Cube Peloton Race – review

The Cube Peloton Race is a pleasure to ride.

We’d recommend it to riders new to the sport seeking a good all-rounder as their first ‘serious’ bike, or to those able to afford something more than the most basic ‘hack’ for winter.

We took a detailed look at the design and specification of the Peloton Race in our ‘first look’.  Here, we’ll focus on its performance.

The Cube Peloton Race was a pleasure to ride

The ability of aluminium to provide a stiff, responsive ride is increasingly overlooked in a market dominated by ever more affordable carbon frames, but we’d choose the sprightly ride offered by the chassis of the Peloton Race over the dull and isolating feel of some cheaper carbon frames every time.

Cube bill the geometry here as Ready For Race. We’d describe the handling as lively rather than aggressive. At the front end, this had much to do with the 90mm stem supplied with our 53cm test bike, but in other areas, its impressive performance (the Peloton Race ascended rapidly, proved stable on descents, cornered accurately, and cantered along willingly when brought up to speed) was almost entirely about the angles, although some credit belongs to the weight, which is low for the breed: 20lbs  on the button (circa 9kg) with pedals (LOOK Keo Classics, since you ask).

We mentioned the ‘low’ position of the Peloton in our ‘first look’ article and it bears repetition. It felt like a small bike, most notably on twisting descents when we shifted our weight rearwards. With the exception of the stem, it’s perhaps something we could become accustomed to, but we’d heartily recommend a ‘try before you buy’ policy here, and while doing so, experimenting with a size larger than your usual.

The Schwalbe Ultermo ZX tyres were the stars of the Peloton’s component show

All components except the brake calipers were from Shimano’s 105 groupset, allowing us to place another pronounced tick in the ‘value for money’ box. The only corner cut by Cube in speccing this machine is in the calipers, which are Shimano BR-R561. Sadly, this was noticeable. In dry conditions, they operated with barely more subtly than an on-off switch and in the wet suffered from a lack of stopping power that was sometimes alarming (on one occasion, failing to slow us as we headed inexorably towards an oncoming car on a downhill section of narrow country road).

The Easton EA30 Aero handlebar, which we suspect resulted from a wager to include every angle and profile imaginable, was the only other deficiency in the specification, which paired the aforesaid 105 groupset with a full EA30 finishing kit. The post and stem were neat and functional, the latter pleasingly finished with a red anodized face plate. We also found an impressive level of comfort in the Selle Italia X1 saddle, but this will of course be subject to personal preference.

The Easton EA30 Aero handlebar rather let the side down by offering a variety of positions, none of them comfortable

Tyres are often the area in which manufacturers make their biggest savings. With this in mind, Cube deserve full credit for rolling out the Peloton Race shod with a pair of Schwalbe Ultremo ZX. Few components have such a direct influence on ride quality (that tyres are your only contact with the road is at once blindingly obvious and routinely overlooked) and the Schwalbe rubber supplied here performed superbly in the dry and competently in the wet.

They were wrapped around a set of Easton EA30 hoops. If the Peleton Race is to be your only bike, and you fancy targeting your efforts on speed in the summer, you might upgrade the wheels to a lighter set, but this is not a necessity. Again, our hat goes off to Cube for the quality of the rolling stock supplied at this price point.

Finally, the appearance. Colour schemes and decals all fall into the category of personal preference and are of course entirely immaterial to performance, but to gain any pleasure from a bike you must firstly want to ride it. The Peloton Race is as attractive as any bike we’ve tested this year. The classy gloss black frameset has red and white accents that are mirrored in numerous other places (the saddle, the rim and tyre graphics) but most impressively in the painted white spokes, which perhaps more than any other detail gave the bike the appearance of one far more expensive.

We called in the Peleton Race alongside the Genesis Equilibrium Ti and the soon-to-be-built Kinesis TK3 as potential all-rounders. In the case of Cube’s offering, we did so having identified it at Eurobike among a trend for £1,000-ish machines with an aluminium frame, carbon fork, and Shimano 105 components; a package that in our experience would have cost at least a third as much again within recent memory. With these points in mind, we set out to test a theory as much as the bike; a heavy burden, but one shouldered lightly by the Peloton Race.

Few sensations are as pleasurable as a being proved right, and we experienced a glow of satisfaction every time we rode the Peloton Race from the knowledge that a hunch about yesterday’s leading edge technology becoming today’s affordable standard was correct. Additionally, the thrill of finding a bargain is one that’s hard to beat, and although we write from the privileged position of tester rather than investor, we think at £1,079 the Peloton Race represents excellent value for money.

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