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The Lapierre e-Sensium 5.2 is an amalgamation of its long distance bike range and Mahle's ebikemotion X35+ motor system which gives plenty of low-down power for winding up the long climbs, or to give you a boost away from the lights. Other than that, it behaves just like its 'acoustic' stablemates, albeit with a bit of a weight penalty even against some similarly specced road e-bikes.
If you're in the market for some electrical assistance with your ride, check out our guide to the best electric bikes, from road bikes to cargo bikes and everything in between.
I don't really like kicking off with a negative, but I can't talk about the ride of the e-Sensium without focusing on its weight straight out of the box, as it affects every aspect of your journey.
All e-bikes are hefty compared with naturally powered ones because of the weight of the motor system, and beefed-up frames and components. In the case of this Lapierre that equates to an all-up weight (excluding pedals) of 14.3kg, which, even when you take off the 3.5kg weight of the X35+ motor system, means you are still looking at a road bike weight of nearly 11kg – or 31.5lb.
Thankfully, because the weight is low down it doesn't really affect the handling to any degree. On very steep descents you can feel that you are travelling into the corners a lot quicker thanks to gravity, but the balanced nature of the front end geometry and handling does mean the Lapierre feels unflustered by it all; while it doesn't change direction like a lightweight race machine, it's not a handful either.
Like all motors for the UK market, the X35+ drops out at 25kph/15.5mph, and if you are on a false flat or the type of incline that sees you above that speed the e-Sensium does make its weight known to you.
On some of these sections it was a more efficient use of my leg power to drop the pace enough to let the motor kick in and do the work.
This is true of all road e-bikes I've ridden – it's their one little weakness – but that extra kilo or so makes it more noticeable on the e-Sensium.
Aside from these minor quibbles, the e-Sensium is a fun bike to ride. The smoothness of the 250Wh/40Nm motor system offsets the weight and gives a gentle nudge up to speed, and very little drag when it isn't engaged.
The bikes in the Sensium range are endurance style designs with a tallish front end and a top tube that doesn't lend itself to a long, stretched-out position. In fact, the stack and reach figures of this large (56.5cm) model are 614mm and 383mm respectively.
Position-wise, this means that comfort isn't an issue even when you are in the saddle for a long time, and it aids climbing, too, taking the pressure off your lower back – especially with the help of that motor.
The head tube angle is 73 degrees, so not as slack as some bikes of this ilk, so the steering is relatively quick which allows you to chuck it into the bends or take roundabouts flat out. Decent feedback levels through the front end help give you a good grasp of what the front end is up to, even on greasy road surfaces.
Comfort from the aluminium alloy frame is good, if not exactly ground-breaking in this day and age; there is certainly plenty of stiffness from both it and the carbon fibre fork with its alloy steerer. Overall, though, it's a fun bike to ride, especially with the assistance of the Mahle motor.
The e-Sensium uses what Lapierre classes as Supreme 5 (or rather, Suprême 5) aluminium alloy for the construction of the frame, and it has all of the latest details like internal cable routing entering through the headset and into the frame for the gearing and brakes.
The power cable from the battery to the rear hub motor does run externally under the chainstay, though.
Apart from that cable and the oversized down tube that houses the battery, it wouldn't look out of place in a peloton of traditional road bikes. Elsewhere, things look relatively typical with a tapered head tube, a top tube that gets more slender as it reaches the seat tube, and narrow seatstays to promote flex and increase comfort.
The bottom bracket area is probably the biggest difference over the standard Sensium. The charge point for the battery is positioned here, hidden away under a rubber cover. It does sit right in the way of road spray from the front wheel, but I've used this motor system in some truly appalling conditions and had no worries about ingress.
The bottom bracket area also sees plenty of power running through it, both from the motor assistance and your legs, so it has been beefed up with more material and more pronounced welding than usual.
Mudguard mounts are included on both the frame and fork in the traditional positions, and you also get a couple of mounting points for luggage on the fork legs. This brings a bit of versatility to the e-Sensium, for commuting or the possibility of light touring.
Overall, the frame and fork are finished to a good standard. Our test model wasn't fresh out of the factory, and as you might be able to see from the pics has a bit of wear and tear, but the paintwork looks to be standing up well considering it has spent much of its life being shipped from place to place between riding assignments.
The e-Sensium is offered in four sizes so there is a little bit of a jump in top tube length between each, ranging between 18mm and 27mm.
For instance, the medium has a top tube length of 547mm, and this large, 565mm. Both sit either side of my sweet spot, with most brands offering a size with a top tube length of around 555mm.
You can tweak this with stem length if the rest of the geometry fits, but it is just worth bearing in mind.
Mahle's Ebikemotion X35+ unit has become a bit of a go-to for road bike applications. As mentioned earlier, it offers 250 watts of power and 40Nm of torque, with an assistance cut-out at 15.5mph to meet the UK's EAPC (electrically assisted pedal cycles) requirements.
The motor kicks in quickly and smoothly so you don't get the massive surge of assistance that you might find on some systems – most notably those on utility or mountain bikes.
The X35+ gives a smooth boost to your power while you get up to speed, or a helpful nudge when climbing. It's not quite as responsive as Mahle's new X20 motor system (review on its way very soon), but nor does it have an 'on/off' feel to it.
In fact, once you hit the speed limit it can be barely noticeable that the motor has switched off.
The range is decent enough, too. My commute is about 17.5 miles each way, with 1,000ft (305m) of climbing. The hills are mostly long and draggy so this would be where the motor is kicking in, along with some stop/start stuff in urban traffic at rush hour.
I'd use about 20% of battery life on the way to work with it on the highest of the three power settings, and the same on the way back. Obviously, loads of factors can affect range, but I have covered rides of 70 to 80 miles without fear of running out of juice.
Toggling between power modes extends range even further and the X35+ system will accept a piggy-back battery, as used by Dave to achieve this 300km trek.
Power modes and on/off are controlled by the top tube-mounted button which has an LED surround to show which mode you are in and battery life.
The e-Sensium is running a 50/34-tooth chainset alongside an 11-34 cassette, which gives a good spread of gears alongside the motor assistance.
Braking is taken care of by 160mm rotors front and rear, ideal when you consider the extra weight the Lapierre is packing.
Both braking and shifting performance is near faultless, but for a more in-depth analysis check out the reviews linked above.
The wheelset provided uses DT Swiss R470 rims mated to a Fast Ace hub on the front wheel with the Mahle hub built into the rear.
It's a wheelset that pairs strength with a decent weight, and I had no issues at all with trueness throughout testing. With such a shallow rim there is no aero advantage, but although an upgrade would benefit performance, you are limited by the rear hub motor compatibility.
The tyres are Continental's Ultra Sport 3 SLs in a 28mm width. They are mid-range tyres that I like for all-round road riding. They have a decent balance of grip, rolling resistance and weight, but most importantly they are reliable, too, with a pretty decent lifespan.
The stem, handlebar and seatpost are all Lapierre-branded aluminium alloy offerings which suit the bike well.
The handlebar width was right for the size of the bike, and the shallow drop enables you to get a more aero position easily.
I found the Prologo Dimension saddle comfortable, which is especially good considering you'll probably spend more time sat on it thanks to the assistance on the climbs.
The e-Sensium 5.2's is pretty good value when you compare it with its two most likely competitors, the Ribble and Merida mentioned at the top of the review.
The Ribble Enthusiast with a Shimano 105 groupset and Mavic wheels was £2,700 when we tested it, so around the same price – but bear in mind that's direct-to-consumer pricing. It's not actually available at the moment; the only model currently available is the entry-level Tiagra version, discounted to £1,799, down from £2,199.
The Merida Scultura 400, meanwhile, which has a similar build to the Lapierre, has jumped in price since testing, to £3,200 for 2023.
However, while the Lapierre has value on its side, its weight does take the shine off compared with those two. But if the sizing works, and you want a comfortable ebike for rides where you might need to carry a bit of kit, the e-Sensium is certainly worth a look.
Fun to ride, and though it's carrying some bulk, it does offer decent value for money
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lapierre e-Sensium 5.2
Size tested: L/56.5cm
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Brakes: Shimano RT66SS 160mm 6 Bolts
Handlebar: Lapierre Alloy 40cm(S,M) 42cm(L,XL)
Headset: Acros AIX-532 IS52/28,6 – IS52/40
Stem: Lapierre Alloy with integrated routing 31,8mm 80mm(S) 90mm(M) 100mm(L) 110mm(XL)
Motor: Ebikemotion system X35+
Grips: Lapierre Tape
Saddle: Prologo Dimension
Seat Post: Lapierre Alloy 27,2x350mm
Tyres: Continental Ultra Sport 3 SL 700X28
Wheelset: DT Swiss R470 / Fast Ace Hub 28T
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Pressfit SMBB7141B
Chain: Shimano HG601 11s
Crankset: Shimano 105 FC-R7000, 50X34T 170mm(S) 172.5mm(M), 175mm(L,XL)
Front Derailleur: Shimano 105 FD-R7000L
Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105 RD-R7000GS, 11s
Sprocket: Shimano 105 CS-HG700 11s 11-34T
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, "Leaving your front door and setting off on a ride without worrying about the rest has never been easier than with the e-Sensium 5.2. Our electrically-assisted bike has been designed to offer maximum comfort with its Suprême 5 aluminium frame. Don't hold back and discover the enjoyment of cycling with our model with discreet and easy-to-use engine positioned in the rear hub. Its silent operation and the lack of friction when the assistance cuts out will give you total freedom in your outings."
The e-Sensium is a comfortable bike with geometry that lends itself well to longer journeys. The motor helps offset the weight penalty.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
This is the top e-Sensium model, with a range of options below including flat bar and women's versions starting at £2,099.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
A well-built frame and fork, covered in a robust paintjob.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Fork: E-Sensium Carbon/ Alloy Steerer
Frame: E-Sensium Supreme 5 Alloy with integrated routing
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The geometry is quite relaxed and suitable for long distance riding, with a racy edge.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
With a tall front end, the stack figure is quite large for this size of frame.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
The ride quality is fine, although it's not the most refined aluminium frame I've ridden.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
There were no issues with stiffness as it's been designed to cope with the power of the motor system.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Without the electric power it can feel sluggish because of its overall weight.
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 quick enough for having fun on technical descents without making it too twitchy for long distance riding.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
I got on with the Prologo saddle; it's a good shape for long efforts with no issues from numbness.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The DT Swiss wheels coped with the power being put out by the combination of legs and motor.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The X35+ motor works well for all kinds of riding, giving smooth assistance throughout the pedalling range.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
The groupset performance is great in terms of shifting, and braking is very good indeed, backed up by the smooth power delivery of the motor system.
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?
A solid set of wheels for all kinds of riding styles, although not the lightest.
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?
For the money, these tyres give a good balance of all the aspects required.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
Nothing flash, but it all works well.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Possibly
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As mentioned in the review a similar specced Ribble, with its direct-to-consumer pricing, is comparable, while the eScultura from Merida is a big chunk of cash more.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Ribble and Merida, the e-Sensium's closest competitors, have the edge on ride quality and weight, which is why the Lapierre drops a point compared to them. It's still a good all-rounder, though, and decent value, which is why I'd still consider it a 'good' bike to buy.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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!