Frame geometry is heavily reworked around shorter, stiffer stems, with a reach that’s a full 20mm longer. The head angle is a degree slacker at 69 degrees, and the combined result is a front axle that’s further forward for improved stability on descents and less lift on climbs. The seat tube has been steepened significantly to 74.5 degrees to keep weight over the front and boost steering accuracy, while the chainstays are 5mm shorter to keep manoeuvrability high.
Suspension performance is also improved, with full-carbon pivots representing a lightweight adaptation of our OST+ system. OST+ is our highly-evolved virtual pivot point design that has itself seen further development this year to adapt to race usage.
Maintenance access across the frame is deliberately easy, plus the XR benefits from Trap Door Technology. TDT brings integrated Di2 fitting, and tucks batteries inside the downtube away from the elements – while allowing instant access for charging. TDT is sited very low, right alongside the bottom bracket, to centralise and lower the mass, and minimise its effects on handling.
The full-carbon frame is also compatible with internally-routed dropper posts, and for 2017 it’s stiffer for its weight.
Wheels are now stiffer and stronger too thanks to Boost axle spacing (148mm/110mm), while the shocks also gain lateral stiffness thanks to the greater bushing overlap afforded by RockShox’s new metric-sized Deluxe RL. The shock’s redesigned body also benefits from longer wiper seals for extended service times, reduced friction for more supple movement and space for significant internal upgrades. They’re built to ride high in their travel to maintain controlled, predictable geometry and excellent pedalling manners – ideal for the XR.
Still super-lightweight with its unidirectional carbon frame and rocker, the XR is now faster everywhere on the hill.
The range-topping XR 929 makes the utmost of all this new technology with more of the latest developments – specifically, SRAM’s new 12-speed Eagle drivetrain, RockShox’s super-stiff RS-1 inverted fork, and our renowned e:i electronic rear suspension.
There are four models in four sizes (S-XL), with the XR 929 Ultimate representing the absolute pinnacle of current XC/marathon race development.
- RockShox RS1 fork
- RockShox Monarch e:i RT3
- SRAM Eagle XX1 12-speed drivetrain, carbon cranks and rear mech SRAM Level Ultimate carbon brakes
- DT Swiss XR 1501 UST wheelset
XR 729 / 729 e:i
- RockShox SID RL fork
- RockShox Deluxe RT3 shock / e:i RT3 shock Shimano XT 2x11 drivetrain (11-40T cassette) Shimano XT brakes
- Mavic Crossmax Elite UST wheelset
- RockShox Reba RL fork
- RockShox Deluxe RT3 shock
- Shimano XT 2x11 drivetrain (11-40T cassette) with SLX front mech Shimano BRM 506 hydraulic brakes
- DT Swiss rims and Formula hubs
- RockShox Recon Silver fork
- RockShox Deluxe RT3 shock
- Shimano Deore 2x10 drivetrain with SLX rear mech Shimano BRM 365 hydraulic brakes
Lapierre Xelius SL
As successful and popular as the Xelius is – it’s won l’Alpe d’Huez on the Tour de France and Race Bike of the Year in the specialist press – we’re not ones to rest on our laurels. Hence not just this new disc-equipped model, but a ground-up redesign of the frame to make the very best of new braking technology.
The full-carbon frame and fork are disc-specific, and use Shimano’s popular Flat Mount standard (since adopted by companies including SRAM) for easy compatibility. Both ends hold 12mm hollow axles, which seriously boost rigidity across the fork tips and dropouts. These help resist the twisting forces of powerful discs, and increase wheel security at the same time.
Front axle spacing is 100mm, while the rear is up from 135mm to 142mm for greater triangulation and stiffness. The chainstays are 10mm longer at 415mm to accommodate the wider wheel.
Shimano hydraulic calipers feature Icetech finned pads for extra cooling, and bite down on lightweight 140mm discs. Being further from road spray and the oil and diesel it contains, disc brakes are far more consistent and powerful in the wet. Also, going disc-specific allows weight to be removed from the rims, and the centralisation of mass reduces rotational weight for gains in acceleration and manoeuvrability at speed.
Greater braking power means greater heat, so the carbon fibre is special. For the Xelius SL Disc we use a High TG resin that protects against temperatures up to 190C, whereas non-disc frames only require a TG point of 140C. The TG point, also known as the glass transition temperature, is where a polymer turns from a solid to liquid. It’s not quite the same as the melting point, but it’s still absolutely vital to understand when you’re designing a frame.
The unidirectional carbon fibre frame retains the successful Superlight layup, and features internal routing for slippery-clean aero lines. 3D Tubular technology means the seatstays connect directly to the toptube for reduced weight and mechanical stress – plus increased comfort – while Power Box sees the tapered headtube, downtube, bottom bracket shell and chainstays forming one extremely stiff structure. New sandwich-type dropouts generate higher rigidity for crisper acceleration and shifting.
The result? An extremely light frame with world-level pedalling manners that’s all-day comfortable, loves descents as much as climbs, and stops on a dime. Or perhaps more accurately, a Euro.
The six sizes range from XS to XXL, while crank length, stem length and handlebar dimensions are tailored to each one. All sizes and models feature 2x11 Mid Compact drivetrains, with 52x36T rings and 11-28T cassettes.
The three models range from the accessible 500 to the exceptionally-specced Ultimate. Model highlights include:
The Sensium has been redesigned for 2017, with a lightweight new frame that makes long-distance riding even sweeter. The layup and construction of the unidirectional carbon is finely tuned across three key zones – the result is a bike that gets all your power to the ground, yet doesn’t beat you up in the process.
We’ve focused on a stiff and responsive front end for accurate handling, compliant upper tubing for fatigue-reducing comfort, and a very stiff, Power Box-enhanced lower spine for instant and highly efficient power transfer.
Curved seatstays arc into a similarly curved toptube for spring-like flex under road shocks, and are formed with High Resistance fibres, the most ductile of our four fibre types. It has a very high capacity for controlled deformation, so gives the best absorption and damping. This combines with a skinny 27.2mm seatpost to isolate the rider from vibration and impacts.
The headtube, downtube, bottom bracket shell, and long 412mm chainstays are built from stiffer fibre for superior handling and power transfer. Our Power Box design combines all these parts as one single, complex shape, and it’s this engineered-in stiffness that allows us to use Intermediate Modulus carbon fibre in its construction. IM carbon represents the ultimate balance of efficiency and compliance – it’s more suited to endurance use than the ultra-stiff, High Modulus fibre a less developed design might require.
The tapered headtube (1 1/8in - 1 1/4in) offers stiffness gains for little extra weight and unaffected compatibility, and length is size- specific to maximise strength and rider fit. It varies by a full 100mm across the six sizes, which range from XS to XXL. Crank length, stem length and handlebar dimensions are also tailored to each size. All forks are carbon, with carbon steerers. The Triple features 50x39x30T chainrings and a 12-28T cassette.
At the rear, new sandwich-type dropouts generate higher rigidity for crisper acceleration and shifting. A wide-ratio 11-32T cassette and Compact 2x11 cranks give ratios to tackle anything a big day throws up, while the Team FDJ 300 model is available in either Compact (CP) or Triple (TP) configuration.
Cable routing is internal for clean aerodynamic and visual lines, and our Trap Door Technology does the same for Di2 batteries while keeping access and maintenance quick and easy. Team FDJ mechanics asked us for a solution, and TDT is the result.
Of course, we haven’t fixed what isn’t broken. Handling is already a Sensium strong point. The new frame retains the classic, race- proven geometry.
The Sensium Disc features a host of detail changes that, together, create a very advanced ride.
Disc-specific wheels carry lightweight 140mm discs at each end, bitten by hydraulic Shimano calipers using cooling-fin equipped Icetech pads.
Those fins aren’t the only protection against the extra heat more powerful brakes generate. The full-carbon Disc frame uses a special High TG resin to fully proof against it – the TG point is 190C, whereas the standard model’s is 140C. This TG point, also known as the glass transition temperature, is where a polymer turns from a solid to a liquid. It’s not actually the same as the melting point, but it’s still incredibly important!
The full-carbon fork is disc-specific, and uses Shimano’s popular Flat Mount standard, since adopted by other companies such as SRAM. Axles are QR at 10x135mm rear, 9x100mm front, and chainstays are 3mm longer to accommodate the new brakes.
Add these together and you have a Sensium that makes the most of its new technology.