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Lapierre announces new Aircode SL and Xelius SL

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The Lapierre Aircode SL 600 (top) and Xelius SL700 (bottom)

The Lapierre Aircode SL 600 (top) and Xelius SL700 (bottom) (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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You get a full Zipp cockpit with each version of the Aircode

You get a full Zipp cockpit with each version of the Aircode (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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And the same goes for the spoke nipples

And the same goes for the spoke nipples (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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No strangely shaped down tube here

No strangely shaped down tube here (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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Smooth lines where the top and down tubes feed into the head tube

Smooth lines where the top and down tubes feed into the head tube (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The SL 700 had a Fizik Antares saddle and carbon Zipp seat post

The SL 700 had a Fizik Antares saddle and carbon Zipp seat post (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The seatpost clamp is hidden out of the way and is easy to access and adjust

The seatpost clamp is hidden out of the way and is easy to access and adjust (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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And… it’s gone

And… it’s gone (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The seatstays flare out where they join the top tube…

The seatstays flare out where they join the top tube… (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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…which you can also see from this angle

…which you can also see from this angle (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The 'stays run clear of the seat tube…

The 'stays run clear of the seat tube… (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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…by about 10mm at the widest point

…by about 10mm at the widest point (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The Ultegra Di2 groupset is superb. Evey Xelius comes with a 52/36 crankset

The Ultegra Di2 groupset is superb. Evey Xelius comes with a 52/36 crankset (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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Cheaper than a Ferrari, but it is better looking?

Cheaper than a Ferrari, but it is better looking? (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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Lapierre makes its bikes in Asia, where they have a permanent contingent of engineers making sure everything is being produced to the highest standards

Lapierre makes its bikes in Asia, where they have a permanent contingent of engineers making sure everything is being produced to the highest standards (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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Internal cable routing…

Internal cable routing… (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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…neat – and the rubber bungs sit snugly against the frame

…neat – and the rubber bungs sit snugly against the frame (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The mount for the Di2 junction box is a clever bit of design

The mount for the Di2 junction box is a clever bit of design (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The bottom bracket area is tidy

The bottom bracket area is tidy (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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Mavics hubs fortunately match the the black and blue Xelius paint job and look good for it

Mavics hubs fortunately match the the black and blue Xelius paint job and look good for it (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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22mm wide Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels come as standard on all the Xelius models

22mm wide Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels come as standard on all the Xelius models (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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Ultegra brakes – always useful on a fast descent

Ultegra brakes – always useful on a fast descent (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The Lapierre Aircode SL 600

The Lapierre Aircode SL 600 (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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It’s a fact that anything with ‘Pro Team’ written on it instantly makes you faster and more attractive

It’s a fact that anything with ‘Pro Team’ written on it instantly makes you faster and more attractive (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The Ultegra calipers look good against the black of the bike

The Ultegra calipers look good against the black of the bike (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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Mavic Cosmic Elites are a little deeper than the Ksyrium Elites on the Xelius

Mavic Cosmic Elites are a little deeper than the Ksyrium Elites on the Xelius (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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As far as forks go, this one’s a looker

As far as forks go, this one’s a looker (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The paint on the Aircode is sublime – well finished, bright, tastefully chosen and patriotic

The paint on the Aircode is sublime – well finished, bright, tastefully chosen and patriotic (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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You can look down at the top tube and pretend you’re part of FDJ

You can look down at the top tube and pretend you’re part of FDJ (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The top of the seat tube is neat and tidy

The top of the seat tube is neat and tidy (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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Mechanical Ultegra is a pleasure to use and we’re glad to see that Lapierre have gone with an Ultegra chainset rather than a third party item

Mechanical Ultegra is a pleasure to use and we’re glad to see that Lapierre have gone with an Ultegra chainset rather than a third party item (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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And don’t you forget it

And don’t you forget it (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The seatstays kink gently outwards and with 25mm rubber on, the seatstay bridge sits close to the top of that tyre

The seatstays kink gently outwards and with 25mm rubber on, the seatstay bridge sits close to the top of that tyre (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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That’s a Lapierre carbon post underneath the Fizik Arione saddle

That’s a Lapierre carbon post underneath the Fizik Arione saddle (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The internal cable routing enters the frame at the side of the top and down tubes

The internal cable routing enters the frame at the side of the top and down tubes (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The 2016 Lapierre Xelius SL700

The 2016 Lapierre Xelius SL700 (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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Zipp HB bar on the Xelius

Zipp HB bar on the Xelius (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The top tube of, you guessed it, the Xelius SL 700

The top tube of, you guessed it, the Xelius SL 700 (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)
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The two tone bar tape trend is a bit of a love/hate touch

The two tone bar tape trend is a bit of a love/hate touch (Image credit: Simon Greenacre / Immediate Media)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Lapierre has today announced a new Aircode SL and a new Xelius SL. While these bikes were being designed and engineered, Lapierre’s headquarters in Dijon have also gone through the process of gaining ISO 9001 certification – a quality management standard to ensure consistent products.

Aircode SL

The Lapierre Aircode SL 600

The 2016 Aircode SL is an evolved, lighter version of Lapierre's current aero road bike, the Aircode. Lapierre claims the SL frame is 20 percent lighter than the current Aircode, and that the fork is 20g lighter. Company representatives told us that frame stiffness remains unchanged but, because of the weight reduction, the SL benefits from an improved weight/strength ratio.

Lapierre engineers have also been working on the construction of the carbon used in the frame. In the seat tube, the length of the carbon layers has been reduced and the there are fewer layers in the head tube. The decision to play with the layup like this is one of the reasons Lapierre is claiming a reduced frame weight without sacrificing the strength present in the current Aircode. The carbon used in the frame also varies from 30 to 38 and 40-ton modulus, and by selecting different modulus carbon throughout the frame, Lapierre's engineers have the tuned it for strength where it's most needed.

The paint on the Aircode is sublime – well finished, bright, tastefully chosen and patriotic

This is an aero road bike, so it almost goes without saying that the Aircode SL has been built to cut through the air. Like the 2015 bike, it has seat and down tubes that use Kamm-tail profiles, but it’s also been given what Lapierre call 'Power Box technology’. If you're not fluent in marketing speak, Power Box technology describes the way Lapierre’s engineers have designed the bottom head tube and bottom half of the frame to flow together in one smooth shape. The aim is to bestow the frame’s lower portion with more lateral stiffness than the 2015 Aircode, so it flexes less under hard efforts.

The Aircode SL will be available through Lapierre's Ultimate custom programme, giving you control over the finish and component spec. There are also three off-the-shelf models: the SL700 (with Shimano Ultegra Di2), the SL600 (mechanical Ultegra) and the SL500 (with Shimano 105). All the drivetrains use 52/36 chainsets and 11-28 cassettes and Zipp HB bar and stem combinations, with some variations between models when it comes to saddles, wheels and seatposts.

Xelius SL

For 2016 Lapierre's lightweight climbing bike, the Xelius, has been given a rework. The Xelius SL is a totally new incarnation of the current Xelius.

The 2016 Lapierre Xelius SL700

Claimed frame weight is 850g and Lapierre has designed it to have the lightest weight possible without sacrificing the stiffness you'd expect from a race bike. To achieve this, its engineers have worked on the carbon layup to provide stiffness in high-torque areas, and low weight elsewhere.

The most dramatic change comes at the rear of the frame with '3D Tubular Technology'. Rather than attaching to the seat tube, the seatstays now run past it and join the top tube. It’s a form that immediately brings GT's Triple Triangle to mind. Unlike GT's iconic design, however, Lapierre's seatstays do not meet the seat tube at all.

The 'stays run clear of the seat tube

As with the Aircode, the Xelius comes with couple of marketing monikers dangling from its down tube. It uses the Power Box technology described above, plus what Lapierre terms 'Trap Door Technology'. With TDT, Lapierre has aimed to lower the bike’s centre of gravity by moving weight lower down the frame. Lapierre's own patent pending Di2 battery bracket/mount allows the battery to sit in the bottom of the down tube, so it’s out of the way but still easily accessible.

The Xelius SL shares 99 percent of the outgoing bike's geometry, but the chainstays have been shortened by 3mm from 408 to 405mm. Elsewhere, it's got internal cable routing, an integrated seatpost clamp, 27.5mm seat tube and will be offered in six sizes, as opposed to the five of the bike it replaces.

The Xelius SL will also be available via the Ultimate custom program, and will come in a number of off-the-shelf flavours including the SL 700 (with Shimano Ultegra Di2), SL 600 (mechanical Ultegra) and the SL 500 (Shimano 105). As with the Aircode, each bike uses 52/36 chainset and 11-28 cassette and Zipp bar and stem combination, with some variation in finishing kit between models.

The Ultegra Di2 groupset is superb. Evey Xelius comes with a 52/36 crankset

The Xelius will also be available by the start of July, with pricing expected soon.

Both bikes, Lapierre reps told us, are a product of the firm's 14-year relationship with the FDJ team. There are research and development teams in FDJ and Lapierre, made up of engineers, mechanics and riders, who constantly evaluate and feedback to each other to improve their bikes to meet engineering and race objectives. By working so closely together and contstantly refining and testing what they are producing (at facilities at Besancon and Reims universities, and at the Magny-Cours & Velodrome of Roubaix) the teams aim to make bikes that actually hit the target of their intended purpose.

First ride impressions

I rode the Ultegra Di2-equipped Xelius SL 700 on the roads of southern France, and it impressed. It was a pleasure to climb with and even when I was tired and switching between being seated and standing, the frame felt light and taut enough to propel my flagging body upwards. When it came to ascending with the Aircode SL 700, it got the job done well although didn't feel like as much of an uphill ally as the Xelius.

It’s a fact that anything with 'Pro Team' written on it instantly makes you faster and more attractive

The Aircode, however, effortlessly stamped its mark on flats and downhill sections. On a long, winding and gradual descent to the bottom of a gorge, it was supremely capable when carving through fast corners while I gathered speed and straight-lined the road for the quickest route to the bottom. That said, the Xelius was also adept at getting me down a tight, twisty descent with confidence and ease, even when I overcooked a bend and ran wide. Both test bikes were well specced with full Shimano groupsets, Fizik saddles, carbon posts and Zipp cockpits.

The Aircode felt firmer than the Xelius, especially at the rear. Compared with the Xelius, the back end could feel a bit dull through the seat post. That's not to say the Xelius is flexy, but I found it to be a more fun, engaging bike to ride thanks to its balance of stiffness, weight and compliance. Both bikes were confidence-inspiring on more technical, tight descents and happy to peel in, hold a line and change direction at the drop of a hat – useful when speeding drivers are in the middle of the road and leave you little room.

Check the gallery above for further shots of the new Lapierre Aircode and Xelius.

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