Frame and equipment
The Cube Cross Race Pro has a neatly-finished, double-butted aluminium frame with internal cable routing, a press-fit bottom bracket, 12mm thru-axles and flat-mount brakes. Mudguard and rear rack eyelets ensure it can be adapted for road riding and commuting. The fork is carbon fibre with a tapered head tube.
The £1,199 gets you a full Shimano 105 R7000 groupset, combining mechanical gear shifts with hydraulic braking on 160mm disc rotors at each end. Gearing comprises a 50/34t chainset and 11-34t cassette, a setup that's fine on road bikes but, given the smaller chainsets increasingly available, a little tall for a bike designed to go off-road.
For rolling stock you get Cube RA 0.8 CX wheels built on Alexrims XC 0.8 Discs, and 35mm-wide Schwalbe X-One Allround tyres. Neither part appears to be tubeless, which is worth knowing if you were planning to make the switch.
Cube-branded equipment fills all the important touchpoints. The aluminium handlebar has a comfortable compact shape with short-reach drops, and the Natural Fit Venec Lite saddle is actually comfy enough you might not have to throw on your fave saddle straight away.
I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions on the “grey´n´flashyellow” paint job...
Ride and handling
If you want to get into cyclocross, the Cube Cross Race Pro is perfectly suited. The handling will help you navigate the typically tight corners, the frame is stiff and responsive, and it’s not too heavy when you have to throw it over your shoulder to run over obstacles.
It’s a pleasantly comfortable bike on the road, with the aluminium frame impressing by not transmitting all the vibrations to your main contact points. Obviously, the wide tyres help here as well, but 35mm is actually pretty skinny by current gravel standards. The saddle, handlebar and bar tape all contribute nicely to the comfort too.
On the road, it’s decently quick. There isn’t so much drag from the tyres that you’ll be avoiding Tarmac at all costs, but you might want to consider a change to a slicker gravel tyre if you're planning much time on the road.
Agility is good for nipping and tucking between trees and around tight corners; the steering is light and on the fast side. It feels alive and energetic compared to the near-laziness of some gravel bikes... it keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure!
The gearing is a little tall for a dedicated cyclocross race bike, or for proper off-road trails with steep hills. It needs a 46/30t chainset rather than this compact 50/34t – I was glad of the 11-34t cassette, which at least adds a little more low range.
That Cube has fitted a compact chainset shows the sort of riding and customer it really has in mind for the Cross Race Pro. Cyclocross bikes have always been so much more than just race bikes here in the UK, and the Cube is very adaptable.
It’s happy as a winter training bike when the roads are covered in rain and filth, and mudguard eyelets mean you can winterise it further. Used like this, on the road, that compact chainset makes a lot of sense.
And while it might not have the relaxed geometry and voluminous tyres of a dedicated gravel bike, if you want to dabble in gravel and adventure riding the Cube Cross Race Pro does pretty well. You’ve got ample ground clearance to avoid pedal strikes, and it’s a reasonably comfortable bike over rough terrain.
If you do go bashing off-road trails, however, be warned you run the risk of flatting unless you run very high pressures. On my second ride with 40 psi in the tyres I was descending a reasonably rocky trail, not going very fast or really sending it, and still managed to ding the rim – leading a short while later to a flat tyre.
Unfortunately, the Alexrims XC 0.8 Disc rims and Schwalbe X-One Allround tyres are not tubeless-ready, so those benefits – greater puncture resistance, lower pressures for comfort and traction off-road – are not easily accessed.
This lack of tubeless tyres and rims is reasonably understandable given the price of the bike, but it’s a real shame because one thing that ruins the fun of a bike ride on wintery trails is a flat tyre.
Tubeless issues aside, the Schwalbe X-One Allround is a grippy tyre on a range of trails and copes well in mud, finding traction in the boggiest sections and clearing quickly when you get back on the road.
This lack of tubeless readiness (and perhaps the brash paint job with colour-matched rims) are really my only complaints. It's an otherwise very rounded package that's reasonably priced and a decent performer. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.
If you can find a bit more money, the Cross Race SL (£1,399) gets the brand-new Shimano GRX 1x11 groupset. Meanwhile, the price of this Race Pro looks especially good against Canyon, with its Inflite AL SLX 5.0 only starting at £1,499, but you do get better (and tubeless-ready) wheels and tyres.
Trek’s cheapest offering is the Crockett 4 Disc (£1,300) which features an aluminium frame, 1x11 gearing and a similar versatility to the Cube.
Gravel bikes might be all the rage but cyclocross bikes still have plenty of appeal if you want an adaptable bike. However, if you’re never going to grace the startline of a cyclocross race, the Cube Nuroad Pro (£999) – with its bigger 40mm tyres and more relaxed geometry – might be a better pick as a versatile, adaptable do-everything machine.
All things considered, the Cube is good value for money and gets you started in the world of cyclocross race and mixed-terrain riding, with good handling and speed. Save up for some tubeless tyres as a future upgrade and it will be pretty good.
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