Lapierre XR Team 29er - First look

Full-suspension carbon big-wheeler

Lapierre unveiled their XR Team 29er this weekend at the Roc d’Azur mountain bike festival in southern France. Hidden under a rain cover and stashed behind two big vans for most of the day, the latest addition to their product line was kept secret from the thousands of event-goers before they rolled it out for a very informal media launch.

The 100mm-travel full-suspension design is based on the aluminum X Race that Lapierre's team racers were competing on five years ago. This latest generation of the mono-link frame is 100 percent carbon fiber and rolls on 29in wheels – something Lapierre admit they were a little behind on.

No frame weight was available at the launch but the size medium bike on display was said to weight 9.9kg, with a SRAM XX drivetrain, Formula R1 brakes and Easton EC90 wheels. Lapierre plan to offer the carbon XR frame on three models next spring; pricing and details haven’t been finalized. Frames should be available in April or May of 2012.

The XR Team relies on carbon flex at the dropouts rather than a rear pivot point

Lapierre employee and former downhill world champion Nicolas Vouilloz was in charge of the XR’s geometry, and was at the launch to explain his theory behind the 72.5-degree seat tube angle. Vouilloz told BikeRadar that in order to keep the cockpit roomy without making the bike too long, the best option was to angle the saddle position back a bit. “It allows riders to use shorter stems for better handling, and still gives plenty of stretch in the top tube,” he said.

According to Vouilloz, the XR Team’s head tube angle is 69.5 degrees and chainstay length is 446mm. He explained that in order to keep proper bar height on the 29er, the head tube was whittled down to a relatively short 90mm on the size medium (44cm). Exact lengths weren’t available for the large (48cm) or XL (52cm) sizes, but Vouilloz said neither was significantly longer. A small size (41cm) is also available.

A Fox RP23 shock is housed in an all-carbon cradle anchored to the seat tube

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