Words and photos: Dave Arthur
This green machine is German company Cube’s Reaction GTC SL 29, a £1,799 carbon fibre hardtail built around 29in wheels with a 100mm Fox suspension forks and a full Shimano XT groupset, with a 24lb (10.88kg) complete weight.
The bike as it rolls out of the box is ready to hit the trail for some fast trail action or race, whether a short cross-country affair or something longer like one of the many marathon or 12/24-hour races dotted around the country. I’m going to be testing it at the Wiggle Mountain Mayhem 24-hour race this weekend at Gatcombe Park, but before I go getting it covered in dust (provided the weather forecast doesn’t change at the last minute) here’s a first look at the vitals.
The bike features a full carbon fibre frame, it’s the same one used on several models in the range covering loads of price points. It has a tapered head tube to boost front end stiffness, a huge down tube, press-fit bottom bracket and oversized chainstays. It’s constructed using their Twin Mold Monocoque technology, which involves using fixed internal forms at the junctions of the frame to reduce wrinkling of the internal layer of carbon, therefore reducing weight.
Geometry is racey as you’d expect. This 19in (five sizes are offered) has a 414mm reach and 615mm stack, 440mm chainstays, 1098mm wheelbase, 70.5 degree head angle and 602mm top tube.
You get a full Shimano XT groupset, including a triple 40x30x22 chainset and brakes, with 180/160mm rotors. Both gear cables are routed internally, only exiting under the bottom bracket shell. The rear brake hose is routed along the underside of the top tube and held in place with clean clips.
The fork is a Fox 32 Float CTD FIT providing 100mm of travel with a 15mm bolt-thru axle. Out back is a regular axle, though Cube do spec a DT quick release lever which offers a bit more security.
DT CSW MA 1.9 wheels with 28/32 spokes and fitted with a Schwalbe Rocket Ron and Racing Ralph tyre combination suggests it’s ideally suited to the current dry conditions, but with enough bite for damper trails. The rium is a rebadged DT Swiss XM490 with a claimed weight of 500g. According to DT they can be be converted to tubeless with their own tubeless kit, comprising rim tape and valve.
The bike is finished with a Selle Italia X1 saddle on a RFR Prolight 31.6mm seatpost, and a Syntace F149 stem holds a Cube Race Flat Pro 720mm handlebar in place.
This is one of the more affordable models, and though £1,800 is a lot of money, the fact you’re getting a carbon fibre frame and build kit producing a 24lb complete weight (without pedals) is impressive. You won’t find much better value than this. Full review on its way soon.
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. Optimum stiffness to weight value results from the tapered head tube with integrated headset. The GTC carbon frame is produced using the Twin Mold Monocoque Technology. The oversized tube diameters of the head tube and the PressFit bottom bracket guarantee optimum lateral stiffness. The post mount rear brake saves weight. Internal Cable Routing delivers clean appearance and dirt protection.
The sophisticated 100mm Fox 32 Float CTD FIT air fork delivers fun on the trail, with descent, trail and climb, and adjustable rebound. The DT Swiss CSW MA 1.9 wheelset is especially lightweight and stiff for fast acceleration, while Schwalbe Rocket Ron/Racing Ralph Kevlar folding tires are very lightweight with low rolling resistance and optimum traction. All components are from the Shimano XT 3×10 series and are super reliable. The Syntace F149 stem is sturdy and long-lasting, while the 720mm CUBE Flat Race Bar offers perfect 29in handling.