Lapierre 2016 road bikes: Xelius SL, Aircode SL, Pulsium, Sensium and Audacio

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Lapierre 2016 road bikes: a journey through the Xelius SL, Aircode SL, Pulsium, Sensium and Audacio

From the new, super-light Xelius SL to the entry-level, alloy Audacio, here are all of Lapierre's road bikes for 2016

Lapierre launched the Xelius SL in May as their super-light climbing bike and FDJ.fr’s Thibaut Pinot gave the French firm’s latest machine a winning debut at the Tour de France, triumphing atop Alpe d’Huez on the penultimate stage.

But the Xelius SL is just one of Lapierre’s road bikes for 2016, as part of a collection which starts at £679.99 rises to £3,499.99, and looks to cover all bases from the super-light, to the aerodynamic, through comfort, and down to a line-up of entry-level bikes.

The Dijon-based company’s road range is split into three categories, with Race incorporating the Xelius SL and the Aircode SL, another new frame for 2016 and launched alongside the Xelius SL, albeit being a lighter version of the existing Aircode, Lapierre’s aerodynamic road bike.

Meanwhile, the Endurance category is made up of the Pulsium and the Sensium, and the Sport category covers Lapierre’s entry-level aluminium bike, the Audacio.

All in all, Lapierre’s 2016 road range includes 24 bikes and we’ll run through each frame, and the key models, right here. If a Lapierre is on your new bike shortlist, or you just want to see what’s new for 2016, then buckle up…

Lapierre Xelius SL

While the Xelius has been a part of the Lapierre range for some time, the Xelius SL isn’t only an update of an old model, but an entirely new frame. It’s Lapierre’s lightest, with a claimed weight of 850g, but one which also seeks to combine that low weight with comfort.

Take a look at the Xelius SL and your eye is immediately drawn to the junction of the seatstays, seattube and toptube – or, rather, the lack of it. The seatstays completely bypass the seattube and join the toptube in a design which allows the seattube to do its job of bearing the load of the rider, and giving the seatstays more license to flex as they’re relieved of their load bearing duty. The skinny 27.2mm seatpost and integrated clamp, which leaves more of the post exposed to flex, are also a nod to comfort.

Being a race machine, Lapierre have also paid particular attention to stiffness, using the same ‘Power Box’ technology as the Aircode SL, which we’ll come on to. In effect, it means that if you were to draw a line diagonally through the frame, the lower half, being the chainstays, bottom bracket and headtube, work as one to provide as much stiffness as possible, and the top half, namely the toptube and seatstays, are designed to improve comfort. It may have a fancy name but it’s what most manufacturers look to achieve with their top-end bikes.

Still, it works, and our review described the Lapierre Xelius SL 700 as a machine that “lightweight racers looking for every advantage on the climbs will love, but anyone after a comfortable bike with a competitive edge won’t be disappointed either.”

The £3,299.99 Xelius SL 700 is the top-of-the-range model being brought into the UK by Lapierre’s distributor, Hotlines, and it comes with a complete Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, and Mavic’s smart, new-for-2016 Ksyrium Elite wheels, reviewed here.

There’s also the Xelius SL 600, which swaps the Shimano Ultegra Di2 for mechanical Ultegra, for a retail price of £2,299.99, while the most affordable bike in the Xelius SL range, the 500, gets a Shimano 105 groupset and Mavic Aksium hoops for £1,799.99. All three bikes come with a semi-compact 53-46t chainset and an 11-28t cassette, as well as Zipp cockpit components. You can also get the Xelius SL through Lapierre’s Ultimate online custom bike builder if you want to put together a build of your own.

Lapierre Aircode SL

The Aircode SL is Lapierre’s aero race bike, and while the super-light Xelius SL is preferred by climbers like FDJf.fr’s Pinot, the Aircode SL gets called into action by sprinters in the mould of Arnaud Démare, who place a greater importance on aerodynamics than weight.

That’s not to say that riding the Aircode SL is like carrying around a sack of potatoes. This year’s model get the SL moniker because Lapierre have dropped 110g from the frameset weight (losing 90g from the frame and 20g from the fork) over the 2015 bike, taking the claimed frame weight down to 960g for a size 54cm.

Lapierre say they’ve achieved that weight loss by altering the carbon layup to a blend of 30, 38 and 40-ton fibres, while reducing the number of layers of carbon fibre in the headtube and also shortening the length of the fibres in the seattube, without, they say, impacting on stiffness.

Other than that, the Aircode SL retains the same Kammtail aerodynamic tube profiles (essentially an airfoil shape with the tail chopped off to promote the same smooth airflow as a full airfoil while saving on weight) as the previous Aircode. Other aero features include an integrated seatpost clamp, though the seatpost itself is round, rather than an aero-profiled unit as normally seen on bikes like this. There’s also a direct mount front brake which is semi-integrated with the fork, though the dual pivot rear brake is now mounted on the seatstays, rather than under the chainstays – to the joy of mechanics worldwide.

Like the Xelius SL, the Aircode SL will be available in three complete bike builds, as well as through Lapierre’s online Ultimate customiser. The top-of-the-range model, the Aircode SL 700, wears a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset and Zipp 30 aluminium clincher wheels for £3,499.99.

Step down a rung and there’s the Aircode SL 600 for £2,299.99, dressed in a Shimano Ultegra mechanical gruppo and Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels, before you get to the £1,899.99 Aircode SL 500, where you’re getting a Shimano 105 groupset and the same Mavic hoops.

Again, just like the Xelius SL, Lapierre have paired a 52-36t chainset with an 11-28t cassette, which seems a sensible combination to us – striking a middle ground between a 50-34t compact chainset and 53-39t double, and so offering a spread of gears which suits the bike’s racy intentions while still offering enough support when the road ramps up.

Lapierre Pulsium

Time to move from Lapierre’s race bikes and into their endurance range, which includes the Pulsium, Sensium and Sensium Disc. Let’s kick off with the Pulsium.

The Pulsium may be an endurance bike but it’s still one used by the FDJ.fr team, just it’s reserved for the cobbled Classics, when the extra comfort offered by the frame comes into its own over the harsh cobbles of northern France and Belgium.

The Pulsium’s headline feature is its ‘Shock Absorption Technology’ – essentially an elastomer on the toptube and seattube junction designed to, well, absorb some of the shock kicked up by the road. We certainly found the Pulsium to offer up a plush ride in our review.

The frame’s geometry has also been tweaked with comfort in mind, coming with a shorter toptube and taller headtube to put the rider in a more upright position compared to the Xelius SL and Aircode SL. A large Pulsium, as an example, has a 565mm toptube and 185mm headtube, compared to longer and lower measurements of 570mm and 170mm on a large Xelius SL.

Continuing the theme, there are three bikes to choose from in the 2016 Lapierre Pulsium range, alongside the Ultimate customiser. The Lapierre Pulsium 700 spearheads the range at £2,899.99 and comes with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset and Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels.

Otherwise, the Pulsium 600 is £2,149.99 and you get a Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels for your money, while the most affordable model is the £1,799.99 Pulsium 500 with Shimano 105 and Shimano WHRS010 wheels.

While the Pulsium may be ridden by FDJ.fr as a Classics bike, it is in effect Lapierre’s sportive bikes and, as well as the more relaxed geometry, that’s also reflected by the fact that all three off-the-shelf bikes come with a compact 50-34t chainset and an 11-32t cassette to provide a generous spread of gears to tackle the steepest climbs.

Lapierre Sensium

The Sensium used to be Lapierre’s main sportive bike before the Pulsium was introduced in 2014 and while the frame’s been superseded, it’s still a key part of the French firm’s range and represents the entry point into the endurance line-up, with nine bikes in all, including two disc-equipped machines and two women’s-specific models.

The Sensium is based around a carbon fibre frame which, while it doesn’t have the Pulsium’s Shock Absorption Technology is still designed to combine power transfer and comfort. The frame may not be as advanced as the newer Pulsium, and is a bit heavier, but it’s still designed with century rides and the sportive market in mind, sharing the same geometry as the Pulsium.

Of the nine bikes, seven come with rim brakes. The Lapierre Sensium CP and TP both come with a Shimano Tiagra groupset and Shimano WHR501 wheels for £1,249.99, but the CP has a compact chainset and the TP has a triple chainset.

Meanwhile, the Sensium 500 CP and TP get an upgraded Shimano 105 groupset and the same wheels for £1,399.99, again with the option of either a compact or triple chainset. The most expensive rim brake bike is the Sensium 600 CP at £1,799.99 and for the extra money you get a Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels.

The Sensium 500 TP (£1,399.99) and Sensium 600 CP (£1,799.99) both also come in female versions, though that just means you get women’s-specific finishing kit and a different paintjob.

Moving on to the disc-equipped bikes – the first Lapierre have offered on the road – and the Sensium 500 CP Disc gets a Shimano 105 groupset and hydraulic disc brakes for £1,699.99 and the Sensium 700 Disc CP is dressed in a Shimano Ultegra Di2 components and hydraulic discs for £2,899.99. Lapierre say they’ve tweaked the carbon layup of the frame on the disc models, while also changing the resin to one with a higher heat resistance to cope with the extra firepower of disc brakes.

Lapierre Audacio

Finally, the Audacio is Lapierre’s entry-level aluminium road bike, with six bikes costing anywhere from £679.99 to £1,049.99.

The frame is made from 6061-series aluminium, paired with a fork which has carbon blades and an alloy steerer. Like the rest of Lapierre’s road bikes, there’s clearance for at least 25mm tyres, and the Audacio shares a similar relaxed geometry to the Sensium and Pulsium, though a large frame has a 180mm headtube, rather than 185mm.

Let’s crack on with the bikes then, starting with the most affordable. The Audacio 100 TP is the entry point if you want a Lapierre range, costing £679.99 and coming with a triple Shimano Claris groupset and Mach1 wheels. For £120 more the Audacio 200 TP gets Shimano Sora kit and the same wheels for £799.99.

Next up and the Audacio 300 comes with a Shimano Tiagra groupset and Shimano WHR501 wheels, and is available in compact and triple chainset versions, for £899.99. There’s also a women’s-specific model.

Finally, the most expensive bike in the Audacio range is the Audacio 500 CP, which comes equipped with Shimano 105 components and Shimano WHRS010 wheels.

Website: Lapierre

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