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Cube Agree GTC Pro review

Cube Agree GTC Pro review
15 Apr 2015
Verdict:

A great value, entry level, carbon race bike but it all feels a little confused.

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£1,199
For 
Fantastic value
Against 
Uncomfortable, odd gear ratios

German brand Cube started in 1993 by selling bikes direct to consumers with a focus on good value. Here in 2015 and they’re available through a selection of shops but Cube still remains fixed on offering reasonable prices. The Agree GTC Pro sits just below the top-of-the-line Litening in Cube’s road bike line range and benefits from trickle-down technology in the frame. All the info on the bike describes it as ‘racy’, so we were keen to put it to the test.

Frame

Cube Agree GTC Pro Frame

The frame is made from a carbon monocoque in what Cube dubs the ‘Twin Mold’ process, which allows them to control wall thicknesses and resin distribution so they can make the frame both stiff and light. The frame is described as ‘ready to race’ and looking at the geometry chart, this seems feasible. BikesEtc rode the 56cm model, which has a short top tube at 54.5cm effective, so if you are thinking about purchasing, you might need to go a size up – at the smaller end, it’s 3cm jumps between frame sizes, so try it out before taking the plunge. The headtube is short at 145mm, but the head angle is standard at 72.5°. The chainstays, too, are short at 406mm, which, with top tube and high BB (64mm drop) gives it a really short (985mm) wheelbase. Take all this into account and we’re looking at a bike that should be dynamic and quick to change direction. The frame design echoes those racing aspirations with a big fork that tapers to 38mm and only just fits the 25mm tyres, and an oversized PF86 bottom bracket area. The gear cables are externally routed, which is a plus as internal routing can be a faff, and a potential mechanical nightmare, with no real benefit.

Components

Cube Agree GTC Pro groupset

The Agree GTC Pro comes with a complete 11-speed Shimano 105 groupset which, for the price, is excellent. The new 105 groupset borrows a lot from the higher tier versions, with the shifting in particular taking a big step forward. The front derailleur on the 105 is leaps and bounds above the Tiagra and Sora units thanks to the elongated arm, and shifting in general is much crisper due to the new cable coating. The bike on review comes with a compact 50/34 chainset and an 11/32 cassette, which offers a good spread of gears, but on a bike with racing intent I’d liked to have seen some different ratios; 52/36 paired with an 11/28 perhaps. The new style Shimano brakes are some of the best available and the 105 models are no exception with plenty of power and modulation, so you can get away with braking late into corners. The rest of the finishing kit is all Cube’s own but there are a couple of things to note. The handlebar shape and levers were badly positioned so they needlessly elongated the reach. The stock seatpost is inline, which is fine, but might not suit taller riders, so you may have to switch that out to get the saddle in the right position.

Wheels

Squeezing in the 105 groupset at this price usually means you have to settle for cheap wheels and tyres but that’s not the case with the Agree GTC Pro. It’s fitted with Fulcrum Racing 77s, which are rebadged Fulcrum Racing 7s, and Continental Grand Sport Race tyres. Fulcrum Racing 7s are considered great sturdy training wheels – they’re not the lightest in the world but they’re stiff and built well enough to ride all year round. The Grand Sport Race is a great tyre on a bike of this price; it’s 120tpi casing is supple and the rubber compound is grippy. The 25mm versions fitted weigh 250g, which is pretty lightweight too.

The ride

Cube Agree GTC Pro gearing

Going off the geometry chart alone, this bike is pretty racy and getting out on it, there were no surprises in that regard. The short wheelbase meant the bike required no real effort to change direction and with that high bottom bracket, pedalling is confident through tight corners. Despite having a short top tube, the low front end on the Cube gets your weight over the front wheel, making it comfortable to flick the bike around. The frame is stiff under power, and with that sharp geometry it’ll draw the hooligan out in you; you’ll want to chuck the bike around and get stuck in. Going fast up to a corner, scrubbing off the speed with those fantastic Shimano brakes, before getting out of the saddle and going for it again – all this was fine for the first hour. Then suddenly the bike became tiresome. The frame transmitted a lot of vibrations through the bars and hands quickly ache. Filtering through some traffic, the whole bike tucked under me on greasy tarmac, and quickly that tight wheelbase didn’t seem quite such fun. The whole package seems a little confused – the gear ratios suggest novice but the handling characteristics and unforgiving geometry suggest race bike. But for the fantastic value that the bike offers, it might be worth it to swap bits out to give yourself a better ride.

Geometry

Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 545mm 545mm
Seat Tube (ST) 520mm 520mm
Down Tube (DT) 610mm
Fork Length (FL) 375mm
Head Tube (HT) 145mm 145mm
Head Angle (HA) 72.0 73.0
Seat Angle (SA) 73.5 73.8
Wheelbase (WB) 987mm 985mm
BB drop (BB) 65mm 64mm

Spec

Cube Agree GTC Pro
Frame GTC Monocoque Twin Mold Technology, CSL Race carbon tapered fork
Groupset Shimano 105, 11-speed
Brakes Shimano 105
Chainset Shimano 105, 50/34
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-32
Bars Cube Wing Race Compact
Stem Cube Performance
Seatpost Cube Performance
Wheels Fulcrum Racing 77
Tyres Continental Grand Sport Race SL, 25c
Saddle Cube RP 1.0
Contact cube.eu

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