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Audacios make up the Sport range of Lapierre's road line-up, with this 200 model sitting at second tier, its alloy frame, carbon fork and 9-speed groupset contributing to the £799.99 price tag. Nicely finished in its FDJ team replica colours, it's a real looker – but the overall performance isn't hitting quite as high a note as others at this price.
This isn't the first Audacio road.cc has tested. Back in February last year I took a look at the 400 model – which has now been renamed the 300 – a bike that I was very impressed with. But it highlights how far aluminium alloy frames have advanced, even in the last 18 months, as the Lapierre 200 feels more harsh and unrefined than the latest batch of alloy bikes we've tested. The Verenti Technique, BTwin Ultra 700 AF and the Vitus Razor are all more comfortable bikes to ride at what look to be more attractive prices.
So, the Audacio 200 is up against it a bit, but that is not to say it's a bad bike.
As you might expect, the geometry of the Audacio is a little more relaxed than those in Lapierre's Race range, going slightly shorter in the top tube and taller in the head tube. This gives a slightly more upright position yet retains the relatively steep seat seat angle, still keeping you in a sporty position.
The head angle is 73 degrees, which is still quite racy, but with everything else added to the equation brings plenty of neutrality to the steering. This makes it very easy to ride, ideal for the new rider or for those who just want a bike for cruising for hours and hours with no surprises or tricky handling traits.
High speed handling is sacrificed a little, but it's not a major concern; the Audacio holds its line well in the bends and gives you plenty of feedback about what the tyres are up to. It's acceptable enough for a bike with its intended use.
While we're chatting about high speed, I'll mention the brakes. Bin them! Well, the pads at least – the compound is just too hard, so they don't grab the wheel at all. On some of the hills around Bath it soon became apparent that, if your speed is north of 30mph, don't expect to stop in the distance you can see. This costs in terms of average speed, because you can't make up time on the downhills as you've always got that 'what if' thought going through your mind.
The brake callipers themselves aren't the stiffest, but an upgrade to decent compound brake pads meant I felt much safer riding the Lapierre.
Another component that makes a massive difference to the bike as a whole are the wheels, which are heavy and tend to blunt climbing and acceleration. The 200 may not be a sprinter's machine, but constantly pulling away from junctions or traffic lights to get the wheels spinning does take its toll on your legs. The flipside is that they feel bulletproof, and they certainly showed plenty of durability over the test period.
Helping out with that added weight on climbs is a triple chainset with 30, 39 and 50-tooth chainrings; when paired with the 11-30t cassette this gives a pretty large spread of gears to play with. As Mat picked up in the Just In piece, a 30x30 front/rear selection gives a gear size of just 24.4 inches – twiddly!
I haven't used a triple in a long time so it did take a bit of getting used to, but when things got steep it was a nice option to have at the end of a long day.
Lapierre uses 6061 aluminium alloy for the frame construction, a material common in the cycle industry because of its stiffness, lightness and weldability. It hasn't gone massively oversized with the tube diameters, but as I've said above the Audacio isn't found wanting on the stiffness front. The chainstays and down tube are overbuilt a little for power transfer around the bottom bracket area, but Lapierre hasn't decided to go slender on the seatstays to promote comfort, either.
The curved top tube livens up the aesthetics a bit but I don't feel it affects the ride quality at all.
Unlike many other manufacturers, Lapierre has kept to a non-tapered head tube on the Audacio, designed for a 1 1/8in headset. This does mean the steering isn't quite as sharp as the competition mentioned earlier, all of which have gone the tapered route.
All the cabling is external, as is the bottom bracket bearing, with Lapierre sticking with traditional threaded cups; a good thing in my mind, as they are much easier from a maintenance point of view.
The fork is Lapierre's own and has carbon fibre legs with an alloy steerer, a common combination at this price point. It is a very good fork, and very stiff in all directions, but again, like the frame, maybe a touch too stiff as there doesn't seem to be much damping from the front end.
The Audacio comes with a Shimano Sora drivetrain, which is only available as a triple option on the 200. Sora has changed a lot of the years (gone has the thumbshift button), with this 3500 version basically mimicking Tiagra before it changed from 9 to 10-speed.
The shifting is okay, although it lacks the speed and precision of the latest Tiagra, but with Sora getting an upgrade for 2017 to a 3600 model it'll be interesting to see how much it improves.
With 27 gears you get a massive range of ratios, with the long cage rear mech easily handling the differing chainring and sprocket diameters. There were no dropped chains or missed shifts throughout the test period.
I've already mentioned the wheels and their weight, now I'll take a look at their build. With 32-hole rims, strength and durability are higher on the list than outright performance.
The hubs are also from Shimano but from its road entry-level groupset, Claris. They are simple affairs but are smooth rolling and didn't seemed to be affected by wet rides. The pawl engagement isn't the quickest, though, so if you are track standing at some traffic lights, for instance, you'll find a bit of slop here. For their price, though, I wouldn't see that as a major negative.
Wrapped around those rims are Michelin Dynamic Sport tyres in a 25mm width. Considering they are entry-level tyres (you can pick them up online for under a tenner) they actually perform better than their weight and price would suggest.
The carcass uses 30tpi (threads per inch) so they aren't the most supple, but they still offer a decent enough ride over rough roads, a bit of feedback, and pretty good rolling resistance. They remained unmarked and puncture free throughout the test period so durability looks good too.
Grip is also pleasing, especially in the dry – there were never any moments where I couldn't put my faith in the tyres to get me round the bend. As with the wheels, though, if you upgraded to something a little lighter and more supple it would have a positive effect on the ride quality of the bike.
The alloy finishing kit is Lapierre branded and it's all decent enough stuff, with the grippy bar tape being very nice indeed. The bar is a compact shape with shallow drops, allowing you to get low enough to cheat the wind without stretching your back muscles too much.
A 31.6mm diameter seatpost does little to counter the stiffness of the frame, and possibly a 27.2mm job might have been a better choice. The Selle Italia X1 saddle is comfortable, though, with plenty of padding without being saggy.
The Audacio 200 sits at a very competitive price point, well within the Cycle to Work scheme budget, so to stand out a bike has to be really good. The Audacio frame has been around a few years, and you can tell it's a little behind the times with regards to harshness. The Verenti Technique, for example, is a more comfortable, better handling and better value bike at £150 less but with a Tiagra groupset and a full carbon fibre fork. The BTwin AF Ultra 700 too is cheaper by 50 quid and that gets the majority of a 105 setup. Again, it's lighter and offers a much better ride.
The Audacio is due to get a new frame and fork for 2017, which may or may not have been released by the time this review is published, so maybe Lapierre has noticed the need for a bit of regeneration. It's good news for this model, though, as we're already seeing it available with healthy discounts of £130, making it a much more attractive proposition.
In conclusion, I'd say the Audacio 200 is a good bike whose frameset is just in need of a bit of softening, something you could do by increasing the tyre volume or shimming the seatpost to drop it to a 27.2mm diameter option. These aren't going to make massive differences, but if you like a stiff ride then the Lapierre is an option for you, especially if you're after a triple chainset.
If it was me, I'd hope to pick it up for a discount online and use the money saved to get a set of Mavic Aksium wheels or similar to drop the overall weight a touch.
Competent entry-level race machine, but doesn't compete on price with the competition
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lapierre Audacio 200
Size tested: 55cm
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 BB-RS500
CRANKSET - SHIMANO SORA 50x39x30 170mm (XS, S, M) / 175mm (L, XL, XXL)
STEM - LAPIERRE with LP cap 7° Ø: 31.8mm L: 90mm (XS, S) / 100mm (M) / 110mm (L) / 120mm (XL, XXL)
SEATPOST - LAPIERRE SP-3D1 Ø: 31.6mm L: 350mm
HANDLEBAR - LAPIERRE HB-CR12 40mm (XS) / 42mm (S, M, L ) / 44mm (XL, XXL)
FRONT DERAILLEUR - SHIMANO SORA 34.9mm
REAR DERAILLEUR - SHIMANO SORA 9-Speed
BRAKES - PROMAX RC 481
SHIFTERS - SHIMANO SORA 3x9-Speed
SADDLE - SELLE ITALIA X1
WHEELS - MACH1 CFX 700C 32H - SHIMANO CLARIS HUBS
SPROCKET - SHIMANO TIAGRA 9-Speed 11-30T
TYRES - MICHELIN DYNAMIC SPORT 700x25
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?
Lapierre says: "The Audacio is the symbol of Lapierre versatility. This light, efficient and accessible bike will enable you to ride more often and progress faster than you imagined possible. The road range's entry-level model, your Audacio, will help you get further that you ever dreamed of."
The Audacio is part of the Sport range, which offers a slightly more relaxed position than Lapierre's race models.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
I've always been impressed with the finish on Lapierres and I still am; the Audacio feels well built and the matt paint is hardwearing.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
The frame is made from 6061 grade aluminium alloy with the fork being a mixture of carbon fibre legs with an alloy steerer.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Detailed geometry chart here - http://www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk/2016/audacio-200-fdj-tp
With a slightly taller head tube and shorter top tube than the Race range, the Audacio is designed to offer a quick ride without such an extreme position.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The stack is 579mm and the reach is 382mm on this model (the vertical and horizontal measurements from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube), and when taking the other tube measurements into account it sizes up exactly as expected for this type of bike.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Compared with some of the latest alloy frames I've ridden lately the Lapierre actually feels quite harsh, as does the carbon fibre fork.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Yes, it offers good stiffness for its intended purpose.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Pretty well. You do notice a slight amount of flex at the bottom bracket area compared with those bikes using oversized press fit bearings.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
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 handling is perfectly suited to the beginner rider, being so relaxed and easy to control. It can feel a little ponderous at really slow speeds, 4-5mph for example.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The stem and handlebar are pretty rigid, which you'll notice when matched with the frame on rough surfaces.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
As far as stiffness goes, the components offer plenty for the price.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The wheels are heavy, which makes keeping the bike up to speed a bit of a chore at times, and you aren't able to really let the bike go on descents because of those awful brake pads, 'costing' you time overall.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
On the whole the Shimano Sora groupset does a good job. The shifts aren't the most crisp or snappy when compared with the latest Tiagra shifters.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so, what for?
The 32-spoke wheels are tough as old boots but they do weigh a fair bit too, which really stunts acceleration, sprinting and climbing.
Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so, what for?
The Michelin tyres are decent all-rounders offering durability, plenty of grip and what feels to be pretty decent rolling resistance.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
The own branded kit is decent enough for the intended job, and I would see little point in replacing any of it.
Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)
Upgrade those brakes, or at least the pads, before you ride.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? No
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? There is a lot of competition out there...
Use this box to explain your score
The Audacio is a competent bike but over the last 12 months alloy bikes have really come on in terms of performance and comfort, which means the Lapierre is really up against it. Its price is steep too, compared with the likes of the Verenti, BTwin and Vitus I've mentioned in the review.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Mason Definition
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
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!