terrain, but its heart lies in wide trails disappearing into the distance, or smooth sweeping tracks of endless corners. – imbikemag.com

As the name suggests, the Cube Stereo 120 has 120mm front & rear suspension travel. Just like the Stereo 140 and 160, the Stereo 120 has a fully active four-bar suspension linkage. With a pivot built in to the chainstay, the rear triangle isn’t affected by pedalling or braking forces, so that it can focus on smoothing out the trail. The Efficient Trail Control design gives the bike a linear rate curve, making the rear wheel very sensitive throughout the entire travel range, and helping it snap at the heels of the bigger bikes on the descents.

The entry level Stereo 120 HPA PRO features a Rockshox Rekon Silver TK fork and Manitou Radium rear shock. Moving up the range to the Stereo 120 HPA Race, the fork is upgraded to a lightweight Manitou Minute TS. The top-spec alloy Stereo 120 HPA SL gets a Fox 32 Float fork and matching Fox Float DPS rear shock. These carry over on to the Stereo 120 HPC Race carbon model, and at the top of the bike the Stereo 120 HPC SL is outfitted with Fox Float Factory units all round, with the super slippery Kashima coating.

Cube Stereo 120 Groupset

Groupset

Shimano XT on all models

Even the entry level model features an XT spec derailleur.

As a testament to just how good Shimano’s XT groupsets are, every version of the Cube Stereo 120 uses XT components, in some form or another, to deliver super sharp and quick gearchanges every time you pull the lever. With the exception of the entry-level bike, each model uses Shimano XT M8000 derailleurs, chainsets, and brakes, and has 22 speed gearing. Alloy models keep the price modest by substituting the new SLX M7000 11-speed shifters.

The base spec Stereo 120 HPA PRO uses the Shimano XT M781 Shadow 10 speed rear derailleur and Shimano Deore brakes, which is still an impressive spec for the £1,169.10 price tag.

Cube Stereo 120 Wheels

Wheels

Choose either 27.5 or 29er

Cube offer the Stereo 120 with two different wheel sizes to suit riders of different heights. The smaller 27.5 inch wheel comes in 16, 18 and 20 inch frame options, while the 29er is available in 17, 19, 21 and 23 inch frames. The larger 29er wheels give the bike an effortlessly fast ride, rolling smoothly over the lumps and bumps. For rides who prefer a more nimble & chuckable bike, the 27.5 inch wheel options deliver agility in spades.

The Stereo 120 HPA PRO and Race models both come with a tubeless ready Answer Atac MA 28 spoke wheelset. In the mid-range, the HPA SL and HPC Race models both get a 28 spoke Fulcrum Red wheelset, which is also tubeless ready. The top-spec Stereo 120 HPC SL is furnished with an outstanding DT Swiss CSW MA 3.7/3.9 (27.5/29er) wheelset.

Two different wheel sizes to suit different height riders. Cube have made sure there's a Stereo 120 to suit everyone.

Cube Stereo 120 Best For

Best for

All-day mountain marathons and off-road touring

The Cube Stereo 120 is definitely geared more towards the long-distance and cross-country side of mountain biking, but it can certainly take care of itself when the going gets rougher. The efficient-yet-agile suspension design will see you climbing fire roads and reaching summits with plenty of energy left over. 

As we’ve come to expect from Cube, the component spec is generous at every price point in the Stereo 120 range. From the entry-level model which features premium components from RockShox and Manitou, to the top-of-the-range model with Fox Factory Kashima suspension and high performance DT Swiss wheels. No matter how you look at it, the Stereo 120 is exceptional value for money.  

Cube Stereo 120Rear shock Cube Stereo 120 Rear triangle
Cube Stereo 120 Frame detail Cube Stereo 120 Top tube
Cube Stereo 120 Disc brake Cube Stereo 120 Brake lever

Cube Stereo 120 range models