Style is inherent; you either have it, or you don’t. In the case of the Lapierre Xelius SL 7000 Ultimate a lot of designers would tend to say no. But don’t judge a bike just by its looks, this bike scored a win on the Tour de France stage up Alpe d’Huez in 2015, so how does it perform?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: What’s the best road bike for Mallorca?

Lapierre Xelius SL 700 Ultimate | 7.40 kg | € 4,999

On the road, the € 4,999 Xelius SL is easily the most comfortable bike on test, and not just because of the more upright, relaxed riding position that offers supreme comfort for long hours in the saddle. The rear end possesses well considered flex, with the carbon seatstays running straight into the toptube and bypassing the seat tube. Technically a masterpiece, this contentious design comes at some cost to the bike’s style, with the disproportionately large seat clamp being a key culprit. The matte grey colourway does a grand job of looking sharp, but we fear it’s already too late. But enough of the sartorial woes, can this bike cut as fine a figure on Mallorca as the high mountains of France?

“What if…? Some important changes in the bike`s spec would transform the Xelius SL into a much completer package.”

Built around a technically top-end frame, the Xelius SL 700 Ultimate’s performance suffers at the hands of the stock Zipp componentry, including the 420 mm wide, overly flexible Zipp SLC2 V2 carbon bars that dramatically reduce steering precision. The issue could easily be alleviated with stiffer, and more affordable aluminium bars, such as the Zipp Service Course SL-70 as found on the Standert.

The braking is similarly maladroit, with the Shimano Ultegra rim brakes proving incapable of efficiently bringing the 45 mm-deep Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon clinchers to a stop. At high speeds, the braking feels pulsating and somewhat uncontrolled, making you ever-aware of potential crashes. Going uphill the 7.4 kg Lapierre unleashes efficient power transfer which combined with the class leading comfort, reveals the endurance character of this bike.

Helmet Lazer Z1 | Casquette Sundays Cycling Club Gorra SNDS 6 Paneles | Glasses Oakley Jawbraker | Jersey Sundays Cycling Club Maillot corto | Bibs Isadore Climbers Bib Shorts | Socks Sundays Cycling Club Calcetines Team | Shoes Suplest Road Series Edge3 Pro

The Lapierre Xelius SL 700 Ultimate in detail

Drivetrain Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheelset Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher, 45 mm
Brakes Shimano Ultegra
Tires Continental GP4000SII, 700x25C
Weight 7.40 kg
Price € 4,999
More Info bikes-lapierre.de

Separated – the seatstays run straight into the top tube rather than the seat tube, which adds serious comfort.
Bulky and awkward, this seatpost clamp just doesn’t have the panache to match the Lapierre’s wild design.
The Zipp SLC2 V2 carbon bars that come on the Xelius have too much flex so it’d be better to go for a firmer, and cheaper aluminium Zipp model.
The Shimano Ultegra rim brakes do not make a happy bed partner with the Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon clinchers, with the braking performance leaving a lot of room for complaint, uncertainty and a lack of confidence.

Geometry
Lapierre Xelius SL

Conclusion

Looking at this decent, comfortable road bike, we feel an opportunity has been missed in its unconsidered spec, resulting in a performance that’s compromised by ill-chosen parts. A few select upgrades (or even downgrades in the case of the bars) will transform the Lapierre Xelius SL 700 Ultimate into a more effective package. Some might love its distinctive silhouette, but honestly, we don’t.

Strength

+ comfort

Weaknesses

– Too much flex in the bars
– Braking performance
– The design

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: What’s the best road bike for Mallorca?

All bikes in test: BMC Teammachine SLR01Cannondale SuperSix Evo HiMod Ultegra Di2 DiscCanyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2Cervélo S3 Disc Ultegra Di2Festka Spectre Space Odyssey EditionGiant TCR Advanced Pro DiscHeroïn H1 Limited EditionRose X-Lite CDX 8800 | Standert. KreissägeStelbel AntenoreTrek Madone 9.5 Ultegra Di2


This article belongs to the GRAN FONDO Issue #004. For the full interactive experience we recommend reading it in our magazine app for iPhone & iPad – it’s awesome – and free!

Words: Robin Schmitt, Manuel Buck, Benjamin Topf Photos: Julian Mittelstädt, Valentin Rühl