Cube’s C:62 Litening is the brand's first foray into a race bike equipped with discs, following on from the more endurance biased Agree, and Attain. Cube's range topping bikes use the lighter C:68 carbon layup, but this one shares the same Twin mold technology, where the frame is formed around a complete core eliminating any imperfections internally and making for a stronger, lighter frame.
Shapewise, externally the Litening's muscular angular form wraps around truly aggressive geometry with steep 73.5 parallel angles and a short 991mm wheelbase on our 56cm test bike. The low 563mm stack and long 398mm reach makes for a bike that suits riders looking for a fast handling and low aggressive ride position.
The C:62 sits at towards the top of our road bike of the year price range at a pound shy of £2.5k (about US$3,245). For the money it's all good stuff: a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain (50/34, 11-28) is paired with range-topping BR RS805 brakes to compliment the flat mount, thru’ axle (12/12mm) chassis.
This classy combination feels brilliant out on the road, with Ultegra’s smooth, easy-to-use gear shifts matching perfectly with the slick, full-of-feel braking of the wonderful 805s.
Cube’s long-running partnership with German tech-laden component manufacturer Syntace also bears fruit with the carbon wing bar: with its defined rearward sweep this is one of the best carbon bars around. Matched to the light-yet-stiff Pro stem, out back the carbon motion post offers some welcome give when the going gets rough. It's topped with a color coordinated Cube co-branded saddle from Selle Italia (the X1 model).
The ride of the Litening is willing and rapid, little input is required for swift direction changes and the short wheelbase makes the C:62 imminently chuckable for threading through the pack, traffic or descending at serious velocities.
Mavic provides its dependable, reliable and tough Aksium Disc wheelset (again, colour-coordinated graphics elevate the C:62’s visual appeal). The Aksium isn’t a wheel that sets hearts racing, and the middling weight can show itself on extended ascents. Its reasonably wide rim provides a great platform for the excellent Schwalbe One 25c tyres that work admirably well grip-wise in most conditions only coming unstuck on a back lane ascent where the road was slick with mud from farm vehicles.
The C:62’s ride is noticeably stiff, and this can be a little wearing on extended rougher tarmac. The back end copes admirably thanks to a great saddle and the give in the carbon post, but up front even the lovely carbon bar can’t tame the vibrations and noise coming up the straight legged fork and super stiff construction.
On slick, well-maintained tarmac the Litening is one of the best, and we’d add it to the growing number of disc equipped race bikes that show no compromise from the switch to discs either from added weight or compromised geometry.
Sadly, on less pristine roads this is tempered by the fatigue-inducing front end. We dropped a few psi out of the tyre and that’s a decent cure, and there is plenty of room to go bigger (a 28 will fit) but that might compromise the C:62’s speedy edge a little too much.
It is, however, a thoroughly excellent machine and if you favour racy, stiff machines and you're looking for a value-packed package there isn’t much that can touch the Litening on that score.
Cube Litening C:62 Disc specifications
• Weight: 8.05kg (56cm)
• Frame: Carbon
• Fork: Carbon
• Gears: Shimano Ultegra (50/34, 11-28)
• Brakes: Shimano BR RS805
• Wheels: Mavic Aksium Disc
• Tyre: Schwalbe One 25c
• Seatpost: Cube Performance carbon motion
• Saddle: Selle Italia for Cube X1
• Stem: Cube Performance Pro
• Bar: Cube Wing race carbon