Cube XMS Review

The Cube XMS is their cheapest full-sus bike, having said that, it’s not cheap by many standards at around £1100. Although many manufacturers are leaning towards 120mm travel trail bikes, Cube went for 100mm on the XMS. On a longer-travel bike the Cube’s steep geometry might be unsettling, but it works well here.

The ride & handling on the XMS could be described as fun & agile.

One quite rare sight on this bike is the Manitou forks. The 100mm Minute on the front of the XMS works well, and gives a taut rather than supple ride.

Transmission and brakes are all from Shimano. Gearing is mostly SLX 10-speed, with the rear mech getting an upgrade to an XT Shadow unit but the chainset dropping down to M552.

One advantage of a short-travel platform is that it tends to give the rear shock less work to do, and on the XMS the Suntour Epicon shock proves up to the task. It responds best to a firm setup, giving a lively ride with enough get up and go to almost make you forget that you’re on a relatively inexpensive bike.

While it’s not ultimately as capable as longer-travel options, the XMS is a rewarding bike to hustle along the trails. A good match of geometry and travel means you’re not lured into charging stuff that the suspension will be hard-pushed to handle.

While the XMS frame is visually similar to that of Cube’s more expensive AMS range, it uses a slightly heavier double-butted tubeset, and is built from mostly straight pipes. There’s some stiffness-enhancing shaping of the down tube, though, with a hint of vertical ovalising at the head tube and a considerable amount of horizontal ovalising at the bottom bracket.

Open-ended gussets add strength to the head tube/down tube junction and seat cluster. At the back there’s Cube’s rendition of four-bar, chainstay pivot rear suspension with the Suntour Epicon shock running under the top tube. A channel formed into the underside of the top tube gives extra clearance, although the shock’s air valve sits extremely close to the frame.

A sleek-looking rocker linkage connects the seatstays to the shock, while asymmetric chainstays run to sturdy clevis-style pivots near the dropouts. Endurance riders will be pleased to see that the XMS’s suspension layout leaves room in the frame for two bottle mounts, although the seat tube one won’t take a big bottle in the smaller frame sizes. All cables run along the top tube.

There’s nothing budget about the finish, with neat anodised bearing covers and satin white paint job. Graphics are a bit Euro-lairy, albeit in a monochrome kind of way, but it’s a good looker. The graphical theme is extended through the XMS’s eye-catching wheel package, which sports special Cube-edition black and white Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres and colour-matched rims.

Based on an original article by Mike Davis.

Cube XMS Specifications

  • Frame: Alu Superlite 7005 STK Double Butted, FSP 4-Link-System
  • Forks: Manitou Minute LTD 100mm, Air Assist, Remote-Lockout
  • Rear Shock: Suntour Epicon 165mm length, Lockout
  • Headset: FSA No.10 semi-integrated
  • Stem: Easton EA30 Oversized
  • Handlebars: Easton EA30 Lowriser Oversized
  • Grips: CUBE Double Duometer
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT RD-M773 Shadow 10-speed
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano SLX FD-M661-10, Top Swing, 34.9mm 10-speed
  • Shifters: Shimano SLX SL-M660-10 Rapidfire-Plus, 10-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-M4451 discbrake 180mm/160mm
  • Cranks: Shimano FC-M552 2-Piece 42x32x24T, 175mm, integrated BB 3×10 speed
  • Cassette: Shimano CS-HG81 11-36T, 10-speed
  • Chain: Shimano CN-HG74 10-speed, 110 links
  • Wheels: DT Swiss XPW1600 wheelset 15mm/X12
  • Rims: RFR ZX24
  • Hubs: Shimano Disc HB-RM65
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance 2.25, Schwalbe Racing Ralph Performance 2.25
  • Tube: Impac AV14, Schwalbe 20-559
  • Pedals: Fasten Alu
  • Saddle: Scape Active7
  • Seatpost: RFR Complight 31.4mm
  • Seatclamp: Scape Varioclose 34.9mm
  • Weight: 13.8 kg

Model: Cube XMS
4 / 5 stars
*****