Lapierre announces fully-integrated new Xelius SL ahead of the Tour de France

New all-round road bike gets improved aerodynamics, hidden cables and a revised geometry

Lapierre Xelius SL 3

Ahead of the upcoming 2021 Tour de France, Lapierre has announced an update to its lightweight, all-rounder road bike, the Xelius SL.

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With Groupama-FDJ team leader Thibaut Pinot out of the season’s most important race due to a back injury, the first chance to ride the French brand’s latest race bike fell to climber David Gaudu.

Having quietly tested the bike at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, Gaudu says “the first sensations are excellent! Reactivity, agility, the bike responds perfectly on difficult terrain.”

He would say that, of course, so what’s new?

Lapierre Xelius SL key improvements

The new Xelius SL (now in its third generation) retains the outgoing model’s core design features, including a lightweight full carbon construction, and the distinctive manner in which the seatstays bypass the seat tube and attach at the top tube.

Lapierre nevertheless says the new model improves on the Xelius SL formula in a number of key areas, including improved aerodynamics, cleaner cable routing and adopting more aggressive geometry.

The most visually prominent change is that all cables are now fully integrated at the front end of the bike. To complement this, Lapierre has also designed a new, full carbon, integrated aero handlebar and stem.

This, along with slightly modified tube shapes, is said to improve the bike’s aerodynamic efficiency (though no precise savings have been specified by the brand).

Though somewhat divisive for their lack of adjustability, fully integrated handlebars are an easy way to make a bike more slippery (with savings typically said to be in the region of 4-5 watts, versus a conventional round handlebar and stem), though, intriguingly, Lapierre’s dedicated aero road bike, the Aircode DRS, uses a non-integrated cockpit as standard.

Though the new bike is disc-brake only, Lapierre has still paid close attention to weight and says the new Xelius SL uses UHM (Ultra High Modulus) carbon fibre to make the frameset and components “ultra lightweight” – though, again, precise frameset or complete bikes have not yet been detailed.

Lapierre says it has also amended the geometry of the frameset to be “more aggressive” than before, “for attacking both uphill and downhill”.

Frédéric Grappe, head of the Groupama-FDJ performance unit, said: “The evolution of its geometry allows [the rider] to ride at high speed in complete safety while preserving its excellent handling.”

Continuing the theme, precise details on what this entails haven’t yet been revealed, but at a glance the new Xelius SL appears to have a relatively short head tube for its overall size. If so, this would mean a longer, lower, more stretched out riding position than before, which would chime with Lapierre saying its geometry is “more aggressive”.

Builds, availability and pricing

At the time of writing we unfortunately don’t have any details on what builds will be offered, when the new Xelius SL will be available to purchase or how much it will cost.

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We have asked Lapierre for details, though, so when those are available we’ll update this article. For now, we’ll have to make do with seeing the new Xelius at the Tour.