First Look: Lapierre Pulsium endurance race bike (with suspension)

Road Bike Sea Otter Classic

To the test: The new Lapierre Pulsium takes on the brutally rough roads of Paris-Roubaix.

Okay, that headline might be a little bit of a stretch. But with the release of the Pulsium in winter 2014, France’s Lapierre will join the growing number of bike makers producing endurance road models with some sort of tangible rear end bump absorption. (See: Domane, Trek; Roubaix, Specialized)

In the case of the Pulsium, rough tarmac taming comes courtesy of an elastomer insert that’s integrated into the lower half of the bike’s unique-looking y-shaped top tube. The new steed made its international debut at Europe’s punishing cobbled classics, where it was raced by the FDJ team. Look close at the photo above and you can see it at work at last Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.

We got an in-person look at the Sea Otter Classic, and while lots of key details are scarce (price, spec, exact availability timeline), Lapierre representatives said the insert provides up to 3.5mm of vertical flex, or 27 percent more than Lapierre’s existing endurance models. Test rides were not available, so for now we’ll have to take them at their word.

Elongated: The Pulsium has a longer wheel base than previous models thanks to increase fork offset and lengthened chainstays.

Other noteworthy features include a fork offset that jumped from 43mm to 50mm for increased front-end flex, a longer, ride-smoothing wheel base, a more complaint 27.2mm seat post, and a modular rear brake caliper that plays nice with long reach brakes, meaning you can run tires up to 32mm wide. There’s also an internal housing inside the top tube, which helps abate cable rattle on rough roads, and an integrated seat post clamp for increased aero efficiency.

Bump absorber: This elastomer insert is claimed to provide 3.5mm of vertical bump absorption.

Exact geometry figures were not available, but the Lapierre folks say the Pulsium has longer chain stays (4mm longer than Xelius EFI, same length as Sensium) for increased stability at speed and better shock absorption, and a longer head tube (15mm longer than Xelius EFI, 5mm longer than Sensium) for a more upright riding position.

Power box: The Pulsium utilizes the standard lay-out for endurance road bikes, stiff and strong down low, complaint and comfortable up top.

Carried over from previous models is what Lapierre calls Power Box, where head tube, down tube, bottom bracket and chainstays are all oversized and reinforced with higher modulus carbon, while the bike’s top floor is more forgiving.

As for initial results, FDJ had a solid day at this past weekend’s Paris-Roubaix, placing a rider in the opening break, and scoring 12th place thanks to Arnaud Demare.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the / staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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  • Jimmy Dee says:

    That design looks about as effective as duct-taping a RockShox to the front of a rigid bike and saying that the bike now has suspension.

    It epitomizes “Gimmick”.

    • Jordan says:

      If you think this is a gimmick could you provide some credentials and tell me what part of the design process of this frame you were involved in? Because if you’re saying it’s a gimmick you must’ve scientifically tested it, or at least ridden it, because otherwise you wouldn’t be making such bold claims, would you?

  • MJ882` says:

    I agree with Jimmy, in its current position especially with the top bracer tube above it, all it serves is to dampen road buzz, there isnt enough flex in teh bracer tube to allow it to work like a real suspension.

  • Alex says:

    Looks like a gimmick to me too.

  • Gus says:

    So many experts here! You guys should join the engineers working for Lapierre!

  • MWL says:

    They don’t even claim that it is “suspension”. The title says “(with suspension)” and article even starts with “Okay, that headline might be a little bit of a stretch.” It doesn’t look like Lapierre is making those claims.
    The more appropriately named “shock absorber technology” may actually work slightly to reduce road vibration. I think I would rather see it somewhere around the handlebars, but maybe that’s just me….

  • warren says:

    Looks like, to me, a solution in search of a problem. What exactly is the application for this bike? Do over 50′s (like me) need a comfort bike, who are not willing to give up on the image?

    Where other than Paris-Roubaix does the average rider spend time on cobblestones?

  • Jeff says:

    I know this article is a bit old now, but I bought one of these two weeks ago, and after riding a TCR for several years feel I know a fair about this bike as a comparison. In a word, I’d say it’s smooth. I ride on terrible roads out in country Australia, where there are patches on patches, ruts, pot holes, and everything in between. This bike road amazingly well, soaking up everything. In comparison, my TCR, though very fast, would have rattled my eyeballs out. These Pulsiums are actually very good bikes. I love this one.

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