In just a few short years French-based Lapierre has gone from virtual unknown to one of the most lusted over brands out there, and the new 2009 range looks set to continue this trend.
Lapierre chose a sunny Alpe d’Huez last week in which to pull the wraps of its new bikes. We weren’t there, but thanks to the technological marvel of email, we can reveal the all the latest additions and changes to the 2009 bikes.
For its 2009 range Lapierre has chosen to focus its energy on its long-travel hard hitting bikes, chief among them the new DH-920. It’s been in development for two years, with both eternally fast man Nicolas Vouilloz and Team Lapierre crucial in the development phase.
Lapierre say it’s been ‘designed as a World Cup Winning bike from the ground up,’ and it’s not hard to see what they’ve done to reach this goal. The all-new frame is built around the company’s FPS2 suspension platform and offers 200mm of travel, chosen because Lapierre believe it’s the most efficient quantity for pure DH racing. Elsewhere, the frame has been lightened, with the head angle adjustment removed as on the previous DH230 to lighten the load. The bottom bracket height has been lowered to gift the DH-920 better stability, and the frame, available in two sizes, is built around a compact geometry.
Highlight of the frame however is the carbon shock cover mounted to the underside of the downtube to protect the shock where it protrudes through the downtube. This theme is continued with an alloy rear disc cover.
This bike pictured is built with Fox DHX coil shock and Fox 40 RC2 forks (with custom internals), Shimano Saint groupset, Mavic Deemax wheels rolling on Hutchinson Barracuda 2.5” tyres and stops with Formula The One brakes. An E.13 chain device keeps the chain in check. The quoted weight for this build is 17.2kg (37.9lbs).
With the new DH920 aiming to take the DH scene by storm with its clear race focus, Lapierre has filled the void between it and the 160mm Spicy with the Froggy. Yes, the French really do have a sense of humour…
Built around the same OST suspension layout as used on the Zesty and Spicy, the Froggy gives out 180mm of bump-eating travel with a tough frame that features a heavily reinforced front triangle. The 1.5” headset rotates inside a headtube which i massively beefed up with huge external gussets, and the hydroformed top tube swells at the headtube before slimming and curving gracefully in an upwards arc, where it’s then braced by two gussets top and bottom at the seat tube. The bottom bracket carries tabs for a chain guide.
The geometry will cater for forks between 160mm and 180mm, with a head angle around 66° to 66.5°, depending on the fork. The Froggy is available in two guises, the 318 and 518. The lightest, the 518, weighs an not unreasonable 15.7kg (36.6lbs), with a spec built around Fox DHX Air 4.0 rear shock, Fox 36 Van RC3 forks, Saint groupset, E.13 chainguide, Formula Oro K18 brakes, Special LP wheels, Continental Rubber Queen 2.4” tyres and Syncros finishing kit.
Spicy and Zesty add carbon
Only minor changes to the 140mm Zesty and 160mm Spicy range, with carbon seat and chainstays bringing weight savings on the top of the range models. Along with press fit bottom bracket bearings, Lapierre has managed to shave 300g from each frame.
Talking of weight, the highest specced Zesty 914 (Fox RP2, Fox Float RLC 140 with 145mm through-axle, Shimano XTR, Formula R1, Mavic Crossmax SLR, Continental Race King UST 2.2” tyres and Fizik Gobi carbon saddle) tips the scales at 11.1kg (24.4lbs).