Lapierre’s top Xelius SL road racing bike gets a subtle but significant aero overhaul for 2022, which they’re calling the SL3. With tweaks to geometry, overall frame layout, cable routing, and its actual carbon construction inside, the new Lapierre Xelius SL3 is said to be a lighter, stiffer, faster & more aero road bike that’s more versatile than ever for any type of racing…
2022 Lapierre Xelius SL3 road bike
Lapierre says the new Xelius SL3 is still the most versatile bike in their performance road range, just now “more racy, more aggressive, lighter, and more powerful“.
The general look of the new top-end Xelius SL3 road bike appears quite similar to the previous SL2 version, or even the original SL from back in 2019 – with the same smooth, swooping lines and unique seatstay configuration offset around the seattube to join the toptube. But the new shape is a bit less curvy than before, with broader and stiffer tubing profiles throughout.
The toptube is now straighter. The downtube gets larger & more sharp-edged, the seat cluster pared-down, the BB cluster enlarged, and asymmetrical chains grow wider for improved power delivery, plus fully internal cable routing to smooth out the bike’s lines.
What’s New? Lighter Carbon!
Much of the SL3’s improvements come down to UD carbon upgrades inside. The new bikes now get lighter & stronger Torayca carbon fiber composition, mixing more high & very hi-mod fibers (IM T800 /HM M40J, VHM YS60, T1000). Plus, the frames are now formed with a new Super Light Innovation (SLI) tech with rigid mandrels inside the frame while molding for better fiber & resin control.
The result is decreased overall weight without compromising stiffness. But it’s a bit tricky, as not everyone will get the lightest new frames. And Lapierre doesn’t seem to be super clear about which is which…
The lightest new claimed raw frame weight is now just 725g (size M) for the largest of their “Light” variants, which are the three smallest frames. And the “Stiff” variants – the two larger frames – start at 745g (size L). But those two lighter “Team Layup” variants (Light or Stiff) will only be available as separate framesets, paired with a 352g fork. Buyers of any complete bike will get a “Standard” variant carbon layup at a slightly heavier claimed weight of 845g (M) with a 392g fork. All are at least 100g lighter than the previous generation.
No new road bike without more aero updates, right? Obviously getting cables out of the wind helps. But Lapierre also focused on fine-tuning the NACA & Kamm tail tube shapes, refining the fork & headtube shapes, and simply cleaning up airflow over the smaller seat cluster.
Combining CFD & wind tunnel time to focus on faster descending, they say, “The Xelius SL3 is on average 8.5% more aerodynamic than the Xelius SL2 in all wind angles (0, 10, 20°) and at average speeds of 40, 50 or 60 km/h.” They say you save more the faster you go – claimed 7W reduction at 40kph (-1%), 12W at 50kph (-7.5%), or 22W at 60kph (-8.5%)
The new SL3 bike’s geometry is quite similar to the outgoing SL2, but with small tweaks like slightly steeper seattubes and longer frame Reach to put rider weight a bit further forward for more aggressive high-speed handling. The revised seat cluster design also means slightly shorter seattubes for the same five sizes (XS-XL) but it doesn’t really change standover because of the old curved toptube design.
Besides adjusting the geometry a bit, Lapierre says they’ve also more carefully optimized the carbon lay-up to “give the same feel and behaviour regardless of the frame size“.
Completely integrated cable routing via an oversized 1.5″ upper headset bearing is de rigueur for any new aero road bikes, and Lapierre solves it with a new Acros setup. Interestingly, the bike appears to use 12mm bolt-on thru-axles with one-side-open SpeedRelease dropouts, although not calling them out by name.
The disc-brake-only road bike features flat mount calipers (160mm front/140mm rear rotors), a PF86 bottom bracket, a round 27.2mm seatpost, and clearance for 32mm tires.
2022 Lapierre Xelius SL3 – Pricing & options
The new 2022 Lapierre Xelius SL3 is available as the superlight frameset or several different complete bike builds. But keep an eye out that you are getting the latest SL3 and not the older SL3 (which seems to still carry over at price points just 100€ with older specs, perhaps only until all stock is sold out?)
Xelius SL3 frameset kits sell for 3300€ in the lighter Team Layup, available in an FDJ replica paint job or more stealthy black, blue & purple fade. The 2022 Lapierre Xelius SL3 framesets all include: extra light frame, extra light fork, Acros headset, Lapierre alloy stem with integrated GPS mount, Lapierre UD carbon bar, Lapierre carbon seatpost, axles & bar tape.
Complete bikes start at 2800€ for the Xelius SL3 7.0 with mechanical 105 & alloy Mavic/Lapierre tubeless wheels, then 4400€ for the Xelius SL3 7.0 with new Ultegra Di2 12 and alloy DT Swiss wheels.
And climb to the top 7400€ Xelius SL3 9.0 with new Dura-Ace Di2 12 and carbon Lapierre wheels.
All models should be available now through your local Lapierre dealer.