Cube AMS 130 HPA Pro 27.5 2014 First Look and Ride

The German brand Cube is becoming more and more popular in the UK, and for good reason. This AMS 130 HPA Pro 27.5 is one example of a very capable trail bike, particularly as it comes in at only £1799, with a decent components package and those oh-so in-vogue 27.5″ wheels. Let’s take a look around the bike.

Components

The first box ticked for the AMS is that of its components package, which is sensible and surprising for the money.

Cube AMS 130 HPA Pro.
Cube AMS 130 HPA Pro.

A RockShox Revelation fork combined with Fox Float CTD rear shock is a combination that is almost astounding on a bike of this price, and a mix of brands that we like to see. Recently RockShox have seriously upped their game and it’s always good to see a set of Revelations or Pikes on a bike. Buttery smooth and controlled, the Revelations up front go a long way in giving this bike good prospects. There is a remote lock out on the handlebars, which in all honesty we can’t see the point in. The shock from Fox is also smooth and supple, and the CTD (Climb, Trail, Descend) options – which we’d much rather see with remote adjustment than the fork if we had a choice – change the character of the bike at the flick of a switch. During the first rides, Trail mode proved to give the bike a lively feel for flatter singletrack and Descend gave it a good, confidence-inspiring ride on the downs.

The frame doesn't have the smooth flow of the bike's siblings the Fritzz and Stereo, but it is solid and the linkage seems to do exactly as Cube claim - provide a supple and composed action. We'll comment more on both in the full review.
The frame doesn’t have the smooth flow of the bike’s siblings the Fritzz and Stereo, but it is solid and the linkage seems to do exactly as Cube claim – provide a supple and composed action. We’ll comment more on both in the full review.

A component mix predominantly of Shimano SLX and Deore combined with the odd flourish of XT should prove to be a solid package. Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres are decent and pretty versatile; they are great for trail centres and only really come unstuck in seriously muddy conditions. The wheels are Sun Ringle Radiums, a solid set up with decent sealed bearing hubs. Finishing kit is Cube own brand, which will be further commented on in the full review.

No carbon here, but that certainly isn't an issue. It's not exactly light at just under 30lbs, but you get the reassurance of a solid build and for the money couldn't ask for much more.
No carbon here, but that certainly isn’t an issue. It’s not exactly light at just under 30lbs, but you get the reassurance of a solid build and for the money couldn’t ask for much more.

Bike Magic first impressions

Worst first: it’s possibly not the prettiest of bikes (our first impression in the Bike Magic office at least), with something of an industrial look. In comparison to Cube’s higher-end Fritzz and Stereo ranges of bikes, the AMS family is definitely less pleasing in the style department. However, that eye-catching linkage isn’t as basic as it looks, and the ‘basic’ rear triangle helps keep the price down. According to Cube, they’ve worked fastidiously to come to an arrangement that is efficient and supple, and having ridden the bike we can bear testament to that.

We’ve designed the linkage geometry on a model-by-model basis so that all frame sizes have the same travel and spring rate curves. In addition, the kinematics have been optimized specifically in relation to travel in respect of sensitivity, drive and no bobbing. For this it was necessary to specially position all rear pivot points.

On the trail the bike comes to life. It feels positive, composed and solid. And a lot of fun. It’s one of those bikes that can take you aback as its looks do little to allude to the fact that it is in fact very capable, especially for the money. Pedalling uphill you are in a good position over the cranks for putting the power down, stop and adjust seat height and you’re ready to rip down the other side. And that’s the thing – in several rides on varying terrain the bike never faltered, it was as happy being thrown into rocks and mud as it was pedalling on the flat and putting in the miles to the next trailhead.

Our proven AMS got a whole new character. We redesigned it around 27.5″ wheels, redeveloped the kinematics and geometry, and voilà – a high tech chassis which is a great climber and offers plenty of capability on the downhills. The perfect bike for long rides, transalp tours and all-mountain fun. One of the reasons for the great riding characteristics is our Efficient Ride Control – minimal bobbing and brake influence, with identical performance for all frame sizes.

Our first impressions are very good – for such relatively little money (in a sport of five grand norms) you get a bike that could potentially serve as a killer trail bike capable enough to take on proper mountains yet fun and nippy enough to enjoy on UK singletracks and longer rides, and from speaking to Cube it is clear that they really have put in the hours to develop a linkage that works well; the suspension’s supple feel didn’t happen by chance. Available in four sizes, from 16 to 22″, there’s also a good range of rider sizes covered. With that in mind, the price seems even more pleasing.

Shimano SLX, Deore and XT is good to see throughout, as is the RockShox Revelation fork and Fox Float CTD shock.
Shimano SLX, Deore and XT is good to see throughout, as is the RockShox Revelation fork and Fox Float CTD shock.

The components package is up there with other bikes that come in hundreds of pounds more expensive and our initial rides left us genuinely surprised at how capable the bike appears to be. David Arthur is currently out giving the bike a good run around and will be back with an in-depth review once he’s had a decent chunk of time to get a true feel for the AMS, so stay tuned.

Cube AMS 130 HPA Pro 27.5 vitals

Brakes: Shimano Deore
Suspension: RockShox Revelation RL Solo Air fork / Fox Float CTD shock
Crankset: Shimano SLX
Wheels: Sun Ringle Radium
Cockpit: Cube Rise / Cube Performance Pro
Derailleurs: Shimano XT rear / SLX front

Headtube: Tapered
Weight: 13.5 kg
Wheel size: 27.5″
Travel: 130 mm
Sizes: 16, 18, 20 and 22 inch
Colour: Grey and green only
Price: £1,799
More information: Cube AMS 130 HPA Pro 27.5

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