The £1,000 Cube Peloton Race ridden, reviewed and rated
Cube Peloton Race
Cube is known for producing good-looking, well-priced bikes. Its Peloton Race may ‘only’ have an aluminium frame, but it has managed some of the best kit that you’ll find on a £1,000 bike, and a set of Mavic wheels to match. Both wouldn’t be out of place on a bike at £1,500 or more, though at first glance Cube appears to have achieved this without too many obvious compromises elsewhere.
Frame and fork
The Cube Peloton Race has a striking frame; people are certainly going to see you coming. It doesn’t have a BB30 or press-fit bottom bracket, but otherwise it scores a full check-list of modern bike design elements. It has the tapered 1.125-1.5in steerer tube for more precise steering and handling and full internal cable routing.
The latter gives it the cleanest lines of the four test bikes, and it wasn’t that long ago that internal cabling was purely the preserve of much more exotic machines. This also increases the lifespan of the cables by keeping them out of the elements, though replacing them can be a little more complicated. The fork has carbon blades with an aluminium steerer.
There’s no doubting that the Peloton Race has a great specification. Put it up against just about any bike at this price and the Cube would still take top spot on the podium. Shimano 105 is the Japanese company’s workhorse groupset, but it’s rare to find a full line-up of 105 on a £1,000 bike.
Companies often economise on the brakes or chainset; not so with Cube’s Peloton. And this makes a real difference, with the 105 brakes offering better modulation and power than most similarly priced bikes with the chainset a cut above most too.
The Cube has an own-brand stem and wing-profile handlebar that provide a comfortable handhold whether you’re on the tops, drops or hoods, helped by quality bar tape. The only downside is the front gear shift. Perhaps because of the routing the wing bar necessitates, shifting to the big ring took a fair bit more effort than usual.
The compact chainset is paired with a 12-28 cassette, which should together cope with just about every eventuality. There will be larger gaps than in a cassette with a 25-tooth top gear, but it’s a very sensible option for all types of riding.
The groupset isn’t the only highlight; the Cube also has some of the best wheels and tyres on a bike at this price.
Mavic’s Aksium wheels and Aksion tyres are the French wheelmaker’s entry-level offerings, but again they are usually found on bikes around £1,500-£2,000, and they cost a couple of hundred quid on their own, much more than most hoops you’ll get on a £1,000 bike. There was a slightly raised join on the front wheel rim, but this is easily addressed and it didn’t affect the handling.
The Cube’s geometry is pretty traditional, but thanks to the light wheels, it gets up to speed quickly. The wheels also climb better than most at this price point and were reassuringly free of flex even in hard out-the-saddle efforts. Combine this with a bike whose overall weight is an impressive 8.7kg and you’ve got a nifty, swift handling machine.
It’s not quite as comfortable a ride as a carbon machine – any aluminium-frame with an oversize aluminium seatpost is going to transmit major road bumps, but it does a very good job of softening and blurring general road chatter, the front end helped by excellent handlebars and 25mm tyres.
The Cube is easily plush enough for long-distance sportives and fast enough for triathlons. The main frame tubes are typically oversized, particularly the downtube, but – as is usually the case these days – this is paired with slimline seatstays. The result is a lightweight ensemble that really does climb surprisingly well.
Out of the saddle it’s sufficiently stiff to really give it some oomph, aided by the Mavic wheels, while the lowest gear gives you the option of staying in the saddle on the inclines. Crest the top and the tapered head-tube and quality braking mean that you can revel during descents too.
+ The best groupset and wheels you’ll find at £1,000
+ A good frame and great overall package
– Stiff front mech
– Slightly raised join on the front wheel