Cube Reaction GTC Race 29 first-look

This is German company Cube’s £1,600 all-carbon fibre 29er hardtail, which combines a smart looking and light carbon frame and decent build kit for the money. If you’ve got your eye on a rapid bike for a summer of cross-country racing or just swift trail riding action, and want a lightweight bike ready to ride from the box, the Cube ticks the boxes.

The GTC Race 29 is part of a five-model range, all of which share the same carbon frame. You get a full carbon fibre frame; it’s made using Cube’s Twin Mold Technology with what they like to call Agile Ride Geometry. The construction process involves using fixed internal forms at the junctions of the frame to reduce wrinkling of the internal layer of carbon, therefore reducing weight.

Just about every part of the frame is heavily profile with much manipulation of the tube shaping in an effort to extract as much stiffness from the frame as possible. A PressFit bottom bracket allows the downtube to be massive down there. The gear cables are routed internally giving a clean look, and neatly exit the front of the downtube and wrap around the underside of the bottom bracket. It remains to be seen how well the cables fare in the mud in this area.

Internal cables exit at the bottom bracket. Potential mud trap?
Internal cables exit at the bottom bracket. Potential mud trap?

The seat tube has a slight curved indent from the front mech to the bottom bracket to increase the clearance between frame and rear wheel. There is a post-mount rear brake and a tapered head tube.

The build kit includes a RockShox Reba RL 29 fork with 100mm of travel, and a 9mm quick release axle. There’s a PushLoc remote lockout lever on the handlebars. It’s Shimano SLX for the front mech, shifters and Hollowtech II triple chainset with a BB91 axle. The rear mech is upgraded to a XT unit for showroom poshness. Magura’s entry-level MT2 brakes with 180/160mm rotors.

Wheels are Sun Ringle Radium, a 32-spoke wheelset with sealed bearing hubs. Tyres are the racer’s fave: Rapid Robs in a 2.25in width. The cockpit comprises a Selle Italia X1 saddle, Syntace F149 10cm stem and RFR Flat Race Bar in a generous 720mm width – we’re really starting to see manufacturers listen to riders who want wider bars, even on a racey bike like the Cube it’s good to see a decent width bar like this. Seatpost is a RR Prolight 31.6mm with a generous 400mm length.

100mm stem and 720mm bars. Even comes with a bike computer already fitted
100mm stem and 720mm bars. Even comes with a bike computer already fitted

With no pedals the bike hits the scales to the tune of 26lb (11.79kg). That’s a competitive weight for a bike costing £1,600 and will be attractive to racers and those getting into racing. There’s loads of potential for upgrading and dropping that weight down as well. As it stands it looks like a very fast and sharp handling trail bike for hardtail fans, and those looking to make the leap to 29in wheels this is a very good bike to tempt you into the world of big wheels.

It’s available in five sizes, pictured is the 19in. The important numbers are a 414mm reach and 615mm stack, 440mm chainstays, 1098mm wheelbase, 100mm head tube, 73 seat tube and 70.5 head tube.

Full verdict on how it rides once we pounded it out on the trails over the following weeks.

Price: £1,599
More information: Cube Reaction GTC Race 29

What Cube says:

A high performance carbon 29er hardtail with all the advantages of the bigger 29in wheels but as agile as a 26in bike. The oversized tube diameters of the head tube and the PressFit mbottom bracket guarantee optimum lateral stiffness.

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