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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.