Lapierre Sensium 600 Disc road bike

Second-top endurance bike from French brand delivers first-class performance

When we attended the launch of the new Lapierre Sensium Disc bike in the summer of 2016, it became clear the French brand had made the decision to adopt discs wholeheartedly – after all, at the same event the Xelius SL race bike was also being unveiled with discs. And, when a brand starts readying their pro-level bikes with rotors, it’s time to accept that this is a tide that’s turning.

However, during that launch, and the ride around the French countryside it entailed, it was the Sensium that really impressed. Interestingly, it’s not actually Lapierre’s flagship endurance bike – that honour goes to the Pulsium – yet really it was the Sensium Disc that got under our skin.

The headline was that it had received a full frame redesign, with a new carbon layup to try and provide efficient power transfer at the transmission and dampen out vibrations at the contact points, all the while ensuring a responsive front end. Sure, that’s what every brand wants to achieve with their endurance bike but our first ride revealed as much, and it was a relief to be able to tangibly feel what Lapierre had done, as opposed to having to simply swallow simple claims of “greater stiffness, more compliance” from a new layup.

Bravo to Lapierre for doing better, and our first ride near Dijon revealed it wasn’t all bluster – this is a genuinely compliant bike, as we found out while crossing over gravel-surfaced vineyards. Not wanting to be left behind in the racy stakes, Lapierre borrowed the Power Box tech from their race bikes, boosting rigidity around the bottom bracket when the hammer goes down.

Other features include a spot-on endurance geometry. Centre of gravity is kept as low as possible too with Di2 machines, because batteries are stored next to the bottom bracket area – innovation known as Trap Door, first seen on the Xelius SL and Aircode race bikes.

Naturally, the discs are the now ubiquitous flat-mount standard, and in this 600 guise of the Sensium are the Shimano BR805 hydraulic versions that complement the mechanical Ultegra groupset well.

Where the Sensium differs a little is in the dropouts, which are resolutely quick release – although with thru-axle standards still not quite settled throughout the industry, it’s probably just Lapierre hedging their bets at this point and going with tried-and-tested tech.

That said, the designers did claim at launch that it remains the cheapest way to accommodate discs; savings that should make it through to the consumer.

The forks are a fresh design too, and instead of opting for a strongly raked design, the French brand has kept things relatively direct, helping to sharpen the ride at the front end. That won’t be to everyone’s taste, but those who want the endurance position without the pillow-like ride will find an enjoyable partner in crime here.

RCUK 100 2017 - Lapierre Sensium road bike
RCUK 100 2017 - Lapierre Sensium road bike

Lapierre Sensium 600 Disc

There’s also clearance for 28c tyres, which helps smooth out any serious road buzz, and that works in tandem with a 27.2mm seatpost, which despite being alloy does an admirable job of keeping things docile. It’s topped in turn by a Fizik Aliante R5 saddle – no complaints here.

Perhaps in reflection of the pro team’s close tie-up with Shimano – the FDJ squad uses practically every component the Japanese brand offers – it’s unsurprising the hoops are Shimano’s too. They’re stock rims, and really nothing to shout about, but given the bike can still thrill even without donning sporty shoes, that speaks volumes about the frame. Upgrade the wheels and you’ll really invigorate the ride.

With the Pulsium still at the top of Lapierre’s endurance tree, you may be forgiven for thinking the Sensium is limited in its appeal. Maybe you think it’ll be slow, sluggish, uninvolving, or just plain boring, but the Sensium is nothing of the sort – ready to impress all-round, with the capacity for future upgrades thrown in too.



Selected for The RCUK 100 2017

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