Lapierre will reveal the Aircode aero and Pulsium road bikes at the Sea Otter Classic (Apr. 10-13) in Laguna Seca, Calif. (booth #505). Both new models are currently being tested in racing and training throughout Europe with the Française des Jeux (FDJ) Professional WorldTour cycling team this season. Production models will be available in North America this winter.
The Lapierre Aircode is a new aero road bike built for the highest reaches of road racing and is appropriately the new team bike of FDJ. Lapierre has taken the geometry of its popular Xelius EFI frame and given it an aerodynamic makeover by re-shaping the down tube and seat tube into a Kamm Tail wing profile, incorporating a cut trailing edge. This gives the Aircode the ultimate ratio of stiffness, weight, and aerodynamics. This new ‘tear drop’ tube shape is incredibly efficient in crosswind conditions due to the fact that it eliminates the vortex caused by a classic trailing edge.
The physical shape of the frame has changed as well, with a narrower head tube, a semi-integrated stem, a redesigned fork profile with a semi-integrated front brake, and an aero, under-chainstay-mounted rear caliper. An integrated seat post clamp and internal cable routing with only the cable itself inside the tube provides additional aerodynamics.
Lapierre’s patented Power Box technology is implemented in the Aircode’s design. The head tube, down tube, and chain stays are oversized along with the bottom bracket shell providing superior lateral stiffness equal to that of the Xelius EFI. The carbon fibers used in the layup have been lengthened for optimized strength in key areas, which allows for weight savings in other sections of the frame.
The Aircode has an upgraded fiber layup that consists of 24 ton, 30 ton and 40 ton tensile modulus fibers. (Tensile modulus is an index that specifies the elasticity of a material. The higher the tensile modulus, the more rigid the fiber. The lower it is, the more elastic the fiber and therefore it has greater ability to absorb shock.) With such indexes, there is a greater flex capability of the tubes in response road conditions along with a significantly lowered chance of breakage.
The Aircode uses the same race geometry as the race-proven Xelius EFI. Lapierre added an additional size to the run (6 sizes) and the Aircode has a 50 mm fork offset as opposed to 43 mm on Xelius EFI.
Lapierre engineers set out create a bike capable of excelling in the roughest of terrain by absorbing vibration in the vertical plane while maintaining superior lateral stiffness for the acceleration demands of UCI World Tour racing. After more than a year of R&D, they came up with a revolutionary design which absorbs the road better than any model to date.
Utilizing an absorbing elastomer ring on the frame, the Pulsium absorbs the flex between the seat tube and the top tube, and is able to flex 27% more than Lapierre’s existing endurance models at this juncture in the vertical plane. This critical addition to the carbon layup of the frame, coupled with endurance geometry gives the Pulsium the ideal combination of ride characteristics capable of absorbing harsh terrain while simultaneously preserving the rider’s energy. Central to the lateral stiffness characteristics of the Pulsium is Lapierre’s Power Box technology which oversizes and reinforces the lower part of the frame responsible for efficient power transfer from the pedals to the tarmac.
The Pulsium’s fork has been redesigned to optimize frontal stiffness with an increased offset when compared to the Xelius EFI (50mm vs. 43mm). The increased offset allows the fork blades to behave similarly to leaf springs in the way they are able to absorb impact.
The carbon layup was altered to allow for more flex capability and vibration absorption. The Pulsium’s top tube is curved to allow for easier traction and compression flex of the frame along with absorbing the fork’s flex. The seat stays have been curved and narrowed again to allow for leaf spring absorption properties and increased flex capabilities. The frame’s fiber composition is custom for each tube – each tube is designed to flex a certain amount and therefore different ton fibers are used appropriately. The Pulsium consists of 40, 30, and 24-ton fibers. The many absorption technologies used in the construction of this frame allow for more grip and stability on rough roads and less physical stress for the rider in such conditions.
Patented Power Box technology is used in the lower portion of the Pulsium frame. Identical to the Xelius EFI, the bottom bracket shell has a lateral stiffness strength of 150 N/mm, 86,5 N/mm at the head tube, and 70 N/mm at the rear triangle.
The Pulsium geometry implements longer chain stays (4mm longer than Xelius EFI, same length as Sensium) for increased stability at speed and better shock absorbing characteristics along with a longer head tube (15mm longer than Xelius EFI and 5mm longer than Sensium) for an elevated, more comfortable riding position.
The frame comes with a modular rear brake caliper capable of accepting 32c tires. The seat post clamp is integrated to allow for a more aero profile. The Pulsium also has internal cable routing.
Specifications and pricing are to be determined. The Aircode and Pulsium are set to hit Lapierre Dealer shop floors in Winter 2014.