Spotted: New Lapierre Xelius SL3

Groupama-FDJ riders have a brand new Xelius SL3 all-around lightweight aero bike for the Tour de France.

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First launched in 2010, the Xelius is often the go-to platform for climbers and rouleurs on the Groupama-FDJ WorldTour squad. Lapierre recently updated the Xelius with a brand new frame, just in time for this year’s Tour de France.

The most notable updates on the Xelius SL3 include the now-entirely-internal cable routing through a new integrated cockpit, plus the updated yet still distinctively Lapierre seatstays.

The same but different. The new Xelius SL3 features a subtle but notable update to almost every tube.

While on the face of it the new frame appears very similar to the outgoing Xelius SL2, we viewed both the new and old Xelius in recent days and spotted many notable differences. When viewed side by side like this, it is clear to see almost every tube has a new profile, shape, and thickness.

The head tube has grown quite substantially to accommodate that internal cable routing. Gone is the almost ramp-like rear end to the top tube, replaced with a top tube that runs straight from the head tube to the seatpost.

Lapierre’s almost signature top tube/seatstay interface remains, but those seatstays now run much straighter from the top tube all the way down to the hub, as opposed to the curved stays on the outgoing SL2.

The chainstays are also treated to a redesign, increasing in width quite substantially, no doubt in a bid to increase the stiffness of the rear end.

The bottom bracket is slightly redesigned and includes a handy recessed magnet-mounting area, perfect for Dura-Ace R9100P power meter magnets.

While the round seatpost remains, the down tube has grown significantly throughout its length and is tapered from wide at the bottom bracket area to narrower at the head tube junction. It also features a slightly truncated airfoil shape but is nowhere near as aerodynamically focused as some down tubes we have seen this week.

The power meter magnet gets its very own recessed home in the chainstay.

Details on the new bike are still quite sparse but FDJ and Lapierre staff did confirm the new bike features updated carbon construction using UHM carbon fibres. Furthermore, the new bike features what Lapierre describes as “a new, more aggressive geometry”. Lapierre is yet to share any further details on the geometry, but from the two bikes we saw, both riders had quite a lot of spacers under the stem. This perhaps suggests a much lower stack height, from what was already pretty low on the outgoing SL2.

The Xelius SL3 accompanies the recently updated Aircode to offer the Groupama-FDJ riders ultra-modern options across all terrains. Lapierre has updated the colourway on both bikes to this new 2022 team design.

David Gaudu was one of a select few riders to test the bikes over recent weeks, including at the Critérium du Dauphiné, and the French National Championships, and also lined up for stage one of the Tour aboard the new bike.

We took a look at Bruno Armirail’s new Xelius SL3 ahead of the Grand Départ and even managed to pop it on the scales. While 7.4 kg is on the high side for what is said to be a lightweight all-round machine, it is worth bearing in mind this is a size XL, with Dura-Ace C60 wheels, Di2 groupset, and a lengthy 130 mm stem.

Availability and pricing details are so far unconfirmed.

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