Currently fighting for our attention and affections with the Van Nicholas Astraeus in the stairwell at road.cc towers is a very stealthy looking Lapierre Xelius 900. "Look at me", says the Van Nic, "I'm a work of art, all brushed Titanium and hydroformed loveliness". "Ah", counters the Lapierre, "but feel how light I am and touch my bulbous tubes".
Ahem. Anyway the Lapierre's got a point: at 6.6kg you'll be scrabbling around in the shed for a really heavy bottle cage if you want to compete in any UCI sanctioned races. And the Lapierre gets there without trying especially hard: you'll be getting top end kit for your £4,599, as you'd demand, but it's all dependable and durable, no nonsense top end kit: full mechanical Dura Ace transmission, Dura Ace 2-way-fit wheels with Hutchinson Atom tubeless tyres, Ritchey Carbon Taper fork and Carbon Logic bars, a handful of Aluminium Ritchey WCS components and a Selle San Marco Ponza saddle.
The frame itself is the same X-Lite II monocoque Carbon frame that was well represented in the Pro peloton last year. We've seen a lot of manufacturers sticking with their moulds for 2010 – big names like Cervelo among them – so it's no surprise to find that Lapierre are sticking with a unit that was well liked in 2009.
And it's a looker too, in its new get up. Maybe not as pretty as the Van Nic but nethertheless a nicely considered, understated, monochromatic beauty. And it's nice to see that Lapierre are up for having some fun even on their very top bike: there's washing instructions on the bottom of the down tube, something we've seen before (at the Genesis launch most recently) but still tickles us. "Do not iron", they sagely advise. "Do not eat".
We've got someone worthy on it right now getting in some serious miles, we're expecting it to be a real blast in the hilly South West, we'll report back soon.
If you want to feel how light the Xelius is and even touch its bulbous tubes for yourself our test bike will be getting a wash and buff up and strutting its stuff on Lapierre's UK distributor, Hotlines', stand at next week's Cycle Show in London. You can book tickets via the Cycle Show website, and if you quote ref: rcc you'll get a reduction too.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.