Just in: Cube Litening Super HPC Race

Super light 6.4kg carbon race bike with full SRAM Red for £3,300

by David Arthur   February 12, 2013  

This new arrival is German brand Cube’s Litening Super HPC Race, all decked out with SRAM Red and weighing just 6.4kg, and costing £3,299.

We reviewed the previous incarnation of the bike a few years ago. We found it light and punchy though the high price - it came with Dura-Ace Di2 which was brand new at the time - did take the shine off a little. At half the price this new model looks a very attractive package.

So what’s changed on this, the latest model? The full carbon frame and fork was already packed with cutting edge features, but that hasn’t stopped them finding some weight savings. Through a revised carbon fibre layup they’ve managed to bring the frame weight down to 860g.

Cube’s Advanced Twin Mold Technology is a contributor to the low weight of the frame. This involves the use of an internal form, used during the layup process which they say keeps the fibres precisely in position during the curing process and means less material is needed. It also allows them to better place extra carbon where it is and isn’t needed. Cube also mould the headset and bottom bracket bearing cups in carbon, there’s no aluminium anywhere, to save a few precious grams of weight.

http://road.cc/sites/default/files/imagecache/lightbox-large/images/Cube%20Litening%20Super%20HPC%20Race%202013/Cube%20Litening%20Super%20HPC%20Race%20-%20stays.jpg

A very visible change on this new model is the switch from the integrated seatmast to a regular seatpost, with a 27.2mm seatpost used. This is clearly a step towards comfort, iniline with the trend across the board for high-end race bikes. The idea is that its small size lends a small degree of flex to absorb vibrations caused by rough road surfaces. So it should be a bit more comfortable than the previous bike.

http://road.cc/sites/default/files/imagecache/lightbox-large/images/Cube%20Litening%20Super%20HPC%20Race%202013/Cube%20Litening%20Super%20HPC%20Race%20-%20fork.jpg

Cube now spec their own carbon fibre fork (rather than the Easton model fitted to our test bike all those years ago). It’s a CSL EVO Vollcarbon fork with a tapered - 1 1/8"- 1 1/2" - steerer tube. Cables are all routed intenrally, and you can easily switch to an electronic groupset if you want at a later date, the plugs in the frame that hold the cable stops can be easily removed.

http://road.cc/sites/default/files/imagecache/lightbox-large/images/Cube%20Litening%20Super%20HPC%20Race%202013/Cube%20Litening%20Super%20HPC%20Race%20-%20head%20tube.jpg

When it comes to geometry, Cube measure their bikes a little differently, the result is they come up a little small when compared to other manufacturers. We have a 58cm model in (from seven available sizes) but it measures up with a 56cm effective top tube and 54cm seat tube, with a 16.5cm head tube. Calibration issues aside, that’s a very racy geometry, low at the front, just how racers demand their bikes.

http://road.cc/sites/default/files/imagecache/lightbox-large/images/Cube%20Litening%20Super%20HPC%20Race%202013/Cube%20Litening%20Super%20HPC%20Race%20-%20transmission.jpg

There are four Litening Super models, this is the third from the top, and costs £3,299. That gets you a full SRAM Red groupset, the lightest mechanical groupset on the market right now. You have a choice of compact or double chainsets, and the crank arm length is proportional to the frame size. White hoods replace the regular black hoods to match the very white finish of the overall bike.

http://road.cc/sites/default/files/imagecache/lightbox-large/images/Cube%20Litening%20Super%20HPC%20Race%202013/Cube%20Litening%20Super%20HPC%20Race%20-%20seatpost.jpg

The Cube rolls on DT Swiss RC X.0 wheels, a 50mm carbon clincher wheelset. Tyres are Schwalbe Ultremo ZX Kevlar 23mm. Finishing kit comprises a Syntace F109 Oversized stem, Racelite Carbon Oversized and P6 Carbon RaceFlex. Saddle is a Fi'zi:k Antares Carbon.

The complete weight is 6.4kg (14.1lbs). On paper the Cube looks extremely good, it’s packed with the latest kit and is well under the UCI 6.8kg weight limit, for a little of £3K. OK so that’s a lot of money, but actually considering the specification and the weight, you’ll be hard-pressed to find much else that is as light as this for the money. The recently reviewed Merida Scultura SL Team springs to mind. That’s a similar weight and build, but it’s nearly twice the price.

It's out on the road being tested by Stu at the moment, so he'll let you know how he gets on very soon.

www.cube.eu

24 user comments

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That is a very nice looking bike and spec looks very good for the price, although it's obviously not cheap. Probably a swine to keep clean though.

posted by Sadly Biggins [260 posts]
12th February 2013 - 15:20

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For that much money you'd think they could include a "braze"-on mount for the front mech. Clamping a derailleur to thin, fragile crabon fibre tubes has never struck me as a particularly good idea. But then maybe that's how to achieve the frame-weight figures that the marketing department wants...

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
12th February 2013 - 15:38

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ubercurmudgeon wrote:
For that much money you'd think they could include a "braze"-on mount for the front mech. Clamping a derailleur to thin, fragile crabon fibre tubes has never struck me as a particularly good idea. But then maybe that's how to achieve the frame-weight figures that the marketing department wants...

It's better to clamp around the tube than rivet a hole in it.

posted by Cervelo12 [76 posts]
12th February 2013 - 16:04

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Quote:

Clamping a derailleur to thin, fragile crabon fibre tubes has never struck me as a particularly good idea.

In the hand of someone with no torque wrench I agree its a disaster waiting to happen. Otherwise it decreases the integrity of the tube less than a hole might do.

posted by jackh [102 posts]
12th February 2013 - 16:08

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ubercurmudgeon wrote:
For that much money you'd think they could include a "braze"-on mount for the front mech. Clamping a derailleur to thin, fragile crabon fibre tubes has never struck me as a particularly good idea. But then maybe that's how to achieve the frame-weight figures that the marketing department wants...

Yawn

posted by SammyG [286 posts]
12th February 2013 - 16:14

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Explosion in a paint factory? Thinking

gazpacho's picture

posted by gazpacho [68 posts]
12th February 2013 - 16:25

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You better be quick if you're riding something that eye-catching!

Looks nice.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2517 posts]
12th February 2013 - 16:36

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"For that much money you'd think they could include a "braze"-on mount for the front mech. Clamping a derailleur to thin, fragile crabon fibre tubes has never struck me as a particularly good idea. But then maybe that's how to achieve the frame-weight figures that the marketing department wants..."

Just had a Rockmachine frame replaced under warranty. Front mech clamp crushed the seat tube. A shame especially as it was factory-mounted.

posted by rookybiker [25 posts]
12th February 2013 - 17:08

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I ride a Cube and am yet to hear a positive thing about the colour scheme. Lovely bikes, worst colour and graphics combo in the universe.

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [290 posts]
12th February 2013 - 17:18

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That's a lot of lightweight bike for the money; and personally I'd prefer a clamp on front mech; much better for adjustments etc... you'd need to be some kind of heavy handed so-n-so to break (crush) a good quality carbon seat tube. Quality Bike The Cube!

posted by Mostyn [387 posts]
12th February 2013 - 17:24

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Couldn't they make it a bit more garish? No, probably not. And who taped those bars, leaving a gap behind the levers and a frayed rear gear cable where the pinch bolt damaged it. Not a very good advert for £3k plus of colour is it!

posted by Welsh boy [71 posts]
12th February 2013 - 20:05

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What are the white speckles all over it?

posted by turnerc99 [50 posts]
12th February 2013 - 20:52

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So sick of 'Lite' instead of 'light'. Litespeed, Pepsi Lite, just awful. If they want to be super 'lite' they could have saved a litle weit by speling 'Swiss' as 'Swis'.

Just childish bulshit.

Yours

Lynn Trus

MercuryOne

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [918 posts]
12th February 2013 - 21:06

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MercuryOne wrote:
So sick of 'Lite' instead of 'light'. Litespeed, Pepsi Lite, just awful. If they want to be super 'lite' they could have saved a litle weit by speling 'Swiss' as 'Swis'.

Just childish bulshit.

Yours

Lynn Trus


It's in the OED: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/lite?q=lite

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
12th February 2013 - 21:09

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Mostyn wrote:
you'd need to be some kind of heavy handed so-n-so to break (crush) a good quality carbon seat tube. Quality Bike The Cube!

Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer, to use "carbon fibre's" full name, is primarily reinforced against forces being applied longitudinally. Against a clamping force it isn't much stronger than any other form of plastic tubing. And the lighter (or liter) they make it, the thinner and flimsier it gets. Riveting isn't the only alternative: some high end crabon bikes incorporate the front mech hanger into the layup.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
12th February 2013 - 21:19

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This all sounds a bit too good to be true - those wheels pictured are DT Swiss RC X.0, 50mm carbon clinchers. The given spec is for DT Swiss RA 2.0 which I always thought were aluminium clinchers.

I seem to remember that when the Super HPC was first launched, mention was made that you could upgrade the wheelset to the RC X.0 and they threw in the originals. Could you clear this up as it completely alters the bike and the price perspective?

posted by Winton [61 posts]
13th February 2013 - 0:39

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Pretty sure most of the moulded frames from most manufacturers now use a an internal bladder during curing- certainly at the top end. It isn't revolutionary technology; it really isn't something worth transcribing from the press release!

posted by Al__S [397 posts]
13th February 2013 - 8:54

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I have a carbon entry-level Cube and this looks similar. Tubes are attractively tapered and the bike looks great. I think the colour scheme will always divide opinion but I think the wheel decals don't do this bike any favours. I reckon if the wheels were more subtle then the bike would look much better.
At least this bike has a decent name mine is the "Agree" ??? who ever thought of that one?

Chris D

posted by wingsofspeed68 [45 posts]
13th February 2013 - 9:07

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Al__S wrote:
Pretty sure most of the moulded frames from most manufacturers now use a an internal bladder during curing- certainly at the top end. It isn't revolutionary technology; it really isn't something worth transcribing from the press release!

I didn't put it forth as revolutionary technology, and I decided it's an interesting enough feature to talk about. It's not a given that all top-end bikes are made in the same way at all. Cube wanted to talk about this feature and it's my job to share this information with you all

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1159 posts]
13th February 2013 - 9:41

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Can you please answer the wheelset question? The picture shows one wheelset on every site I look at the bike, but the description is something else.

posted by Rgriffith7 [8 posts]
19th March 2013 - 20:19

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Rgriffith7 wrote:
Can you please answer the wheelset question? The picture shows one wheelset on every site I look at the bike, but the description is something else.

They're DT Swiss RC X.0 wheels

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1159 posts]
20th March 2013 - 9:33

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I didn't ask my question correctly. Are these sold with the DT Swiss RC X.0 wheels as stock or is that an upgrade to the price you quoted in the article? I see them for sale with the picture of the X.0s but the secreiption has another model. I want to buy this bike but I want it as shown in the picture.

posted by Rgriffith7 [8 posts]
21st March 2013 - 18:51

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Rgriffith7 wrote:
I didn't ask my question correctly. Are these sold with the DT Swiss RC X.0 wheels as stock or is that an upgrade to the price you quoted in the article? I see them for sale with the picture of the X.0s but the secreiption has another model. I want to buy this bike but I want it as shown in the picture.

And as I answered in my previous reply, the wheels this bike came with are DT Swiss RC X.0 wheels. I've now updated the article to reflect that

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1159 posts]
21st March 2013 - 20:04

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So why in Cube´s Website, they mention the wheelset being DT Swiss CSW RA 2.0 Race and why online stores, like MHW, refer and i quote: "Please note: The Bike shown here, doesn´t comespond to the Specification"

To me it´s pretty obvious the wheelset in the above pictures are an upgrade you have to pay for, and that means more 1200 pounds at least.

Anyway, i love that Cube.

posted by in_the_woods [1 posts]
7th April 2013 - 0:14

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