By James Bracey
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Dijon based company. Now under the helm of Giles Lapierre, the third successive generation of the Lapierre family, it still manages to retain a close knit family feel. We went along to its 2017 road launch in the Côte d’Or, the heartland of the French wine industry for a tasting session of our own.
Lapierre bikes are synonymous with the Français des Jeux UCI WorldTour team, having partnered and supplied the French team with their bikes for an unprecedented 15 years (and have just confirmed signing for at least the next two seasons).
This is the longest standing partnership between team and equipment supplier and with such a close collaboration comes mutual benefits. With Lapierre’s headquarters in Dijon and R&D facilities shared with FDJ situated close by at the University of Besançon, Remi Gribaudo (Lapierre’s head of road engineering) explained that rapid prototyping and testing significantly helps with continuous, ongoing development of products.
The Xelius is the bike designed around Thibaut Pinot and his need for a light and stiff frame for the long mountain stages of the Grand Tours (he took it to a solo victory on Alpe D’Huez in 2015). 2017 sees the introduction of the SL Disc version into the range, with as the name suggests the development of the frame to incorporate disc brakes into the design.
>>> Thibaut Pinot bagged an impressive tally of Strava KOMs in 2015
This is not just the old model reworked to shoehorn in disc technology. This is a ground up new design. Alongside this, Lapierre is now producing a women’s specific version and sizes now go from XXS-XL.
Work has been undertaken on the standard models to lower the centre of gravity, making the bike move less when climbing out of the saddle and reducing rider output. To this end Lapierre has shaved over 100 grams from the top tube area of the frame. It has also located the Di2 battery and cable routing in and through the bottom bracket making use of the Trapdoor Technology seen in other current models. The Xelius SL still includes Lapierre’s Power Box bottom bracket, head tube and rear triangle to increase stiffness and reduce flex.
The Disc version has undergone rigorous, lengthy testing under FDJ riders in the Swiss Alps to get it right. The frame is now constructed from high modulus carbon incorporating new High TG resin – capable of withstanding the higher temperatures generated by disc braking (able to operate up to 190°C rather than standard resin's melting point at 140°C).
It still features the unique 3D Tubular Technology seatstays that meet the toptube in front of the seat tube, designed to incorporate comfort into the design. These also help to give it the characteristic Lapierre curves. Wheel attachment features the current standard (12x142mm rear and 12x100mm front) thru-axles. Chainstays are also slightly longer to accommodate the disc and both disc mounts are the new flat mount versions.
The new SL Disc will be available in three models – Ultimate, 600 and 500. No UK prices as yet
Lapierre’s original endurance model has also had some big updates, focussing on the three key elements – comfort, responsiveness and stiffness. New for 2017 are the significantly curved top tube and seatstays to introduce new levels of comfort to the frame. The Sensium now incorporates the same Power Box frame design as the Xelius and Aircode race frames to improve power transfer efficiency.
The Trapdoor Technology, internal cable routing and Di2 battery placement also features in the frame design). Geometry remains the same, giving the Sensium a comfortable position, perfect for hours in the saddle. To help with shifting accuracy and stiffness, Lapierre has changed to a sandwich type rear derailleur hanger.
Of course a disc brake version is available. But this time to maintain lower overall prices, Lapierre has gone with standard QR wheel attachment rather than the thru-axle option found on its other models. The disc specific frame still features the High TG resin impregnated carbon to improve heat management and it still features flatmount caliper attachment.
The disc specific version will be available in 3 models – Ultimate, 600, 500. All models available in 6 sizes. UK prices TBA
Gravel or Adventure bikes have seen a massive increase in popularity over the last couple of years and Lapierre is showing commitment to the genre with the new Crosshill gravel bike. This is quite possibly the most versatile bike of the new line-up and should appeal to a wide audience.
It features a Supreme 5 aluminium alloy frame and full UD carbon fork (same as that found on the new Cross Carbon). The geometry and styling is similar to the Sensium endurance frame but with added clearance to take up to a 700x50c tyre. The frame is naturally disc specific, incorporates thru-axles and features eyelets to support a full complement of racks and guards. Both models feature compact chainsets with larger MTB style cassettes.
Available in two models, 500 and 300 versions. UK prices TBA
Finally for the rider looking for a new cyclocross race bike we have the Cross Carbon. The unique feature of this new frame is the asymmetric top tube with its Ergonomic Shoulder Zone. The tube is shaped to enable comfortable carrying of the bike during muddier sections of cross courses. All the cables are routed on top or within the top tube to reduce fouling.
>>> Watch: Cycling Weekly's guide to cyclocross bikes
The frame uses what Lapierre calls High Resistance carbon fibre to increase traction, shock absorption and stability. The seatstays not only feature disc mounts but also removable cantilever bosses for the traditionalists amongst the cyclocross crowd.
Two disc brake versions will be available, the 600 and 500 models. UK prices TBA
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