About the bike
Cube has brought all the cables inside the Cross Race C:62 Pro’s frame for reliably slick gear shifts in even the filthiest conditions. Routed directly into the head tube, the result is a super-clean look, no cable rub, and lower weight. A proper racing bike, with a carbon frame and mud-specific features, it certainly looks the part. But will the Cube’s performance be just as dashing?
When the gun goes, the Cross Race is very quick away from the line. It’s light, with conventional racing geometry and narrow tyres it feels like what it is-a cyclocross bike designed to compete on. There’s no hedging towards the gravel-grinding crowd. It demands a decent amount of flexibility to get onto the drops and it feels instantly fast. A pricier alternative to the other bikes on test, its carbon frame is also obvious in the way it skims over the ground.
On the course
The Cube uses a non-compact geometry, with a flat top tube and a long seat tube. Without a huge amount of stand-over, the most technical riding did leave our tester a little fearful compared to when riding more low-slung bikes. However, there’s unlikely to be anything on the average course where this will cause problems. It’s more noticeable when mucking about down the woods, and on the plus side, it also makes it easy to chuck the bike onto your shoulder and hoick it over course obstacles. Other than this, when it does come to getting loose, the Cube’s carbon frame and bolt-through axles mean it won’t be derailed from its course once locked on. They also provide little flex, which combined with the decent wheels and light tyres give the impression of no energy being wasted when pushing hard on the pedals. Pleasingly, a fain bit of sting still seems to be taken out of the back end courtesy of the skinny and flat-profiled seat stays, meaning the Cube makes its way purposefully, but won’t rattle your fillings out.
Tearing around a playing field training session, the aptly named Schwalbe Bite front tyre provided plenty of grip on wet grass. It repeated the same trick in the mud, although was slightly squirmy on smooth and hard packed surfaces. At the rear, an equally aptly named All-round tyre is less prone to wiggling and rolls very easily. All in, as a combo, they’re well above average.
Like any bike, the Cube benefits from being able to stop quickly and the top-tier Shimano Ultegra brakes take ample care of this, with their power also cutting down on fatigue induced by continuously pulling the levers. The Ultegra 11-speed cassette and double chainset also provide far smoother transitions between the gears, keeping your cadence steady as the bike changes velocity. That is until they start bunging up with mud. The effect is more auditory than mechanical, so you won’t lose much in the way of efficiency, although the noise can be off-putting. The bars on the Cube are standard in shape but come relatively wide, giving the extra leverage you need to steer the bike through choppy sections.
There’s almost nowhere for mud to hide on the Cube’s carbon fiber frame. At the back, its seat stays are wide and bridgeless. While the assembly around the bottom bracket is similarly uninterrupted, the space in front of the tyre forms a kind of chute which is unlikely to get clogged by even the most clod-ridden conditions.
The fork is wide in its stance, too. All these features create space around the tyres to stop mud dragging on them. What they don’t do is leave massive space for wider, adventure-style treads, this is, after all, a race bike. The Cube’s second mud-cheating trick comes courtesy of its neat cabling. All four lines disappear straight into the headtube, emerging only just before they reach their respective brake callipers or derailleurs. This not only looks neat, but keeps them safe from snagging or contamination. With radically shaped tubing, the downtube is huge for stiffness, while the top tube is flattened for easy shouldering, and the stays skinny for compliance. Bolt-through axels make the most of the frame’s inherent stiffness, while the bottom bracket is press-fit in order to accommodate those massive tube profiles.
Shimano’s UItegra groupset is excellent and is included in its entirety, from cassette to chainset. Its star player is the latest RX rear derailleur. This now includes a clutch to prevent it flapping over rough terrain, keeping drivetrain operation silent and secure. Moving forward, many brands have switched to a single chainring for cyclocross, although pro racers seem less keen. In keeping with its race-orientated design, the Cube sports a cyclocross specific 46-36tdouble. The advantages are more gear ratios and therefore potentially greater pedalling efficiency. The downsides are increased maintenance, slightly higher weight, and a greater ability to attract mud. In drier conditions, it’s great although in the mud it can clog slightly. The final element is the brakes. They’re among the best you’ll find – pull them hard enough and they’ll detach your retinas!
The wider-than-average bars are chunky in the hand, but their ergonomic drops are easy to keep a hold of. The saddle is well padded, and comfy when flinging yourself back aboard the bike on the far side of the barriers or some other obstacle. With a neutral shape, its wings stay well out of the way of the rider’s thighs in most situations. The stem and seatpost are both of decent quality. Holding the seat in place with twin bolts, the latter is particularly welcome given the stresses put on it by cyclocross-style riding.
Mavic’s Aksium Allroad Disc wheelset is tough, features wide rims, and can be set up tubeless. Can’t ask for much more than that at this price. Its center-lock rotor fixings also make for easy servicing. Clipped into it are equally tubeless ready Schwalbe X-one TLE tyres. Matching the rider’s weight bias on the bike, a combination of its All-round tyre on the rear with a Bite model up front provides fast rolling, but with additional grip to stop the front wheel washing out. Costing a good whack to buy after-market, they’re light, fast, and happy to sink their teeth into most conditions.
Frame: Carbon Twin Mold Technology
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra RX800011-speed
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra BR-R8070,
Chainset: Shimano Ultegra FC-R8000,46x36t
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra CS-R8000,11-32t
Bars: Newmen Evolution Wing Bar
Stem: Newmen Evolution 318.4, 31.8mm
Saddle: Selle Royal Asphalt
Seatpost: Newmen Evolution,27.2mm
Wheels: Mavic Aksium Allroad Disc
Tyres: Schwalbe X-One Allround/ Bite, Kevlar, 33c
|Size tested: 56||Chainstays (C): 422mm|
|Weight: 8.86kg||Head angle (HA): 72°|
|Top tube (TT): 558mm||Seat angle (SA): 73.5°|
|Seat tube (ST): 515mm||Wheelbase (WB): 1020mm|
|Stacks (S): 566mm||BB drop (BB): 64mm|
|Reach (R): 393mm|