Amid the bountiful downhill trails of Chatel in the French Alps, Lapierre have revealed a new range of tweaked and revised mountain bikes for 2011, with the emphasis firmly on gravity riding.
New downhill platform
It takes a little nosing around to see it, but in an effort to increase pedalling efficiency on their 200mm-travel downhill bikes, Lapierre have introduced a floating bottom bracket (BB) design.
Called the Pendbox, the suspended BB swings (like a pendulum) fore and aft according to vertical movement in the rear swingarm. While the amount of movement is relatively small, the net effect of pedal force is to try to return the bike to its sag position, whether the swing arm has dropped (riding through a hole) or raised (over a bump).
Lapierre’s new downhill rig remains essentially a single-pivot bike with a linkage-driven shock, but its designers claim that the floating BB helps isolate the bike’s 200mm of suspension travel from the pedalling dynamic and reduce bob.
The Lapierre DH bikes get a new floating bottom bracket design for 2011
Visually, the new design represents a radical departure from last year's downhill bikes, using a low-slung, boxy, two-strut carbon swingarm that rotates around a main pivot positioned in front of the BB. Short frame criticism has been addressed by adding 20mm to the length of the top tube.
The bike is available in two complete build options (DH Team or 720) or as a frameset (DH 920). All use the same 300g lighter carbon swingarm and new Supreme 6 alloy front triangle to whittle frame weight to a respectable 3.8kg (7.9lb, without shock). Adjustable head angle (64/63 degrees), internal cable routing and a neat integrated seatpost clamp are fine finishing touches.
The two-strut carbon swingarm gives Lapierre's downhill bikes a distinct new look
It's only a couple of years old and already the Froggy’s freeride identity is being honed further. Available in two complete bike models (518 and 318) or as a frameset, all now get 12x142mm rear axle treatment to stiffen up the back end, and the higher spec 518 receives a Shimano Saint 36T single chainring setup.
The Froggy is Lapierre's freeride rig, with 180mm of coil-sprung suspension
Using Lapierre’s proven OST suspension design, which is shared with their trail orientated Spicy and Zesty ranges, the Froggy is sticking with 180mm of rear wheel travel balanced up front with either a Rockshox Domain (Froggy 318) or the new 180mm-travel single crown Fox 36 Van (Froggy 518) fork, threaded through a burly tapered head tube.
The Froggy gets a new 12x142mm rear axle and tapered heat tube
To further stamp the freeride identity home, Lapierre have shaved half a degree from the Froggy’s head and seat angles, resulting in a more playful 66° and 71° respectively, and supplied finishing kit from Funn and Syncros. Future-proofing has been addressed by incorporating neat internal top tube cable routing for a droppable seatpost.
Spicing it up
The 160mm-travel, trail capable Spicy has always turned heads and tweaks for 2011 will make sure it continues to do so. All four models get formidable-looking tapered head tubes to stiffen up front end handling while the rear wheel is now locked in place via stiffer 12x142mm rear axles throughout. The flagship Spicy 916 boasts a carbon rear triangle and a new Supreme 6 alloy main triangle that sheds weight and adds stiffness over last year's frame.
The popular Spicy is stiffer and lighter for 2011
All bikes in the range get a triangular gusset to reinforce the top and seat tubes, akin to that found on last year's Froggy. While triple chainsets appear on the two lower models, the 516 and 916 get the all-mountain treatment with double chainsets, Fox Boost Valve shocks and, on the 916, a chain device and CrankBrothers Joplin 4 droppable seatpost too.
It's little details like the colour-matched parts that set Lapierre bikes apart
Down and dirty
For 2011 Lapierre have launched an all-new range of four dirt jump bikes. While the Rapt 1.1 and 1.2 get classic chromoly steel tubesets, the higher spec 2.1 and 2.2 boast beautifully shaped hydroformed 7005 alloy main triangles. The more expensive bikes also get stiff triangular section seatstays, seatpost clamps that are integrated neatly into the top tube/seat tube gusset, and Lapierre’s ADS adjustable dropout system (the steel bikes get standard horizontal dropouts).
The top-of-the-range Rapt 2.2 looks like being a serious dirt jump contender
Both chromoly and alloy ranges each offer one singlespeed and one geared (with derailleur) model. While all four Rapts sport 100mm-travel coil forks up front, the two-tone, lime green, top-of-the-range 2.2 gets a Marzocchi DJ3 fork with 20mm through-axle and enough decent finishing kit form Funn and SRAM to make it a serious dirt jump contender.
The Rapt 2.2 is decked out with kit from Marzocchi, Funn and SRAM