The Cube Aerium Super HPC SLT triathlon bike tested, rated and reviewed

Cube Aerium Super HPC SLT Triathlon Bike Review (2014)Cube Aerium Super HPC SLT

£6,999
cube.eu

Cube‘s Shimano Dura Ace Di2-equipped Aerium Super HPC SLT triathlon bike comes with Reynolds‘ impressive 72mm front and 90mm rear deep section carbon aero wheels – making the £6,999 asking price excellent value for the spec on offer.

Cube has invested heavily in the latest aero tech on their Aerium Super HPC and this SLT version is a remarkably complete and blisteringly quick package for the price.

Depending on your wheel demands, its two siblings might be even better value though.

Cube Aerium Super HPC SLT – Frame and Fork

The Aerium Super HPC ticks all the radical frame and fork boxes, starting with the tapering fork legs that the TRP V-brakes sync into the front of and a trailing-edge crown extension to smooth airflow onto the down-tube.

The head-tube extends forward to form a more pointed bow in front of the fork steerer and a cutout gives a totally flush stem top-to-top tube alignment. The stem includes a really neat clamshell casing built into the front plate, which opens up to swallow the Di2 control box inside.

The aerofoil down-tube leads down to the seemingly obligatory horizontal shelf above the press-fit bottom bracket. The rear chainstays stay low and straight before kicking up and out to the horizontal dropouts in a way pioneered by Scott on their Plasma Turbo stays.

There are tiny set screws to keep the wheel from sliding into the frame, so you don’t need to be over firm with the QR.

The really interesting bit of the frame is the seat-tube though, which heads up in a conventional skinny wheel-hugger design until the big tapering seatstays join halfway up. At this point the whole seat-tube takes a step forward, with airflow directed under the armpits of the rounded stay bridge, round a narrow fin.

A choice of either a forward swept (that we used) or conventional aero seatpost gives 75˚ or 79˚ effective seat angles. The top clamp also uses Selle Italia’s unique Monolink design for easy single bolt adjustment at the expense of a limited range of seats. Sizes from small to XL mean most riders should find a good frame fit though.

Cube Aerium Super HPC SLT – The Kit

The Di2-swallowing Aerium stem also holds the appropriately named Profile Aeria bars with flat, full-carbon wings and well-shaped cow-horns to the base bar and a subtle ski-bend kick up to the extensions.

The rise needs to be tweaked with spacer kits, but the width and reach are easily altered and it’s nice to see a fully taped bar for extra confidence in wet conditions.

Cube isn’t half-hearted with their Shimano Di2 spec either. You get satellite shifters on the cow-horns and separate, up and down, rear buttons on the extensions. The battery is mounted internally and any external cabling is impressively discreet.

Chain, cassette and mechs are full 9071 Dura Ace, while the deep section carbon arms and carbon outer ring of the Vision Metron chainset form the transmission centrepiece.

TRP V-brakes sync into the front faces of the fork legs, while a Dura Ace rear calliper hides out of sight behind the bottom bracket.

The standout spec feature is the full-carbon deep section Reynolds wheels. If 72mm front and 90mm rear is what you’d want to ride anyway, then they make the complete bike price a bargain.

But if you’re particular about wheel choice then whether it’s a steal is a moot point. If you’re after a real bargain, the same frame, fork and brake set is on the Ultegra Di2, Mavic Cosmic Elite S wheelset-equipped Aerium Super HPC SL at £3,699, or the conventional Ultegra Aerium Super HPC Race at £2,699.

Cube Aerium Super HPC SLT – The Ride

With the Reynolds wheels on, the Aerium is super quick and thanks to the bulged-toroidal rim design we were happy riding them in gusty conditions. Despite their depth they also add a smooth skim to the ride over rough surfaces, as well as obvious speed sustain in flat-out solo or head-to-head sessions.

To keep the playing-field level we swapped the wheels for Mavic’s Cosmic Elites. This revealed a slightly harsher frame note and the handling was a little twitchier using the forward-swept tri post (which puts you right over the front). It creates a very focused, high-speed feel that’s easy to find flat-backed efficiency with, but some riders found it intimidating on twisty roads and descents.

The Cube’s not the most direct, with its power transfer or front-to-rear stiffness, which means speed sometimes felt earned rather than gifted. Low weight and cow-horn gear shifters make it easy to accelerate out of corners and it climbs well too.

Once up to speed, the razor-sharp aero profile, naturally fast body position and effortless Di2 shifting meant it held its own in terms of speed and time splits. In fact if the saddle suits you, there’s nothing you’ll need to change between shop and start line.

+ State of the art, lightweight aero brake and stem-equipped frameset
+ Great value Di2 Dura Ace transmission with carbon wheels

– Slightly softer, less punchy power delivery than other superbikes
– Lower-spec Super HPC SL and Race models may be better value

Cube Aerium Super HPC SLT Triathlon Bike Review (2014)