A French rider racing for a French team aboard a French bike, this is the brand new Lapierre Xelius SL as ridden by Arnaud Démare in the 2015 Tour de France.
The Xelius SL is a brand new model from Lapierre, a complete overhaul of the previous version with a lighter frame and a focus on improved handling. The French company claims a 850g weight for a size 54cm, not as light as the lightest bikes in the Tour peloton but good enough to undoubtedly get down to the UCI’s 6.8kg weight limit.
Visually, the biggest departure from the previous model is in the way the seat stays bypass the seat tube and join the top tube. Far from being a comfort aid, Lapierre says this approach actually saved weight compared to the seat stays meeting the seat tube, as less reinforcing carbon fibre is required. There is a slight comfort benefit however, with noticeably more flex when riding in the saddle.
Something else that is interesting about this new bike is how the Lapierre engineers have sought to lower the centre of gravity. They have attempted to make the top half of the frame lighter, and one solution has been to build a special hatch in the underside of the down tube to house the Shimano Di2 battery.
It’s quite a neat design. The battery mounts to a cover and that slides into place, providing easy access should you need it, and it's sealed from the elements. Lapierre claims the benefit of keeping weight low in the frame is improved handling, especially when the bike is being slung from side to side, whether climbing or pushing the bike through corners. This isn't something that there is a standard test for, but Lapierre told road.cc that it actually tested the bike with FDJ team riders on a treadmill and had positive feedback compared to the previous model.
Other details include the front brake caliper being recessed into the fork blades, an integrated seat clamp, and a 27.2mm seatpost. The geometry has been tightened up a bit with 3mm coming off the chainstays, so they’re now 405mm.
Arnaud Démare's bike here is the same as the one you can buy, but this custom paint job isn't available in the shops. Which is a shame as it's a nicer looking paint job than the standard team bike, pictured at the bottom of this article.
The FDJ team bike is fully fitted with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, with an SRM Power Meter and Dura-Ace C50 carbon fibre wheels.
Schwalbe supplies tyres and Démare’s bike is running One tubular tyres in a 26mm width, a popular sight in the peloton.
There’s a full PRO finishing kit, with a carbon fibre inline seatpost, Vibe aluminium stem in 123mm length and a matching aluminium handlebar.
Fitted to the bars is the optional Shimano Di2 shifter buttons, allowing him to change gear from the tops without moving his hands.
And SRM chain catcher to stop chain derailment.
Démare rides 175mm crank arms.
His saddle of choice is a Fizik Arione VS finished in team colours.
This is the standard team bike colour.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.