Lapierre X-Control 210 £1399.99

Not one for the seriously rough stuff

BikeRadar score3/5

We love Lapierre’s long-travel bikes, but the X-Control 210 is a smooth-trail-only option. On rolling singletrack this curvaceous Frenchy is beguilingly fast. Show it some rocks, though, and the merde really hits the fan.

Ride & handling: Impressive on smooth trails, but hit seriously rough stuff and all hell breaks loose

With low weight (28.14lb for our large test bike, without pedals), super-fast-rolling tyres and smooth initial travel, the 210 feels rapid and smooth at first.

The relaxed seat angle takes weight off the fork so it doesn’t feel overworked either and, on smooth singletrack or groomed trails, it feels great.

Start pushing it though, and the X-Control gets ugly very quickly. The vertical lower linkage butts up against a rubber bumper on the frame. This means zero bob on smooth, big gear climbs, but hit something hard and fast and the kickback through the chain is horrific.

On steep techy climbs it’s a rhythm-ruining constant chain-slip feel. At high speed, we regularly had our feet kicked off the pedals.

Even on freewheeling descents, there’s regular clunking top-out on the frame, and the pronounced rising rate of the linkage meant we rarely got full travel.

This leaves the bike kicking sideways and twisting out of line to try to dissipate the impacts the shock can’t; every rocky descent we hit was an arm-pumping random ricochet lottery.

Frame: Curvaceous Frenchy is a good looker, but suspension is flawed

The front end of the X-Control is similar to the others in the Lapierre family, with gently curved triangulated tubes tapering and then flaring back out from the externally butted head tube.

Out back it’s all different though: the short stroke own-brand LP shock is mounted vertically rather than horizontally, with two short linkages connecting to a rear subframe.

There’s a bottle cage mount and cunning ‘X’ clips for the cabling, but clarty conditions will rapidly jam the limited mud space out back.

Equipment: Decent fork, brakes and transmission, but own-brand shock lets side down

While the 120mm-travel RockShox Recon 335 fork isn’t bad for the money, the own-brand LP shock struggles to convince when things get chaotic. Ditto the relatively narrow bar.

Formula Oro K18 brakes meant we were never short of stopping power though, and the Shimano SLX/Deore transmission coped with the savage chain reaction remarkably well.

The skimpy walled Continental Race King tyres needed plenty of pressure to cope with the suspension action, but grip was impressive and minimalists will like the slimline saddle too.

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