Cube’s distinctive Aerium Pro is a versatile, responsive all-rounder that’ll suit short to medium distance riders who like to mix up the pace and have some fun. It’s light and well equipped, with a hybrid cockpit that makes it more efficient and safer in mixed riding conditions. It’s firm and fast in a tuck, too.
Ride & handling: Very competitive if you’re a combative short or medium distance rider
The Cube comes with a conventional Syntace drop-bar cockpit, with Shimano Ultegra STI integrated gear/brake levers rather than the cownhorns and tip shifters found on some other time trial/triathlon bikes at this price. You still get clip-on Proﬁle tri bars on top of the drops though. The ability to shift when you’re on the hoods or drops, descending, climbing or in a pack environment where tip shifters are too dangerous to grab, makes a big difference to the feel of the Cube straight away.
You can chase breaks, attack on climbs, sprint for signs or just keep your revs right on more rolling terrain or rapid pace change situations like group rides much more easily and safely. The drop bar and top quality Schwalbe tyres make it much safer to push hard on descents or through corners. If it’s a really hilly course then you can unbolt the tri bars entirely to save weight too.
Obviously this does come at the expense of totally efﬁcient gear operation if you’re in a full tuck. However if you’re in a tuck then you’re generally maintaining a steady speed where gear changes are less frequent anyway. A quick one hand out and back to tap the STI shifters only takes a second or two so you’re not talking masses of lost time compared to the convenience you gain for normal riding.
The handling of the Aerium is also well suited to this kind of mixed, combative riding. In particular its short wheelbase, tucked in rear wheel and sharp steering feel is naturally quick and responsive rather than relaxed and straight line steady. Thanks to low overall (9.01kg/19.86lb) and wheel (2,920g) weight it feels lively and quick through the pedals too, picking up speed easily as you click through the gears from the hoods or drops.
Overall frame feel is well balanced, with the triple-butted tubeset managing your muscle output very efﬁciently. Despite the deep section, drag-reducing tubeset it’s not uncomfortable either and the Dedacciai fork up front is perfectly in sync with the responsive ride. The aero wheels and aero frame sections help to smooth your progress towards a high speed without any obvious negative effect on handling.
The only trade-off is that the front end is marginally less stable when you’re on the clip-ons and pushing the pace, with more weaving, and if you’re churning a big gear rather than spinning a smooth cadence. More shoulder movement and general front end repositioning meant we also found ourselves shifting about in the saddle a fair bit at ﬁrst.
While it takes concentration and ride time to build up conﬁdence in the straight line handling of the Cube, it’s otherwise well shaped for setting up a proper tuck. The steep seat angle opens up hip angles and shunts you forward so there’s still plenty of room between chest and knees in a ﬂat-back position. The tall arm rest pads and Proﬁle extensions above the base bar means you’ll have to swap the tall conical headset spacer to make the most of the low head tube.
Frame & equipment: Lightweight, upgradeable chassis plus decent spec
The Aerium frame and forks are unchanged from 2010, but then if it ain’t broke don’t ﬁx it. The short head tube, aero down tube and curved wheel-wrapping seat tube with alloy aero seatpost all shave extra seconds off the face of the wind. Gear and brake cables are routed internally to reduce drag and conventional vertical wheel slots make removing the wheel to ﬁx punctures much easier.
The triple-butted alloy frame is light for an aero frame too which, with the ultralight conventional carbon fork up front, creates a very responsive and upgradeable chassis. Weight and kit levels are impressive, too. Easton wheels are light, reliable and wrapped in top-quality Schwalbe Ultremo R Evo compound tyres, while Shimano provide the stop-and-go gear.
Cube aerium pro: cube aerium pro www.robertsmithphotography.co.uk