Lapierre have three new road bikes in the range for 2015. We’ve already published a First Ride on the Aircode aero road bike; here’s the Pulsium endurance bike and the disc brake version of the Sensium.
The all-carbon Pulsium is designed to absorb vibration and therefore provide more comfort and less physical stress for the rider, and more grip and stability on rough roads. Lapierre did vibratory analysis with the University of Reims in the bike’s development and it’s one of the bikes that the FDJ pro team have at their disposal – the one that they used earlier this year over the Pairs-Roubaix cobbles and more recently in Stage 5 of the Tour de France, for example.
We actually told you about the bike back in April but now we’ve had the chance to have a look at it for ourselves.
The key feature is what Lapierre call Shock Absorption Technology (SAT). This comes in the shape of an elastomer ring that sits at the end of the top tube, just ahead of the seat tube junction. The elastomer is designed to absorb flex between the seat tube and the top tube.
The top tube and the seat tube remain connected by a strut of carbon but Lapierre say this can flex enough for the elastomer to compress up to a maximum of 3.5mm. The black band that you can see, by the way, isn’t the elastomer, it’s a cover. The elastomer that sits underneath is a lot smaller.
Lapierre say that the curved, slim seatstays behave like leaf springs to absorb shock, which is something most manufacturers claim, especially for their endurance bikes. They say that the fork works in a similar way and that the curved top tube encourages flex.
Lapierre have used a skinny 27.2mm diameter seat post too, as a way to provide more buzz control and shock absorption. Shifting back to this size is something we’re seeing more and more as manufacturers seek to dial more comfort back into their bikes.
Lapierre have also chosen the carbon fibre with an eye on better vibration absorption. The maximum tensile modulus of the carbon fibre used here is 40 ton (it can resist a traction force equivalent to a 40 ton mass) with 24 ton and 30 ton carbon fibre used to increase the frame’s flex capacity in key areas and lower the risk of breakage.
They’ve followed their own Power Box concept in the design of the Pulsium in that the lower elements of the frame – the head tube, the down tube, the bottom bracket and the chainstays – are oversized and designed to provide stiffness while the upper elements – the top tube, the seat tube and the seatstays – are intended to provide comfort. Lapierre reckon that the result of all these features is that the Pulsium provides 27% more vertical compliance than their 2012 Sensium which had an ‘elastomeric connector’ at the top of the seatstays.
Lapierre say that despite all the features designed to encourage vertical flex, the Pulsium boasts lateral stiffness figures that are the same as those of the Xelius lightweight road bike (150N/mm at the bottom bracket and 86.5N/mm at the head tube).
Most manufacturers modify their road bike geometry when designing a model specifically for endurance and, sure enough, Lapierre have done just that. The Pulsium’s head tube is 15mm taller than an equivalent Xelius for a more relaxed riding position and the chainstays are 4mm longer, the idea being to provide a touch more stability.
One more feature that’s worth mentioning is that Lapierre are using internal cable routing with full outer gear casing inside the frame. That might not sound like much but the idea is that it’ll reduce the noise over bumpy roads and that has to be a good thing.
Oh, and you can fit long reach brake callipers with an adaptor which will allow you to run tyres up to a maximum of 32mm.
The Pulsium will be available in three different builds starting with the Pulsium 300 which comes with a Shimano 105 groupset and Shimano RS010 wheels. The Pulsium 500 is built up with Shimano Ultegra and Mavic Aksium S WTS wheels while the Pulsium 700 has an Ultegra Di2 groupset and Mavic Ksyrium Equipe WTS wheels. UK prices have yet to be set but the range will be €2,000 to €3,600.
Sensium 500 Disc
The Sensium is an existing line-up in the Lapierre range (we reviewed the Sensium 100 recently) aimed at sportive riders and anyone else who likes to get the big miles in. What’s new for 2015 is the addition of a disc brake model, the Sensium 500 Disc, which is the first Lapierre road bike to be disc equipped.
As with the current models, this has a carbon fibre frame and fork although, obviously, both have had to be modified to take the new discs. The chainstays on the frame have been lengthened and although they have stuck with the same carbon that they use for the other Sensiums, Lapierre have also altered the type of resin for the disc model. They’ve used a resin with a higher heat resistance because of the temperatures associated with disc brakes. They actually think that the existing resin would be fine, but they’d rather be safe than sorry in a market that’s still very much in its infancy.
The brakes in question are Shimano Ultegra hydraulic KR785s with 160mm discs while the rest of the groupset will be Shimano Ultegra too, in electronic Di2 flavour. The bike will get Shimano WHRX31 wheels and 25mm Michelin Pro4 tyres. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a price.
There will be four different Sensium models in 2015 plus a women’s-specific model, but the 500 will be the only disc version. Why? Lapierre say they won’t extend the choice of disc brake models yet because of the lack of wheel choices so far available and the fact that the UCI has not approved disc brakes for road racing. They think that could be the tipping point in the market.
For more info go to www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk.
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.