In its native France, Lapierre has a huge range of full suspension bikes covering race, trail, enduro and DH usage. Unfortunately for its US arm, most of them use a short-link suspension design that’s caught up in a bit of a patent dispute, so the only Lapierres at Interbike’s Dirt Demo were hardtails and single-pivot sussers.
When you’re only running 90mm of rear travel, though, the nuances of different suspension layouts become of relatively minor importance. And if light weight is the goal, then simplicity is a virtue. Which brings us to the X-Race series of short-travel, race-oriented FS bikes. This one is the Lapierre X-Race 900, which dusts the scales at a whisker over 23lb – an impressive weight in anyone’s book.
The frame is Scandium, with a neat monocoque section forming the bottom half of the seat tube. Not only does it have the Lapierre logo stamped into it, it also has a hole that Lapierre’s own shock pokes through. A bolt-on bracket secures the forward end. The most notable feature of the shock is the neat remote lockout system. A cable-operated cam on the shock is operated by a spring-loaded trigger on the bars that integrates neatly with Shimano’s Dual Control levers. Push to lock, flick the red release lever to quickly unlock.
Not that we felt a great deal of need for the lockout, for this is a sprightly bike anyway. It’s very much race-style suspension, being happiest with a fairly stiff setup. The low weight means that the bike sends to just skip over a lot of small-gauge lumpy stuff anyway, so ultimate plushness isn’t necessarily required.
Geometry too is classic race stuff – 71/73 angles, 24in top tube, 16.7in stays. Full XTR kit tops it all off. We rather like it – it looks purposeful, it feels fast, it’s light and you can put a bottle on it. It’d be good to see some Lapierres in the UK, that’s for sure.