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Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

It’s Fast Bike Friday! This week we’re casting an eye over a super-slippery aero road bike that’s already proved itself in winning moves at races including the prestigious Giro d’Italia. The aero-efficient Cube Litening C:68X SL was piloted to victory on Stage 3 of this year’s Giro by Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert rider Taco van der Hoorn after he took an extremely close win, holding off the bunch sprint behind him to take the win after an audacious all-day breakaway. So if we wanted proof that this top-of-the-range carbon aero road bike from Cube can hold its speed over long distances and is able to cut through the air efficiently then we’ve already got it; now let’s take a closer look at what makes this bike so fast…

Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

The super-slippery Litening C:68X SL has been designed to be as aerodynamic as possible.


In the pursuit of pure and sustained speed the engineering team at Cube wrote themselves a very simple brief – make the Litening’s frame, fork, seatpost, integrated bar and stem as slippery as possible through the air. To do this Cube spent endless hours number crunching and using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) backed up by extensive wind tunnel testing each and every component-part of this road bike’s chassis. This painstaking process paid off with the Cube engineers reporting a 30% improvement in drag reduction compared to the Litening’s predecessor. As our Giro d’Italia stage winner has already proved, in a world of marginal gains that’s enough to make the Litening C:68X SL a genuine breakaway machine.

Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

The iridescent finish on the Litening C:68X SL is something to behold.


The iridescent finish on the Litening C:68X SL is something to behold; as you move around the bike the colour appears to move over the bike. With a slightly translucent finish you’re able to see the carbon fibre weave throughout the frame and can’t help noticing the beauty and sophistication of how the frame has been crafted. C:68X is Cube’s premium carbon fibre which magically blends strength and low weight in one brilliant material. C:68X sees a dramatic reduction in the amount of resin used in production, bringing down the level to just 32%. The texture of the resin was improved too, adding nanoparticles to help make it stronger and then the Cube engineers cleverly specified a range of different fibre choices and orientations allowing them to add controlled amounts of stiffness or compliance to separate areas of the frame and fork as required.

Cube used up to six different fibre types in the carbon layup process to help save weight while increasing aerodynamic efficiency, with fibres on each section of the frame being utilised according to load – more materials for weight bearing portions, less materials for portions that don’t carry so much load. The end result of this sophisticated manufacturing process is a frame with more rigidity and compliance exactly where it’s needed for a more comfortable but safer frame.

Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

The Litening is built from Cube’s premium C:68X carbon fibre material.


Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

Every tube profile and junction between each portion of the frame has been carefully shaped to cut through the air efficiently. 


Cube C:68X SL 2022

The Litening C:68X SL features a fully integrated cockpit with hydraulic brake hoses being routed internally through the frame and fork.


Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and wind tunnel testing have informed every surface of the Litening.


Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

The Litening’s forks are equally aero and are seamlessly integrated into the frame’s headtube.


As is the trend now in contemporary road bike design the Cube Litening C:68X SL is fully integrated; this basically means that the bike’s frame, fork, handlebar, stem and seatpost have all been designed and constructed to work as one complete unit. This design approach creates a truly aerodynamic chassis that cuts through the air more efficiently than a traditional road bike fitted with separate components. Cube don’t just stop at forward-facing wind-tunnel testing, they’ve developed the Litening to be efficient in crosswinds too making sure the Litening performs in the real world.

Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

The Cube Litening C:68X SL includes a neat carbon fibre Integrated bar and stem which comes proportionally sized to each frame size.


No detail has been overlooked with even the integrated headset featuring an aero top cap; areas of the head tube and fork crown have also been slimmed down significantly to cut through the air more effectively. Overall the Litening C:68X SL’s frameset could be described as brilliantly contemporary, boasting all of the features you want to see on a modern aero road bike; with full componentry integration, internal cable routing for Shimano electronic gears (not required in this instance with the SRAM wireless configuration), a removeable front derailleur mount if you prefer to run a single chainring upfront, multiple bottle mounts and significantly there’s clearance for road tyres up to 28mm wide to fit the current trend of running wider tyres.

Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

Even the integrated stem’s top cap is sensitively shaped to be more aero efficient.


Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

The flattened-out profile of the integrated handlebar cuts through the air, helping you to hold your speed.


Cube have spec’d this premium aero road bike with SRAM’s fantastically efficient Red eTap AXS wireless 12-speed groupset. The clean, uncluttered looking Cube Litening C:68X SL has been designed to cut through the air, saving you a significant amount of watts over longer distances, so what better groupset to fit than one with a completely wireless setup; this clutter-free configuration enhances the Litening’s aero-efficiency even more! Those neat gear shifters contain simple button batteries which power a unique shifting signal to both the front and rear derailleur. Moving down to the drivetrain you’ll find that both the front and rear derailleurs feature small rechargeable batteries which clip onto the mechs securely and last for up to 60 hours of use before needing a recharge.

Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

Cube’s top of the range Litening C:68X SL features SRAM’s premium Red eTap AXS wireless groupset.


If you’ve never ridden a road bike with an electronic drivetrain before it’s worth pointing out just how different it feels; instead of using the force from your fingers to select each and every gear the simple press of a button does all the work for you, with a wireless signal initiating the shift and the derailleur’s small motor doing all the work for you. This might sound fairly insignificant but the difference should not be underestimated; this system benefits smaller hands and comes into its own when you’re riding in cold weather in gloved hands too. With a fully powered, wireless gear shift each change is light and positive. That precise gear shift is really confidence inspiring – with its digital consistency encouraging you to change gear more often than you perhaps would with a conventional cable-activated groupset, leading to a more sophisticated use of the gears available, keeping you feeling fresher for longer during epic all-day rides.

Operation of the SRAM Red eTap AXS wireless groupset couldn’t be more easy, simply press the right lever to shift down the block and the left lever to move up the block. Press both right and left levers together and the front mech will shift, either from the big ring to the small ring or the small ring to the big ring depending on where your chain is currently sitting. If you want to change how your bike shifts you can customise the settings via the SRAM App to enable you to shift up the block with the right lever and down the block with the left lever.

Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

An instantaneous wireless signal from the shifter activates the front and rear derailleurs as required.


Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

SRAM’s unique Red D1 chain features a flat-top profile that adds strength to the thin 12-speed chain.


Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

With 12 cogs squeezed into the rear cassette there’s a really good spread of gears with minimal jumps between ratios.


Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

Every component in the SRAM Red groupset is ultra-light and performs flawlessly.


When it comes to braking on the SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod you can rely on powerful SRAM Centreline XR hydraulic disc brakes which are easy to modulate for confidence-inspiring control even in unpredictable, wet weather and on poor road surfaces. With flat mounts on the Litening C:68X SL frame and fork the brake calipers look neat and uncluttered; specially profiled 160mm disc rotors help to prevent the brakes from overheating under continuous braking while thru-axles keep everything secure and in place further adding to the stiffness and positive handling of the bike.

Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

Neat flat mount SRAM Red hydraulic brake caliper provide plenty of easy-to-modulate braking power.


Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

Small but powerful; there’s no aero compromises caused by this neat brake calipers.


A super-fast aero road bike like the Litening deserves a pair of race-ready wheels to really help it perform. Adding to the Litening’s already impressive aerodynamic efficiency the Mavic SLR 45 Disc wheelset with its deep carbon rims helps you slice through the air with minimal drag; when roads point skyward their overall light weight means you won’t be held back on the climbs with these super-light wheels ready to accelerate immediately when you get off the saddle and put the power down.

Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

The Cube Litening C:668X SL comes spec’d with a fast-rolling Mavic wheelset.


The SLR 45 Disc’s rim is tubeless-ready using Mavic’s own UST system; a clever interface between the spokes, spoke nipples and carbon rim means that the spokes attach to the rim without any need to drill the upper rim bed so that no rim tape is required saving 30g in overall weight. This makes setting up your wheels tubeless much easier too with the newly shaped rim bed making it easier to mount and remove tubeless road tyres. What are the benefits of running a tubeless setup on a road bike? Well, there’s no tube so less weight, there’s less overall friction and more air volume from the 28mm wide Schwalbe Pro One tyres means a smoother, more comfortable ride.

Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

45mm deep carbon Mavic Cosmic SLR 45 wheels shod with 28mm Schwalbe Pro One tyres help to keep things aero.


Cube have hit the mark yet again with the Litening C:68X SL. Race-proven at the highest level of competition already, with every aerodynamic aspect that the designers and engineers have worked on being successfully showcased in some of the most demanding road races in the world. With a fully-integrated aerodynamic chassis and all of the contemporary elements we’ve all quickly come to expect from a modern road bike, namely hydraulic disc brakes, no exposed cables, a cutting-edge electronic groupset, lightweight aero carbon wheels and super-comfortable 28mm tyres the Litening is both a capable racing machine and a real-world mile-muncher that you’ll be able to pedal all-day-long.

Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022

The Cube C:68X SL is a premium aero road bike with no compromises when it comes to component specification.


Cube Litening C:68X SL 2022 RRP £8,099.00

Full specification:

  • Frame: C:68X Monocoque Advanced Twin Mold Technology, Aero Headtube, Full Internal Cable Routing, Flat Mount Disc
  • Fork: Litening C:68X Aero, Integrated Cable Routing, Flat Mount Disc
  • Headset: ACROS, Top Integrated 1 1/8″, Bottom Integrated 1 1/4″
  • Shifters: Sram Red eTap AXS 12-Speed
  • Rear Derailleur: Sram Red eTap AXS 12-Speed
  • Front Derailleur: Sram Red eTap AXS
  • Cassette : Sram Red XG-1290, 10-33T 12-Speed
  • Chainset: Sram Red Carbon, 48x35T
  • Chain: Sram Red D1
  • Brakes: Sram Centreline XR (160F / 160R Rotors)
  • Wheels: Mavic Cosmic SLR 45 Carbon
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Pro One, Tubeless Easy, 28mm
  • Integrated Bar / Stem: ICR Aero Cockpit System, Integrated Cable Routing, Aero Spacer System, Garmin/Wahoo Mount Interface

– Integrated Bar / Stem per bike size – 50cm, 52cm : 400mm wide handlebar / 90mm stem

– Integrated Bar / Stem per bike size – 54cm, 56cm: 420mm wide handlebar / 100mm stem

– Integrated Bar / Stem per bike size – 58cm: 440mm wide handlebar / 110mm stem

– Integrated Bar / Stem per bike size – 60cm: 440mm wide handlebar /120mm stem

  • Bar Tape: Bartape RD
  • Seat Post: Litening C:68X Aero, Comfort Flex
  • Saddle: Natural Fit Nuance SLT Road Carbon


Written by Johnny Dodgin

Photos by James Vincent


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