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Cube Nuroad EX 2022

8
£1,649.00

VERDICT:

8
10
A solid performance, plenty of versatility, and very good value for money from this aluminium-framed gravel bike
Lively performance
Very good value
Excellent Shimano GRX components
Maximum system weight of 115kg
Weight: 
10,320g
Contact: 

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Cube Nuroad EX is a solid, versatile, and comfortable aluminium-framed gravel bike. While it might not sit among the very best gravel bikes you can buy, it certainly offers very good value for money.

It feels surprisingly nimble and lively when you take it out for a fast blast on gravel or forest tracks. It weighs in at 10.32kg (size large) – in line with other aluminium gravel bikes at this price – but is still perfectly chuck-aboutable when you want to dodge holes and bumps on the track surface or crack through tight twists and turns as quickly as possible.

> Order now: Cube Nuroad EX for £1,649.99 from Damian Harris Cycles

Hit the pedals hard on a steep climb and the Nuroad EX delivers. Get out of the saddle and there's no discernible movement through either the centre of the frame or at the head tube/fork. In fact, it feels taut all around.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - riding 4.jpg

Long rides are a comfortable experience, largely thanks to a relaxed geometry (we'll go into the geometry in more depth down below), 45mm-wide WTB Riddler tyres – which come with inner tubes but can be run tubeless at lower pressures – and Cube's Natural Fit Venec saddle which offers loads of flex in its shell.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - tyre and rim 2.jpg

You don't get a whole lot of buzz through the full-carbon fork and the Nuroad EX copes well with corrugated and rocky sections. Rather than rattling along, it soaks up most irregularities without fuss. There are certainly plusher-feeling gravel bikes out there but you can rack up the miles here without feeling that you're getting battered and bruised along the way.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - riding 3.jpg

The Nuroad EX is reasonably steady and stable on rough roads, although more mountain bike-influenced rivals will help you hold a line better when things really hot up. That said, the Cube is far from twitchy and the aluminium Gravel Race Bar has a useful flare to it – measuring 52cm (centre to centre) across the ends on this large-sized bike – the wide stance providing extra control when things get challenging without giving you the feeling that you're compromising your position too much for the fast sections. Get your hands hooked into the drops and you can tackle fairly technical trails, including steep descents, with confidence.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - bars 3.jpg

A gravel bike will almost inevitably see action on the road at times, whether that's on your way to and from tracks and trails or when linking up different sections. The Nuroad EX transitions naturally to tarmac, allowing you to get down into a reasonably efficient riding position on the drops – although the geometry is more relaxed than that of a typical road bike. Of course, the WTB Riddler tyres aren't as quick as road tyres and you'll run out of gears on fast descents, but you never feel like you're riding through treacle.

Frame and fork

The Cube Nuroad EX is built around a well-made aluminium frame – aluminium of the 6061-T6 variety that's very commonly used in the cycling world. It comes with a sloping top tube that's flared at both ends for larger welding surfaces. Those welds look tidy enough.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - top tube decal 2.jpg

Like most brands these days, Cube has dropped the seatstays (so they meet the seat tube far lower than the top tube junction), the idea being to provide a little extra comfort, and you get a tapered head tube (1 1/8in upper bearing, 1 1/4in lower bearing), a press-fit bottom bracket, and flat-mount brakes.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - rear.jpg

There are mounts for full-length mudguards too, and if you want to run a rack Cube offers ones that attach at the dropouts only.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - rear dropout.jpg

The fork has lowrider mounts if you want to carry luggage up front but there are no additional mounts for a top tube bag (although you could, of course, use one that straps in place) or a third bottle cage.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - fork.jpg

If you're interested in carrying loads, bear in mind that Cube gives a maximum system weight of 115kg for the Nuroad EX. That figure includes the bike, everything you're carrying, and yourself, so heavier riders aren't going to have a lot to play with here. For comparison, Trek gives a maximum weight limit of 125kg for its aluminium Checkpoint ALR. That doesn't necessarily mean there's any difference in frame strength; it's more likely just down to what each brand is happy recommending.

The hose for the front brake runs through the fork leg while the rear hose and gear cable take an internal route through the down tube before emerging just in front of the bottom bracket and going externally from there.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - cable routing.jpg

One thing I'd argue with is the wisdom of using an internal wedge-type seatpost clamp with bolts that you tighten with a 3mm hex key on a bike of this kind. More specifically, it's having those bolts sitting at the back of the seat tube, right in the firing line of gunk sprayed up by the rear wheel, that's the issue.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - seat post bolts.jpg

The heads frequently fill with grit and mud – every ride in a UK winter. Make sure you carefully remove it all before trying to make adjustments because those heads, tightened to 5-6Nm, are really easy to round out.

Geometry

The Cube Nuroad EX is available in five sizes from XS to XL. The large-sized model I've been riding comes with a 575mm effective top tube, a 527.1mm seat tube, and a 185mm head tube.

You get a seat tube angle of 73 degrees and a head tube angle of 72 degrees on this size – figures similar to those of a road bike. A lot of brands go for slacker, mountain bike-inspired head tube angles on their gravel bikes these days, along with long top tubes, the aim being to provide more stability on rough terrain. The Cube's geometry certainly feels pretty close to a road bike's in use.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - head tube.jpg

The stack on this size is 609.5mm and the reach is 388.7mm, giving a stack/reach of 1.57 (our Bike Geometry 101 feature explains why stack and reach are important). As mentioned above, you can still get into a reasonably flat-backed riding position on the drops for the fast and open sections, but when your hands are on the tops you'll take a lot of wind on your chest.

Components

The Cube Nuroad EX is built up with a mix of Shimano's gravel-specific GRX components, and they all worked superbly throughout the review period. The hydraulic disc brakes are entry-level RX400, the chainset and dual control levers are mid-range RX600, and the rear derailleur is top-end RX812. This is a 1x11-speed system.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - crank.jpg

Even riding the bumpiest roads at speed, that rear derailleur never missed a shift. It features a clutch that resists forward movement of the cage to minimise chain bounce. This keeps gear changes smooth and helps stop the chain unshipping. You get a stabiliser switch that you can turn on to limit cage movement or leave off if you're riding smoother terrain.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - rear mech.jpg

I had no problems with chain tension despite riding almost exclusively off-road throughout a review period that extended over three months. The chain came off once when I had the stabiliser switch off and not at all when I had it on; Shimano's design works really well.

In terms of gearing, the Nuroad EX is fitted with a 40-tooth chainset and an 11-42 cassette. With the 700x45mm WTB Riddler tyres fitted, this gives you a gear range from 26.6in up to 102.0in.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - drivetrain.jpg

I was swapping between the Cube and a Cotic Cascade with a gear range of 21.0in to 95.8in – they came in for review at the same time – and, not surprisingly, the difference was easily noticeable. I've got a couple of short, super-steep off-road climbs that I like to ride just for the hell of it and they were markedly easier to get up on the (considerably heavier) Cotic thanks to the lower gearing – but that's a bike that comes with a zillion-and-one mounts for carrying big loads so the itsy-bitsy gears make sense. (If you want to find out how to get ultra-low gearing, we have just the feature for you...)

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - riding 2.jpg

The flip side is that on the Cube you can pile on the power for longer on fast descents. Turn your legs at 110rpm – quick but not crazy – and you can get up to 33mph in the 40x11.

Wheels and tyres

The wheels are Cube's GR 2.3s, made with Alexrims rims and 28 plain gauge, three-cross spokes front and rear. They're not especially light but the hubs both ran smoothly throughout the test period and they're as round and true now as they were on day one.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - tyre and rim 1.jpg

The 45mm WTB Riddler tyres are grippy and quick on gravel and anything hardpacked – for which they're designed – and they provide more traction than you might expect of a semi-slick option in light mud. They'll slip and spin in anything deeper, though. You can't have everything.

A 45mm tyre width is the maximum that Cube advises, by the way. Any larger than that and you're not going to leave yourself much clearance.

2022 Cube Nuroad EX - seat stays.jpg

Although the Nuroad EX comes with inner tubes fitted, the rims are equipped with tubeless tape and the tyres feature WTB's TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) tubeless casing. Add tubeless valves and sealant and you'll be able to run them tubeless to reduce the possibility of flats. We have a video showing you how, if you're not sure.

Value

Compared with rivals, the Cube Nuroad EX offers very good value for money. Specialized's Diverge Elite E5 (£2,200) is a fairly similar proposition, coming with an aluminium frame, a full-carbon fork, and a Shimano GRX groupset. This bike is 2x10-speed so it comes with a front derailleur, an operating left-hand shifter, and a more expensive chainset, but the Cube is £550 cheaper.

Trek's Checkpoint ALR 4 (£1,875) has a spec that's very like that of the Specialized, although it features a compact (50/34-tooth) chainset and an 11-34 cassette which is more appropriate for the road than for gravel.

Of the bikes that we've reviewed lately, the closest in price to the Cube is the Genesis Croix de Fer 20 which was £1,499.99 when we reviewed it, but is now £1,699.99. Made from Reynolds 725 steel, it's a great bike with a 2x10-speed Shimano groupset, although you get TRP Spyre-C brakes. These are among the best mechanical disc brakes out there but most people would prefer hydraulics.

We were very impressed by the Vitus Substance CRS-2, although it's considerably more expensive than the Cube at £1,999.99. The Vitus Substance VRS-1 is closer in price at £1,599.99 (currently discounted to £1,359.99). Like the Nuroad EX, it is built around a 6061-T6 aluminium frame although it comes with a 1x11-speed SRAM Apex groupset. You also get DT Swiss's very good G 1800 Spline wheels. This one's certainly worth checking out, though sizes available are limited.

Conclusion

The Cube Nuroad EX has loads to offer. It doesn't look the flashiest bike in the world, but, comfortable and more nimble than you might expect, it quietly puts in a very good all-round performance. The frame and the spec are both solid and you're getting impressive value for money here.

Order now: Cube Nuroad EX for £1,649.99 from Damian Harris Cycles

Verdict

A solid performance, plenty of versatility, and very good value for money from this aluminium-framed gravel bike

road.cc test report

Make and model: Cube Nuroad EX

Size tested: Large, 57.5cm

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

FRAME Aluminium 6061 T6 Superlite, Gravel Comfort Geometry, Flat Mount Disc, Fender & Rack Option, 12x142mm, AXH

FORK Cube Nuroad Flat Mount Disc, Full Carbon, 1 1/8" - 1 1/4" Tapered, Fender & Lowrider Mounts, 12x100mm

BRAKE SYSTEM Shimano GRX BR-RX400, Hydr. Disc Brake, Flat Mount (160/160)

REAR DERAILLEUR Shimano GRX RD-RX812, Direct Mount, 11-Speed

SHIFT/ BRAKE LEVERS Shimano GRX ST-RX600

BOTTOM BRACKET Shimano BB-RS500PB, 86mm Pressfit

CRANKSET Shimano GRX FC-RX600, 40T

CASSETTE Shimano CS-M5100, 11-42T

CHAIN Shimano CN-HG601-11

WHEELSET Cube GR 2.3, 622x23C

TYRES WTB Riddler, TCS Light Rolling Fast, Kevlar, 45-622

STEM CUBE Performance Stem SL, 31.8mm

HANDLEBAR Cube Gravel Race Bar

HANDLEBAR TAPE ACID Bartape CX

SEAT POST Cube Performance Post, 27.2mm

SEATCLAMP Cube Nuroad Integrated Seat Clamp

SADDLE Natural Fit Venec

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

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, "To create the Nuroad Ex we took inspiration from our race and cyclocross bikes, then threw a little mountain bike DNA into the mix. There's plenty of clearance for big, grippy and comfortable 45mm tyres - or 40mm if you run mudguards at the same time. There's an integrated seat clamp, exceptionally tidy rack, guard and kickstand mounts, and neat internal cable routing to keep gear shifts grit- and mud-free for longer. Thru-axle wheels improve steering accuracy, even on the roughest roads. And the full carbon fork isn't just lightweight - it also helps reduce vibration from the road and features lowrider rack mounts.

"Less can sometimes be more. That's the thinking behind the Nuroad EX, which features Shimano's gravel-specific GRX components in weight-paring 1x11 form, for a wide gear range with minimal fuss. WTB's lightweight, tough and grippy Riddler 45mm tyres work with the Shimano GRX hydraulic disc brakes to keep you in full control, all of the time. There's a vibration-filtering, full carbon fork for ride-all-day comfort. And a full complement of rack mounts - front and rear - mean it's easy to equip your Nuroad EX for any adventure from the daily commute to a weeks-long tour."

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

Canyon has loads of Nuroad gravel bikes in its range. The Nuroad C:62 models are carbon framed while the other Nuroads – including the Nuroad EX – have frames made from 6061 T6 aluminium.

The most affordable model in the lineup is simply called the Cube Nuroad, and it costs £999. This one is built up with a Shimano Claris groupset and Tektro MD-C510 mechanical disc brakes.

The Cube Nuroad Pro (£1,249) is a mostly Shimano GRX RX400 build although it has TRP Spyre MD-C610C mechanical disc brakes.

The Cube Nuroad Ex (£1,649) we have here has a mix of Shimano GRX components, including RX400 hydraulic disc brakes.

The Cube Nuroad race (£1,749) is a similar build but with a double chainset rather than the Nuroad Ex's 1x system.

Each of the other aluminium Nuroads is available in an FE – Fully Equipped – version, which means it is fitted with full-length mudguards, a rear rack, kickstand, and lighting.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

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

The build quality is high throughout. It's an understated finish on this particular model but no complaints at all about the quality.

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

The frame is aluminium alloy (6061 T6) while the fork is full-carbon.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Cube calls it a "Gravel Comfort Geometry". It's a lot like that of an endurance road bike, but with a slightly slacker head tube angle and tweaked for larger tyres.

The large-sized model I've been riding comes with a 575mm effective top tube, a 527.1mm seat tube, and a 185mm head tube.

You get a seat tube angle of 73 degrees and a head tube angle of 72 degrees on this size. A lot of brands go for slacker, mountain bike-inspired head tube angles on their gravel bikes these days, along with long top tubes, the aim being to provide more stability on rough terrain. The Cube's geometry certainly feels pretty close to a road bike's in use.

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

The stack on this size is 609.5mm and the reach is 388.7mm, giving a stack/reach of 1.57. You can still get into a reasonably flat-backed riding position on the drops for the fast and open sections, but when your hands are on the tops you'll take a lot of wind on your chest.

Riding the bike

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

The geometry and a saddle with a lot of flex help with comfort, and 45mm tyres provide plenty of give. You can set up the wheels and tyres tubeless and run them at lower pressures without worrying about pinch flats.

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

Yep, there's no particular flexibility in the frame or fork.

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

None. Misses by a whisker.

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?

It handles well on most off-road surfaces. The flared handlebar really helps when things get rough and technical.

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

The 45mm WTB Riddler tyres allow you to run low pressures – especially if you run them tubeless – and the shell of Cube's Natural Fit Venec saddle offers loads of flex.

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

The wheels are built strongly and feel stiff enough.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
7/10

It's not really what this bike is about.

Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
8/10

Wheels and tyres

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

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
8/10

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? If I was in the market for one at this price point, I'd definitely consider it.

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?

Compared with rivals, the Cube Nuroad Ex offers very good value for money. Specialized's latest Diverge Elite E5 (£2,200) is a fairly similar proposition, coming with an aluminium frame, a full-carbon fork, and a Shimano GRX groupset. This bike is 2x10-speed so it comes with a front derailleur, an operating left hand shifter, and a more expensive chainset, but the Cube is £550 cheaper.

Trek's Checkpoint ALR 4 (£1,875) has a spec that's very like that of the Specialized, although it features a compact (50/34-tooth) chainset and an 11-34 cassette which is more appropriate for the road than for gravel.

Of the bikes that we've reviewed lately, the closest in price to the Cube is the Genesis Croix de Fer 20 which was £1,499.99 but is now £1,699.99. Made from Reynolds 725 steel, it's a great bike with a 2x10-speed Shimano groupset, although you get TRP Spyre-C brakes. These are among the best mechanical disc brakes out there but most people would prefer hydraulics.

We were very impressed by the Vitus Substance CRS-2 although it's considerably more expensive than the Cube at £1,999.99. The Vitus Substance VRS-1 is closer in price at £1,599.99. Like the Nuroad EX, it is built around a 6061-T6 aluminium frame, although it comes with a 1x11-speed SRAM Apex groupset. You also get DT Swiss's very good G 1800 Spline wheels. This one's certainly worth checking out.

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

Use this box to explain your overall score

A very good bike at a very good price – that's a clear 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 190cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

Add new comment

2 comments

Avatar
andystow | 1 year ago
0 likes

I'm at a loss as to how that rack linked to works mounted with just two screws (one per side,) and holds 25 kg. Does it require the mudguard to be used with it and attach to that at the top?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to andystow | 1 year ago
1 like

I believe it needs to pair with the mudguard yes.  If it was like my one (stolen after having had it for barely a month, grrr...) it would go with their "Acid" mudguards or the like.  Mine had a solid metal rod running in the middle underneath the mudguards which attached at the cross-tube thing at the seat stays (see 3rd picture in the "wheels" section) and at the bottom at the same for the seat stays.  Seemed very solid.  Is it the best way given this is then in the crud from the wheels?  Maybe not but I guess people like the "suspended in mid-air" look and it's used on quite a few "low maintenance" bikes.

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