Cube has garnered a great reputation for making good quality, competitively priced road bikes. But the German company also makes dearer machines with loftier aspirations, lightweight bikes like the Litening Super HPC Pro, laden with high spec, race-quality components. Its name might not exactly inspire but the same isn’t true of the ride; hundreds of miles of testing have left us wanting more.
The Super HPC Pro has more modest components than the 2010 Shimano Di2-equipped Super HPC, but Cube isn’t cutting corners with its Ultegra and FSA gearing, Syntace stem, bar and seatpost, Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels and Schwalbe tyres. And this model is also more practical for most riders. The separate seatpost may add a few grams compared with the all-in-one seatmast of the Di2-equipped model, but it’s a boon if you ever have to box it for flying or stick it in the back of your car. It has the same tapered Easton EC90SL fork though. Made of unidirectional carbon, it’s light and stiff and contributes to the Cube’s lightning-quick direction changes. Its Litening name may be misspelt – Germans, eh? – but it’s not a misnomer.
This super-quick handling comes courtesy of a monocoque frame with the usual modern attributes: tapered head-tube, oversized bottom bracket shell with press-fit bottom bracket, and oversized carbon bar and seatpost. It all feels suitably stiff and Teutonically efficient, but slim seatstays, the oversize carbon Syntace bar and Fizik’s manganese-railed Arione saddle keep any discomfort at bay even during long, hard rides.
Ultegra does its usual excellent job, aided by FSA’s high quality and well finished SL-K Light chainset with its hollow carbon fibre arms. This shifted perfectly, and proved both flex and creakfree. Ours came with a standard 53/39 chainset, which made some of our local climbs hard going, but the Super HPC Pro is also available at the same price with a lower geared 50/34 compact option for those who prefer to spin rather than crank their way up the hills. There’s also a second colour option available, Cube’s much more muted ‘Blackline’ which lives up to its name.
Wheels and tyres match up to Cube’s high standards. The Fulcrum Racing 5s come in at a decent weight, are stiff and, in our experience, should prove durable too. Schwalbe’s excellent Ultremo ZX tyres complement these superbly, combining good rolling resistance and excellent grip with a layer of Kevlar for puncture protection. Performance from wheels and tyres was faultless.
Geometry is the same as all Cube road bikes, our 56cm test bike having a 54.5cm effective top-tube, which is about 15-20mm shorter than typical for a 56cm frame. This contributes to the rapid and direct handling of the Cube, but does mean you have to take care with sizing, particularly if you’re long in the upper body or arms. Overall, though, this is about as good as it gets at this price for a high performance mile-eating machine that balances comfort and performance so well.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.