Is Cube about to launch a new top-tier road bike? That appears to be the case, with the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux team riding an unreleased model at the 2022 Giro d’Italia.
The Litening C:68X SLT aero bike is the Belgian team’s go-to machine, but we’ve spotted a number of the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux team riding what looks, on the face of it, to be a slimmed-down version of Cube’s aero road bike.
We first saw Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux on this bike ahead of the 2021 Tour de France and, with UCI article 1.3.006 stating “commercialization will take place no later than 12 months after the first use in competition”, an official launch is likely to be imminent, though an extension can be granted “if justified by relevant reasons”.
The Litening has been a familiar name in the Cube line-up for more than a decade and the latest version, the C:68X, was launched with disc brakes and an aero makeover in 2019.
Cube’s new bike at the Giro d’Italia sports a fairly similar shape, with a Kammtail-profiled down tube, elongated seat tube, aero seatpost and deep head tube, but dials each back.
For example, there’s no aero-profiled junction between the seat tube and top tube and, while the seat tube itself still sports a wind-cheating shape and dropped seatstays, it’s not as deep as the existing Litening, nor does the cutaway hug the rear wheel as closely.
The fork and the down tube are also significantly slimmer, though all cables are still run internally, as we’d expect from any top-tier bike.
While we don’t know the name of the new bike and, as yet, there’s nothing on the UCI’s list of approved frames and forks, we’d hazard a guess that this is Cube’s take on a lightweight-aero mash-up.
We’ll have to wait and see whether this new bike will be an addition to the Litening range, or a new model altogether.
Dedicated aero road bikes have, to some degree, had their day in the pro peloton, with the convergence between lightweight and aerodynamics offering a sweet spot that appeals to many riders. Think of WorldTour bikes such as the Pinarello Dogma F, Specialized Tarmac SL7 and Trek Emonda SLR.
For now, we’ve seen Jan Hirt, Rein Taaramäe and Loïc Vliegen on the new bike at the Giro d’Italia, though Biniam Girmay’s stage-10 victory for the team came on the Litening C:68X.
Aero jockey wheels and tubeless tyres
Girmay’s bike, incidentally, was equipped with CeramicSpeed’s unreleased, aero-shrouded jockey wheel system for the stage-four ascent of Mount Etna, though the ‘standard’ OSPW design was in place on stage 10.
The team has also embraced tubeless tyre technology, with Continental Grand Prix 5000S TR tyres fitted to Newman wheels for the majority of stages.
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux have enjoyed a remarkable season to date, with Girmay, in particular, enjoying a breakout campaign following victory in Gent-Wevelgem and five top-five finishes in Italy before winning stage 10 and, in the process, becoming the first black African winner of a Grand Tour stage.
However, Girmay’s race came to an abrupt end after he was struck in the eye with a Prosecco cork during the post-stage victory presentation, forcing the 22-year-old Eritrean to withdraw.