I first took the Cube Nuroad C:62 Pro out on a sunny day that signalled that the snow still on the ground was doomed. It was a perfect day for the versatile bike. The 38c-wide Schwalbe G-One Allround tires offered a good amount of traction on roads full crud and fresh potholes. My plan was to take the bike to some ravines.
The Nuroad C:62 is in fact new for 2021. Frank Greifzu, product manager at Cube, had briefed me on the new bike. It was developed from its alloy sibling, which appeared in 2018. That aluminum Nuroad was almost the same as Cube’s endurance bike, the Attain. The Nuroad got 20 mm more length at the chainstays so that 40-mm wide treads could spin on its wheels. The 2021 carbon frame can run 45-mm-wide tires. If you throw on fenders and a rack from Cube’s house brand Acid on the carbon-fibre frame, you still have a healthy 40 mm of clearance. “The latest bike should also be a bit more dynamic as the stack height is around 10 mm less than on the aluminum bike,” Greifzu said.
On dry trails, I was surprised at how whippy the Nuroad felt. I expected something with a 1041-mm-long wheelbase to be a bit more frumpy, albeit stable. For comparison, the 3T Exploro RaceMax in my size, 54 cm, is 1,008-mm. A medium Giant Revolt has a wheelbase of 1,031 mm. The Nuroad’s other dimensions, however, keep things agile. You see, Cube has some big jumps in frame size. My machine was a 53 cm. The next size up is a too-large 56. On the 53, I could pull the seatpost way out of the frame – the exposed length giving me some vibration-damping flex. On the smaller frame, I needed to run a stem longer than my regular 100 mm. Without the right stem length, the back wheel drifts and skips when I’m on a climb, out of the saddle and really reefing on the bars.
On a nearby singletrack climb that I can ride while sitting on the saddle, the 42-tooth cog and 40-tooth ring got me up the incline nicely. On the other side of the ravine, there’s another sharp climb that gets really steep near the top. I couldn’t clean it on the Nuroad. It was muddy on the day of my attempt, so I’m going to throw the tires under the bus: it was their fault I didn’t make it up. I’ll simply ignore my early-season (lack of) fitness.
My rides on the Nuroad into early spring showed me what I suspected about it: it’s a general gravel bike. Yes, a general gravel bike. It’s kind of an absurd term. What else are gravel bikes but machines with wider applications, able to take on a range of surfaces? Well, the Nuroad probably isn’t a go-to rig for a race such as Unbound Gravel or The Mid South. The Cube, as Greifzu says, is very much a European product. Still, this bike’s features make it the thing for our moment. “There is a growing trend in peoples’ minds to stay away from traffic or explore new terrain around their homes in times of COVID-19 travel restrictions,” Greifzu says. Those joys of quiet roads and riding new routes are universal, of course, regardless of what’s going on in the world.
Cube Nuroad C:62 Pro
Components: Shimano GRX RX812 rear derailleur, 40-tooth GRX RX600 crankset, 11-42 tooth SLX cassette, GRX RX400 hydraulic disc brakes with 160-mm rotors
Wheels: Fulcrum Rapid Red 900
Sizes: XS (50 cm), S (53 cm), M (56 cm), L (58 cm), XL (61 cm)
This review originally appeared in the June & July 2021 issue of Canadian Cycling Magazine