Cube unleashed their latest flagship road bike at Eurobike last week, the Litening C68 SLT road bike, which uses a new ‘C68 carbon fibre technology’ to produce a lighter frame. Cube claim a frame weight of sub-750g (but don't specify what size that is for) and this complete bike as pictured is a claimed 6.4kg (14.10lb).
To achieve this weight loss Cube have used some of the latest carbon fibre technology available for the new frame. It's called Spread Tow Technology. Other companies like Felt have previously used similar technology, Felt using TeXtreme Spread Tow carbon fabric produced by Swedish company Oxeon AB, for their range-topping F1.
Basically Spread Tow (tow is an untwisted bundle of continuous filaments) is a process that spreads out this bundle of carbon fibres making them flat and wide, and weaving them with an interlacing pattern. If you look closely at the frame you can actually see the interlacing tape, it's quite distinctive.
Cube don’t give away too many details on the exact process, but we do expect to see this sort of manufacturing process become more common on high-end road bikes as bike brands look to find ever smaller gains in performance. It's not cheap though. Well, not yet anyway.
Other brands have also looked at the carbon fibre layup to find more gains in performance, such as Bianchi with their Infinito CV which uses viscoelastic material to achieve a higher level of vibration damping.
“C68 represents a highly innovative carbon technology with less resin and a fibre content of 68%. Previously the fibre content was usually about 60%. Through spreading fibres clearly, thinner layers can be attained than layers otherwise conventionally could be, a so named spread tow technology,” says Cube.
The result of using this process is, claims Cube, a frame with a carbon fibre content of 68%, compared to the 60% of the previous frame. That’s quite a leap forward and will have an impact on the frame weight and stiffness, as well as the ride quality. What this process helps them to achieve is basically a carbon frame with a higher carbon fibre content, and less of the resin that holds it all together.
Cube combine this high modulus spread tow fibre with intermediate and ultra high modulus carbon fibre to achieve the desired weight and stiffness for the frame. The show-stopper bike here is built up with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, Mavic Cosmic Carbon 40C wheels and Syntace finishing kit.
Of course the frame features the usual sort of details you’d expect on such a bike, so there’s a 1 1/8 - 1 1/4" tapered steerer tube on the carbon fork and they’ve used a 27.2mm seatpost as is the trend, to extract a bit more comfort. All wiring and cables are internally routed too. The frame is available in sizes 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 and 62cm.
The aesthetic finish of the bike is worth a mention too. Cube have some pretty bold colour schemes across their range but this ‘pinstripe’ paint job they’ve been using on their top-end models in recent years looks really smart. Well we think so anyway, you might not agree of course.
Then there is the small matter of the cost. The Litening C68 SLT is £5,999. More at www.cube.eu
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.