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Home / Reviews / Cube Aerium C:68X SLT review

Cube Aerium C:68X SLT review

If it’s good enough for Lucy Charles-Barclay, then it’s good enough for age-groupers, right? Bike tester Jack Sexty takes to the roads to find out…

Cube Aerium C68X SLT
Credit: Kaden Gardener

Cube began working on the Aerium C:68X way back in 2020, revealing the first prototypes to the world in 2022.

An Ironman world title and record-breaking bike split from Lucy Charles-Barclay later suggests all the tinkering and wind tunnel time was well worth it.

What’s new?

The Aerium C:68X is now available in three full bike builds starting from £6,499.

The SLT version that we got our hands on (£8,999) is the top-of-the-range model, with 12-speed Shimano Dura-Ace shifting, 80mm carbon wheels and Cube’s unique frame-integrated hydration system.

The C:68X may look similar to its predecessor, the C:68, at first glance, with the unique ‘Twin Head Tube’ for claimed aerodynamic improvements carrying over.

However, Cube claims its new tri superbike is 3.6 watts faster, with every part of the bike apart from the Twin Head Tube, seatpost and between-the-arms (BTA) hydration system refined.

The handlebars are smaller, the head tube narrower and the fork deeper in the name of aerodynamics.

The extensions have also changed shape and, as already mentioned, there are some fascinating things going on inside the frame.

Cube Aerium C68x SLT aero bars
Credit: Kaden Gardener

The weight has dropped, too, with the full bike coming in at 9.1kg without the in-frame hydration system and somewhere around 9.7kg with it.

Cube has gone big on versatility with the Aerium C:68X, supplying a huge array of accessories to suit your needs.

The aerobars, with extensions courtesy of Profile Design, come with all the riser blocks, bolts and washers you and your bike fitter will need to achieve your perfect position, and there’s plenty of fore/aft at the seatpost.

When it comes to storage and hydration there’s even more choice, with the option to run both BTA hydration and the new in-frame hydration system together, or neither, thanks to all the modular fixtures and fittings.

The in-frame hydration is filled via a bladder that fits into the frame just above the bottom bracket, though alternatively the space could be used to store a puncture repair kit.

You drink from the bladder via a straw that pops out from the front of the top tube storage box, or just straight out from the top tube if you’d rather take the box off.

How we tested

All of our triathlon bikes are tested by former 220 Triathlon staff writer, top age-group triathlete and Road.cc editor Jack Sexty. Each bike is tested in a range of conditions on a variety of routes, allowing us to simulate courses with long straights and sweeping corners, plus more technical ones with more bends and inclines. We base our score on criteria that includes ease of set-up and adjustment, comfort, speed, build quality, handling, components, storage options and value.

Ride and handling

Cube Aerium C68x SLT triathlon bike
“The Aerium C:68X is simply a phenomenal ride. In a straight line it’s an absolute bullet” (Credit: Cube)

Trickery aside, the Aerium C:68X is simply a phenomenal ride. It’s instantly noticeable how much less effort is needed to make it go fast compared to road bikes or lesser tri bikes, and in a straight line it’s an absolute bullet.

Acceleration is impressive for a tri bike, and on hills I didn’t feel like weight (from the bike, anyway) was holding me back.

The meaty tubes and bottom bracket area make the bike feel assured and stable, and even with 80mm wheels in February, it handled very well in crosswinds.

A wheelbase of just over one metre on a size medium frame adds to this stability, which comes with a slight trade-off when it comes to cornering.

While the Aerium isn’t the very sharpest bike into corners, it’s a bike that is much more likely to be used on rolling terrain rather than twisty urban circuits, so the planted feel of the bike was appreciated.

The bike also has plenty of bump-taming comfort, which will be much appreciated by UK-based triathletes.

Cube Aerium C68x SLT saddle
Credit: Kaden Gardener

I felt confident riding over rough roads in my aero tuck, and the overall impression I got during my test rides was smooth and stable.

I’m a big fan of the Profile Design 43 ASC carbon extensions, with the ergonomic shape in the middle of the bar providing a comfortable touch point for the forearms.

The base bars are also comfortable enough to grab for extended periods while climbing, though you might want to add extra bar tape for long races with significant elevation.

The rest of the components and finishing kit, as you’d expect for a top-of-the-range bike, are superb.

Hydraulic disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power; Selle Italia’s Watt saddle is one of my favourites for tri; the Newmen Advanced SL R.80 Streem wheels mated to Continental GP 5000 TT tyres is a rapid combination; and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifting is as good as it gets in 2024.

You can shift from the base bars or extensions, and the 54/40t chainset paired with an 11-30t cassette provides a wide range of gears with plenty at the top end.

Hydration and storage

Cube Aerium C68x SLT triathlon bike
Credit: Kaden Gardener

The biggest change to the Aerium C:68X over its predecessor is the all-new in-frame hydration, which Cube says was influenced by Charles-Barclay’s preference to be as self-sufficient as possible on the bike.

Using the BTA hydration, in-frame bladder and bottle inside the frame means you could carry well over two litres of liquids, for example water or electrolyte drinks,, reducing time spent refilling at aid stations.

Cube supplies two bladder sizes for S/M and M/L frames, with a 750ml capacity for the larger one.

The sheer number of tubes and attachments with a tiny space above the bottom bracket to fit it all into was quite baffling at first, and routing the refill and drinking tubes through the down tube and out through the front of the storage box was quite tricky.

When all became clear I couldn’t help but be rather impressed (mostly with myself for working it out, despite sparse instructions) and the system is also very modular, with lots of possibilities to refine the set-up to your preference.

For example, there’s an in-frame funnel if you want to use the hydration system without the top tube storage.

It was easy to drink from while riding, although there’s quite a strong plasticky taste, but filling up on the fly wasn’t so easy.

I found myself needing to shake the refill port to get the liquid to drain into the bladder, which wouldn’t be ideal mid-race and could negate any time saved by using the bladder for additional hydration in the first place.

The BTA hydration, which affixes magnetically and can hold up to 750ml of liquid, worked brilliantly, and was much easier to fill on the fly.

While I appreciate the ingenuity of Cube’s engineers, my preference would be to stick with this plus a water bottle for hydration and use the frame storage box for storing tools and/or essentials, with the top tube storage used exclusively for nutrition such as energy gels or energy bars.

It’s also worth noting that the frame storage box itself is also quite difficult to open, requiring a lot of force and some nails to prize it out.

The bottom line

Cube Aerium C68X SLT triathlon bike
Credit: Kaden Gardener

To conclude, I was highly impressed with the Aerium C:68X, appreciating its superb speed in a straight line, predictable handling and versatility.

You can chop and change the set-up and accessories to suit almost any triathlon distance or positional preference, giving you more value for your £8,999.

While that’s a huge chunk of cash, it’s actually less expensive than top-end bikes from numerous competitor brands.

The new in-frame hydration is the party piece aesthetically, but I was more impressed by the less obvious improvements such as the narrower front end and lower weight.

While some will appreciate the huge volume of liquid you’re able to carry from the outset of an Ironman race on the Aerium C:68X, I found the in-frame hydration system a bit too awkward, and wouldn’t opt to use it myself.

In the Aerium C:68X, Cube has delivered a worthwhile upgrade over the outgoing model, though I believe it could be refined further still.

In the market for a new race bike? Take a look at our list of the best triathlon bikes for more ideas.

220 Triathlon verdict

Blisteringly fast, cutting-edge tri superbike with a fiddly (but useful) bonus hydration option. Score: 84%


  • Rapid performance
  • Brilliant customisation thanks to the included parts


  • Integrated hydration system proved a little too fiddly for me
  • Fame’s storage box is difficult to open

Cube Aerium C:68X SLT specs

Weight:9.1kg (9.7kg with hydration accessories)
Frame:Aerium C:68X
Fork:Aerium C:68X
Gears:Shimano Dura Ace Di2
Brakes:Shimano Dura Ace BR-R9270 Hydraulic Disc
Wheels:Newmen Advanced SL R.80 Streem
Finishing kit:Continental Grand Prix 5000 TT tyres, Cube Aerium C:68X Cockpit System, Cube Hydration and Storage System, Selle Italia Watt SF Magnesium saddle
Buy if…You want a versatile tri bike for all distances, and are prepared to splash the cash
Profile image of Jack Sexty Jack Sexty Editor at road.cc


Former 220 staff writer Jack Sexty is now editor at Road.cc. Jack has raced everything up to Ironman distance, is a sub-2hr Olympic-distance athlete and has represented GB at the ITU World AG Champs on several occasions. He's also a regular kit tester on the pages of 220 and holds two world records for pogo jumping – Longest distance pogo stick jumping in 24 hours and Most consecutive jumps on a pogo stick.