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TECH NEWS

Lapierre unveils new Aerostorm DRS time trial bike

Host of changes in the pursuit of speed for Lapierre's new TT bike

With the 2016 pro race season getting underway, we’re starting to see new bikes and equipment being revealed, and French bicycle brand Lapierre has just whipped the covers off its brand new time trial bike, the Aerostorm DRS.

The company has been busy. Last year it launched lighter versions of both the Xelius and Aircode, and now it’s turned its attention to updating its time trial bike. The Aerostorm has been in its range for a few years now but it’s been working with the FDJ professional cycling team it sponsors to find some improvements.

- First look at Lapierre’s new Xelius SL and Aircode SL race bikes 

Naturally, it has focused on improving the aerodynamic performance. What else. Dubbed Drag Reduction System (DRS), it has followed the current trend for integrating the stem and handlebars into the top of the fork, so the cockpit sits flush with the top tube. It’s about reducing the frontal surface area, and getting the front-end lower as well.

Lapierre says the bike was designed using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) which pretty much every bike company uses now to develop a new frame, and then verified its findings with real-world testing at the Roubaix velodrome and on the road last autumn, with help from FDJ pros Steve Morabito and Thibaut Pinot.

All of these improvements are meaningless without any data to support the claimed improvements, and Lapierre hasn't offered any with the release of the new bike. We've contacted them to try and get a few more details.

Pinot_sur_Aerostorm_DRS_-_N.Gotz-_FDJ.jpg

The frame also features the Trap Door Technology (TDT) first introduced on the Xelius SL last summer. This is basically a compartment in the bottom bracket for housing the Di2 battery. Lapierre reasons that as well as improving aerodynamics, it also keeps the weight low in the frame, which also contributes to the handling improvements. More on that in a bit.

To help the rider get the optimum fit and position, so important on a time trial bike, the cockpit is fully adjustable. There are three stem lengths (65, 85 and 115mm) and the seatpost offers up to 10cm of fore-aft adjustment.

As well as improving the aerodynamics, Lapierre has revised the rear triangle design and the result (and here it offers some numbers) is a 30% improvement in stiffness. It’s also lighter as well, and it reckons a size medium bike in FDJ specification (Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with PRO wheels and finishing kit) clocks in at 8.1kg (17.86lb). That’s as light as some road bikes.

- 2015 Time Trial Bike round up

Other improvements, according to Lapierre, include a focus on improving the handling. It has overhauled the geometry and essentially it has sized the frames down, while stretching the top tube length and steepening the seat angle. These will be changes based on the FDJ team feedback no doubt, to help a rider get in a very compact and aerodynamic position, without being too cramped. Lapierre has also increased the length of the wheelbase, which should make the bike more stable.

While time trial bikes are all about going fast, you can’t overlook the importance of good brakes. Lapierre has developed its own centre pull brakes, with a narrow profile design to sit flush with the frame to reduce drag, while still providing improved braking performance over the previous Aerostorm. The front brake is position inside the fork and the rear brake is down under the chainstays.

The new Aerostorm DRS is expected to land in shops in autumn, and no price or range has been revealed for the new bike. More at www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk/aerostorm-drs-when-speed-means-everything

 

David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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8 comments

Avatar
ficklewhippet | 8 years ago
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You guessed wrong

Avatar
freebsd_frank | 8 years ago
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Anecdote: I used to get "Cycling Weekly" ~20 yrs ago and follow the time
trialling scene in the UK.

Back then (as I'm sure you do now) you'd get the same names regularly
placing or winning the events.

One week, a guy I'd never heard of placed 2nd in a fairly major 10 mile tt.
CW took a picture of him in action. He was on a not very fancy road bike: a
cheapish steel frame, drop bars (no tt bars), spoked box-section wheels and
wearing regular kit: bibs, jersey, no helmet. The "names" had carbon fibre
frames (they were just coming in), aero wheels etc. and usually sponsored to
some degree; although their travel costs etc. would have easily wiped out
any sponsorship/winnings.

I was a bit astonished. I'd vaguely thought at the time that I might give a
25 a go; not in the expectation of winning or placing but maybe getting near
the hour if I lashed some tt bars to my bike. I was youngish and reasonably
fit.

This guy totally changed my expectations. I realised I didn't need some
expensive, fancy tt frame, aero wheels and all the rest to do a competitive
time. It was largely down to luck!

My guess: he was regular club rider and thought he'd go for a PB in his
local event. Whilst fit, he'd lucked out with a briskish wind behind him and
with his more upright stance, he'd basically been blown along at ~30mph on a
flattish, straight course whilst riding on the tops of his bars!

Moral of the story: sometimes having the aerodynamics of a brick can be
helpful on a bike and you don't need to invest vast sums of money to be
competitive.

 

Avatar
Must be Mad | 8 years ago
0 likes

Its not the best looking TT bike out there, but it is far from the uggliest.

I quite like it. (so there!)

Avatar
picko | 8 years ago
0 likes

Holy mother of God - MY EEEEEEYES!!!!!

Avatar
hampstead_bandit | 8 years ago
1 like

I'm sure it will frighten bike mechanics as well...

I've just had the "pleasure" of doing a custom build on a very similar 2016 TT frame from a major manufacturer for a customer, and it was 'interesting' to say the least

 

 

Avatar
Pfaff | 8 years ago
0 likes

My eyes!

Is it ugly or is it ugly!

 

Avatar
davel | 8 years ago
0 likes

'why don't we throw a lego set in the air and see how it lands...'

Avatar
Stratman replied to davel | 8 years ago
1 like
davel wrote:

'why don't we throw a lego set in the air and see how it lands...'

 

making something as truly ugly as that doesn't happen by chance  - they've really worked at it

maybe it frightens the air molecules out of the way

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