CUBE Litening TE prototype light-weight aero street bike,
Marked: CUBE Litening TE mixes prototype carbon road bike lightweight and parade-down aerodynamics
The Cube has an all-new lightweight model, the Litening TE Aero Road Bike, at work, now being race-tested by the Intermarche-Vanti-Gobert Pro Team. Blending aerodynamic influences from their current Aero Road Listening, this new model bike is thinner from front to back in a lighter shift. We expect to completely redesign Cube’s signature road race bike later this summer…
CUBE Litening TE prototype light-weight aero street bike, details
Having already raced the steep stages of the Giro d’Italia last month, I caught another look at the prototype bike at the Tour de Suisse this week. So I took a closer look at the new bike… Hidden behind the current Lightning, which I rode when it reopened in 2019…
Model development and testing
C. Cube, Giro 2022 photo by Cycling Media Agency
The first thing we can imagine is that the Cube is giving this dramatically redesigned road race bike a name, thanks to the litening TE labels depicted in the tubes on the prototypes. But beyond the name, a lot of this prototype has been remodelled.
The bike is still clearly amenable to aerodynamics, but its overall profile is much thinner and lighter than the current Litening.
While it retains aero integration, it returns to a more traditional, wider-looking headtube with only a subtle hourglass through its centre.
C. Cube, Giro 2022 photo by Cycling Media Agency
The Intermarche-Vanti-Gobert team seems to have at least some prototypes since the end of last season, and have started racing them regularly since the beginning of 2022. At the start of this year’s Giro d’Italia’s sprint-heavy, almost all teams were still in deep aero-shaped current Litening, indicating that the old bike may still be stiff or highly aerodynamic.
But when racing enters the big mountains by the second week of the Jiro, every bike in the team car can be a lightweight TEENE prototype.
There are two obvious changes in the new prototype Litening TE …
First, the elimination of the short webbed conversion in the seat cluster suggests that the flatter toptube may have more aero gains and simply rely on the shape of the seat tube’s cum tile. The Seatpost seems to share the same deep aero profile of the current bike, a small rear wheel cutout and a 3-bolt set screw clamp from the back of the seat tube.
But the seat tube gets a steeper angle because all model Cube Lightning Team bikes are equipped with setback seatposts, but many existing model bikes use zero offset posts.
(CUBE Litening TE Cube lightweight aero road bike, front detail)
The other major difference is the noticeably thin fork. From its legs to the crown, the Litening TE fork looks lighter. The new fork doesn’t really transform its shape into a wider downtube, but instead the new fork legs are set wide to a more rounded crown, and the downtube is pulled up by the airflow from the front tire.
The new Cube Litening TE prototype still gets full internal cable routing on the headset. But it now continues with a more traditional looking straight 1.5 ″ headset that sits on the toptube (instead of the inset), with wider, more rounded steer tube spacers. This implies a change in the actual routing to the frame – it first entered behind the 1 1/8 ″ headset bearing, which now appears to go through the 1 1/2 ″ bearing.
Cube Listening TE – When will it come?
C. Intermarche-Vanti-Gobert, Dwars Door by Vlaanderen 2022 Photo Cycling Media Agency
Overall, this prototype Cube Litening TE road bike looks less like a dedicated aero road bike compared to the Lightning introduced in 2019 – and, like a modern all-rounder race bike, has better balance aerodynamics and less weight. Our only real question remaining is, will Binium Girme completely replace the current Lightning C: 68X SLT, which achieved some impressive results at the Giro d’Italia this year? Or can two bikes coexist – a flat stage aero sprinter bike and another lightweight climber bike or versatile all-rounder?
Already riding from the Northern Spring Classics to the Summer Grand Tours, the new prototype Litening TE looks like a more versatile road race bike than the current Aero Road production.
The real question now is when do we expect the proper launch of a new bike?
The Intermarche-Vanti-Gobert team has already achieved some major milestones this season, with the Classics and Grand Tour stage winning their Eritrean frontman Binyem Girmai Hailu, and they have reached the last level of UCI WorldTime. Year. Once again, the Tour de France is a big show, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see German bike sponsor CUBE use it as a massive platform to promote their latest high-end road racing bike.
After all, it’s been nearly a year of racing under the square UCI prototype label, and it will be until bike manufacturers officially get a new bike for sale under UCI’s technical equipment rules. So, in the first week of July, we open our ears…
Image credit by @cyclingmedia_agency, Team Mechanic.