Cube have a quartet of aero bikes in their Aerium range. Two carbon bikes top the range, while the alloy Pro shares its frame with the more expensive Race. It’s a tight, light and impressive-value package with conventional drop bars adding training versatility at the expense of pure tuck speed.
Ride & handling: Crisp and precise; a great transitional aero bike
We really liked the Aerium Pro when we rode it last year, so it’s no surprise we were happy as soon as we were aboard this barely changed 2010 version. While the drop bars (with clip-ons) mean it could be mistaken for a conventional road bike rather than a time trial/triathlon machine, that changes as soon as you get in the saddle.
The steep seat angle pushes you forward over the front, so when your elbows are bent and your back ﬂat, it keeps your body angles and airways open. The handling is obedient for trickling through low-speed trafﬁc, without being so twitchy it unnerves you on faster or more feral pothole infested back-road descents.
It’s steady enough to run hands-free without worries when you’re ﬁshing in back pockets for an energy gel too. Together with the extra hand positions and braking security offered by the conventional bars, this makes the Cube a great transitional bike between normal and triathlon/time trial styles.
Tuck yourself into the long Proﬁle T2 extensions with their secure-feeling rests and there’s no shortage of speed. The stiff Gossamer cranks work with that oversized bottom bracket area and chunky chainstays to put some serious bite into power delivery.
Low overall weight and fast-reacting wheels mean easy acceleration, and the medium-depth rims and proﬁled frame tubes delay the effects of drag longer than a conventional bike. Overall feel is crisp and precise, encouraging you to keep tapping out the tempo all day. But you still need to be aware of the worst bits of tarmac terrorism.
With its mix of conventional road bike control for group riding, but reasonable aero efﬁciency, the Aerium Pro offers a versatile aero intro. Add a crisp, enthusiastic feel and quality kit on a frame that’s well worth upgrading with full aero wheels in the future, and the Cube gets plenty of ticks in its box.
Chassis: Lightweight, tight and lively feeling frame and fork well worth upgrading
There’s no doubting the wind-cutting credentials of the chassis. The externally butted head tube is kept short for a properly low front end and the removable cone spacer on top of the headset means another 2cm of cockpit drop in reserve too.
Heading backwards, the small triangle-oval teardrop top tube keys into the deep teardrop down tube. The S-curved seat tube wraps round the rear wheel to keep the rear end short and responsive as well as aerodynamically clean.
The bottom bracket area is buried in the big bases of both main tubes, with very deep rectangular chainstays heading straight back to the conventional vertical dropouts. Skinny triangular aero seatstays complete the rear-end circuit through a machine-cut bridge for the conventionally positioned rear brake.
A red anodised rear clamp for the aero seat tube adds a bit of bling for cheeky drafting riders to appreciate, and vertical dropouts ease wheel removal. The triple-butted main tubes keep the frame light for the money too. Frame weight is backed up by the equally light Dedacciai Black Fin forks to provide a chassis that’s well worth upgrading.
Equipment: Impressive all-round kit for the cash, with useful bar versatility
Lightweight Easton Vista SL wheels help keep the whole bike comfortably under 20lb, and they’re a really nice set of rolling stock for all-round riding. They’re shod with top-quality superlight Schwalbe Ultremo R tyres for instant acceleration and conﬁdent cornering.
The big chainstays are fed maximum power through the rigid Gossamer cranks, which have a cult following among powerhouse riders, from world champion time trial legend Fabien Cancellara to aggressive age-groupers. Shimano Ultegra gears are a good ﬁnd at this price too.
Proﬁle’s T2 clip-on bars are comfortable and super-adjustable. The speccing of a conventional drop bar gives more hand positions than a pure time trial bike, and means you can whip off the clip-ons for training with conventional road club runs.
However, the fact the Aerium has STI integrated brake/shifter levers instead of tip shifters does mean you need to reach over and break your optimum tuck position to change gear. The latest Shimano Ultegra 6700 gearing is accurate and smooth though.
Braking performance is boosted by having the full drops to brace against, although ﬁrmer-feeling cartridge-backed pads would be a nice upgrade. The twin-bolt seatpost is secure and easily adjustable, while the “ready to race” monikered saddle is comfortable, and reasonable in its claims.