Lapierre X Lite 400 FDJ review

Clean and versatile speedster

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
£2,599.00 RRP

Our review

Modern and versatile race-bred machine
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Post-war French cycle manufacturers Lapierre have been in the game long enough to know a thing or two about building exciting machines for the connoisseur and newcomer alike. 

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The X Lite 400 Francaise Des Jeux is a fine example of the poise, character and performance that a skilled manufacturer can impart onto what can sometimes be seen as a restricted canvas. 

With components supplied by Shimano and Ritchey, and a wheel package courtesy of Mavic and Hutchinson, Lapierre are left with the challenge of creating a platform that will not only serve to showcase the aforementioned contributors, but highlight the unique qualities of the frame.

They succeed with panache. The challenge is met with a true carbon monocoque frame, the result of in-house mould development and design, combined with the close collaboration of a top Taiwanese manufacturer. 

  • Frame & fork: Superb design, concept, engineering and performance (9/10)
  • Handling: Perfect combination of response and poise, with impeccable, lively manners. Lapierre’s all-carbon creation proves its race-bred credentials but offers something for everyone (10/10)
  • Equipment: Expect flawless performance – but you may not turn many heads (8/10)
  • Wheels: What better than excellent Ksyrium Equipes from top French wheelmaker Mavic gracing a fellow countryman’s creation? (9/10)
Lapierre X Lite 400 FDJ
Lapierre x lite 400 fdj: lapierre x lite 400 fdj
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As a benchmark for the current East/West cycle industry paradigm, the X Lite 400 offers a sub-1kg frame mated to a superb Easton EC 90 fork employing a differentially sized headset. 

The added torsional rigidity of the more substantial crown to steerer tube transition sharpens up steering response, while beefing up the already muscular appearance of the front of the bike.

Frame and fork alike benefit from doses of hi-tech highlights, from the unique bottle-shaped steerer tube employing a massive lower sealed cartridge bearing, integrated headset adjustment, and clamp protection system, to the super-clean and compacted frame internals. 

Unlike many carbon rivals, whose insides look like an old attic in a haunted mansion, Lapierre go great lengths to ensure the inside offers as smooth and uniform a surface as the outside.

Well placed and attractive cable guides keep proceedings quiet over rough roads, and even the internally routed rear brake cable gets a clever quick-fit solution which time pressed mechanics will find a godsend. 

Well placed and attractive cable guides keep proceedings quiet over rough roads
Well placed and attractive cable guides keep proceedings quiet over rough roads: well placed and attractive cable guides keep proceedings quiet over rough roads
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Burly carbon dropouts with protective metal caps and a massive down tube utilising the entire width of the bottom bracket shell as an interface ensure lively acceleration and zero flex. Yet the Lapierre frame comes in at just 925g, while still displaying excellent high speed stability.

An attempt to make things comfortable by pinching the non cross-braced chainstays and keeping seatstay size to a minimum doesn’t really pay off. 

A substantial wishbone linking the seatstays to the seat tube and a 31.6mm seatpost diameter topped with a narrow Selle Italia seat do provide sufficient distraction to keep any fatigue or pain in your legs from getting noticed though.

Fortunately, this tendency towards the rigid is tempered by excellent wheel and tyre choice: Mavic Ksyrium Equipes enveloped in Hutchinson rubber. 

These special Fusion 2 FDJ edition tyres provide excellent grip and potential for comfort level improvement. Drop the tyre pressures a bit, slip on a second pair of padded shorts, and enjoy the lively and perfectly dialled handling characteristics of the X Lite 400.

Hutchinson Fusion 2 Tyres
Hutchinson fusion 2 tyres: hutchinson fusion 2 tyres
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The Lapierre gets Shimano Ultegra SL with Ritchey finishing kit treatment. The bar’s transition from tops to drops is a sharp 90-degree angle, creating maximum grip width and a very comfortable riding position. 

Our bike came with a set of 175mm cranks rather than the 172.5mm ones we’d have expected for the size of bike tested (55.5cm), slowing down leg speed a little.

But making up for it, the 12-23 combo at the back gave a perfect one-tooth gap from 12-19, including the all important 16 and 18 which are usually absent on wider cassettes yet make life so pleasant 90 per cent of the time.

As a complete package, the Lapierre gives you a slightly lower spec level than some of its price rivals, but overall classier ride characteristics, with more unusual engineering features in the frame design. And with those great bars, and a generous top tube length of 57cm, ergonomics are well catered for.

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Whether it’s finding a good climbing tuck while seated, or dancing on the pedals while tackling a steep section of your local climb, the Lapierre  offers a well proportioned and willing platform. If you want exclusivity without showing off, it’s just the ticket.

Full Carbon - Special Process!
Full carbon – special process!: full carbon – special process!
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Product Specifications

Product

Name X Lite 400 FDJ (09)
Brand Lapierre

Available Colours Black/White
Stem Ritchey Pro forged alloy, 11cm, 31.8mm 4-bolt clamp
Rear Wheel Weight 1526
Rims Mavic Ksyrium Equipe
Saddle Selle Italia Filante, manganese rails
Seat Angle 72.5
Seatpost Ritchey Pro V2 forged alloy, 31.6 x 300mm twin bolt clamp
Shifters Shimano Ultegra SL STI
Weight (kg) 7.48
Rear Tyre Fusion
Year 2009
Weight (lb) 16.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Chainstays (cm) 41
Seat Tube (cm) 49
Top Tube (cm) 57
Rear Tyre Size 700x23C
Rear Hub Mavic Ksyrium Equipe,
Available Sizes 46 49 52 55 58
Frame Material Carbon monocoque, carbon dropouts, headset seats. Alloy bb shell and replaceable hanger.
Bottom Bracket Shimano Ultegra external type alloy
Brakes Shimano Ultegra SL dual pivot
Cassette Shimano 12-23 CS 6600 10-speed
Cranks Shimano Ultegra SL, 175 mm hollow arms, 52/39 alloy rings, 130mm bcd
Fork Full carbon fork, 1 1/8 to 1 1/2in steerer
Fork Weight 382
Frame Weight 925
Rear Derailleur Ultegra SL short cage,
Front Derailleur Shimano Ultegra
Front Hub Mavic Ksyrium Equipe,
Front Tyre Fusion
Front Tyre Size 700x23C
Front Wheel Weight 1115
Handlebar Ritchey Pro alloy, 42cm c-c, 31.8mm dia
Head Angle 72.5
Wheelbase (cm) 99