The Review | CUBE Fritzz 180 HPA SL 27.5
CUBE has a successful Enduro bike on the market with the Stereo 160 hat CUBE. The 160 mm- full-suss machine is the workhorse of the CUBE Cube Action Teams and numerous other racers and hobby riders. For those who wish a little bit more travel CUBE offers a new bike for 2015, the Fritzz 180. We had the opportunity to extensively test the new “Long-Travel-Enduro” at the Leogang Bikepark and on the stages of the final round of the Specialized-SRAM Enduro Series. Does more travel also mean more fun? Read the answer here!
The basis of our test bike is the hydro formed Fritzz aluminium frame. Just like with the Stereo CUBE has chosen a four-bar linkage concept. Though the bikes appear similar the pivot points of the Fritzz 180 are positioned differently and the rear suspension has another character. Proven features like internally routed cables, tapered steerer tube and pressfit-bottom bracket and of course found on the Fritzz as well.
The suspension is based on high end FOX-components. At the rear a FOX Float X shock with an external piggy-back reservoir should offer constant performance even on longer descents. In addition the CTD-System (“Climb–-Trail–-Descend“) can be quickly and comfortably be activated from the handlebars via the fitted remote lever.
At the front a FOX 36 Float, delivers the same 180mm travel as the rear end.
CUBE builds up a drivetrain with a SRAM X01-rear mech paired with a RaceFace- crankset. If the 1×11- doesn’t offer enough the direct mount-fitting allows a front derailleur to be fitted.
The DT Swiss CSW EM 3.7 27.5”- wheels are shod with Schwalbe Magic Mary- (front) and Hans Dampf-tyres (rear). This tyre combination is convincing for a bike of this calibre on every level even more so as CUBE has fitted them tubeless at the factory.
The Fritzz cockpit is made up of RaceFace Atlas- components. The stem is pleasantly short at 35 mm and the bar width is well chosen at 760 mm.
The SRAM Guide R- brakes and the Reverb remote are fitted with matchmaker-clamps, which ensures a tidy appearance. Naturally the Reverb is the Stealth- model with internally routed hose and 125 mm adjustment range.
Along with the top “SL” model tested at € 3.699 CUBE offers the Fritzz in a cheaper “Race-” version. This has a cheaper FOX shock, Shimano XT 2×10- drive and Hayes Radar- brakes and costs € 2.699.
True to the motto “work first, then pleasure” we decide not to take the lift and test the Fritzz first of all on climbs. CUBE promises exceptional climbing prowess in spite of the generous travel. And in actual fact – even though the Fritzz bobs noticeably with the shock in ‘Open’ mode just switching to the middle position of the CTD-System using the handlebar remote brings peace and quiet to the rear suspension. Pressing the the remote again to the third position almost completely locks out the rear suspension. The steep seat tube angle creates a pleasant pedaling position. The front end can be controlled on steep gradients in spite of the slack 65.5° head tube angle.
With the combination of a 32 tooth chainring and the 10-42 X0-1 cassette most climbs can be easily tackled. Those wanting more relaxed climbing can use the frame fitting to fix a front derailleur and 2-ring crankset.
Arriving at the top of the climb we’re finally ready for the Leogang descents.
Fast berms are interspersed with rough and steep sections are spiced up with various jumps. And after just a few metres it’s clear – this is where the Fritzz is absolutely in its element. Regardless of root infested trails, steep sections or berms the bike exhibits outstanding descending characteristics. Aggressive like a downhiller, it still stays controlled, agile and playful. Especially the feeling of being completely integrated with the bike is inspiring – you never have the feeling of just being a passenger aboard the bike. The Fritzz 180 thanks that due to the short chainstays and relatively long top tube, which in comparison to the current Stereo has grown by quite a bit. The low slung frame also contributes to the high feeling of confidence
The rougher the trail the more the 180 mm travel can reach their full potential. The FOX components shine with plush response and smooth out every impact without exception.
As a result the Schwalbe tyres can literally stick to the ground and generate tons of grip. The rear suspension freely offers up full travel so that the bike sits quite deeply into the suspension. Bottoming out is admittedly rare but the soft rear end slightly diminishes the Fritzzs’ jumping prowess. The bike is happier to plow over obstacles, taking off requires a bit more rider input than the playful geometry would suggest. But this is really just nitpicking as the 180mm typical looking CUBE rear end has optimised pivot locations and even with more SAG than normal always still offers plenty of reserves.
The RaceFace-Cockpit with 35mm short stem and 760 mm wide bars fit in with the good downhill performance offering maximum control. The SRAM Guide R brakes work reliably and offer very good modulation and plenty of power. Just the bite-point adjustment was missing and we missed not having the RSC version.
Bike park-pinner or uphill-rocket? The Cube Fritzz 180 doesn’t allow a clear answer to the question we started out with: the bike is capable of a lot – and that very well. Long rides with huge reserves for the downhills? Check. Ultra light bike park machine? Check. Race-Enduro for demanding courses? Check.
CUBE’s concept for the Fritzz 180 combines a strongly downhill oriented geometry with great climbing performance.
Those who are prepared to actively use the rear shock CTD system will get an extremely versatile bike which is a lot of fun in the most varied types of use.
The Fritzz isn’t quite as agile as an 160mm enduro but offers noticeably more confidence and reserves in demanding terrain. If you don’t want a tight race bike but a plush, forgiving and yet lively bike for multiple types of use you’re in the right place.
Price: € 3.699
Weight: 13.9 kg
- Fork: Fox 36 Float RC2 FIT
- Rear Shock: Fox Float X remote
- Drivetrain: SRAM X01
- Brakes: Sram Guide R
- Handlebars: Race Face Atlas 35, 760mm
- Stem: Race Face Atlas, 35mm
- Tires: Schwalbe Magic Mary / Rock Razor (getested mit Hans Dampf)
- Wheels: DT Swiss CSW EM 3.7 27,5
- Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 125mm
Size: 16″ / 18″ (tested) / 20″ / 22″ | Top Tube Horizontal: 590 mm | Seat Tube Angle: 74,7° | Chainstay Length: 441 mm | Head Tube Angle: 65,5° | Wheelbase: 1.196 mm | Reach: 426 mm | Stack: 618 mm
Words: Daniel Schlicke Photos: Hanno Polomsky