Hot damn, look at this thing! This thing is the brand new Aircode SL 900 Ultimate from French bike company Lapierre, and it looks extraordinarily fast just stood still. Okay, that’s a bit of a cliche, but it’s true. Disagree? Let me know in the comments below.
So this latest version of the Aircode was first spotted at last year’s Tour de France and moves on from the original Aircode quite substantially. It’s a lot more aerodynamic, for a start, owing to development on the company’s time trial bike.
The frame profiles conform to the NACA and Kamm Tail design principles. The seat tube hugs the front wheel and the seatstays blend organically into the top tube. There’s a new aero seatpost slotting into the seatpost as well, but in order to prevent the seated comfort from being too harsh, there’s a small rubber insert so it should soak up some of the vibrations.
The downtube has been lowered and wraps around the fork crown to reduce drag around the rear of the fork, and a recess in the top of the head tube allows the stem to sit lower for a more aggressive position and reduced frontal surface area.
Direct mount brakes have been adopted as well, and the Di2 battery is concealed inside the bottom bracket shell using the company’s unique Trap Door that allows easy access. It's a shame Lapierre hasn't also packaged the Di2 junction box inside the frame as well, as we're starting to see from other bike brands.
Aside from the obvious aerodynamic changes, Lapierre has also tweaked the geometry based on feedback from the FDJ team. Key changes are reduced fork rake and shorter chainstays (408 down to 405mm) in order to sharpen up the handling and move it closer to the Xelius SL in terms of handling characteristics.
The new Aircode SL is available in a range of builds, but we’ve lucked out and have the top-of-the-range 900 Ultimate model and it’s decked out with the latest Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150 groupset. Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheels, Mavic Yksion Pro 25mm tyres, Fizik Arione R5 saddles, Zipp Service Course stem and Zipp SL 70 Aero carbon handlebar complete the package.
On the scales, this size large bike weighs 7kg (15.43lb) on the nose. And the price? £6,999…
Stay tuned for a full review soon, Stu Kerton is currently blasting it around his local roads. In fact, here are his first impressions:
"It is a more capable ‘all rounder’ than a lot of other aero bikes on the market, it climbs really well and descending is an absolute hoot especially once you’ve got used to the unbelievably quick handling."
More info on Lapierre at www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk
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.