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Cube Attain GTC Race review

31 May 2016

The Cube Attain GTC Race is a sensible choice, but it's a long way from being dull.

Cyclist Rating: 
Comfortable and predictable
Non-series brakes

A big-mile machine rather than a purebred racer, the Attain straddles what Cube describes as the ‘comfort’ and ‘endurance’ sectors. Perhaps not a description to set the heart racing, but looking the way it does, we were keen to get the GTC Attain Race out on the road. The exact opposite of the Cyclist test team, the Attain’s frame is skinny in all the right places and beefy in all the rest. With super-wide gearing, a good-looking spec list and low weight, on paper this looks like an appealing place to spend a good few hours racking up some varied miles. 


The Attain features one of the most compact framesets we’ve seen. Its radically sloping top tube frees up plenty of space to move around above the bike. It also means there’s a whole load of seatpost showing, which should further boost comfort. The seatstays meet the seat tube well south of the top tube and look like they’ve been on a serious diet. As do the fork blades. The down tube and head tube are more voluminous though, in order to boost torsional stiffness. The whole thing has a very angular appearance. Cube’s Monocoque Twin Mold Technology helps keep unnecessary weight away from what would be the tube junctions but are instead seamless pieces. 


You can’t fault Shimano Ultegra at this price, and you get everything but the brakes. In their place are non-series Shimano numbers. However, seeing as these use the same basic architecture as the Ultegra stoppers, you’re still getting the most important bits of tech anyway. With a huge 32-tooth sprocket and a compact chainset, there’s not a road in the country you won’t be able to make it over, assuming you pace yourself. The downside is that even with 11 sprockets, the jumps between gears are a little wide. 

Finishing kit

The alloy seatpost is fine but swapping it for a quality all-carbon number would be our first upgrade – given how comfortable it is anyway, with the right post, your backside might just forget it’s riding a bike at all. The short, shallow bars are a little chunky on the tops for small hands and a bit on the narrow side, which, depending on your preference may suit or may not. 


Mavic’s Aksium Elite wheelset is moderately light, very strong and well proven. Their sealed bearings and replaceable pawls will be spinning many winters after no-name alternatives have given up the ghost. Mavic tyres haven’t always been as welcome as their wheels, but these Yksions feel like a big improvement. Providing plentiful grip when cornering but not draggy thanks to a flexible carcass, our only gripe is their conservative sizing. Coupled with the narrow-ish rims the resulting profile looks slimmer than the billed 25c. It’s a shame as fatter tyres would lend the bike a little more rough-road versatility.

The ride

It’s easy to settle straight into the Attain. The bars don’t require too much of a reach, although they’re a tad narrow for our liking. The saddle is comfy and everything feels quietly reassuring. Handling seems to be of the planted variety. Generally, it's a comfortable place to plonk yourself among some high-quality components. 

The Attain’s geometry goes a long way to putting you instantly at ease. We tried jumping about on the pedals to see if it would trip it up by causing the bottom bracket and back end to wobble about side-to side. It didn’t, so we settled back down. Unlike abrasively stiff race frames, it takesa while to judge how comfy a comfortable frame is. We deliberately rode the rough centre of the road; pretty comfy. We sought out cobbles; still very comfy. We failed to avoid potholes, and it seemed like a lot of the expected shock evaporated before it registered at the contact points. The Attain won’t waver if you start thrashing the pedals and it won’t jar your back if the road surface is less than perfect. Anyone who’s read a lot of bike reviews knows the phrase ‘laterally stiff yet vertically compliant’ is a terrible cliché, but there it is. 

The relaxed, comfort-oriented geometry means changing position on the road is an unhurried affair, a bit like driving an American car, except the Cube won’t randomly catch fire. It goes round corners without a hint of twanginess, while the relatively long wheelbase means it’s very stable. While these are all good qualities, in another bike they might be a little unexciting. However, the Attain’s lack of chainstay flex and overall low weight, paired with a stiff wheelset, mean that it’s more than happy to go as fast as your legs allow. And all the time, its frame is working away to keep your back and shoulders happy by attenuating whatever nastiness might be beneath the tyres. The medium-length top tube and high front end mean both the hoods and drops are likely to see plenty of use, as getting hold of them isn’t a stretch. For some reason, more relaxed bikes often feel less fun to heave up climbs while out of the saddle, but with low weight and great stiffness the Attain GTC Race makes a pretty good hash of it, while seated climbing is exceptional, and thanks to the huge spread of gears, we rarely found ourselves out of the big ring. 


Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 537mm 532mm
Seat Tube (ST) 490mm 490mm
Down Tube (DT) 622mm
Fork Length (FL) 383mm
Head Tube (HT) 152mm 150mm
Head Angle (HA) 72 72
Seat Angle (SA) 74 74
Wheelbase (WB) 990mm 996mm
BB drop (BB) 74mm 73mm


Cube Attain GTC
Frame GTC Monocoque Twin Mold
Groupset Shimano Ultegra 6800, 11-speed
Brakes Shimano BR-RS500
Chainset Shimano Ultegra, 50/34
Cassette Shimano Ultegra, 11-32
Bars Cube Wing Race
Stem Cube Peformance
Seatpost Cube Performance, 27.2mm
Wheels Mavic Aksium Elite (w/ Mavic Yksion 25c tyres)
Saddle Cube RP 1.0
Weight 8.08kg

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