Words Kevin Sharpe | Photos Daniel Gould
This year’s Peloton Race from German manufacturer Cube is just slightly nudging over the thousand pound price-tag finish line. But is it more podium or broomwagon?
First off, the frame is alloy, not carbon, but it is road ready with a pair of lightweight but durable Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tyres from the top of Schwalbe’s road range. These are not only the first point of contact with the road, they also say a lot about the high spec-for-price of this bike. This theme continues, more or less, throughout.
The 2012 bike came with Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur, sadly for 2013 this has been downgraded to 105, still a good piece of kit but a shame as the price of the bike has gone up slightly from a penny shy of a grand to £1,075.
Money has also been saved on the brake calipers which are now entry-level Shimano BR-R561 units. Would have been nice to have 105 here to complement the 105 levers and complete the rest of the 105 groupset. Of all the Peloton models that Cube offers, the Race seems to have the best balance of kit for the money, sharing the majority of items with the top-of-the-range Peloton SL, which retails for a further £165.
Finishing kit is all supplied by Easton, which is nice and makes the bike look quite smart. The Easton EA30 aero handlebars provide a flat, palm-sized platform on tops and side, with a couple of angular positions on the short shallow drops. I liked the shape but a couple of people who had a ride found them to be a little cumbersome and uncomfortable.
As with anything on the bike you may want to upgrade the wheels for lighter alternatives, particularly if you’re going to race, but the ones supplied are fine.
The 6061 double-butted alloy frame I found to be agile and, thanks partly to the tapered head tube, very rigid. This gave the ride a lively, responsive, confident feel. This no doubt is down to the geometry and as the slogan on the side of the bike says, it’s ‘race ready’. Cube’s own Cl race carbon fork with aluminium steerer complements the frame and helps smooth out some of the road noise.
Aesthetically I found the frame welds a little unsightly; a bottom-end carbon frame would make for nice, smooth-looking lines but maybe not such a nice ride as this one.
A neat detail worthy of mention is that all the rearward cables are internally routed, keeping the lines of the bike — and the cables themselves — nice and clean.
I did have a slight issue with the fit of the bike as it felt small for its sizing. A friend of mine also experienced this on buying his Peloton and like me had to go up a size from the norm. Once having sized-up I also had to flip the stem over, raise the handlebars and nudge the saddle right back on its rails to help get rid of the cramped feeling.
Last year’s slightly patriotic white frame with red and blue accents has been replaced with a glossy black number with red and white accents. I think it’s a little more subtle and blended in, maybe too well for some tastes with our own Cycling Active lunchtime ride peloton as we spun through the local lanes. Maybe the paint scheme should be more standout striking.
Cube offers the Peloton Race in two chainset options: compact or triple, which is a very user friendly and inclusive way of doing things. Both are good calls for the price, with the triple offering the lowest gears but at a small weight penalty.
Either option would be ideal if your riding is about getting out there and munching miles at the weekend, commuting to work, and perhaps taking part in sportives.
Once I’d got it to fit me, I ended up liking the Peloton Race so much that I was more than a little hesitant to box it up and send it back to Cube. Sizing issues aside, it’s a good all-round package that is great to ride and good value for the money.
Cube Peloton Race
Frameset Alu Superlite 6061 double-butted, carbon fork
Gears Shimano 105 shifters and front and rear mechs
Chainset Shimano 105: 50/39/30 triple or 50/34 compact
Brakes Shimano dual-pivot
Wheels Easton EA30 Aero Custom
Tyres Schwalbe Ultremo ZX 23c
Bar/stem Easton EA30
Saddle Selle Italia X1 Road
Seatpost Easton EA30
Size range 50-64cm
Boardman Road Team SL £999
Also a serious contender on the market. A penny shy of the thousand pound price bracket with very similar spec: aluminium frame, carbon fork, with mostly 105 groupset, but with Boardman’s own-branded finishing kit. Offering a good all-round package and a desirable, viable option.