At first glance it would appear that Cube's designers were in a dour mood when they cooked up the Litening C:62 – it's got rather a utilitarian appearance compared with some of the rest of the German brand’s often-multicoloured range.
Slammed riding stance
The ‘carbon ’n’ green’ colour scheme (Cube’s description) adorns a frame with a chunky down tube, deep chainstays and a hefty bottom bracket shell with slimline seatstays. Ultegra 11-speed does its usual first-rate job, and the wheels are similar to the Silverback Sirelli, which we were testing at the same time.
The similarities don’t end there, either – the two German bikes’ overall weights are also very similar. You can just about detect the 113g difference when you lift the bike down from the rack; you can’t feel it on the road.
You’re not going to be able to alter the height of the handlebar
Frame angles differ a little, but wheelbase and chainstay lengths have a lot in common, and while the Cube has a 1cm taller head-tube, there are no steerer spacers and the bar sits flush to the top of the headset. This is very much for the prospective racer or, at the very least, the wannabe fastman (or woman) looking to hit Strava KOMs or sportive PBs.
But as with the Silverback, the Litening balances the need for speed with a desire for comfort – much more so than German bikes from a decade or so ago.
They achieve this in different ways, though: the Cube does have pencil-thin seatstays, but it has a more compact frame with a slimmer top tube then the Silverback, designed to ‘introduce a degree of controlled flex, adding comfort to the ride experience’, as Cube would have it.
Contact point comfort
Our experience suggests it’s not just marketing speak, though it’s hard to separate the influence of the frame from the very good contact points. I’m a big fan of handlebars with flattened tops, and the Cube’s carbon bar is a favourite, especially combined with sumptuous bar tape, the 27.2mm carbon Motion Post seatpost and a decent Selle Italia saddle.
The Cube comes with Schwalbe’s fast, grippy and comfortable 25mm One tyres, which are faster and more comfortable than 23mm tyres, and can be run at a lower pressure too.
The Litening is a surefooted steed
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Cube is a similarly nifty performer to the Silverback. The wheels are a fraction heavier, so acceleration is theoretically slower, but over measured sections there was little detectable difference, and it descends every bit as sure-footedly.
The short sub-metre wheelbase, steep angles and tapered head tube mean it’s razor-sharp when it comes to changes of direction, too. The Shimano Ultegra brakes, drivetrain and shifters worked flawlessly as ever, and the Cube’s wider, not overtly race-oriented 11-28 cassette broadens its appeal.
We found it hard to fault either the performance or the comfort of the Cube. The new C:62 frame and fork pairing is fast and light, the drivetrain is excellent, the contact points very good and the wheels are good for the price. And a lot of care has been taken with the little things, such as the large metal plate on the bottom of the down tube, designed to stop an unshipped chain damaging the precious carbon frame.