Lapierre Pulsium 900 Ultimate
Procycling|January 2018

The 2018 Pulsium incarnation is designed to handle the rough pavé of the cobbled Classics, but is also a light, fast climber, as Procycling’s

Warren Rossiter

You might not think of Groupama-FDJ as specialists in Paris-Roubaix. The team formerly known as FDJ spent the 2000s mainly targeting Tour de France stage wins, and in the last five years has evolved into a grand tour, GC-focused squad, with Thibaut Pinot achieving top-five finishes at the Giro d’Italia and Tour. But look further back, and the team has cobbles in its DNA. Its manager Marc Madiot is a two-time winner of the Queen of Classics, while the team also won Paris-Roubaix in 1997 with Frédéric Guesdon.

There are the stirrings of a renaissance in the cobbled Classics for this most French of teams – Arnaud Démare was sixth in the 2017 edition of Roubaix, winning the sprint in the second group, to make it FDJ’s first top 10 at the race since Bernhard Eisel was fifth in 2006.

This reawakening interest in the tough, bumpy roads of the north of France and cycling’s biggest one-day races has come in tandem with the team’s collaboration with French frame company Lapierre, whose Pulsium 900 Ultimate is specially designed to give a responsive ride on the bumpy roads riders encounter in the Classics.

The original Pulsium from 2014/15, with its elastomer infused rear end, was one of the results of Lapierre’s R&D team working with their longstanding partner, FDJ. Rémi Gribaudo, Lapierre’s head of design, said: “We have the longest pro team association in the peloton and for the first eight or so years it was just that: we provided bikes and support. But for the last six years it’s become more integrated.

“Within FDJ we have an R&D team, including professional riders, who work closely with our R&D engineers,” Gribaudo continues. “The R&D team is here to understand the riders’ needs – the riders give feedback and we all collaborate. The level of feedback from the riders is very high, and whether good or bad we have to take everything seriously.”

The original concept for the Pulsium was to create a bike which could take on the unique challenges of the cobbled Classics. The first 2014/15 model introduced Lapierre’s SAT (Shock Absorption Technology), which interrupted the top tube with a complex combination of three elastomers, placed there to dampen road buzz and offer comfort when riding on the cobbles.

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