I’m whooping downhill through Lefthand Canyon just outside of Boulder on a high-priced bike from French bike-maker Lapierre grinning in the cool spring air. I risk a glance at my GPS watch: 34 miles-per-hour.
Moments later, the road turns to gravel and I rattle over the rough surface, still whooping for delight on the skinny, rock-hard tires of a super light road bike. It doesn’t seem to mind the white-knuckle test in the slightest.
I guess sometimes you really do get what you pay for, and with this bike you pay a lot at $7,300.
But still, if you get the chance to ride something this high-end, the thrill is real. The Lapierre Xelius EFi 800 is stiff as I could ever need and still comfortable, built using single lay-up, monocoque construction that uses three different grades of carbon. Single strand “high modulus” carbon is used in the power zones — the head tube, down tube and chainstay.
The top tube, seat tube and seat stay — called the “comfort zone” by the brand — are built with high-resistance carbon that dampens upward forces on the frame for a smoother ride.
Lapierre is a familiar name in Europe, where the company has been building bikes for 67 years. The brand is very new in the U.S. though, being imported for the first time beginning this season. There are fewer than 40 distributors in the U.S. today, but the company hopes to change that with a goal of more than 120 outlets opening later this year.
With several much less expensive models on the market and incredible race machines like the Xelius EFi 800, the company has a lot to offer.
The Gear: Lapierre Xelius EFi 800
Where To Test It: Road races and fast road rides, or wherever a demo bike can be found.
Who’s It For: Serious road cyclists; the Lycra herd with thick wallets.
Boring But Important: Internally routed cables can be accessed through a small door below the bottom bracket.
Important Specs: The frame weighs in at 890 grams and a complete build, size medium, is a scant 13.9 pounds without pedals. It has a top of the line component package including Shimano’s Dura Ace 9000 11 speed. Other highlights include 3T’s Team stealth ERGONOVA handlebar, ARX2 stem and STYLUS seatpoat, a Fizik Antares Carbon saddle, and Mavic’s R-Sys WTS 23c wheelset.
Made In: Taiwan
Killer! Stiff, comfortable and light, this is one of the fastest, most fun road bikes I’ve ever ridden. I couldn’t stop grinning.
Flaw: For $7,500, you can buy this bicycle or all of my last three used cars combined.
First Impressions: Super light, stiff and fast fast fast.
Who Should Buy It: Serious bikers who need every advantage in road races and have great sponsors or tons of expendable cash.
Contact Brand/More Beta: Lapierre Xelius EFi 800
—Sean McCoy is managing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC.