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Cube Peloton SL review

1 Dec 2015
Verdict:

With Shimano 105 the Cube Peloton SL is a fantastic value aluminium road bike but the geometry needs a careful eye.

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£950
For 
Great value
Against 
Sizing is odd

With only £1,000 to play with, we were excited to see if Cube could transfer the same attention to detail to the Peloton SL as they did with the Axial WLS GTC SL, winner of our group test of £1,800 women’s bikes.

Frame

The Peloton SL’s frame is made of double-butted aluminium and paired with a carbon fork, complete with a tapered (alloy rather than carbon) steerer tube. For 2015 Cube has added 20mm of head tube length to the Peloton SL for ‘a more relaxed posture on the bike and more long distance comfort’. Sizing is a little odd with the Peloton series: our 175-178cm tall testers would normally choose a nominal 54 or 55cm bike, expecting a horizontal top tube around of around 54-55cm. Cube makes the Peloton as a 53, 56 or 58, but the top tubes are on the short side. We erred on the side of caution and chose a 53, which had a measured top tube of 539mm. The 56 may have been a better choice with its claimed 545mm top tube, but then it would also have been taller.

CUbe Peloton SL frame

Either way, we easily achieved a comfortable position on the Peloton simply by swapping out the stock 90mm stem for a longer, 120mm version, and with Cube having an extensive dealer network, there’s no excuse to get the wrong size bike. One interesting geometry quirk of the Peloton SL is its head angle. Road bike geometry is normally very conservative around a median of 73 degrees seat and head angles. That allows low-speed manoeuvrability while still being stable and predictable at speed. We measured the Cube’s head angle at 70.5 degrees, rather than the specified 71.5 – a discrepancy that likely comes about from the way aluminium frames distort slightly as they cool after welding. That head angle isn’t a problem in itself, making for stable handling at speed, but conversely, it can feel a little odd at slower speeds, or track-standing at the lights. As a result, we’d advise you use a shorter than normal stem to improve handling at low speeds, which may require a nominally larger frame than you’d choose from other brands.

Components

Cube Peloton SL ultegra

We’ve spoken a lot about just how good Shimano’s 11-speed 105 groupset is on this website; here, on a bike that costs less than £1,000, it’s a rare treat indeed. What’s more, the mechs have even been upgraded to Ultegra units. Gear shifting is smooth and positive, the brakes work faultlessly and the chainset shares the same visual feaures of Shimano’s more expensive groups. Cube’s own-brand bar, stem, seatpost and saddle are all great. The bars are a good shape and the 40cm bar/90mm stem is well chosen for the frame size. The duo-tone bar tape is a Cube signature and we think it looks pretty cool in an understated way.

Wheels

Cube Peloton SL brakes

The Mavic Aksium wheels are excellent and a worthy upgrade to most bikes. Weighing 1,774g for the pair without tyres, they’re also notably light in comparison to the wheels that would normally come supplied on bikes at this price. With a retail price of £220 they’re an unusual find on a £1,000 bike, but that’s all to Cube’s credit. These wheels will last, and won’t hold you back in any road riding situation. Mavic’s own-brand Aksion tyres are marked as 25mm but come up on the narrow side. They don’t have many fans in the Cyclist office, but during this test they performed adequately.

The ride

Having switched in a longer stem to replace the 90mm version that came supplied with the Peloton SL, it was obvious upon rolling out onto the congested city streets that surround Cyclist’s HQ that combining a long stem with a relatively slack head angle had produced some handling quirks. The fit, however, was perfect. It was a useful reminder that there’s more to bike handling that simply getting the contact points into the right position. Fortunately, you’re not buying blind with Cube and you’ll be able to go to a shop to try the fit for yourself before you spend any money. The frame itself is light, and stiff, and encourages levels of flamboyance we really weren’t expecting. There’s a real spring to its step that makes you want to sprint for road signs even when you’re riding solo. As expected, the Shimano 11-speed drivetrain worked flawlessly and the brakes are fantastic, a combination of Shimano’s excellent dual-pivot calipers and Mavic’s machined braking surface. The Peloton SL is a great bike, just make sure you choose the right size.

Size tested: 53
Weight: 8.68kg

Frame - Stable at speed, but with some sizing issues - 7/10

Components - Shimano Ultegra units on a sub £1K bike? Impressive - 9/10

Wheels - Mavic Aksium wheels are a welcome surprise - 8/10

The ride - Light and stiff, it's a bike that wants to sprint - 9/10

Geometry

Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 535mm 539mm
Seat Tube (ST) 490mm 495mm
Down Tube (DT) 595mm
Fork Length (FL) 376mm
Head Tube (HT) 165mm 165mm
Head Angle (HA) 71.5 70.5
Seat Angle (SA) 74 73.8
Wheelbase (WB) 985mm 992mm
BB Drop (BB) 69.5mm 72mm

Spec

Cube Peloton SL
Frame Superlite double-butted alu, carbon fork (alloy steerer)
Groupset Shimano 105 11-speed, Ultegra mechs
Brakes Shimano 105
Chainset Shimano 105, 50/34
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-32
Bars Cube Wing Race Bar, Compact
Stem Cube Performance Pro, 6
Seatpost Cube Performance Post
Wheels Mavic Aksium S
Tyres Mavic Aksion, 25c
Saddle Cube RP1.0
Contact cube.eu

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