Louis Meintjes has already had an impressive ride in the 2022 Tour de France, and his secret weapon is his new, as yet unreleased, Cube Litening C:68 TE. This bike has been spotted at races before the Tour, but information is still restricted to what we can see, so here are our thoughts.
The boundaries between endurance, aero and climb-friendly road bikes are constantly blurring, and the new Litening TE C:68 appears to be following the trend. Its profile view is considerably slimmer than the obviously aero C:68X, as ridden to several notable victories this season by the team’s talented fast man, Biniam Girmay. The success of the new bike under Louis Meintjes so far in this year’s Tour – at the time of writing, he’s 7th on GC, at 4:24 – suggests that it climbs like few aero bikes can, and is more of an all-rounder, in the style of Specialized's Tarmac.
The head tube area, seat tube, down tube, top tube, seatpost and fork all display less depth when viewed in profile, and the lines look simpler. Meintjes rides a 50cm frame, so it’s difficult to get an exact picture of how larger sizes will look from this bike alone.
The current C:68X accepts a maximum tyre width of 28mm, but Meintjes’ bike has 28mm tyres fitted and still boasts plenty of clearance at the gently curved fork. Depending on the clearance at the seat and chain stays, the new Litening C:68 TE could fit tyres as wide as 30mm or 32mm, which would cover most professional races.
The seatpost looks to have a slimmed down, kamm tail profile, and is held in place by a pair of recessed bolts. The number 1 between the stays denotes that this is Louis Meintjes’ number one machine - the bike he will start each stage aboard - because most riders will have at least two.
The seat tube looks less bulky, but still follows the curve of the rear wheel. The seat stays were dropped on the C:68X, but now have a horizontal kink before they meet the seat tube, to aid aerodynamics.
German brand Newmen currently offers a range of four road wheelsets, in 38mm, 50mm, 65mm and 80mm depths. Newmen and Cube have a close relationship, with many of Cube's off-the-shelf bikes coming equipped with Newmen wheels. The Advanced R42 wheels ridden by Meintjes haven’t been released yet, but they look to have a typically modern profile, with conventional spoke nipples.
The Newmen Advanced R42 rims are tubeless-compatible, and the team use Continental’s Grand Prix 5000 S TR tubeless tyres - the same as Pidcock used for that descent. Meintjes says that even at lower pressures than he would have ridden on tubular tyres, he thinks the tubeless Contis are faster and more comfortable.
Bryton’s flagship Rider S800 GPS unit has a 3.4in touchscreen with MIP (Memory In Pixel) technology, which is said to offer a clearer view of on screen data. Claimed battery life is 36 hours, and there are numerous training and connectivity functions, only some of which will be of practical use to a rider while racing the Tour de France.
The Cube ICR cockpit system fitted to the new Litening TE C:68 looks to be the same one-piece bar and stem as that previously seen on Cube’s C:62. Meintjes rides a 38cm wide bar, which has internal routing.
The K-Edge out front mount supporting Meintjes’ Bryton S800 GPS unit is a one-piece K-Edge mount, which doesn’t currently appear on their website. Existing K-Edge mounts for integrated ‘bars have a hinge for angle adjustment, whereas this does not. The nearest mount to it that we’re aware of, is the K-Edge top tube mount, which is only for top tube fitment.
The team's bikes are fitted with Shimano's semi-wireless 12-speed Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 groupset. The front shifting of this groupset is noticeably quicker than the older version, and it gains an extra gear over the 11-speed it replaces.
Despite racing on 12-speed, Louis Meintjes’ bike retains the previous generation Shimano R9100-P Dura-Ace power crankset, which has 54/46 11-speed chainrings. This is largely due to stock shortages, but according to some mechanics, has led to unwanted chaindrops.
The power meter’s ‘pod’ is mounted between two of the crankset’s four arms.
The team are sponsored by CeramicSpeed, and their bikes are fitted with the company’s OSPW pulley wheel system. This has an aluminium 13-tooth upper pulley and 19-tooth lower pulley, spinning on either standard or coated CeramicSpeeed bearings.
Some team bikes have been seen with the CeramicSpeed OSPW Aero pulley wheel system, which has a Simon Smart/Drag2Zero codeveloped cover, or fairing, over the lower pulley wheel, and part of the upper one. The Danish company celebrated the Tour’s Danish Grand Depart with some aero covers decorated with the Danish flag.
|Frame||Cube Litening C:68|
|Groupset||Shimano Dura-Ace R9270|
|Brakes||Shimano Dura-Ace R9270|
|Wheelset||Newmen Advanced R42|
|Tyres||Continental GP5000 S TR|
|Handlebar||Cube's ICR cockpit|
|Stem||Cube's ICR cockpit|
|Chainset||Shimano Dura-Ace R9170-P|
|Power meter||Shimano Dura-Ace R9170-P|
|Pedals||Look Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic|
|Saddle||Prologo Scratch M5 Nack|
|Bottle cages||Elite Vico Carbon|
|Bottles||Elite Fly Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|Bar tape||Prologo One Touch|
|Computer||Bryton Rider S800|
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