The £599 Cube Peloton Claris is proof that you don't need to spend a fortune to lay your hands on a high performance road bike. It's all the things a road bike should be; fun, fast and exciting.
With its lightweight and smart looking aluminium frame, a carbon fibre fork and slick shifting Shimano Claris groupset, the Peloton is an ideal road bike for anyone on a budget or looking to get in to road cycling.
We like: Good value, great ride, wide ratio gears and smart looks
We dislike: No mudguard mounts and that two-tone bar tape (but you might like it)
Cube have a reputation for offering high value road bikes and nowhere is this more obvious than in its entry level Peloton lineup. This Claris-equipped model is the cheapest of the five bikes in the range, but it's the same frame used throughout the lineup. And what a corker of a frame it is. Double butted aluminium with internal cable routing, a feature that has been the preserve of expensive bikes until recently, and a carbon fork up front. The only blemish is the lack of mudguard mounts which would help it appeal to commuters - you should be able to fit clip-on guards though.
As the model name suggests the frame is fitted with a Shimano Claris groupset. It's an 8-speed setup with a generous 12-32t cassette paired with a triple 50/39/30t chainset - with size-specific crank arm lengths. That's a wide spread of gear ratios right there and should ensure that any hill or mountain can be scaled no matter the level of fitness you possess. It's a setup that will probably mean you're not the first to the top of the hill, but you'll get there and you won't run out of gears on the way.
Shimano Claris is really pleasant to operate, and the levers are proper Dual Control, with the upshift lever behind the brake lever rather than a thumb button. That's the same as the higher end groupsets, and the shifting is extremely light, very little pressure is needed on the levers to change gear. It's been reliable as well and I've not had to make any adjustments to the bike in the time I've been riding it.
Cube has smartly fitted Shimano Claris brake calipers and they're a definite improvement over the often inadequate no-name brakes often found on bikes for this sort of money. The brakes are pleasingly firm with a very good lever feel, providing dependable braking performance all of the time.
It's no surprise to find mostly Cube branded components fitted elsewhere on the bike, this is typical of most manufacturers at the lower price points but then for some book manufacturers own brand kit is more than a simple badge and cost saving exercise. Cube is one such company it has made a great effort with its own-brand kit, it's top quality stuff and works well. The handlebars have a compact shape which reduces the reach when you want to ride in the drops, so it's a less aggressive, head-down, position. I'm not a fan of the two-tone bar tape but you might feel otherwise.
The Cube saddle has a comfortable shape and a generous amount of padding to provide good long ride comfort. The seatpost has a two-bolt head which makes adjusting the saddle position and angle very easy, but it can be a fiddle to adjust with some multi tools as the front bolt sits very close to the seatpost.
Wheels can really influence the performance of a road bike, good wheels can lift the performance, bad wheels blunt the ride. Cube's own RA 0.7 Aero wheels are smartly finished with decals colour matched to the frame, lifting the appearance of the Peloton, but more crucially then the appearance, is the performance: they are very good. Granted, they're not light, but they mask their weight well with a sharp feel when pushed hard and they are strong and sturdy.
The 25mm Continental Ultra Sport tyres are fast-rolling with decent durability and cope with a wide range of road conditions well, from dry to wet roads. The bike has a slight weakness in how well it copes with rougher road surfaces, but the 25mm tyres go a long way to helping dampen pesky vibrations from ruining the otherwise mostly smooth ride. The tyre pressures can be run a bit softer as well to deliver even more comfort over bumpy roads
On paper the Peloton Claris looks like a bargain, and out on the road it delivers on that promise with fine performance.
At 9.9kg the weight does dent its sprightliness at lower speed, but once you get the Peloton going it nips along with plenty of pace and energy. Steep hills aren't the Cube's natural playground, but with the 30x32 lowest gear, scaling the steeper climbs wasn't the arduous experience you might imagine. The frame is plenty stiff enough for out of the saddle climbing, displaying no hint of energy-sapping flex.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the Cube's ride is how accomodating it is - the handling is neutral and the steering isn't too fast, in fact it's quite relaxed, so any new cyclist, or someone upgrading from a cheaper road bike, won't feel intimidated. I found it just the ticket for short blasts in my lunch break or after work, and equally for the longer weekend ride where it is a fine companion for a longer sportive. And with its super low gears, you don't need to fear the climbing of some of the tougher sportives.
A comfortable position is easily achieved. The Peloton comes in a wide range of sizes - it's good to see a company offering a 47 and 64cm size on its most affordablel bikes - and the geometry on the 56cm bike features a short 54.5cm top tube, meaning the reach to the handlebars is easier than a traditional race bike. The head tube measures 18cm so the bars are also a reasonable and back-friendly height too. The Peloton strikes a nice balance between being relaxed enough for people that want to take things easy and enjoy the view, and those that want to get their head down and blast along the roads as fast as their legs will propel them.
The frame is a real gem, both in its appearance and how well it rides. It's a responsive frame, eager when pressing hard on the pedals, and the relaxed steering makes steeper descents enjoyable rather than intimidating. The carbon fork is a good match for the frame, providing a direct feeling front-end and taming some of the ripples of the road better than a heavier aluminium or steel fork.
The Cube Peloton Claris is a fantastic bike. It offers a great value package with some really good attention to detail. It looks great, and the performance and handling will harness your enthusiasm to impressive capability. The Peloton is no afterthought by Cube, the company has nailed the details and that results in a very commendable road bike.
Brilliant value for money, a gem of a frame, and excellent handling makes the Peloton Claris a great first buy or upgrade
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Cube Peloton Claris (2015)
Size tested: 56cm, black
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
The Peloton can be considered your admission ticket to discovering the experience of road riding at first hand. With its high quality alloy frame, well balanced ride and 3x8 Shimano group set, this bike is the perfect partner for the touring oriented rider looking for reliability and countless kilometres of enjoyable riding.
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?
The double butted 6061 Superlite aluminium frame with its elaborately mechanically formed down tube, tapered head tube, cross-ovalized Aero Flex seat stays, internal cable routing and 3D forged dropouts is anything but standard for this class of road bikes. The vibration damping CUBE CSL carbon fork and slender seat stays complement the compact yet efficient riding position to create a comfortable sports tourer. New: For 2015 we reworked the Peloton frame and increased its head tube length by 20mm. Also we enlarged the size spectrum by popular demand, including a 47cm frame to accommodate smaller riders.
When you're touring, the bike needs to be reliable. That's why we specified a complete Shimano Claris groupset with ergonomic STI brake/shift levers. With a triple crank set (50/39/30) and 11-32 comfort cassette this experience oriented tourer will always offer the right gear. The 25mm Continental Ultra Sport 2 tires, mounted on our own home-built CSW RA 0.7 wheels, will help you enjoy the ride hour after hour.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
It's a top quality frame with internal cable routing and double butted tubing, the same as used in the whole Peloton range. The lack of mudguard mounts is an omission however
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
6061 Superlite aluminium frame with its elaborately mechanically formed down tube, tapered head tube, cross-ovalized Aero Flex seat stays, internal cable routing and 3D forged dropouts
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
For 2015 we reworked the Peloton frame and increased its head tube length by 20mm. Also we enlarged the size spectrum by popular demand, including a 47cm frame to accommodate smaller riders.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Really comfortable ride and good fit with the short top tube and tall head tube
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
No lack of stiffness for the keenest and most powerful cyclist
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The finishing kit was all top notch, nice shape handlebars, a comfortable saddle, nice stiff wheels and 25mm tyres, which provide extra comfort
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
Excellent Claris groupset with top quality shift performance and superb brakes
Wheels and tyres
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?
The Cube Peloton Claris is a fantastic bike. It offers a great value package with some really good attention to detail. It looks great, and the performance and handling will harness any enthusiasm with impressive capability
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.