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Verdict: 
Brilliant sub-£1000 endurance machine; very well-priced and specced
Weight: 
7,800g
Lapierre Audacio 400 road bike
8 10

The Audacio 400 sits at the top of Lapierre's Sport range of bikes which are perfect for the non-racers who still want a fast ride. It's yet another example of performance on a budget from an aluminium frame as long as you don't mind the Team Sky-a-like paintjob.

All day comfort

Lapierre say that the Audacio is the entry level to their road range and that "this light, efficient and accessible bike will enable you to ride more often and progress faster than you ever imagined." From this I think we can take that they're targeting those new to cycling and for your £899.99 it's certainly a great starting point with a frame that is ripe for upgrades.

The geometry, like a lot of sportive or endurance bikes means a high front end. Our 52cm medium has a top tube length of 547mm and a head tube that's 160mm long which is pretty tall for a bike of this size.

This along with a 72.5° head angle and seat tube angle of 73° gives you mild mannered ride that is comfortable and easy to live with for long hours in the saddle. You don't feel perched up though as you can still get into an aggressive enough position without putting too much load on your neck or back muscles.

Thanks to being able to butt and form the tubes alloy bikes aren't harsh anymore and that's exactly the case here with the curved top tube and double butted wall thickness of the tubes providing a very comfortable ride. The seat tube is triple butted for more flex and improved weight loss.

In the 12-20mph speed range where most of us do the bulk of our riding the Audacio 400 is very relaxing to ride with neutral steering. It's an easy bike to control whether in a group or riding on your own.

Push things a little faster and the Audacio responds especially in the bends as it holds the line and tracks smoothly. Although high at the front you can get into a crouch on the compact bars and really take any twisty descents flat out providing the corners aren't too tight.

If things get properly twisty you do notice the slightest of delays in the steering as you bank from side to side which can cause you to run wide. To be fair to the Audacio it's not a full on race steed and the handling is easily up to the standard I would expect on this type of bike.

If you like hills the Audacio 400 comes with various gear options. You can have a 50/34 compact or 50/39/30 triple chainset up front and a choice of 11-25 or a 12-28 cassette. Ours came with the compact and 12-28 sprockets which made for comfortable climbing in the saddle, especially on those long steep drags sportive organisers like to chuck in to their routes. It's not the stiffest frameset on the market and you'll find a bit of flex around the bottom bracket under hard efforts.

Frame & Fork

Lapierre use the 6061 grade of aluminium alloy for the Audacio frameset with varying tube profiles and wall thicknesses for stiffness and comfort. A claimed frame weight of 1365g is pretty impressive for the price range and when paired with the 530g (claimed) alloy/carbon fork it compares favourably to the opposition.

The down tube is oversized as are the chainstays for power transfer though Lapierre have resisted the urge to taper the head tube. The bottom bracket area stays traditional too with the use of threaded cups rather than the latest push-fit options.

The sizing of the frames is based around the seat tube length which is why our 52cm medium comes with stack and reach figures more like those of a 55cm frame. What this does allow is the running of a lot of seatpost to introduce flex into the ride. I was running 240mm of exposed post during testing and while the benefit is minimal you can feel the post flexing a bit on rough surfaces.

The overall quality of the frameset is high, as it always is from Lapierre. The welds are smooth and uniform before being coated in a thick layer of paint which is very hardwearing and difficult to mark.

Six size options are available with top tube lengths of 520mm through to 600mm so there should be something to fit most of the population without too much tweaking.

Tyre clearance is a common question these days thanks to the growth in using wider profile tyres and it certainly isn't an issue here. Coming as standard with a 25mm width the chainstays and brakes happily took 27mm tyres during testing with no issues whatsoever.

Finishing Kit

For the money the Auadcio is well specced. You get a full ten speed Shimano Tiagra groupset. A lot of bikes at this price use Shimano's cheaper Sora or even Claris parts, so this is really good to see.

The shifting on Tiagra is good, not quite delivering the really crisp feeling of the new 11-speed groups but it's not far off. Taking the price and weight into consideration though it is a very good groupset which also looks smart. The choice of gearing options mentioned earlier is a pleasant touch too.

Tiagra's brakes have always been on the weak side though and that doesn't change here. An upgrade from the stock pads is always a must especially if you ride a lot in the wet; the Tiagra ones are too hard to offer any decent modulation.

Ritchey provide the aluminium finshing kit with their Comp Curve bars, 4Axis stem and 2 Bolt seatpost. It always looks classy when a bike's collar matches its cuffs and the Ritchey stuff is top quality for a bike at this price point. The shallow drop of the bars means all positions are available to anyone with the minimum of flexibility and the narrow 42cm width gives a direct feel to the steering.

The seatpost gives plenty of easy adjustment and was a good tight fit in the seat tube. Perched atop is the Selle Italia X1 saddle which was pretty unnoticeable, a good thing in terms of saddles. If you notice it it'll be due to discomfort.

Shimano's WHR 501 wheels are cheapies but bombproof while rolling pretty well too considering their weight. I've ran plenty of pairs of these through the winter and the hubs stand up to quite a lot of abuse. They stayed true during the test period as well.

The Michelin Dynamic Sport tyres are basic training jobbies that roll okay and offer a decent amount of grip in all conditions. Once the weather turns better a switch to some lighter rubber makes a massive difference to the performance of the Audacio.

Conclusion

I liked riding the Audacio a lot. It's really easy to live with and on technical sections of road or poor surfaces the neutrality of the handling makes it very safe and controllable for experienced or novice riders alike.

It sprints, descends and climbs well if not exceptionally but as far as comfort and stability goes its right up there with some of the best endurance based bikes on the market.

The full groupset and matching finishing kit is rare at this £899.99 price point but gives the bike a much more finished look without compromise and it all works well to boot.

The overall weight of 9.3kg might sound heavy but in reality the Auadacio never feels that portly; it gets up to speed easily enough and climbing isn't an issue either. Putting a lighter set of wheels on transforms the 400 though so that's always an upgrade to keep in mind.

Verdict

Brilliant sub-£1000 endurance machine; very well-priced and specced

road.cc test report

Make and model: Lapierre Audacio 400

Size tested: 54

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame: AUDACIO ALLOY 6061

Fork: LAPIERRE CARBON - ALLOY Steerer

Headset: FSA ZS 4D 1" 1/8 + 5,3mm top cover

Bottom Bracket: SHIMANO SMBB4600

Crankset: TIAGRA 50x39x30 170mm/172,5(M)/175(L,XL,XXL) // TIAGRA 50x34 170mm/172,5(M)/175(L,XL,XXL)

Stem: RITCHEY 4 AXIS 6° DIA:31.8 E:90mm (XS-S) / 100 (M) / 110 (L) / 120 (XL,XXL)Seatpost: RITCHEY 2 BOLTS L:300mm DIA:31,6mm / 400mm (L, XL, XXL)

Handlebar: RITCHEY COMP CURVE W:40 (XS) / 42 (S,M,L) / 44 (XL, XXL)

Front derailleur: SHIMANO TIAGRA KFD4603BL 34,9mm

Rear derailleur: SHIMANO TIAGRA RD4601GS 10-SPEED

Shifters: SHIMANO TIAGRA KST4603 3x10-SPEED

Brakes: SHIMANO TIAGRA BR4600

Saddle: SELLE ITALIA X1

Wheels: SHIMANO WHR 501

Sprocket: SHIMANO TIAGRA 10-SPEED 11-25T // CP: SHIMANO TIAGRA 10-SPEED 12-28T

Tyres: MICHELIN DYNAMIC SPORT 700x25

Size: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

The Audacio bikes are part of Lapierre's Sport range and are intended for new and improving riders. The geometry and handling has been kept neutral to suit longer rides and for those learning the ropes. It still maintains enough excitement for the experienced rider too.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Nicely built and finished.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

6061 aluminium alloy is used for the tubeset which has been double butted throughout with the exception of the seat tube which has been triple butted.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Geometry figures are here: http://www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk/2015/bikes-road-sport/audacio-400

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

Height and reach are both large for a 52cm frame being more in touch with the top tube length of each model. Extra long head tube also gives a higher stack height.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Yes very much so. There is no buzz or harshness from the alloy frame at all.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Pushed really hard there is some whip around the bottom bracket area but it wouldn't be an issue for the style of riding the Audacio is intended for.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

It lays the power down smoothly and certainly feels efficient on rolling terrain.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

Yes but not an issue.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The Audacio is very easy to ride thanks to the medium length wheelbase and relaxed angles. At cruising speeds you rarely need to think about it.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The Ritchey components don't feel as harsh as some other alloy finishing kit.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The wheels may not be light but they are stiff so there is little flex when you lay the power down.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

The tyres and wheels aren't the quickest rolling though

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
8/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
9/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

Tiagra is good solid, dependable groupset which looks good as well as performs. The shifting is smooth and it stands up well to winter abuse.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?

The wheels are basic but perform well for the rrp. They look good too.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

Ritchey components always deliver in terms of performance and looks. The shallow drop and curve of the bars are very comfortable.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
9/10

Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?

At £899.99 for a decent quality butted alloy frame, full Tiagra groupset and Ritchey finishing kit the Audacio 400 is a real bargain. It's got to perform well though and thankfully it delivers here with a quick, comfortable, easily controllable ride. The frame will easily support some upgrading too.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Kinesis T2  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

 

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

9 comments

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Jimmy Ray Will [921 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Your saddle looks a little high/too far back.

Sorry, I'll shut up now.

Thanks for the review.

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Nixster [404 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Weight in the header says 7.8kg which I thought was outstanding for the money until I read the review which says 9.3kg?

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alotronic [567 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

Your saddle looks a little high/too far back.

At 180cm he's probably on the tall side for a 54, hence seat slid back a bit to get the reach?

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jollygoodvelo [1712 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I hate it when people do this... but surely that's just a 2-3 year old Specialized Allez with a new paintjob? Not just the arched top tube, the fork is the same shape, the welds around the head tube look identical, the rear triangle's the same. The weight is a little bit 'previous generation aluminium' too... and as for "resisted the urge to taper the head tube. The bottom bracket area stays traditional too" - that's another way of saying it's old tech, isn't it. Now, it's just possible that Lapierre deliberately chose that spec. But it's quite a coincidence, don't you think?

Doesn't stop it being a good bike, but..

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rapid4 [61 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Glad the review picked up on the blue/ black Team Sky aspect- surely Lapierre saw that one coming? or is that their plan?  39

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David Arthur @d... [864 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

It's possible for something to look similar without being the same, Gizmo. I trust from your comments you've seen the bike up close with your own eyes?

Worth pointing out the model in the photo didn't test the bike

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Sniffer [502 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Gizmo, I think the geometry of an Allez and this bike will be quite different. I some of the similarities you mention though.

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jollygoodvelo [1712 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
David Arthur wrote:

It's possible for something to look similar without being the same, Gizmo. I trust from your comments you've seen the bike up close with your own eyes?

Worth pointing out the model in the photo didn't test the bike

Of course you are right and I haven't seen it with my own eyes, but the excellent photos do allow an opinion to be formed without having done so.

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fukawitribe [2441 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Gizmo_ wrote:

the rear triangle's the same.

The rear triangle's the same...  4