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The all-new Cube Litening C:68 TE: Louis Meintjes' Tour de France bike

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022
Cube's as-yet unreleased Litening TE C:68 road bike is being raced at the Tour de France (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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.   

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

The new Cube Litening TE C:68 has generous fork clearance for Meintjes' 28mm tyres (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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.

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

The Cube has a typical Kamm Tail profile seatpost, secured by two recessed bolts. Separately, the race number holder fitted to the seatpost is zip tied into place.  (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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.

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

There looks to be room for even larger tyres before seat tube clearance becomes a problem. (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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.

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

German brand Newmen supplies the team's wheels. These are tubeless. (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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.

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

Newmen only list the R38, R50, R65 and R80 on their website, so these R42 wheels could be coming soon.  (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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.

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

Meintjes uses a Bryton Rider S800 GPS unit (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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.

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

Cube's ICR cockpit system is a one-piece carbon fibre bar and stem also found on the Cube C:62 (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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.

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

Meintjes' K-Edge GPS mount is unlike any existing K-Edge out-front mount (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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.

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

Prologo's OneTouch bar tape is an established favourite (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

The team use 12-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 groupsets, but like many in the WorldTour, are still using the older 11-speed cranks (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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. 

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

Meintjes' bike features a Dura-Ace R9100-P crankset with 54/46 11-speed chainrings, despite running a 12-speed groupset (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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.

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

Further pointing to the stock shortages is this. The power meter pod has clearly been damaged, and instead of replacing the part, mechanics have stuck it back together with some electrical tape. (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

An 11-30 12-speed cassette is matched with the 54/46 rings, while an Ultegra chain - not Dura-Ace - is fitted. (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

The Dura-Ace R9200 rear derailleur has a CeramicSpeed OSPW Pulley Wheel System fitted (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

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.

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

The aluminium 13-tooth upper and 19-tooth lower pulley wheels spin on either standard or coated CeramicSpeed bearings. (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

Cube Litening C68 Tour de France 2022

Elite Vico Carbon bottle cages keep the team's drinking bottles secure. (Image credit: Peter Stuart)

Louis Meintjes' Cube Litening C:68 TE: Specifications
FrameCube Litening C:68
GroupsetShimano Dura-Ace R9270
BrakesShimano Dura-Ace R9270
WheelsetNewmen Advanced R42
TyresContinental GP5000 S TR
HandlebarCube's ICR cockpit
StemCube's ICR cockpit
ChainsetShimano Dura-Ace R9170-P
Power meterShimano Dura-Ace R9170-P
PedalsLook Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic
SaddlePrologo Scratch M5 Nack
Bottle cagesElite Vico Carbon
BottlesElite Fly Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
Bar tapePrologo One Touch
ComputerBryton Rider S800

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