Advertisement

Sign up for our newsletter

Advertisement

Cube Agree C:62 SLT review

28 Jul 2021
Verdict:

Cube’s Agree is a different take on the endurance genre with mixed success

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£4,699
For 
Overall value • Balanced attributes make it well-equipped in most situations
Against 
Not outstanding in any one area

Traditionally a brand’s carbon road bike portfolio consists of three categories: endurance, lightweight race and aero race. We’ve seen significant flux in the definitions of lightweight race and aero race recently, with both borrowing attributes from each other or in some cases blending entirely into one.

Yet while there has been some line-blurring at the gravel end of the endurance bike spectrum, from a road perspective the endurance niche has remained fairly static.

Cube’s road range defies tradition. Instead of those three distinct lines it has a two-pronged attack, using the Litening bike to cover both the lightweight and aero race niches and the Agree to hit the endurance mark, but with some interesting concessions to aerodynamics.

Buy the Cube Agree now from Wiggle

The brand’s business model is similarly divergent. While it is a German giant like Canyon and Rose, its bikes are made on home turf in the Bavarian town of Waldershof instead of being manufactured in the Far East. The company’s production plant employs 450 staff, which incidentally is equivalent to a tenth of the town’s population.

Cube stresses that its bikes are at no disadvantage for having been made so close to home, and is instead keen to focus on the technological wizardry going on beneath the surface of its frames.

Balancing the figures

The Agree frameset uses Cube’s C:62 composite, which comprises 62% carbon fibre, the rest being resin. Cube says this is an unusually high proportion of carbon fibre and that more often frames use composites containing significantly more resin. It was able to achieve this, it says, by employing a technique it dubs Advanced Twin Mold technology.

This includes a particularly accurate placement of individual carbon swatches to minimise excess overlap and thereby save weight; a solid, removable core in the centre of the frame that compresses the composite more evenly to reduce imperfections; and ‘nano-particles’ that float in the resin, providing a mechanical bond between carbon plies as well as the resin’s chemical bond by essentially turning it into a form of grip paste.

The result of all this, says Cube, is a lighter, stronger frame than something made more conventionally. When it comes to the frame’s impact resistance credentials, I’ll have to take Cube at face value, but there’s no denying the frame’s lightness when weight is considered alongside the all the other components.

To hit a competitive price, Cube has specced the Agree with finishing kit and wheels from its own in-house components brand Newmen, plus a second-tier Sram Force eTap AXS groupset. All of it is functionally great, yet none of it would win any prizes for lightness.

What’s more, the Agree frameset contains several aerodynamic cues, such as the relatively deep head tube and down tube, which would undoubtedly add weight over simpler, more regular endurance designs.

Consequently I would expect this to amount to a portly bike, but the Agree’s 7.6kg weight is pretty decent for an endurance bike at this price point. Therefore it would be fair to assume that the frame’s construction method has to be at least a contributing factor to the bike’s favourable overall weight characteristics.

A different take

Construction aside, I really like the different approach to endurance bikes Cube has taken here. Aerodynamic efficiency can benefit everyone but is often built into designs too racy to appeal to most normal riders. The Agree takes the dropped seatstays, sculpted head tube and truncated airfoil tube profiles of racier designs and pairs them with shorter reach and higher stack figures to create a more sustainable ride position.

The bike’s handling is similarly accessible. Longer 412mm chainstays combine with a slacker 72.5° head angle to create a stable 1,006mm wheelbase, while comfort is largely accounted for in the speccing of Continental’s superlative GP5000 28mm tyres.

I understand the argument that the less aero ride position and slower handling works against the turn of speed the efficient tube profiles might otherwise create, and I can’t say I found the bike as blisteringly fast as out-and-out aero designs.

Buy the Cube Agree now from Wiggle

However, because Cube has been able to build them in without seeming to affect the Agree in any detrimental way, the inclusion of these aero features can only stand to benefit the rider, even if by just a small amount.

Overall, the Agree feels to me like a fresh approach to a stagnant genre at risk of being consumed by more capable race bikes at one end and more aggressive endurance bikes at the other, and I think it has worked out really well. Chapeau, Cube.

Pick of the kit

Oakley Encoder sunglasses, £196, oakley.com

Launched around the same time but overshadowed by the futuristic Kato, the Encoders are the new dark horse in Oakley’s range that, truth be told, I much prefer. The frameless design is related to the Kato’s, but thankfully the Encoders forgo the wrap-over nose portion.

The larger shield lens provides the uninterrupted coverage of Oakley’s fantastic Prizm technology, and in a smart move the thickness along the top of the lens is bulky to ensure that even though the Encoders don’t have frames they don’t feel flimsy.

Alternatively…

For the number pinners


The Litening C:68X SLT is Cube’s race bike. It’s a fair hike in price over this Agree at £8,699, but that lets it achieve the same weight with the promise of better aerodynamics.

For the bank balance


The C:62 Race is the entry point to the Agree range at £2,999. Cube’s typical value for money is still in evidence, though – that price gets you a full Shimano Ultegra groupset and the same frame as the SLT.

Spec

Frame Cube Agree C:62 SLT
Groupset   Sram Force eTap AXS
Brakes Sram Force eTap AXS
Chainset Sram Force eTap AXS
Cassette Sram Force eTap AXS
Bars Newmen Advanced Wing bars
Stem Newmen Evolution
Seatpost Newmen Advanced Carbon
Saddle Cube Nuance SLT Road
Wheels Newmen Advanced SL R.38, Continental GP5000 28mm tyres  
Weight 7.63kg (56cm)
Contact cube.eu

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Read more about: