The Lapierre Aircode DRS 8.0 is the consumer flagship model of the aero bike that’s used by the Groupama-FDJ team.
Launched last September, this third iteration of the Aircode is easily the best yet. It might seem like a case of third-time lucky, except it’s more by design than luck. The French brand has clearly done its aero homework and dotted all the i’s, crossed all the t’s, and gone off to optimize them in the wind tunnel.
Like many modern race bikes the Aircode DRS frame is disc-brake only, and integration of these – and everything else for that matter – is stylishly executed.
Frame and fork
Lapierre says its goal was to make the new Aircode more aerodynamic and stiffer yet more comfortable than the previous version.
The cables and Di2 wires disappear into the cockpit via a new bespoke bar and stem – there’s not a single one exposed to the airflow. All of the tubings is NACA aerofoil profiled as you’d expect, and in wind tunnel tests the new frame is 13 per cent faster, according to Lapierre.
Lapierre says it has made the geometry more aggressive – and specs a zero-offset Seatpost – which would seem to be the opposite of what other brands have been doing recently. The position is certainly lower than that of the Specialized Tarmac SL7. The sizes aren’t directly comparable but you’re looking at 557mm stack/403mm reach in the size L Aircode compared to 581mm stack and 405mm reach in the size 58 Tarmac.
Despite the wheelbases of those two bikes being within a millimeter of each other at just over 1,000mm, the Aircode has very short 405mm chainstays compared to 410mm on the SL7, which means the Aircode’s front center-measurement gets an extra 5mm to supply stability, time trial bike style.
For comfort, Lapierre says the new Aircode is 12 per cent more vertically compliant than the old Aircode SL thanks to a new seat tube design that isolates it and allows it to flex more since it’s not joined to the seat stays (the seat stays flow into the top tube rather than connecting to the seat tube). It has almost become a Lapierre tradition to experiment with the top tube/seat tube juncture and it’s a really original alternative to the now-ubiquitous dropped seat stays.
There’s no mention of weight being reduced, but the new Air code frame at 900g shaves a few grams off the earlier version, with our size large test bike weighing 7.7kg, which is not the lightest but not bad for an aero bike with this spec. Lapierre has rightly put aerodynamics first.
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