In a landmark move for the cycling industry, Lapierre, a leading French bicycle manufacturer, has joined forces with Obvious, an artist collective renowned for their work with Artificial Intelligence (AI). The result of this collaboration is the Xelius SL 10.0 Symbiosis Edition, a cutting-edge bicycle set to be the official ride for Team Groupama-FDJ and FDJ-SUEZ in the 2023 Tour de France.
Obvious, a trio of artists comprising Pierre, Hugo, and Gauthier, has been at the forefront of creating AI-generated artwork since 2017. Their innovative approach catapulted them to international fame when one of their pieces fetched $432,500 at a Christie’s auction in New York. Since then, they have expanded their creative horizons, showcasing their work in galleries and museums worldwide and collaborating with various brands. Their portfolio includes exhibitions at the Hermitage Museum in June 2019, the King Fahad Cultural Center in October 2019, and the Humannature W Bulletins of Atomic in March 2022. In 2022, they also collaborated with Alpine to create a unique covering presented at Art Paris and the Monaco Grand Prix.
For the Xelius SL 10.0 Symbiosis Edition, Obvious chose to delve into the concept of rotation, focusing on the mechanical and biomechanical rotation points that enable the symbiotic movement of humans and machines. This theme, central to their work, reflects their ongoing exploration of the intersection of humans and technology.
The design process presented unique challenges due to the complex structure of a bike frame, which lacks flat surfaces. Nevertheless, Lapierre and Obvious rose to the occasion, crafting a design that underscores the artistic and scientific aspects of movement. The frame features concentric circles, symbolizing the points of rotation in cycling, interconnected by floral designs that represent the human element, thus encapsulating the ‘man and machine’ theme.
The Xelius SL 10.0 Symbiosis Edition’s color palette, inspired by the Cyber-Punk dystopian science-fiction genre and William Gibson’s novel, Neuromancer, distinguishes between the realms of ‘man and machine’: pink signifies the human aspect, while blue represents the mechanical component. The frame’s glittery black base pays homage to the universal principle of rotation, from atoms to galaxies.
The Xelius SL 10.0 Symbiosis Edition, constructed from UD SLI Team carbon fiber, is among the lightest frames in the peloton, with the bare frame weighing a mere 725g in its lightest version. The bike, versatile and responsive, stands out with its unique 3D Tubular design. It is equipped with top-tier components, including the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 12-speed groupset, Dura-Ace C36 wheels, and Lapierre’s carbon combo handlebars, bringing the total weight to just 6.9 kg.