Working with Bert Blocken, a Dutch aerodynamics expert, Lapierre says it used “state-of-the-art simulation software” to develop the design of the new bike.
As expected, it claims the Aircode DRS is faster than the previous Aircode in both headwinds and crosswinds, but, at the time of writing, Lapierre hasn’t provided any figures to quantify the improvement.
Lapierre also says it has tweaked the geometry of the bike, making it more aggressive than before, with a more compact rear end and “a stack and reach ratio” that is said to be optimised for each size.
The rear end of the bike – particularly around the top-tube and seat-tube junction – has also been completely reshaped.
Whereas the previous model used deep aerofoil tubing in this section, the new model uses a much slimmer seat tube and the slender seatstays are elongated to meet the top tube just in front of the seatpost clamp. Lapierre says this updated design allows for much greater vertical compliance and comfort.
Curiously, and very much against wider industry trends, tyre clearances on the new bike appear to remain quite slim.
Though we’ve seen disc-brake aero bikes (such as the Specialized Venge) with space for up to 32mm tyres, clearance around the 25mm Continental Competition tubulars that feature on the bike photographed aren’t enormous.
It also currently doesn’t have an integrated cockpit, instead using what looks like a 3D-printed headset spacer/cable guide to clean up the cable routing under a standard PRO stem and handlebar.
Lapierre’s press release notes that an integrated cockpit is in development though, so it’s likely we’ll see that on final production bikes.
The original article from February 21 2020 runs below.
Details of the new frame are scant, but we can at least assume it’s a Lapierre (as it sponsors Küng’s WorldTour team, Groupama-FDJ).
Beyond that, however, the aero detailing around the fork crown and head-tube junction, as well as the integrated spacer arrangement underneath the stem, leads us to believe this is most likely the new Aircode Disc frameset that was added to the UCI’s list of approved frames and forks in late July 2019.
The current Aircode was released in 2017 and uses direct-mount rim brakes subtly integrated into the fork and rear seatstays.
At the time, our tester praised its handling and comfort, but in the age of fully integrated disc brake aero bikes, that model’s semi-external cable routing and non-proprietary handlebar and stem setup does leave it looking a little dated (even if home mechanics might appreciate the simplicity).
Küng was riding with a standard, non-integrated stem and handlebar on the unbranded bike – likely because, at 193cm tall, he tends to ride with a rather extreme handlebar setup (though not as extreme as this one).
However, the integrated aero spacers under the stem, as well as the fact the cables are routed under the stem and into the top of the head tube, suggest an integrated cockpit is likely in development (possibly similar to the one on the Cube Litening C:68X SLT being ridden on Küng’s right by Simone Petilli of the Circus-Wanty Gobert team).
Lastly, Küng’s bike has disc brakes, because of course it does. It’s 2020 and disc brakes are now the standard on road bikes after all.
BikeRadar has contacted Lapierre for further details, but has yet to receive a response at the time of writing. As soon as we get more information we’ll be sure to let you know, so watch this space.