The all-new carbon Cube road bike that we’ve been seeing winning races all year is officially here in time for the Vuelta with a new name – the CUBE Litening Air C:68X. This new modern all-rounder combines aerodynamic influences, complete cockpit & cable integration, and improved rider comfort… but it’s a lightweight 799g frame claim that set this bike up as a true mountain climber…
CUBE Litening Air C:68X light road bike
It’s really no secret that this new Cube Litening Air C:68X is built for climbing. It’s already been ridden to a big mountaintop stage win of Stage 16 of this year’s Giro d’Italia by Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert’s Jan Hirt. But the new bike has been raced successfully from the one day classics of northern Europe to mountainous Alpine stage races. I got our close-up look at it as a Team Edition prototype during the Tour de Suisse.
Now with the Vuelta a España set to kick off, the new bike is set for even more all-rounder racing…
Finally unveiling the new bike’s name ahead of the Vuelta as light as AIR, the new moniker suggests it will sit alongside the more aerodynamically focused carry-over bike which has received a subtle Litening Aero name update.
As we saw with the pre-launch TE prototype, this new bike favors slimmer tubing throughout, less dramatically-shaped aero profiles… with the wider tube shaping said to help boost frame stiffness, as well.
But it’s the big weight savings that justify covering the bike with iridescent AIR decals.
The new bike shares the same top-tier C:68X hi-mod carbon construction as its aero predecessor (with a 68% carbon fiber content to 32% resin ratio). But the AIR shaves off a claimed 271g, bringing the Cube Litening Air C:68X frame weight down to 799g (56cm).
That’s pretty wild weight savings, but Cube designers say they achieved such gains while maintaining aerodynamics and greatly improving rider comfort over longer rides.
The new Cube Litening Air gets a larger, simplified headtube that allows for clean internal cable routing through a straight 1.5″ headset for compatibility with Cube’s proven one-piece ICR Aero Cockpit System. It also still uses a proprietary aero seatpost, an effective rear wheel cutout with the tapered seattube design, and the proven simple but secure 3-bolt set screw-style seatpost clamp from the back of the seattube, plus flat mount disc brakes & 12mm thru-axles.
There’s also extra clearance to suit the shift to wider rims & tires. With an all-new fork and opened-up rear end, the new Air officially has 31mm tire clearance, although Cube has generally been quite conservative suggesting even bigger tires would likely fit for racing the Spring Classics.
Vuelta a España edition
To mark the occasion of the 2022 Vuelta a España starting up north in The Netherlands & Belgium where the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team is actually based, Cube has painted up their lightest-ever road bike with some pretty flashy iridescent AIR decals, over the raw C:68X carbon.
And while they haven’t revealed a ton of useful information yet – like pricing & availability, for example – Cube does say the new Litening AIR C:68X will get a three model line-up…
Cube Litening Air C:68X options
Based on the current aero model, we anticipate those three to be the:
Cube Litening Air C:68X SLT with a full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 12sp groupset with power meter cranks, Newmen R50 Streem aero carbon wheels, fast Conti GP 5000 TT tubeless tires, and the raw Carbon ‘n’ Rainbow paint scheme for a complete bike weight claim of 6.6kg without pedals.
Then, the Cube Litening Air C:68X SLX with an Ultegra Di2 12 group, power meter, R50 Streems, GP5000TTs, and Electric ‘n’ Blue paint.
And lastly, Cube Litening Air C:68X Race with Ultegra Di2 12 but no power meter, R50 Streems, Continental GP 5000 S tubeless tires, and our personal favorite translucent LiquidRed ‘n’ Carbon paint job that lets the carbon layup show through.
All three share the same UCI-approved frameset and 1-piece carbon Cube ICR Aero Cockpit System handlebar.
Superlight and aerodynamic performance on par with aero-only bikes, Cube sees their new Litening Air C:68X as a versatile all-rounder race bike, just waiting for its time to shine climbing mountains.
No official word yet on availability, but we’d expect they should hit the road for consumers in early 2023.