The past few weeks I was a pretty lucky guy, because I had access to the new Cube AMS 100 C:68 TM, the successor to the Cube AMS 100 Race 2018. With this bike Cube has tried to build a lightweight racing monster that also fits more technical trails and downhills. We have tested the bike on real Dutch terrain: on the sand of the heath and the forest, in wet clay of the Flevopolder and on various trails on the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. Both under dry and wet conditions and even when there was a lot of (melting) snow. And we can say that the Cube AMS 100 C:68 TM did very well under all circumstances. In fact, it seems to be the perfect bike for the various Dutch conditions.
About 7 years ago I bought an aluminum hardtail mountain bike with 26″ tires. The reason was to improve my condition for the my speedskating. Soon I began to greatly appreciate the freedom and fun of mountain biking. For me it is comparable to snowboarding or kitesurfing. It’s fast, you’re manoeuvrable, you can jump and take nice turns, but it also gives you the freedom to take every trail on (almost) any terrain. Two years later I bought a Cube Reaction GTC Pro, a fine carbon hardtail, very suitable for my cross country rides. We mainly drive over heather and through woods, the trails of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, occasionally Schoorl and twice a year to Limburg for Limburg Mooiste and the Bart Brentjens Challenge. Previously I have tested different fully’s, but I do not have much experience with fullsuspension mountain bikes. And until recently I saw the advantages of a fully, but I thought a good hardtail would also do on Dutch terrain. Until now.
The Cube AMS 100 C:68 TM
In addition to the Cube AMS 100 C:68 Race 29, which can be called a really fast race fully, Cube has now tried to add real trail characteristics to those fast racing features. Therefore TM – which stands for Trail Motion – was added to the bike’s name. But how did they do that? Let’s take a good look at the bike – and all the different parts.
The Cube AMS 100 C:68 TM has a complete carbon frame, built from C:68 carbon. This is the most high-quality type of carbon that Cube uses in its Mountainbikes. “C:68 stands for an innovative composite technology, with less resin and more carbon (68%) in the material mix. This is built up according to the so-called Advanced Twin Mold technology, whereby the overlapping of the different carbon layers can be determined very precisely. This prevents folding and wrinkling in the carbon material during the hardening of the frame. Potential weak spots are thus eliminated. The result: a frame without superfluous material and therefore a super light weight”, according to Cube. In short: by using less resin, and using the carbon fibers in the right quantity, in the right place and in the right direction, you get an extremely light, but also very rigid frame. What I personally also like about this frame are the carbon fibers and – mats that are still visible in the frame. I personally do not like the combination with the orange, but that is a matter of taste.
The AMS 100 C:68 TM is equipped with a Fox 34 Factory Float fork with so-called Shamino coating, which improves lubrication and corrosion resistance. This lightweight front fork has a 120 mm travel. For extreme downhill trails perhaps not enough travel, but for the Netherlands it is really perfect. The combination with the Fox Float DPS rear suspension (100mm suspension) was particularly nice. I had an 18″ bike at my disposal (I am 1.80 m) which initially felt a little too small, but this also had to do with the rear suspension which was very ‘soft’ adjusted. With a simple turn of the button, I adjusted the rear suspension somewhat stiffer, making the bike less spring and making the frame “longer”. Very good for biking in the Netherlands. Furthermore, the bike is equipped with a lot of other light carbon parts, such as a 76 cm wide carbon handlebar from Newmen and a carbon Sram GX1 crank, which contributes to the light weight of this bike, only 11.9 kg. Coming back on the handlebar: As far as I am concerned, this 76 cm is on the broad side, I think 72 cm is wide enough.
The bike is assembled with a Sram GX Eagle 12 Speed, including Sram GX Eagle shifters. So one blade at the front and twelve at the back. This really switches very easily. The trend of the last few years with only one blade at the front is a great solution to me. It gives you enough range, specially here in the Netherlands, while switching makes it easier, and greatly reduces the chance of wrong switching.
Wheelset and tires
The bike comes standard with a 30 mm Newmen Evolution wheel set. These are very rigid and stable wheels. On these wide-, aluminum rims, they have put beautiful 2.35″ wide Nobby Nic tires from Schwalbes Addix Speedgrip series. These tires are quite broad and have a relatively open profile. Even in the snow, and up hill, I had a really good grip. In the beginning, driving in the (melting) snow really took some effort, because it was seriously slippery. But you quickly become accustomed to the circumstances and you feel that this bike helps you to control the circumstances, at least if you let the tires roll and do not use your (front) brakes too much. In addition, I had enough pressure on my rear wheel and the tires gave me so much grip that the snow did not bother me.
And the dropperpost completes the bike. If you never cycle with a dropperpost you will not miss it at all. But in my case, I normally ride on a hardtail without dropperpost, now I was so fortunate to ride the Cube AMS 100 C:68 for a while. Then you will miss the dropperpost a lot after turning in the bike. It is so nice, especially during the downhill. The dropperpost gives you simply more space to bring your weight backwards, and to let the bike dance underneath you if you have a few quick turns in a row on your trail.
The bike’s proposition
The proposition of this bike is that it rides uphill as easily as downhill. In short ‘a race monster with serious trail qualities’. The question is, whether this promise is indeed fulfilled by the Cube AMS 100 C:68 TM. I can be very clear about this: YES. You notice that the bike rides very easy and smooth. My own technical shortcomings are compensated effortlessly by this bike. The frame is light and stiff, which is very nice during uphill cycling. While he is heading downhill on slippery terrain he is also doing very well. The combination of 120mm travel at the front and 100mm travel at the back is perfectly suited to the Dutch conditions. I also noticed how nice this bike rides after handing it in and I had to use my own ‘wooden’ hardtail again, what a difference. I also saw it in my Strava times. Even though I was not completely fit, I was driving very fast times. This simply makes cycling easier. If you have to work less hard and have a lot of control over the bike, you can concentrate more on your technique. You will also notice that the ‘fun factor’ increases enormously. You feel less tired and because this bike is so forgiving, it gives you the feeling that you are a really good rider (while in my case it’s more about speed and strength than technical quality :-)). The list price of this bike is € 3.999, -. A considerable amount for a Mountainbike of course. But if you look at how much bike you get for that, and with which qualitative parts the bike is assembled, I can only conclude that Cube is fulfilling its name. Namely a very nice and qualitative bike for a relatively low price. Value for money is what we call that!