After a recent tour of Lapierre’s factory facility in Dijon, France, BikeRadar were given a sneak peek at some of the French company’s 2014 road bikes, including a new Aerostorm time trial frame and the latest Xelius 800 EFI. We also got the lowdown on a new Ultimate customisation program.
New Aerostorm TT bike
The big Lapierre news for 2014 is the debut of the new Aerostorm TT bike, ridden by the FDJ pro team at this year’s Tour de France. It’s an all-new design that’s been a couple of years in the making. Lapierre didn’t push numbers on us about how much faster their machine is than anyone else’s; what they did tell us is that the Aerostorm is significantly better than its predecessor, and 400g lighter.
TRP brakes integrated in the front fork are fast becoming standard on time trial bikes, and the tube profiles of the Aerostorm all follow the Kammtail shape. At the rear, a chainstay mounted Shimano brake handles stopping duties.
Lapierre Aerostorm TT 2014
The frame was designed with PRO’s carbon Missile cockpit in mind, and the complex, super low-friction internal cable setup means Lapierre’s experienced mechanics can build only one bike a day. As such, it was a mammoth undertaking to get the fresh new framesets ready for the Tour.
It seems Lapierre’s R&D persistence paid off, with FDJ head honcho Marc Madiot saying that the team’s time trial performance on the new bike was the best he’s witnessed in their history.
Updated Xelius 800 EFI
The latest Xelius 800 EFI frame is split into two parts – the oversized down tube, head tube, beefy chainstays and bottom bracket are all described as the ‘power’ zone, with everything above as the ‘comfort’ zone.
Although not aero, the frame did go through some wind tunnel testing with FDJ pro riders Jeremy Roy and Sandy Casar, plus top local amateurs. It proved Lapierre’s new design to have less drag than the previous model – just a two percent reduction but significant enough to matter. The ovalised shape of the head tube gives a nod towards aerodynamics, as does the overall slender shape of the frame.
The step down in tubing diameter signifies where the Xelius switches from 'power' to 'comfort' (we saw a custom Ultimate version of the 800 EFI)
The ‘power’ zone parts are reinforced with a 46T carbon fibre at the head tube and bottom bracket (the BB shell uses continous fibres, too, rather than a patchwork design). Where more comfort is required, Lapierre have used a 30T material.
Lapierre offer benchmark figures comparing the latest Xelius to its predecessor, and the numbers are impressive – 20 percent stiffness improvement at the head tube and 10 percent at the bottom bracket, plus seven percent better torsional rigidity in the rear triangle.
Ultimate customisation program
Lapierre’s new Ultimate program takes the company’s top-of-the-line framesets and gives you the opportunity to customise your bike’s final build (kind of like Trek’s Project One, although Lapierre claim they’ll be able to offer a bit more component variety). The Ultimate program will also offer a custom graphic package.
The web-based configurator will also be available as an iPad app, and constantly updates a projected final weight and, more importantly, final price.
We love this Lapierre Xelius Ultimate's Renault F1-inspired paint scheme
For more information on Lapierre bikes see www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk.