French brand Lapierre have launched their new 2017 range of bikes, with a widespread adoption of disc brakes through the range and an all-new Sensium endurance bike.
Last year we covered the launch of the Aircode and Xelius SL frames, but this year the biggest change has been seen to the Sensium, the brand’s entry-level, carbon fibre endurance bike, with a complete redesign of the entire frameset.
Elsewhere, the race-bred Xelius has received disc brakes for the first time, while a new cyclo-cross and gravel machines round out the range.
Sensium - a complete refresh
Lapierre's endurance range is made up of two frames: there's the Pulsium, unveiled in 2014 and used by some riders in the Lapierre-sponsored FDJ team at Paris-Roubaix, and the more affordable Sensium.
For 2017, the big change is with the Sensium, which takes advantage of an entirely new frame design (albeit with the same geometry as the previous model), yet carries over some of the features already seen on the Xelius and Aircode race bikes. We took the new Sensium for a spin at the launch - read our first ride review here.
Comfort is key to the Sensium for 2017 and there’s a new curved toptube and seatstays, profiled to provide extra compliance for long days in the saddle, while Lapierre's Power Box Technology can be found around the bottom bracket area for almost race-ready stiffness, thanks to the use of oversized tube profiles. That improved stiffness is complemented by Lapierre’s sandwich rear dropout (whereby the dropouts sandwich the derailleur hanger), which can now be found on all their carbon road bikes.
Additionally, Lapierre have integrated their proprietary Trap Door Technology; an ingenious solution to housing the battery for Di2 groupsets inside the lower part of the seattube, next to the bottom bracket.
"We take this approach because it keeps the centre of gravity as low as possible in the bike, improving responsiveness out of the saddle, thanks to the resulting reduced bulk higher up the bike. In addition, it improves access – a feature asked for by the FDJ team mechanics," says Lapierre's R&D manager, Remi Gribaudo.
The Sensium also leads the way with three female-specific models with their own specific colour schemes, while the bikes are available with Shimano’s flat mount disc brakes –with quick releases axles to keep costs associated with discs down, according to Lapierre – as well as standard rim brakes.
Xelius - discs a priority
While disc brakes have stuttered in recent months on the race scene thanks to high profile incidents at Paris-Roubaix, Lapierre have introduced discs, complete with thru-axles, to their race-bred climbing machine, the Xelius.
“The disc models feature thru-axles, measuring at 12 x 142mm for the rear, and 12 x 100mm at the front, and all follow Shimano’s flat mount standard," says Gribaudo.
Additionally, the frames have been engineered with 10mm extra width at the chainstays over the rim brake version to house the discs, and are also complete with internal cable routing, and all fittings flush to reduce cable rattle (on our first ride we experienced none at all).
Perhaps the most interesting feature is one you can’t see, however, with a specific resin used with the carbon around the points where braking heat is generated at the disc.
"This higher TG resin (TG refers to its melting point) is situated at the fork and rear stays, and can withstand temperatures of 190 degrees, as opposed to the 140 degree capability of the standard SL models," explains Gribaudo.
The flagship model, the SL, also receives a spot of refinement, with an improved carbon layup which is said to improve the stiffness-to-weight ratio and shorter chainstays for increased responsiveness, while the distinctive rear design, whereby the toptube and seatstays pass alongside the seattube, has remained, Lapierre, who call this 3D Tubular Technology, say it cuts weight at the rear triangle while adding a degree of comfort.
The Xelius will be available in seven guises, three of which will be disc equipped, while the remaining four continue to rely upon rim braking.
The 2017 range also heralds the arrival of the Cross Carbon frame, which, as the name suggests, is designed for cyclo-cross racing.
The standout feature is an Ergonomic Shoulder Zone, says Gribaudo, where the toptube has been asymmetrically shaped to provide a more stable and comfortable carrying point for riders on the right shoulder at a natural angle keep the bike off the ground.
Additionally, external cable routing can be found atop the toptube, which helps firstly with carrying comfort, as well as keeping the cables away from the bulk of the mud likely to be experienced during races while ensuring they're easily accessible to mechanics.
The frame is designed to be as efficient at transferring power as possible, with specific high-resistance carbon fibres used to keep high levels of stability on the rough stuff, as well as good levels of shock absorption – riding as close to a road bike on the road as possible while providing all the comfort-related properties of an off-roader.
All the while, a first foray into the gravel market will be available too. The Crosshill features an alloy frame, with comfort coming from the curved profile of the tubes in a forgiving compact geometry.
Clearance is high, with capacity for 50mm tyres, while Shimano disc brakes with 160mm rotors are installed on both the base 300 model and the flagship 500 to provide improved stopping control.
Aerostorm DRS available January 2017
Finally, FDJ’s time trial bike, the Aerostorm DRS, will be made available to buy from the beginning of next year.
The bike, which cuts a striking form and, according to Lapierre, is one of the lightest size-for-size time trial bikes in the pro peloton (weighing in at 8.1kg for a size medium), helped the FDJ team win its first team time trial in 21 years at the Etoile de Bessèges race earlier in the year.
As we go to press, UK prices and complete specs are yet to be confirmed.
Check out the photo gallery below for much more detail on Lapierre's 2017 range.