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review

Cube Attain 2020

7
£699.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Great looking bike that delivers confidence and performance for those new to the sport
Great ride quality
Full Shimano Claris groupset
Neutral handling is perfect for beginners
Wide ranging cassette gives some big jumps between gears
Weight: 
9,670g
Contact: 

Based around a comfortable aluminium alloy frame and carbon fork, the Cube Attain is an enjoyable bike to ride at speed or just cruising along, making it ideal for those just beginning their adventures in the world of road cycling. A competitive weight and impressive finishing kit go some way towards justifying the price tag, but there are cheaper options out there.

Ride

For road bikes at this price, my two benchmarks for comfort and ride quality are the Specialized Allez and Vitus Razor. I'm happy to report that the Attain is up there with them.

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The alloy frame we have here is really comfortable to ride. There is no harshness or road buzz resonating through your hands like aluminium frames of yesteryear and the experience is very impressive. I headed out for longer rides over a range of road surfaces and came back home without any feelings of discomfort or fatigue at any of my contact points.

In fact, I didn't really notice the bike that much, to be honest, unless I needed to, and that is no criticism of the Cube: it's just that it is so easy to ride.

The geometry is more relaxed than you'd find on a performance road bike, sitting more towards the endurance sort of level. For instance, this 56cm model has a 560mm top tube, a tall head tube of 182mm and a slightly slack 72.5-degree head angle, which gives neutral handling and a slightly more upright position.

Cube Attain - rear.jpg

The 1,004mm wheelbase also brings an added feeling of stability, which gives the whole bike a feeling of confidence. I only really found it wanting when the speed crept up and the corners got a little bit technical.

Everywhere else, though, the front end turns in predictably and whether you are cruising around the back lanes or mingling with urban traffic, you feel totally in control. This also helps when riding on wet, slippery roads.

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The way the Attain behaves is just right for the type of rider it's aimed at, those who are possibly new to road riding and would find something more race orientated a little twitchy.

Stiffness levels are good thanks to the chunky box section of the oversized down tube and the wider than normal bottom bracket shell.

Cube Attain - down tube.jpg

Cube has gone down the press-fit internal bearing route rather than having a narrow shell to take threaded external BB cups.

Cube Attain - bottom bracket.jpg

Out-and-out sprinting is hampered a bit by the overall weight of 9.67kg (21.3lb), but if you need to give it a dig it's relatively responsive. The same goes with climbing – unless you're a very strong rider you'll be feeling the effort when attacking steep hills.

None of these are massive criticisms at all. For the money, the Cube behaves exactly how I would expect and the improvement in performance over a bike of this price five to ten years ago is marked.

The comfort levels seem to have been achieved by reducing the overall diameters of the tubes at the rear of the frame. The top tube narrows as it makes its way to the seat tube…

Cube Attain - top tube.jpg

…and from there the dropped seatstays are very slender to promote a bit of flex between the rear wheel and the rider.

Cube Attain - seat tube junction.jpg

The top tube is also heavily sloped, allowing plenty of seatpost to be exposed, adding to the flex.

Frame and fork

According to Cube, the Attain gets a Superlite 6061 aluminium alloy tubeset which is double butted. If you haven't come across this before, it is where the tubes have two different wall thicknesses along the length, thicker at the ends for added strength to cope with the welding and stresses, thinner in the middle to allow a little bit of flex for comfort.

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It's not a bad looking frame. The welding isn't quite as neat as you'll find it on more expensive frames but it doesn't detract from the overall quality. It's also quite well hidden by the matt grey paint job.

Cube Attain - head tube.jpg

On that note, to my mind the whole bike looks more expensive than it actually is thanks to that grey and the bright yellow highlights of the frame and other little additions like the outer cables and underside of the saddle.

Cube Attain - head tube badge.jpg

The paint itself looks to be hard wearing, and Cube has gone to the trouble of sticking transparent protection not only on the chainstay but also the lower half of the down tube.

It's good to see internal cable routing making its way down to bikes of this price, and the Attain looks much smoother and cleaner for it. For the front mech and rear mech, the cables do only run inside for the length of the down tube, exiting at the bottom bracket right into all of the road spray from the front wheel, which isn't exactly ideal.

Cube Attain - cable route.jpg

Not so long ago the thought of a full carbon fibre fork on a sub-£700 bike would have seemed ludicrous, but not any more. That is what the Attain comes with, and not only is the steerer carbon it is also tapered to suit the head tube, bringing additional stiffness for the handling and braking.

Cube Attain - fork.jpg

Cube offers the Attain in a total of seven sizes from 47cm through to 62cm, with effective top tube lengths of 510mm to 595mm, which is quite a decent spread. You can see a full geometry table on Cube's website, follow the link up top.

Groupset

Unlike the Specialized and Vitus I mentioned earlier, the Cube comes with a full Shimano Claris groupset including the chainset, which gives the bike a complete look.

Cube Attain - crank.jpg

Claris is Shimano's entry-level road groupset and follows much of the look of the Tiagra and Sora groupsets that live above it, although Claris has 8 sprockets (8-speed), while the others have 10 and 9 respectively.

Shifting isn't quite as crisp as the more expensive groupsets, but it is precise enough that you get a solid click from the shifter as you change from one sprocket to another. The shape of the hoods is also a comfortable place to spend your time.

Cube Attain - dorp bar.jpg

When it comes to ratios, the Cube comes with a 50/34-tooth compact chainset and an 11-34t cassette, so there are gears for either end of the extreme. It's quite a gappy cassette, though, meaning that you can quite often find yourself 'between' the sprockets.

Cube Attain - drivetrain.jpg

It's the CS-HG31-8 cassette, which uses a Megarange sprocket. This is where the largest sprocket is much bigger than the next, to give you a bail-out gear for the hills while keeping the rest of the cassette as close as possible.

Cube Attain - rear mech.jpg

The Claris does a fine job of coping with the big jump. The sprocket sizes (number of teeth) are: 11/13/15/17/20/23/26/34.

The braking is okay, but I'd suggest you upgrade the pads. The standard ones from Shimano don't have that great a compound and even when bedded in don't offer a huge amount of bite or give that much feedback or modulation.

Cube Attain - front brake.jpg

They are still better than a lot of entry-level brakes on the market, though, thanks to the stiffness of the callipers.

Cube Attain - rear brake.jpg

Finishing kit

The rest of the kit is Cube-branded stuff and is exactly what you would expect for the money: durable and capable alloy components for the steering and for holding your saddle.

Cube Attain - bars 1.jpg

The handlebar has a compact drop and reach, making it more accessible for getting into the lower half of the bar without putting you in too stretched out a position. The tops also swoop back towards you a little, which brings the distance from your saddle to bar down a little.

Cube Attain - stem.jpg

The Natural Fit Venec Lite saddle is a little bulkier than I normally like but I found it pretty comfortable on the whole, and its padding certainly does a decent job of keeping road buzz at bay.

Cube Attain - saddle.jpg

Wheels and tyres

The wheelset is also from Cube, the RA 0.8 Aero. They're solid enough wheels, and I certainly didn't have any issues with durability throughout the test period.

Cube Attain - rim.jpg

The hubs ran smoothly and they remained true after riding on some pretty horrendous roads. The only real downside is that they carry a fair bit of weight so if there comes a time that you can upgrade to something lighter, go for it. As it is, they are up to spec for the type of wheels I'd expect to find at this price.

Cube Attain - front hub.jpg

Tyres are Continental's Ultra Sport 2, a durable and dependable tyre that I have ridden for thousands of miles over the course of the years. They don't really excel anywhere but offer decent levels of grip to give you confidence in the corners, and the rolling resistance is minimal enough that you still get a spirited ride.

Cube Attain - tyre.jpg

Value

As I've mentioned, for the price you are getting a good quality frameset and spec list compared to what you'd be getting even five years ago, but the Cube is up against some tough opposition.

The Specialized Allez is the same weight and comes with similar finishing kit, although the Cube does have the complete Claris groupset, and to be fair the Allez is only £49 cheaper, a gap that can be a lot less online.

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Over the last few years I've ridden a couple of versions of the Vitus Razor and I've always been impressed. For 2020 the Razor Rim, as it is now known, has changed slightly, and is able to take full mudguards again like the original version.

Its geometry is very similar to the Cube, so you will get a very similar level of performance and handling. It also has a Claris groupset but substituting out the chainset for a Prowheel version, and its fork has an alloy steerer. Even so, it is only 200g heavier but £150 cheaper.

Conclusion

Overall, I like the Cube. Its frame and fork provide a very pleasant ride and the steering gives plenty of confidence without taking the fun away. It looks good too. It may be a little more expensive than some of the opposition, but you're still getting a lot of bike for the money.

Verdict

Great looking bike that delivers confidence and performance for those new to the sport

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Cube Attain 2020

Size tested: 56cm

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

Cube lists:

FRAME Aluminium 6061 T6 Superlite, Road Comfort Geometry

SIZE 47, 50, 53, 56, 58, 60, 62

FORK CUBE CSL Race, Full Carbon, 1 1/8"-1 1/4" Tapered

HEADSET FSA Z-t, Top Zero-Stack 1 1/8" (OD 44mm), Bottom Integrated 1 1/4"

STEM CUBE Performance Stem Pro, 31.8mm

HANDLEBAR CUBE Compact Race Bar

REAR DERAILLEUR Shimano Claris RD-R2000-GS, 8-Speed

FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano Claris FD-R2000-BM, 31.8mm Clamp

BRAKE SYSTEM Shimano Claris BR-R2000

CRANKSET Shimano Claris FC-R2000, 50x34T, BB-RS500, 165mm (47cm), 170mm (50/53/56cm), 175mm (58/60/62cm)

CHAIN KMC Z7

COLOUR grey'n'flashyellow

HANDLEBAR TAPE CUBE Grip Control

SHIFT/ BRAKE LEVERS Shimano Claris ST-R2000

CASSETTE Shimano CS-HG31, 11-34T

WHEELSET CUBE RA 0.8 Aero, QR/QR

TYRES Conti Ultra Sport 2, 25-622

SADDLE Natural Fit Venec Lite

SEAT POST CUBE Performance Post, 27.2mm

SEATCLAMP CUBE Screwlock, 31.8mm

WEIGHT 9,6 kg

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Cube says, "When the open road calls, you'll want a bike that blends comfort and pace with easy handling. The Attain is our affordable introduction to the world of road riding and the allure of simple, unadulterated human-powered speed. We combined proven technology and years of experience designing aluminium road bikes with a carefully curated selection of reliable components, so you can just concentrate on enjoying the ride. Shimano's slick-shifting, smooth-braking Claris 2x8 components and grippy Continental tyres ensure you're all set to take on any road. Features like the slim, cross-ovalised seat stays - which help improve comfort on poor road surfaces - and the tapered head tube - which enhances steering precision - are typical of the attention to detail that does into every CUBE frame. And our Road Comfort Geometry is designed to make racking up the miles as comfortable and effortless as possible, allowing you to ride further and for longer. Where will your Attain take you?"

The Attain is an affordable introduction to road riding, thanks to balanced geometry and easy-to-live-with handling.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

This is the entry-level model of the Attain range. There are five other models in the range, with the Attain GTC SL priced at £1,999.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
7/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Build quality is good for the price point, and although the welds aren't as smooth as some, they suit the look of the Attain and are masked over by the good paint job.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

FRAME - Aluminium 6061 T6 Superlite

FORK - CUBE CSL Race, Full Carbon, 1 1/8"-1 1/4" Tapered

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The Attain has a geometry that is closer to an endurance bike than a race machine throughout its range of sizes, thanks to taller head tubes and relatively short top tubes.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The stack figure for this 56cm model is 591mm which is quite tall for a bike of this type, giving a higher, more relaxed position, with a reach of 385mm.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Yes. The frame does well to cover up road buzz without reducing the majority of the feedback.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Stiffness is certainly up to a level that I'd expect to see on a bike of this type.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Yes, on the whole. Its weight hampers it a little but you can get a good return on your effort.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?

No, none.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The handling is very balanced and smooth, which makes the bike easy and relaxing to ride while still managing to be fun.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The saddle is more padded than I normally like, but I got on with it quite well.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

I could get a small bit of flex out of the handlebar but not to the point where it became distracting.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

Lighter wheels would make a big difference to climbing and acceleration.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
6/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

When you consider how much an entire Shimano Claris groupset costs, you really can't fault the shifting. The brakes are good too, it's just that the callipers are let down by the pads a bit.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the wheels for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for value:
 
6/10

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

Decent enough wheels for the cost of the bike, and proved to be durable throughout testing. Lighter wheels would improve the performance overall when the time comes to replace them.

Rate the tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for value:
 
6/10

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

The Continental Ultra Sport 2 tyres are reliable and offer decent performance across the board. They suit the Cube very well.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
6/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

The components all work well enough and are well shaped for the majority of riders.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes, but it is up against some tough opposition.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Attain isn't a bad price for what you are getting, but others like the Specialized Allez and Vitus Razor Rim undercut it for similar quality rides and spec.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
6/10

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Cube Attain delivers a quality frameset and components for the money but there are a few brands out there providing the same for less.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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