Any of you who have been watching Thibaut Pinot ply his trade in the mountains the last few days will have seen him riding this: the new Lapierre Xelius SL. Admittedly, Pinot’s team issue version is a little more pimped out than our production model, but both his and the stock bike are built around exactly the same frameset.
This one actually happens to be the 700, equipped with Ultegra Di2 and the top ‘stock’ model you can buy (there are also models with Shimano Ultegra, 105, Tiagra, Sora and Claris, with the carbon layup of the frame varying accordingly). Lapierre also have a bike builder system on their website, similar to Trek’s Project One, if you want something even more specced up or the team colourway.
Lapierre have gone big with the Xelius SL and completely redesigned the frame from last year’s version of the Xelius. Superficially, it’s most noticeable at the back end where the toptube joins directly to the seatstays, and the stays bypass the seattube completely. This has allowed them to make the seatstays lighter as they don’t bear as much of the rider’s weight and that in turn makes them more flexible which should increase comfort. Another bonus of the redesigned frame is that Lapierre have been able to bring the frame weight down to 850g. In case you’re wondering, we’ve already weighed in our large test bike and it tipped the scales of truth at 7.32kg.
For anyone worried about stiffness, however, the frame uses the same ‘Power Box’ technology seen in their aero road bike – the Aircode – where the oversized headtube, bottom bracket shell and chainstays have been specially optimised to provide maximum efficiency and power transfer while the upper half of the frame focuses on comfort.
We were impressed after ou first ride on the Xelius SL at the bike’s launch in France, and found it to not only be a pleasantly comfortable ride but were also surprised by its equally sharp handling and response at speed. We’ve now got our hands on one long term this time and we’ll report back in a month or so after putting it through its paces on UK roads.