The latest bike over the road.cc threshold is the Lapierre Sensium 100, a £1,250 carbon-fibre road bike in a largely Shimano Tiagra build.
Lapierre is a French brand that has been around for 60-odd years and it provides the bikes for the FDJ.fr pro cycling team – Française des Jeux.
There are five bikes in the Sensium range (more if you count the triple chainset options separately) of which the 100 that we have here is the most affordable. The Sensium bikes are designed as endurance machines and they’re all built around fames that are exclusive to Lapierre.
We have a large model in on test with a 550mm seat tube, a 565mm effective top tube and a 180mm head tube. The stack (the vertical distance between the middle of the bottom bracket and the top of the head tube) is 579mm and the reach (the horizontal distance between those two points) is 382mm. That geometry is the same across the Sensium range.
The large version of Lapierre’s Xelius full-on race bike, for comparison, has a longer (by 5mm) top tube and a shorter (by 10mm) head tube, with a stack of 570mm and a reach of 396mm. In plain English, the Sensium’s ride position is slightly shorter, slightly higher, and slightly more relaxed.
The motivation for that, of course, is that many people find this a more comfortable way to ride, particularly over longer distances. Pretty much every brand now has a more relaxed road bike in the lineup, Lapierre billing up the Sensium range as suitable for ‘long distance cyslosportive fans’ and ‘epic rides’. And who doesn’t enjoy an epic ride?
The Sensium’s curved, sloping top tube widens towards the head tube junction, while that head tube is a tapered design. Lapierre haven’t gone crazily oversized, opting for a 1 1/4in lower bearing and sticking with 1 1/8in at the top.
The seatstays are a wishbone design leading down to 100% carbon dropouts, while the bottom bracket is Shimano PressFit. The cabling is internal and the Sensium is fully compatible with Shimano’s electronic Di2 system or Campagnolo’s EPS. The seatpost is 27.2mm, the idea of the slim diameter being to add some comfort to the ride.
Rather than having an alloy steerer hidden away inside the head tube, the fork is fully carbon fibre. Lapierre give a frame weight of 1,180g and 360g for the fork (with a 250mm steerer).
The finish comes down to a matter of taste, of course, but you can’t really go wrong with the white, red and black on offer here. It’s looks pretty neat to us.
In terms of the componentry, the Sensium 100 comes with a largely Tiagra build, which is the fourth tier in Shimano’s road hierarchy. The Sensium 200 has Shimano 105, the 300 has 105/Ultegra, the 400 has Ultegra, and the 500 has Ultegra Di2, so it’s Shimano all the way across the range.
The Tiagra-ness of this bike extends to the brake callipers and the cassette, by the way. Lapierre haven’t hidden any non-series items on the spec sheet in the hope that you won’t notice.
The chainset – Tiagra too – is a compact (with 50/34-tooth chainrings) and it’s matched up to a 12-28-tooth cassette. That means you get some pretty small gears to help you up that last big climb of the day.
The wheels are from Shimano: R500s with all-black alloy rims and hubs. They spin on angular contact bearings and you get a rim wear indicator to let you know when they’re approaching the end of their life.
There’s actually nothing on the bike that’s non-branded. The tyres are 25mm Michelin’s Dynamic Sports, the stem, handlebar and seatpost are all from Ritchey, and the saddle is a Selle Italia X1. The weight of our complete bike (size large, without pedals) is 8.82 kg (19.4lb).
Right, that’s enough on the background, it’s time we got the Sensium 100 out on the road. We’ll be back with a review on road.cc in the next few weeks.
In the meantime go to www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk for more details on the range.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.