Almost certainly the best received bike introduction of 2008, the Lapierre rangec overs everything from Vouilloz-inspired downhill rigs to superlight racers. X-Control is their range of rides for the all-day-long epic brigade and it’s a belter.
Ride & handling: fast & purposeful all-day bike
It’s go-faster looks mean visual ﬁrst impressions of the X-Control are great, and so are ﬁrst ride emotions.
For a start, even the 46cm version we tested had a generous 59cm top tube for ample breathing room when your legs are doing the talking. This is low, purposeful and predatory – just the way a fast bike should feel.
The long front end also helps on climbs, where the nose stayed anchored rather than lifting. You will have to push forwards to reinforce steering bite in loose conditions, but you’ll only slide the front end a few times before it becomes second nature.
We were really sceptical of Lapierre’s own brand rear shock at a price where we expect to ﬁnd the king of the shock world, Fox’s RP. Once we’d sorted the rebound though it was ﬁne. Maybe a bit eager through the mid stroke and not as controlled in real chaos, but not enough to upset the consistent traction and gently active feel of the twin-linkage rear.
The X-Control looks fast, feels fast and is fast, but without making speed such a serious priority that you won’t have any fun when the opportunity arises.
Deﬁnitely a great day bike, whether that’s a race day or just a ‘let’s see where that singletrack goes’ kind of day.
Frame: tidy & fast, but a shade tight at the tyres
The frame actually looks fast. The short integrated head tube leading into a subtly curved ﬂattened top tube is mirrored by a seriously oversized swelling diameter trapezoid down tube. But while some curved bikes look fat and pot-bellied, this one is coiled to spring forward.
The mini link plates for the FPS2 suspension are tucked neatly inside the single piece rear subframe too, giving a taut, compact look. Practical detailing abounds with replaceable protector plates on the rear dropouts and multiple cable-tie points.
You’ll need to stick with thin tyres if it’s muddy though, because rubber room is only just adequate.
Equipment: bang on selection for the price & purpose
We’ve no complaints about any of the kit you’re getting for the price. Fox F120 forks are our favourite trail weapon right now – light but with masses of control, however aggressive you get.
Formula’s Oro brakes are a lesson in perfectly modulated power, even with 160mm rotors.
Michelin tyres are suitably fast for the X-Control’s intended use and the CrossTrail wheels look great.
Shimano gearing is as slick as ever and the Lapierre ﬁnishing kit is all the right sizes and shapes.
While upgrading will obviously be a temptation, the overall weight of the bike is bang on for the price and purpose.