Lapierre X-Control 410 £2400

Elegant trail ride

BikeRadar score 3/5

We’ve been impressed by Lapierre’s 140mm-travel Zesty full-suspension bike but the X-Control 410 is a more conservative beast, with 100mm of travel at the rear and 120mm up front. There’s a great deal to like about this bike, from its elegant design to its eager response to rider input. But if you’re looking for the ultimate in full-suss traction and comfort, there are better options out there you should consider.

Ride & handling: Great-handling trail bike with disappointing small bump response

Out on the trail, the X-Control 410 has the taut and eager demeanour that time-served riders will instantly warm to. The roomy cockpit and pedal-neutral rear end encourage hard efforts, making this a bike that’s easy to propel skywards on long climbs. But it’s not just a one-trick pony – give it some gas on a downhill stretch and the rear end works well in tandem with the 120mm fork up front, delivering smooth and predictable rock-swallowing travel right up to the limit.

The fly in the X-Control 410’s ointment is its low-speed suspension performance, which hampers its ability to hug the ground over lower speed rocks and roots. Despite running the sag beyond Lapierre’s recommended limits, the rear end of our test bike remained resolutely unresponsive on small hits and on technical climbs.

Our test team’s experience with the same system on the company's coil-sprung downhill machines makes us think that this is an inherent limitation with air shocks and Lapierre's Full Power Suspension (FPS2) system, which is designed to use chain tension to help prevent unwanted bobbing. Hardtail riders and suspension cynics will love it, but the reality is that some other systems provide an equally stable pedalling platform with far better small bump response.

Frame & equipment: Good looking and well equipped chassis

Made up of a series of hydroformed tubes in subtle curves, there’s barely a straight line on the Lapierre. It’s a good-looking bike in the flesh, with details such as the blue anodised frame fixtures – including the X-shaped bolt-on cable guides – adding to the overall sense of a classy machine.

The rear swingarm pivots around a secondary linkage just aft of the bottom bracket, giving the X-Control a floating, or ‘virtual’, pivot point that’s supposed to stay roughly aligned with the chain as the suspension moves through its travel.

Our 18in test bike's top tube measured just under a whopping 24in in length. A long top tube gives you more room to stretch out and bring powerful back muscles into play, but can, if overdone, lead to turgid handling. Lapierre have avoided falling into this trap thanks to a short stem, wide bars and a head angle that’s not too slack.

With a benchmark Shimano XT and SLX-derived transmission, powerful Formula brakes and a good-looking Deore XT wheelset shod with Continental tubeless tyres, the X-Control 410 wants for nothing in the kit department.

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