First released in 2002, the Cube Flying Circus frame has been in hibernation for a few years with only a handful of frames being produced.

The Cube Flying Circus frame came back to life in 2018 updated with help from Cube riders by Matt Walker and Remy Metallier. Cube UK built a 2020 Flying Circus frame with a dream build for Lewis to test out over the summer months.

Photos by Dave Price.

Key features:

  • Aluminium Lite frame
  • Two Sizes (M & L)
  • BSA Standard BB
  • Adjustable dropouts to fit a 135mm QR or bolt rear axle
  • Mech hanger provided
  • Adjustable chainstays (388 to 408mm)
  • Headset supplied with steerer adaptors
  • £399.99 RRP (frame-only)

Cube Bikes UK built me a Flying Circus frame (Size L) with a no expense spared build, including Raceface Next 35mm carbon bars and SiXC Cinch carbon cranks, Sun Ringle wheels and a Manitou Circus fork. The Hayes Prime rear brake offered plenty of stopping power too.

The small Stella Italia seat with integrated post provides was more comfortable than I expected when riding to and from riding spots. It also has a small nose like a BMX seat so it doesn’t get in the way with the integrated post adding strength just in case something goes wrong.

Pumptrack

The Flying Circus was one of the lightest hardtails I have ever ridden. It was scarily fast through the rollers and was always finding plenty of grip in the turns. The dialled geometry of the frame can be felt when pumping and shifting weight between turns.

The 412mm reach on the L size didn’t feel too compact and made the transition from a mountain bike that little bit easier. A 69 degree head angle with the 100mm Manitou fork kept things snappy, without feeling too twitchy either.

The Schwalbe Table Top tyres and 26″ Sunringle wheelset were a perfect combination of grip and weight which helped the bike keep momentum on a pump track. It ripped round the Flyup 417 rollers, and flew through the air at my new local pump track in Swansea.

Merida eOneSixtytea

Dirt Jumps

It was at the dirt jumps where things got interesting. I was surprised at how forgiving the bikes was when in the air. I had a few cases and scary moments when trying to get used to how lightweight the build was. When I found the perfect match of speed and pull, the bike was amazingly easy to manoeuvre in the air.

The geometry is comfortable and will be well suited to mountain bikers with a sensible reach and build with wider bars, it feels like a small mountain bike. I managed to get through the indoor Pro Line at Flyup 417 with ease. The jumps there are short and tight, making it a great test for the Cube.

Limitations

The frame itself is a mountain bikers’ perfect jump/pump frame, the geometry and reach makes it very comfortable and easy to switch to and from a mountain bike.

The only component I would change would be the Manitou Circus Fork, the fork was hard to set up with the ABS Rebound not offering lots of adjustment. The fork either felt too hard or too soft when riding, so getting the setup correct took a while.

In addition to this, the 20mm axle was frustrating. Pinch bolts and a through axle provide plenty of stiffness and security, but with no recesses for the hub spacers, getting the wheel in was more of a fiddle than it should have been.

Carbon bars and cranks may not be the best option if you are riding bigger jumps, but they are great options for a fast pump track bike.

What do we think?

The Cube Flying Circus is an amazing and lightweight frame that you could build to become a great dirt jump, pump track or even a very good 4X bike. The choice of dropouts and headset options gives you can build the frame with the parts in the spares box, or build it up like Cube did for Lewis.

It would be a great frame option if you are looking to build your dream hardtail, it’s definitely one of the best jump/pump bikes I have ridden.

We love:

  • Low weight
  • Confidence-inspiring geometry

Could do better:

  • Fork lacks adjustibility

Check out the Cube Flying Circus frame and complete bikes on Cube’s website here.

Read all our complete bike reviews on our Bike Reviews page here.