Lapierre launches into its 2015 season with a completely redesigned X-Control and updated Zesty, Spicy and Overvolt models. There’s also a new downhill bike, which was launched at the Fort William World Cup, and a new budget option, the Raid FX, although details were sparse on the latter.
Lapierre also showed the updated ‘ei auto’ shock, an electronic system that automatically adjusts the RockShox Monarch shock found on ei Zesty and Spicy models between open, platform and locked-out positions.
The X-Control is one of Lapierre’s cross-country models, along with the XR, and has been redesigned for 2015. The new version has a completely redesigned frame and uses Lapierre’s new FPS+ suspension system.
BikeRadar recently attended Lapierre's launch at the Passportes du Soleil event in the Portes du Soleil, where the brand showed us the mid-range ‘SUPREME6’ alloy X-Control 327. The frame offers 100mm of rear travel, and is designed for a 120mm travel fork, 20mm longer than last year’s model. The new FPS+ suspension design is controlled, on the 327, by Lapierre’s own shock, although other models in the line will feature RockShox and Fox shocks.
Lapierre's new FPS+ Suspension
The frame’s geometry has been updated to feature a head angle that’s 1.5 degrees slacker than before, and a longer top tube to improve stability and downhill performance. On our brief test ride on the 650b 327 model, we found the suspension felt relatively active while climbing, while the descending performance exceeded our expectations. It was confidence-inspiring and agile, despite the slippy conditions and the not-especially-grippy Schwalbe Rapid Rob tyres. The suspension has been designed to be more progressive than on older X-Control models, with less pedal kickback when hitting bumps.
While we were shown a mid-priced aluminium model, pricier carbon versions should also be available soon. Frames come ready to accept a stealth dropper post, and are routed to allow for Shimano’s new Di2 XTR groupset.
The X-Control, XR and Zesty AM models are now part of Lapierre’s extended Ultimate Program, which allows customers to make changes to the bike’s groupset, wheels and finishing kit.
We might prefer a slightly shorter stem, but the 720mm bars are perfect on a bike like the X-Control
Lapierre has been at the forefront of electronically controlled suspension with their ei system. Previous iterations featured a display head unit, with a range of settings to adjust.
Lapierre has now simplified the system with the new ei Shock Auto system, which takes away the bulky head unit and replaces it with a simple stem-mounted control box.
The control box features a single button and an LED that indicates which mode the shock is in. There are three levels of sensitivity for the system, which relies on cadence and fork movement to adjust the rear shock. Riders can choose fully automatic, or manually select the shock’s mode.
With one button and an LED, the new control box looks better and is simpler - stem positioning protects it during crashes too
Other changes include a new battery, found on the Zesty and Spicy models, which allow for the use of a bottle cage. The pedal cadence at which the shock locks out has also been reduced, from 45rpm to 35rpm.
The ei system works with RockShox Monarch RT3 Evolution shocks, which Lapierre has tuned for its preferred ride feel.
Zesty and Spicy
Lapierre has only tweaked the Zesty and Spicy ranges for 2015. Both platforms have an updated range of models, with 32mm stanchion forks largely being removed from the 650b (27.5in) range to make way for stiffer forks such as the RockShox Pike, from the 527 level and up.
Lapierre has also released an 8-series level, with the Zesty 829 (pictured) using a 120mm RockShox SID fork.
The Zesty 829 is a new spec level, with a 120mm travel SID fork in its 29er guise
The brand has also moved away from speccing Formula brakes - all Zesty and Spicy bikes will now come with SRAM Guide or Shimano brakes. Likewise, there’ll be no more Easton wheels on 2015 bikes, instead SRAM Roam or Rail, or RaceFace Turbine wheels will be used.
Up front, Nico Vouilloz’s range of Lapierre branded finishing kit adorns the bikes, with shorter stems and wider bars making an appearance.
E-bikes might not be big news in the UK or US, but they’re making headway into the mountain bike market in Europe. We had a chance to ride Lapierre’s Overvolt in the Alps, on a mix of trails from technical climbs to flowing descents and steeper terrain.
Using a Bosch power pack and motor unit, the Overvolt offers 140mm of travel, with a RockShox Revelation fork on the front. The Bosch system provides pedal-assist power to the 27.5in wheels, so riders have to pedal to benefit from the system. For legal reasons, the units are limited to 25kph, and above this speed, there is a noticeable amount of resistance in the system.
The Bosch motor helps you reach 25kph, even when climbing
With the added weight of the motor and battery, all e-bikes are pretty weighty, similar to downhill bikes of old. However, this weight helps them feel planted and secure on the descents. This is no doubt helped by the new Michelin Wild Grip’R tyres, which performed well.
Lapierre has two full suspension, two hardtails and three utility e-bikes in the range.
The Overvolt 900 is top of Lapierre's e-bike tree
Prices will be released at Eurobike later this year, but we’re told they should be similar to current levels.