Lapierre’s Audacio aims to be something of a cycling stretch limo, with long-distance cruising comfort its watchword. The alloy Audacio frame is now in its third year but the skinny curved rear stays, bowed top tube, internally routed rear brake cable and smoothed welds – mimicking carbon – still look good.
The curved carbon fork looks classical, and at 530g complements the 1,365g frame, both being impressively light for the price even compared to the latest contenders. The overall weight is also competitive against several of the £1,000 bikes that we’ve tested recently.
Lapierre haven’t reduced weight by shrinking the frame, and our 52cm size comes up as large as most 55/56cm bikes in terms of reach. A decent amount of exposed seatpost takes some more sting out of the stern, while a mid-length wheelbase and conventional fork geometry provide balanced handling at all speeds.
Even with the soft-moulded brake pads cabled in the European manner – left lever controlling the front brake – we were never overly nervous. The Shimano wheels are tight and trustworthy in terms of tracking, which means useful warning if the wooden and slippery Michelin Sport tyres start to slide.
While we’d definitely put fresh rubber on the upgrade list the Audacio’s ride quality still comes through clearly on the road. There’s a bit more bounce and flex than the most direct frames when you kick the power down, but wind it up smoothly and it’ll happily contest climbs or sprints as long as you’ve got the legs.
That same springy sensation and smoothness also means you’re more likely to have the legs – and back and shoulders – for longer than you would on most alloy bikes. And all our testers complemented the Audacio on its comfort.
Full Tiagra is par for £900, but the 400 has dropped £100 since it was originally introduced in a near identical spec, which does mean you might find a bargain online. Even if you buy fresh you’re getting better value than you were in 2011, which doesn’t apply to much these days.
The 12-28t cassette delivers a good range of gears:www.robertsmithphotography.co.uk
The 12-28T cassette delivers a good range of gears
It’s available in both compact – as we tested – and triple (TP) versions, but whichever you plump for the Audacio is a smooth-looking and smooth-riding distance machine that’s still dynamic enough to deliver plenty of spark and speed to your riding.