Lapierre X-Flow 712 Review

Feb 25, 2013
by Matt Wragg  
TESTED
Lapierre X-Flow 712
WORDS & PHOTOS MATT WRAGG


The Forgotten Little Brother?

Lapierre's Spicy and Zesty trail bikes have always grabbed the headlines in their range. Sitting at a relatively unfashionable 120mm of rear travel, the X-Flow seemed to be overlooked compared to its longer-legged brothers. Yet when it came time to trickle the Pendbox technology down from their downhill bike, it was the model they picked to be the first one with the system.

The X-Flow represents a new niche that seems to be developing in trail bikes. A few years ago, short chainstays, relaxed headangles and relatively low bottom brackets were the sole domain of downhill and freeride bikes. As longer-travel trail bikes have become more capable, these features are starting to appear on bikes like this one. Combined with cross-country weight and short travel, the result is the potential for a lot of fun.

3 4 View.
  You have to admit, it's a pretty bike.

The Pendbox Suspension System

Lapierre describe their Pendbox system as offering "less compromise, more pedalling power." To do this, they have created one of the most intricate suspension systems out there. Cutting it down to its bare essentials, it is a faux-bar linkage very similar to the design Kona uses, with an independent bottom bracket similar to the GT i-Drive system. Faux-bar systems use single-pivot swingarms, so typically, they create pedal feedback - the chain tugging at the rear wheel as you pedal, limiting the suspension performance. By making the bottom bracket independent, that force now pulls the BB with the movement of the rear-end, reducing how much it affects the suspension. With the GT system they use triangulated, one-piece swingarm, where Lapierre's system uses a linkage to control the shock, enabling the designers to fine-tune the suspension performance further. Sound complicated? It is, and we can't think of another bike out there with as many moving parts as this one.

Suspension close-up.


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Details:

• Purpose: Trail/all-mountain
• Full carbon frame with tapered headtube
• Lapierre's unique Pendbox suspension technology
• 120mm front and rear travel
• Fox 32 CTD fork
• Fox Float CTD rear shock
• 12 x 142mm rear axle
• Press-fit BB
• Sizes: Small, medium (tested), large, XL
• Weight: 25lbs (without pedals)

MSRP: 5,045 Euros (Lapierre are just setting up distribution in the US and Canada now)

Frame and Components

We tested the 712 version, which is the second-from-top spec. At the heart of the bike is a full-carbon frame, with nice, clean internal cable routing. Aesthetically, it has to be one of the nicest bikes to grace our doors in recent years, with swooping lines running from front to rear. There are some details that we were very happy to see, like the burly 12x142mm rear axle and internal routing for a dropper seatpost. It features a press-fit bottom bracket, which looks set to be the new standard for bottom bracket fittings. Keeping the suspension in check is a custom-tuned Fox Float CTD shock. Up front was a Kashima-coated Fox 32 Float CTD with a handlebar-mounted remote.

The drivetrain is a mix of XT and XTR. A set of Mavic Crosstrail wheels shod with Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres are there to get things rolling and Formula R1 brakes are there to stop them again. Steering was courtesy of a 70mm Thomson stem and Easton's 720mm Haven bars. Both of these came off the bike before the first ride, in favour of a benchmark Renthal 760mm bar and 50mm stem. All in, the stock build tipped the scales at just over 24lbs (11kg), Lapierre doesn't publish the frame weight on its own.

Details 2
Details 1
  Up close and personal with some of the details. (Clockwise) It was almost a shame to take the Thomson stem off, but we wanted something shorter on there; the routing for a dropper seatpost; The left side of the bar has more cables than the Pinkbike Europe office; Scwhalbe tyres, Mavic wheels and Formula brakes - a good combination.

Component Report

Lapierre seem to have gone halfway down the road to making a bike that can be ridden hard and changed their mind. While there is routing for a dropper post, the bike comes with a standard Thomson post, which although pretty and well-made, just doesn't make the grade for a modern trail bike - something we put right before the first ride. The second major issue is the derailleur. We chose the 712 from the range as it came with the XTR rear mech. Yet, for some reason, Lapierre have chosen to spec the bike with the lower-priced version without the clutch. As the bike has no ISCG tabs and a press-fit bottom bracket, this meant we couldn't mount a chainguide further down the line and our time with the bike was plagued by dropped chains, to the extent where they more or less ruined the finish on the pretty XTR cranks, scratching the hell out of them every time it dropped.

We came to accept, but never love the 32mm Fox fork. On first impressions it was flexy as hell, especially as we came off a bike fitted with its bigger brother, the 36. After a while we became accustomed to the give in the front wheel and the short-travel of the bike meant you tended to hunt for smoother lines anyway. However, the CTD cartridge was everything we hoped it wouldn't be and we had to run virtually no sag to stop the fork blowing through its travel when you braked or pushed hard. We also never used the adjustments, setting it in the middle, 'Trail' mode and leaving it there for our entire time with the bike. Why Lapierre spec'd it with a bar-mounted remote is beyond us, it is a big, ungainly thing there on the bar and as we felt the suspension didn't need flicking between modes regularly, completely superfluous. We would be keen to try one of these bikes with a Fox 34 mounted at the front, dropped to 120mm - as we suspect it would make the bike even more fun.

Looking at the bike in the catalogue, you would be forgiven for thinking it is an XTR-equipped bike, but we'd say you are wrong there. The majority of the drivetrain is XT and, while we cannot fault them for speccing the ever-incredible XTR cranks, the only other XTR part on the bike is the lower-priced, clutch-less mech. We would prefer to see this bike come with XT throughout and the money re-invested in a clutch mech and dropper seatpost, the two things that nearly ruined the bike for us. As it is, it feels a little like the XTR was added to show off in the car park, more than for what it can do for you out on the trail.

The Mavic Crosstrail wheelset was as solid and as good as ever. However, it's hard to know what to say about the tyres mounted on them. When they were rolling we became rather fond of them. They don't provide much grip, which means you need to adjust to them, but once you're there, they are some of the most fun tyres we have used in a long time and meant we spent a lot of time going sideways. If you are after a serious tyre, there are obviously grippier options out there, but we really liked these tyres for this kind of bike. However, they weren't problem-free. They are clearly marked as tubeless-ready, but we had a lot of issues running them tubeless. Initially the rear one didn't hold air well and when we put higher pressures in, the sidewalls were so thin the latex was forced through them. Further down the line we holed both front and rear, resulting in a faceful of latex and much swearing trailside.

One component choice we have to mention are the brakes. In the past we have had what can be best-described as mixed experiences with Formula. The set of R1s on this bike were nothing short of fantastic - they had a wonderfully positive feel to them, delivering plenty of power in a very manageable way. We were also pleasantly surprised by the stock grips, which turned out to be rather comfortable.

Side-on.
  Giving the X-Flow a shakedown at the downhill track at Tirli (the same one Santa Cruz used for the launch of the new V10c).

Out On The Trail

Climbing: The first thing we noticed when we get on the bike was the short top tube. It came up a good 20mm or so shorter than we would have expected. On long climbs (half an hour-plus) we could feel some lower back pain, so if you are thinking of doing big rides on this bike it would be worth looking at going a size up from where you normally are. With the shock set into 'Trail' mode it didn't hang around, we never felt the need to go into Climb, getting the job done quickly and efficiently. As the stock gearing was 2x10 we took the moral option to refuse to use the granny ring (we would have pared it down to 1x10 if we could have mounted a chainguide). Pushing a 36-tooth chainring seemed like it might be a bad idea at first, but once we got out and rolling it became clear that, mated to the 11-36t cassette, it was all you needed on this bike. When the climbs got short, steep and technical, it made tough going feel like light work. Power transfer to the back wheel felt immediate and there was little noticeable bob; traction was always easy to find. The feather-light Schwalbe tyres helped greatly with this and was one of the reasons why, despite our problems with them, we were loath to swap them out for something more sensible.

Descending: This is where the bike came into its own. As soon as the ground starts to drop away from you, this bike comes to life and that short top tube makes complete sense. On serious descending a longer top-tube is beneficial for stability, for sure, but for going into the woods to dick about, the shorter length means you can move around the bike easily. The game is very different compared to a longer-travel bike, you have to be much more precise with your lines and the bike allows you to move to where you need to be to hold them. This paired perfectly with the 67.5 degree head angle and low-ish bottom bracket, striking a nice compromise between some stability, but keeping the bike lively enough to be fun, even if the trail lacked gradient. Short, 428mm, chainstays gave the handling an immediacy that was much appreciated. Throw in the flexy fork, silly XC tyres and a big bar and stem and you have a recipe for a hilarious bike. What you end up with is a lightweight bike that you can work to stick almost any line you choose or pop off anything and everything.

Don't think all this means the bike isn't capable when the going gets ugly though. To shoot the photos for this review we took it to the test track we'd rode previously for the Santa Cruz V10c launch as the light is always good there. It's fair to say that this bike scared us. The way it picked up speed on rough terrain was just frightening and with short travel, a light build and trail geometry there is virtually no room for error as you skipped through the jagged rock stumps. Picking your lines carefully you felt like you were blasting down there like a hero, dancing on the edge of complete disaster. The reality was almost definitely less dramatic, it probably just felt fast as it was so sketchy. There is no doubt that the V10c was lot faster, and a lot safer, on that kind of terrain, but the little Lapierre was arguably more fun.

Attacking the rocks.
  A serious facial expression for a serious bike review. More importantly, look at the chain. That says everything that's needed about the bike's lack of chain retention.

Our biggest gripe descending is the shock. It just felt like it needed more support in the mid-stroke. With this kind of light bike it feels like it should be popped off things at every opportunity, but at times it felt like you had to work against the shock to do that. As for the Pendbox system? There isn't much to report. It works well enough and the bike did pedal well, we wouldn't argue with that for one second, but there are other systems out there which work just as well without all this complication. In our experience, more parts equals more things to go wrong and a bigger bill when it comes time to replace them. Most of this frame is beautifully-designed and in comparison all that fuss around the bottom bracket detracts from how pretty this bike is. For years the Zesty and Spicy have used a much simpler four-bar system which worked well and we are struggling to understand why they have ditched that in favour of the Pendbox.

Pinkbike's take:
We like this bike a lot and will definitely be a little sad on the day the courier comes to return it to Lapierre. It has been an enormous amount of fun to spend a winter ragging it around the local woods. However, we think whoever is responsible for speccing it needs to come out and ride a bit more often as some of those choices nearly ruined the bike for us, it almost feels like they don't want people to get the most out of the bike. It desperately needs a dropper post, a clutch mech and ISCG tabs. Add in a wider bar and shorter stem and you have the recipe for a bike you can sprint up the climbs on and giggle all the way back down again. Although, if you are thinking of doing longer distances on it, it is well worth trying a couple of sizes to make sure you get the best one for you. -Matt Wragg


www.lapierre.co.uk


178 Comments

  • + 54
 I found this article a little odd - it is a trail bike and the whole review seems to be taken in the context of it being an AM bike at least, or a FR bike. In my opinion a 70mm stem and 720mm bars are perfect for trails, and the only people i know that ride with shorter stems and wider bars are on 6" bikes...I agree that a clutch mech would have been better but most of these bike can be fitted with a seat tube mounted chainguide for the top at least, and it looks like this could also take it. I dont think it needs ISCG mounts. Its not a 6"+ bike.
  • + 64
 Couldn't agree more... this was pretty much going to be my comment! He says about "the 32mm Fox fork. On first impressions it was flexy as hell, especially as we came off a bike fitted with its bigger brother, the 36." Well surely it might have been an idea to ride some similar bikes or even out-and-out XC race bikes so as to compare the platform rather than making unhelpful comparisons to other, different, bikes he'd been riding recently. "Yah, I'd been riding BMX recently, so I didn't like the fact that this bike had more than one gear, suspension, tewnty six inch wheels and disc brakes!"
  • + 34
 "Yah, I'd been riding BMX recently, so I didn't like the fact that this bike had more than one gear, suspension, tewnty six inch wheels and disc brakes!"

Best reply ever! haha
  • + 3
 FANX

Also if he did spec it with a clutch RD, he could put a top guide on the front with a 1x10. Comme ca: bythehive.com/e-thirteen/xcx-cross-country/xcx-e-types3
  • + 27
 Agreed, a large part of this review was pretty much useless for anyone actually considering an 11kg, 120mm bike. No shit the 32 is less stiff than the 36. The same goes to ISCG mounts or, for example, calling XC tires "silly" on a XC bike etc. He might as well have written "DH bikes are better on DH tracks than trail bikes" and called it a day. Good thing there were remarks about the its handling and playfulness, but the bike begs for a more thorough evaluation of its efficiency and versatility on longer, 50+km rides (the sole fact that Matt wrote 1:1 gearing was enough for any climb indicates that the climbs he did weren't steep or technical enough).
  • + 41
 I like it when poorly-written articles get raped on PB.
  • + 2
 Eyhhwww your talking about a 26" bike with a real seatpost. This is gross, you cant go fast on that bike. I read a report that says bigger wheels are better and those scientists are hucking 40' gaps with their lab coats on. I want to see some more 9ers bra with 48t rear cassettes and 28t front chainring with no chain guide.
  • + 11
 They rode the same track they were riding a v10c on... that's a good comparison, right?

And since when is a thomson seatpost not trailworthy? All these pretentious reviews are funny to read, but misleading....hire some people that can write some unbiased opinions and not spout off a bunch of bs in their advertis......I mean reviews
  • + 11
 I basically skipped the bulk of the review after he reading the description of the pendbox suspension. That he continues the calling of single-pivot linkages as a faux bar wasn't what made me doubt his bike knowledge and review/writing skills... it was that he went all glossy googly eyes trying to describe this as something other than a floating BB linkage, which has been done before by several other brands. Ok sure the GT I-drives are the obviously well known ones, but there was the Maverick design bikes also, as well as the Haro Virtual-Link bikes. The industry accepted terminology for this type of bike is floating BB linkage... that's it. The BB floats independantly of the main frame and the rear wheel and there's a linkage tying them together... simple. The term exists to differentiate the bikes from URTs.

They should leave the innovative suspension design reviews to RC as he's the actual bike designer with the thirty years of suspension frame design experience/knowledge and leave the "hey this jersey is bright and costs $75" stuff to the others.
  • + 7
 ISCG mounts should have nothing to do with 6"+ or any travel amount >0 in the minds of frame designers or riders. If you have rear suspension, and especially if you run gearing that requires a mid- or long-cage RD, there should be some serious thought about chain security. People don't run guides because they look cool or because they want to blow $100+ and add a hundred grams. It's because dropping a chain kills your time in short races, kills your flow in long rides/races, and is almost 100% avoidable w/ a guide. My 4" Spez Epic (with a bunch of well-adjusted high-end SRAM kit) was the worst dropper I've ever known. Four and five inch bikes have become so capable you can ride them on anything short of the gnarliest courses, but the image that product managers are going for is so unnecessarily weenie... There are a lot of trails in between paved XC and world cup DH. Trails with bumps. Who wants to drop a chain? Someone else said it in a different part of the page--they are trying to make clear delineations between "trail" and "AM" product lines. F that. So many people riding 6-6.5" bikes today on courses they could be rocking 5" and 3 pounds less. For the sake of clearer marketing.
  • + 5
 While I'll agree with most of what people say here, I firmly do believe that it should of came with a clutch derailleur for that price.
  • + 3
 All well and good but he could fit a clutch RD and a top guide if he wanted to. Ultimately this, along with the shorter stem and wider bar would change the aim of the bike to something a little more agressive (which is not something I would have a problem with but is not necessarily, I guess this product is aimed for in this load out).
  • - 1
 You guys think you can take better pictures and do better reviews than Mr. Wragg? Go ahead. I personally think we need a wider variety of reviewers anyway, but Matt has been churning them out pretty consistent.

You'll notice that under contacts there are only four "Writers".
  • + 2
 The poor quality of the reviews of late have been noted quite consistently. There has been a lot of personal bias (such as disliking a product or material prior to testing it) and products aren't tested in the appropriate arena, such as this test. Pinkbike needs to start evaluating the competence of the testers/writers.
  • + 1
 You're not gonna start with that again? Perhaps Matt should also be sued?
  • - 4
flag Willie1 (Feb 25, 2013 at 12:28) (Below Threshold)
 I wasn't going to mention it, so thanx for bringing it up Wink He should be sued for slander only if he broke the frame using it for DH, then blamed the material after riding it with a crack for weeks in a lame attempt to support his anti-carbon sentiments.



You guys really idolize these reviewers don't you? Theyre just a bunch of guys who aren't good enough to make the big leagues as riders, and not good enough to get better writing jobs. They're just mediocre at everything.
  • - 2
 Wow. You are pretty cool.
  • - 5
flag Willie1 (Feb 25, 2013 at 12:47) (Below Threshold)
 Of course, when you don't have a reasonable response, resort to personal insults. Smile
  • + 3
 Ok I was a little harsh...but if a company wants me to write a review for their TRAIL BIKE, I would find a trail where this bike is ideally suited, and see if the limits are pushed to the extreme there. Seems a bit less biased to base a review upon then.
  • + 1
 That's what I was thinking mate.
You clearly have contempt for the "average" guy eh?
  • - 5
flag Willie1 (Feb 25, 2013 at 13:22) (Below Threshold)
 I dislike lack of professinalism, sensationalism, and bias. I want to read reviews of bikes by professionals who have good analytic skills, and have the writing capacity to communicate their experience.

I don't dislike avearge in any way. Most of the world is average, which is why they call it average. Just a little bit of critical thinking shows how poorly written these reviews are. Writing is a huge part of my job, and this stuff stinks.I am certainly not alone in my views here.


Silocycle, trolling much? Taking little bits of my posts and using them out of context? These reviewers have no credentials. If they were good at what they do, they would have been hired by someone either as a test rider, racer, freestyler, or writer. Its just fact. They're reviewing products for an online forum. This is the bottom of the food chain in terms of professions in the bike biz.
  • + 2
 LOL @ Willie1. You actually believe any review? At best they are personal opinions which can of course be different to the readers (see above),at worst just written by the manufacturer, and somewhere in the middle are the 'professional reviews' which tend to be slanted towards how much money is spent on advertising in the magazine / website. Just read them, form an adult opinion on your own and get on with your life.

Me cynical? Big Grin
  • + 3
 Once again it all comes down to these two articles :

www.pinkbike.com/news/The-Argument-For-Short-Travel-Bikes-Opinion-2012.html
www.pinkbike.com/news/The-Argument-For-Long-Travel-Bikes-Opinion-2012.html

Clearly Matt Wragg, and it seems everyone these days, got caught literally "in the middle".
I own a bike that fits ( at least thats what they said) in the category of the bike that is being trashed, bought on trail and online. It has 120mm of travel(Reba), came with a 70mm stem, a ultra wide 640mm handlebar, no drop seatpost and God forbid a 3x9 XT drive train. It was a dream of a bike, I rode it everywhere, uphill, downhill, even bought a second set of wheels and threw in a pair of city tires for some road and commuting. I was pretty happy with my bike. Then I started riding with a friend that owns a early 2000`s beast of a DH rig, I rode it once down one of our trails and I was blown away with the performance of the bike. Still, I resisted the urge of buying one such bike for myself at first, but the damage was done, I bought knee and elbow pads, I got a shorter 50mm stem, wider bars, and by wider I mean 685mm. All of a sudden I`m looking at ways of turning a XC/TRAIL bike into a FR/DH ( notice how I left the E word out, I didnt now what that was back then ). I bought stronger wheels, 2.35 tires, but it just was not the same thing, so, eventually I bought a second hand FR turned DH bike, and put my precious aside.
After one year of riding my FR/DH bike, I feel that my riding skills have improved a lot in terms of speed and technical riding.

Bottom line I have more fun riding my small bike like it was a big bike, and for the looks of it so does Matt Wragg.

Puppets aren`t we ?
  • + 1
 Haha, u need to chill friend. Winter is almost over. The average guy just comes here to be a part of a online-community and see some cool rides. I'm sorry, it was too easy to get your goat and I didn't even have to use a smilie face. All in good fun OK?
  • - 3
 Matt Wrag has a degree in English and graduated with honors. Richard Cunningham can get a job working for anybody, company, magazine in the entire mtb world. He is as credentialed as they come. And a legend. If he is average, then I want to be average too.
  • + 4
 Richard Cunningham is very well respected in the industry. I agree 100% with that and he is the only reviewer I take seriously here. Notice how the fan boys dismiss him all the time here, but support these other guys?

A degree in English doesn't get you much. Its like a general arts degree. It doesn't mean anything. At the Masters level is where credibility comes in, or significant accomplishments. If it meant something, or there was accomplishment to back these guys up, then these articles would be written more intelligently, not in terms of sophisticated language, but in terms of actually thinking the review through, and writing a cohesive article that is at least on topic. This guy reviews a lightweight trail bike that was built with a focus on weight reduction, and complains it is sketchy on a DH course. WTF? Any 12 year old could have given him feedback that he missed the boat. This level of writing would be considered complete incompetence in my world.
  • + 6
 @Willie1
You believe what RC says? Now I know you are out to lunch. I found everything RC writes only applies to a small area in Cali. I think he should have stayed with Mountain bike fiction..
I personally support none of the recent reviewers and journalist. The quality of journalism on PB has gone way downhill lately.
  • + 3
 Another indecisive (no other word for it) Shit review... what a way to smash a product ... PB needs some new staff who can actually review in an eloquent fashion.
  • + 5
 I dunno, up to date news, rumors, product reviews, media and oh...its all free. If I paid for PinkBike I might be a little upset (mostly because I can't understand English Accents in videos), but considering I get it for free, I'm content.
  • + 0
 ''It desperately needs a dropper post'' ...... is the bike in the bike in the pics not equipped with one ???
  • + 2
 @guigui333... it comes stock with a thomson post but apparently for the photos of the bike being ridden, a dropper had been fitted.
  • + 0
 whoever @Questrails is, we should hang out. that was hilarious
  • + 3
 i'm not sure how much you can trust a review from somebody who clearly isnt that capable on a bike www.rootsandrain.com/rider3179/matt-wragg/results
  • + 1
 I know it's not really a review but i'd be interested to know what you guys think of this in terms of journalism: jamessmurthwaitedh.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/cyber-biking.html
  • + 6
 In terms of journalism, it needs some work but it's certainly not uninteresting! If you're considering it as journalism, you need to consider becoming more objective - ie take your self out of the piece and stop talking about yourself in relation to it. I.E. Instead of "I found it equally amazing..." you might say "what is equally amazing..." or "The photo of Gee I included is deliberately a sequence shot." Maybe "The above photo of Gee Atherton is a great example of Sequence Photography."

Also consider the flow of the article, read it back to yourself out loud and think about where it might be better to have connecting words/conjuctions (and, if, but, whereas etc.) instead of a new sentence. Try to avoid repetition and use of tropes: "So where has this progression come from? First and foremost I believe this is from technology." As part of that, it's worth thinking about the tone; is it necessary to say "it is" or is "it's" ok for this kind of article (I think it is!)

Perhaps most importantly it's important that every time you have a statement to make that you have something that backs it up - P.E.E. (Point Evidence Explain). This is a trap that so many people fall into when they start out writing and the kind of thing you'll see all of the place on boards like PB. The overall structure is great and the anecdotal introduction is really nice. I hope that helps and that I'm not being too critical!
  • + 5
 Thanks a lot! no, not too harsh at all, I was actually expecting a flaming, judging from the previous comments, so your kind words are more than welcome. Those are definitely things I need to take forward and you're right that they are such basic traps that I've fallen into, my English teachers would be very disappointed! Thanks for taking the time out of your day to be so constructive in your feedback, I really appreciate it Smile
  • + 0
 Yet you all keep coming back and reading the articles...
  • + 0
 Erm... is that directed at my comment? Cos if it is you should read ahead and see that I'm giving some feedback to some one who'd asked for it. Equally, being a writer myself, I relish the opportunity to recieve feedback... so should Matt Wragg. Even so what an idiotic response; yes, we have a high standard of Pinkbike and expect that to be maintained. Critical feedback is a good thing for the people who put out content for any media.
  • + 0
 No, more of all the complainers. No one in particular.
  • + 33
 Interestring read.... It doesn't have a dropper post. It doesn't have a 36. It doesn't have a chain guide. It has light weight tires. Wait a minute, maybe Lapierre isn't mis-speccing the bike. Maybe you are using it for something it wasn't intended to be used for.
  • + 4
 You're dead-on here. I knew something was amiss when the article starts out about ditching the bars and stem on what is obviously an XC bike. As for the Fox lever and clutch-less rear mech, I'll grant them this. The new CTD gear is gimmicky, and hanging a few XTR bits on a bike is an old trick.
  • + 5
 Is it just me or has every new bike review featuring the new Fox CTD stuff been far from favorable in terms of suspension performance. And not just here but on other sites as well.
  • + 11
 @spoothead

Fox gets by to a large extent on the name/reputation and the perception that "made in the USA" and a high price tag is automatically better. And while pro racers have pro-mechanics to do custom tuning for them, in terms of out of the box performance for the everyday customers (which are the bikes and forks that magazines get to test), they're only average among a large field of suspension brands. You want to read one of the euro magazines like Mountain Biking UK, which has the staff and resources and clout to gather say 15 forks for a test and compare them head to head, over say a review here on one fork, or over at MBA on three or four at a time. In MBUK's big product tests, the winners usually aren't the most expensive models of whatever category they're choosing for that month's big test article. In the Jan 2013 issue for example they did a big drivetrain group test (derailleurs, chain, cassette, shifters) of the latest from shimano (Deore, Zee, XT, XTR, and SLX) and SRAM (X5 thru X0 and XX1). The rankings from bottom to top in order were X7, X5, X0, Deore, X9, Zee, XT, XTR, XX1 and the winner was SLX (actually won the overall test and was the value winner too).
  • - 2
 It's pretty clearly slotted into their Trail/all-mountain segment...
  • + 3
 The travel and spec put it in the trail/XC category. I don't know of any truly capable AM bikes that have this little travel, and this light duty spec. The Zesty and Spicy are in the roster for a reason.
  • - 1
 Ah, you are right and Lap is wrong I get it. Carry on.
  • - 1
 From the lapierre site: "The trail MTB par excellence, with incomparable pedaling efficiency."

You are a bit of an angry camper. Do you have personal relationships with the reviewers? You seem very bent on supporting them.

Maybe you have a reading comprehension problem? The AM offering is the zesty, but the call it marathon/enduro. There are two bikes in the category, the trail X-Flow, and the enduro Zesty- Trail/AM. Get it- one of each.

.
  • - 1
 Not sure if this is completely out of context but my mate snapped an xo mech in morzine and brought another whilst out there. He got back and two weeks later did exactly to same in the same place as last time and hadn't hit it on anything I just snapped off (apparently) he went to our local shop and they said sack that off he was on about an xtr shadow plus, the guy in the shop who we ride with a bit said there dead over priced for what they are, he bought a zee plus and it's lighter and made practically the same as a saint mech, the saint was for example £100 and the zee was £50, who in there rite mind would buy a saint mech? And just back to the x flow, when the video clip was on of the suspension setup, I was expecting the bb to move quite a lot compared to the rest off the bike but I could hardly see it move. Can't see the point really, but then I couldnt see the point in 29'ers but everyone's got them not!!! Haha
  • + 2
 Pretty sure everyone I know who has had a lappierre or has one and snapped it Atleast once, it's the second time of doing it that the shop says "eeeeerrrr well we could do you an amazing deal on that orange five in the window!"
  • + 0
 Which one is it then? Trail/XC or trail or AM-ish trail? The MTB community could do with more of you to straighten the average guy out.
Come to think of it, why aren't you writing these reviews willie1"?
  • - 1
 I am not writing these reviews because I don't want to. I could do a much better job at it. I would at least review a product for its intended purpose (simple rule: write on topic.)

I have a great career in a field completely removed from the bicycle industry. I couldn't imagine giving it up fior this gig.
  • + 0
 We're very proud of you too. Here is a great big Internet hug. I'm sorry.
  • + 1
 You mean you and the one or two people who agree with you? LOL!! Look through the comments here. The majority of the comments bash the writer and his lousy work. Maybe your two friends need to give you a hug so the underachievers can feel better about themselves.
  • - 1
 You're still mad. I don't know what else to say to cheer you up.
In your view this is where the worst writers come because they can't do any better, which begs a question. Why are you pissed to find it the way you do? Why come to a place like this? It's below your standard.
More on topic: It's a good looking bike that would inspire me to ride it harder than a XC setup, I don't think his inclination was all wrong. I think it highlights the divide between the discipline of XC and what most mountain bikers actually do with their bikes, try to ride up and down the biggest challenge we can find - for fun.
Willie1", with your analytical powers, what should a person do with this bike? What type of clothing should they wear, and goddamit what kind of pedals should he use.
Matt has failed us, I want my money back.
  • + 0
 Matt's review cost more than what it is worth. Why do you love Matt so much? The majority of people who comment here can see the lousy work. You sound like Matt's mom defending him to the teacher who was too hard on him and have him a bad grade.
  • + 1
 Yo Big Willie, you are the one who is getting personal. The bike clearly isn't a traditional XC bike. It doesn't have a 71 degree head angle or stupidly large wheels for a start. It's got slacker geometry than many freeride bikes from 2003, so what's wrong with setting it up for FUN? You know, that three letter which is meant to sum up mountain biking? Not everyone wants to ride an XC bike with geometry from 1992.
  • + 3
 @wallheater... you've apparently lost touch with reality... geometry evolves in XC just as it does in DH/FR. What people rode 20 years ago isn't what they were riding 10 years ago and isn't what we're riding now.
  • - 2
 Really? The only other XC type bike with decent geo that I can think of is the Banshee Spitfire. Most are designed around racing around fields or along Californian fireroads still, and only in the last couple of years has there been any change in thinking. Pretty well all XC bikes from a year or so ago, and further back feel fecking horrible.
  • + 3
 Well the Spitfire IS listed as a trail bike, but at 140mm travel its at the upper travel end of the trail category. For a 26 inch wheel XC bike with similar travel I can point out the the 130mm travel RM Instinct 970 with an adjustable 67.7 to 69.3 HA. but heck even the Element 26er XC racing frames are running 69.5 HA's now and 120mm rear travel. Rocky Mountain themselves though consider the Altitude a "trail" bike with its 650B wheels and 150mm travel and that's got an adjustable 66.6 - 68.3 HA. That's THREE models from one brand alone and there are dozens of brands with XC trail bikes. Trek's Fuel EX trail bikes are 68 degree HA bikes, Kona's Tanuki DL is a 68 HA bike, and the list goes on and on. You REALLY are out of touch with what bike geometry is now aren't you ?
  • + 0
 Well it's fair to say that I am not a dork if that's what you mean. RMB only changed from steeper geometry in the last year or so with that flippy chippy thingy or whatever it's called. And 69.5 is still steep..... Anyway this is getting boring. My only point is that the people are perfectly allowed to set up short travel bikes with short stems, wider bars and slack head angles. You have to around here....
  • + 1
 @ Wallheater: People are allowed to do anything they want. BUT.... There is a level of professionalism that is required when one has a job reviewing products. They need to test them for their intended purpose, and compare them to similar products.

My Mustang is terrible at offroad. The Michelin Pilot tires slip like crazy in the mud. I ripped the muffler off every time I tried to drive over a fallen log. Needless to say, the car scared the crap out of me.

Totally useful, isn't it?
  • + 0
 Alright, seriously. In your opinion Willie1, what is the intended use of this bike?
I'm having trouble picturing a day on the trail where this bike would be more desirable (stock) than a true XC rig. Furthermore, if I was out for a rip that you might consider AM, the stock setup would be left wanting for the changes outlined in the review.
It would be interesting to have this bike tested by a XC rider, I believe you'd see changes made in the other direction.
  • + 2
 So the review would be more interesting if we had some spandex clad dork doing fireroad laps and discussing STRAVA segments? What's wrong with pushing a bike outside it's comfort zone in order to highlight any issues? Ever watched Top Gear? Or probably any other motoring program (probably not, you drive a Mustang LOL)? Do the reviewers just drive around at 40kph? Would you watch such programs if they did?
  • + 0
 Silocycle, you are just trolling around protecting your buddy who wrote a lousy review. You've posted a whole sh_t-load of useless arguments supporting someone who took the bike and compared it to a DH bike and an much heavier built AM bike. Compare it to a Rocky Element or Fuel EX. Specialized Epic maybe? I wouldn't bastardize any of those bikes to try to use it where a V-10C is typically used. Use the right bike for the right terrain. Write a review on a bike for its intended purpose. That is simple. Deflecting into this other nonsense is just your avoidance of the reality that your buddy screwed up, and a lot of people are getting tired of the Pinkbike reviewers' BS. Pinkbike needs to make changes, or their readers will start going elsewhere. .

I get it that you thuink Matt is an Idol or something, but most of us don't agree with you. Why don't you and Matt get together and tell each other how great you each are, and how doing a good job is too hard. "All these A-Holes on PB are being so mean to Matt, and they won't listen to me defend him!!!"
  • + 1
 @ Wallheater. Maybe the next review can be on the V-10c as an XC bike. They can put a long stem on it, complain about the heavy tires, poor climbing ability, and bash the manufacturer for their lousy spec choice. It would totally help me decise if I want a V-10c for DH. I don't understand how the plainly obvious evades the handful of Matt Lovers.
  • + 1
 "Compare it to a Rocky Element or Fuel EX. Specialized Epic maybe? I wouldn't bastardize any of those bikes to try to use it where a V-10C is typically used."

That made me laugh! The RMB Element is actually a pretty popular Shore bike here, especially when 'bastardized' with a longer fork.

Anyway, carry on, I'm off to work....
  • - 2
 Nice! For your record, I have absolutely no idea who Matt is. The bulk of my posts are proposing an alternate view, just my opinion granted but not exactly out in left field either. I'm just trying to look at this bike objectively and don't object to what Matt did with it. I'm on a similar quest with my Dixon. Before you launch into another tirade I know the two platforms aren't comparable in a lot of ways. The steel hard tail 29er I've got gets the job done too but you won't find me looking for something in between. You are overly aggressive, looking a gift horse in the mouth has never been a virtue. Get over yourself bud.
  • - 1
 The majority of people here see you and Matt as "out in left field" as you put it.

The Element is a popular shore bike. Would you compare it to a V10-c? Let me guess, it isn't as stable, the fork is flexier, it feels like it runs out of travel before the V10-c as well. Rocky must have been crazy to spec the bike like that. What were they thinking holding it back and ruining it? See, I can make sense just like you guys.

Re: the gift horse: a turd is a turd whether it is free or not. Based on the negative propes, I assume you don't want the V10c evaluated as a trail/XC bike? Its a great idea to push a bike outside of its element to see what flaws it will have. Oh yeah, I can guess it won't climb well, the front will wander, the reciprocating weight will be horrible, and the turning radius will be too wide. It will bob more than a shorter travel bike. But, when I use a longer stem and lighter tires, it won't work downhill. See I can write at PB standards!!!!
  • - 4
flag Silocycle (Feb 26, 2013 at 10:03) (Below Threshold)
 And that would make you a fly on a turd.
I asked you to describe what you think would be the ideal day on the stock bike but you just fire nonsensical rational or insults in return.
This bike is closer to AM/trail than XC. (Although it falls short in both)
Most everyone has come to the same conclusion so I'm asking you what you would have done differently. I'm interested in what useful things you have to say -not how good you are at being a douche.
  • - 4
flag Willie1 (Feb 26, 2013 at 10:09) (Below Threshold)
 My comments use the same writing strategy of the review. If mine is a turd, or a fly on a turd, and nonsensical, then you agree with me the original article is the same, as the comments use the same logic reasoning strategy.
  • - 4
flag Silocycle (Feb 26, 2013 at 10:15) (Below Threshold)
 I'm wondering why you'd spend so much time on what you'd consider a turd. That's where I liken you to the little creature that spits on shit for nourishment... Apparently you have no use for the bike stock either or you could engage in a conversation over it.
  • + 1
 SOME MOD PLEASE REPRIMAND Silocycle and Willie1 for their behaviour!!! With consequences if they dont behave thereafter! I'M SICK OF THESE TWO USERS FOGGING UP THE COMMENT SECTION OF JUST ABOUT EVERY NEWS ARTICLE WITH THEIR STUPID ARGUMENTS, FIGHTS AND INSULTS! They'v been going at it for quite a while now, in countless news articles, AND I'M ABSOLUTELY SICK OF IT! Right now they are having another slow one-on-one session in here which frankly I dont feel like watching. Its just off-topic, 1-on-1 slow-chat. DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEM!!!!
  • + 1
 @Silocycle... stop grouping AM with Trail... Trail is a different category. Its the one that falls between All-Mountain and Cross Country. Grouping AM to Trail is like grouping Freeride to Slopestyle... oh sure the tricks are the same, but the bikes are generally not even close. In terms of travel, slopestyle is closer to XC but the bikes are built to DJ strength standards. Manufacturers might do it to save coding of a website and space in a catalog, but that doesn't mean they should be considered the same thing.
  • + 0
 @ Victor: I am commenting on the writing, the review, and providiong verifiable information regarding these products. I have not violated the forum rules at all. On the other hand, Silocycle has made numerous opinionalted comments, changes topic, and spins rhetorical circles. Trolling, which he is quite good at, is a violation of the forum rules. There are several members who write well written posts who are asking for a change in the review procedures, as am I, but these two members Silocycle and Wallheater seem to like lousy journalism and are detracting from the call to reason that quite a few of us are looking for..
  • + 3
 I know that and agree with a lot of criticism towards recent reviews, but you are simply fueling the trolls like a triple stage nitrous-oxide injected supercharger.
  • + 1
 Thank you deeeight, I appreciate your distinction. Your points are valid. Victor, my apologies. I've only engaged this guy once before and simply for his inflammatory remarks. I questioned the harshness of his opinion and proposed an alternate view. I admit it was a bit futile, I will refrain. I do maintain that the bike is asking to be ridden hard, only some of the components hold it back.
  • + 11
 I have ridden a zesty and therefore know how capable a climber it is and it is one of the best decending bikes in the Trail market I can see exactly why Lapierre didn't issue stupid wide bars and a short stem, as well as ISCG mounts and a dropper. Lapierre know they have that type of market covered with the zesty and changing the X-Flow would make it far too similar to the zesty and one or the other is going to lose sales. Keeping the X-Flow an XC orientated light-weight keeps it in a seperate market segment.
  • + 7
 Uhm... It came with a 70mm steer, you shorten it, but wider bars on, then complain of back pain when climbing due to a short top tube.
You bash that the chain came off on what kind of trail?
You holed the tires andddd again, on what kind of trail?

Buddy, this bike is a long travel XC bike. Not a AM bike. Not a FR bike. A long travel XC bike. lol
  • - 4
flag Enduro27 (Feb 25, 2013 at 9:36) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah you nailed it mongoose, yeah matt wrag is an idiot, no one should ever wear knee pads on an xc bike unless you wanna look like a tool or matt wrag besides, any trail that you bring a 120mm xc bike on does not warrent knee pads!, and also he said he would have run a 1x10 if he could have mounted a chainguide, duhduduh use a seapost mounted one, one google search would have brought up e.13's version!
  • - 5
flag Silocycle (Feb 25, 2013 at 12:01) (Below Threshold)
 It must be Lapierre that are the idiots then, they are the ones calling it AM/Trail...
  • + 3
 I gotta disagree on the knee pads thing.. I cracked my patella in 2 when I went down on a beach cruiser on a flat as f*ck city bike path (read: dirt sidewalk essentially. Protection is never a bad idea.
  • - 3
 but it slows you down and heats you up, especially when riding xc/trail, no pads is worth the risk in my book
  • + 4
 I do XC rides with knee pads/shin guards also a lot of the time, even in summer heat. When you get older, you realize a little extra water drinking is worth it for the peace of mind of not losing riding time while healing a preventable injury. Do you ride without a helmet also because it slows you down and heats you up ?
  • + 5
 Riding without a helmet is an exhilarating experience actually, especially on a DH bike on a DH trail. It's like having sex without a condom with a super hot, super slutty girl. But I don't recommend it. But I don't think people should be criticized for wearing knee pads. Your knees are probably the most vulnerable to injury on a mtb.
  • + 3
 Come on guys obviously Enduro27 knows what he's talking about. He's saying that because he rides so close to the edge of what is physically possible that tiny things like the extra aerodynamic drag cause by the knee pads and the slight expansion of your body cause by the increase in temperature make a huge difference to him whereas to us mere mortals it might seem like wearing knee pads is entirely down to personal preference and what you feel more comfortable in.
  • - 1
 Maybe its acceptable over in england but if you show up to and xc ride with armor on where i ride you will be shat on by those without it
  • + 3
 If you get 'shat on' (i assume you mean they will be faster than you rather than literally covering you in their feces), it's more likely that they are just faster riders than you. If you get left behind solely because you're wearing knee pads i would suggest that you are wearing the wrong knee pads.
  • + 1
 I believe the correct term is "Shat Upon". In the U.S. it means to be made fun of. Really, who cares if someone laughs at your knee pads. If you're riding instead of posing in the parking lot, you'll be out of sight before you hear a 2nd insult.
  • + 7
 What a shit review. Wide bars, short stem, flat pedals, knee pads... it is a 24 lb XC bike!! Some Joey who rocks flats and knee pads on a 24 lb XC bike should not have the privilege of riding one, let alone reviewing it.
  • + 5
 He'd make a fine person to review $75 Dakine flannel shirts though.
  • + 4
 I am going to defend the author on this review.

1. The bike has a thru axle on the rear, not very XC.
2. It has the routing for a dropper, but they cheaped out on a 6k bike? Also not very XC.
3. Weighs 25 pounds with no pedals. Carbon bike with 120mm and 25 lbs( sans pedal and dropper). To set up the bike up would add 2-3lbs. 27-28lbs on a XC bike?
4. The XC tire trick is a marketing gimmick to lower the weight of the bike. My HD came with XC rubbish too.
As for the knee pads, he may have been testing them out for a future review.

IMO, the author used the principle of generosity: he tried to set the bike up to ride the way the frame designer wanted it to ride, based on the rider's experience with similar bikes.

This bike seems to be a tweener, and an expensive one at that.
  • + 1
 also for his defense
look at lapierre website. X-FLow is not XC bike . for XC there is 29er XR and X-Control.
the X-Flow is in same category as Zesty - trail/AM .
  • + 1
 Its not a 29er. Most XC riders won't consider a 26" bike for XC. It would be a marketing disaster to try to sell a 26" bike with an XC label. It might even be hard to sell a 650b as XC until they get a bit more mainstream in the next 2 years.
  • + 2
 1. Thru-Axles are spec'ed because it makes for a more secure way to hold the wheel, and lets them have more space in the frame for making a stiff yet light frame and it also eases the logistics of the brand of eliminating models that still rely on traditional 10mm axles and seperate QR skewers. You don't just design frames to be stiff for major impacts though. For XC riding you do it to enable the rider to put the power down to the trail without the bike chattering and skipping and sliding out from under you as the frame and wheel flexes. There are a LOT of XC racing bikes going to thru-axle rear ends, especially with carbon frames.

2. Its sold as a XC trail bike, but a lot of riders who do XC don't need (or want) a dropper post, or the weight that comes with it. But some do so they put routing for a remote for one. Its an expense though that adds to the price tag in such a degree that they've have to cheap out someplace else if they wanted to keep the price point the same.

3. No bike sold today other than stuff around the thousand dollar or less price levels come with pedals (and then they're usually just cheap platforms), and they weigh them as they get them for the reviews, and weighing without pedals is now the industry wide accepted practice. Also since there are literally dozens of brands of clipless and platform pedals and models that invididual riders might choose to use, comparing bike weights without pedals makes more sense than with, since a bike with say Eggbeater 11s with all the titanium trimmings is obviously going to end up lighter than the same bike with the XTR trail pedals. But even the SPD pedals we used 20 years ago didn't add two pounds to a bike's weight, and most XC riders today are running pedals that are under a pound for a pair.
  • + 2
 Okay, let's try this again:

A dropper post AND pedals will add 2-3 pounds.

The bike weighs 25 pounds before you add these.

The Ibis Mojo SL-r weighs less than this, has more travel and cost the same. Therefore this is not that light of a bike.

If we do some research on this bike, we find out that it was designed by Nico Vouillez. A downhill racer, not an XC type. ( per distributor Martin Astyn, who rides his X-flow with a dropper)

The head angle is 67.5, hardly a XC angle.

Speaking of the headtube, it comes with an all mountain handle bar( Easton Haven), again not XC.

Finally, if you go to their website, they even have it listed under their all mountain section.

P.s. if I ride the article correctly, the author only used the DH trail for the photoshoot and not the test / review of the bike.
  • + 1
 Again it depends on the post and pedals... the thomson elite seatpost is around 240 grams for a 31.6 and the thomson Elite Dropper is 590 grams for the same diameter and length including the cable and remote. That's only 350 grams difference. A pair of XTR trail pedals are just under 400 grams for the pair. So 750 grams give or take a couple grams, which is less than 2 pounds. How much less does the Mojo SL-R weigh compared to this bike ? As to more travel, it isn't always about the millimeters of travel, but how they're employed. Yes Nico was a DH racer, but that doesn't mean he only was a DH racer, or that he's incapable of designing an XC bike because he won his world championships in DH. There have been a great number of gravity-oriented racers who were quite skilled and capable XC riders as well. You're out of touch with what XC bikes use for geometry today. I've already covered this in another posting to someone else in this thread but 66-69 degree HAs are VERY common on not just XC trail bikes today, but even XC racing bikes. As to the handlebar... yeah easton markets the haven as an AM bar... terrific...so what? Its light enough to have be considered a top-end XC bar compared to many other brands offerings. The Haven's stock 711mm length is pretty much where many XC trail riders run their bars today. As to Lapierre's website... its actually listed under Trail SLASH All-Mountain...and as its been repeated many times now fanboy... the X-Flow is the trail model, the Zesty is the All-Mountain model.
  • - 1
 YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNNNNNNNN..........................

Edit - Actually I will bite on one point. Give me a list of all the XC race bikes that have a 66 degree head angle. All the bikes you listed in another post to me all had steeper angles and / or more travel which made your comment null and void.....
  • + 0
 Do your own damn homework.
  • + 0
 I guess the entire mtb world is XC to you because you can ride it on a XC course. Your definitions encompass everything and therefore define nothing.
  • + 1
 A Mojo SLR under 24 lbs will cost more than this bike. I have a Mojo SL, and it weight 25lbs with a dropper and pedals. You need carbon rims, carbon bars, very expensive lightweight hubs, XX drivetrain etc to get to that weight. I brought it in to a local LBS to get a replacebale derailer hanger, and another customer asked what it would cost the shop to get them up with a bike like this. They quoted him almost 9000.00. I certainly didn't pay that, as I build my own wheels, buy parts on closeout or door crasher specials etc

Just look at the lapierre site. All of the XC models have an X in the name. The X-Flow would have been an XC /trail bike, except it was designed just before the market started abandoning 26" wheels in this category. They had to lump it in to a category it really doesn't fit, because of the wheel size.
  • + 1
 " Do your own damn homework."

Come on, just one. One XC race bike with a 66 degree head angle. That's all I ask Wink
  • + 1
 Come on, just one AM bike with 120mm travel, 32mm fork, 70mm stem, and XC tires. That's all I ask. Wink
  • + 0
 Wow- just a neg prop. No real answer available to you?
  • + 0
 Just checked the ibis website:22lbs with xtr.
Just checked competitive cyclist website: $ 6k for the bike with XTr.

Again, lighter , more travel , same price.
  • + 0
 Whyte t120
  • + 2
 What are you citing the T120 (it appears to be discontinued given the lack of info on the Whyte website) as an example of ? I found a 2011 review of one on the Whyte World blogsite. Its had a 32mm fork yes but with a 20mm thru-axle, and it had a 68 HA so its proof that geometry has been evolving for longer than just this year on XC bikes (pay attention wallheater). In any case, its not an example of an ALL MOUNTAIN bike with XC looks/parts... its an XC Trail bike with XC trail bike parts.

As to the Ibis website and its 22 Ibs with XTR...with what OTHER parts. According to the Bikeradar review of it, it was 22.92 pounds WITH EASTON CARBON XC90 wheels... the Ibis website has a bike builder program that lists all the part options and prices for completed builds, and the basic most SLR with an XTR group but no dropper post and still no pedals is nearly $7200USD. With the Carbon wheels that are needed to hit that sub-23 pound target the price is over $9k.
  • + 0
 I think you group bikes together much differently than the rest of us:

All mountain and trail bikes are often lumped together( Lapierre website, for example).

Hard tails and XC are often lumped together.( many pro's race XC on hardtails).

But you seem to think that trail and XC are the same thing.

The general definition of an all mountain/ trail bike is slack geometry and around 5-6" of travel.

A XC bike is typically up to 4" of travel and has steeper geometry to increase climbing ability.
  • + 1
 Again you're out of touch with reality. Even up to FIVE years ago, that might have been true. Today, its not. There is no "rest of us". There is you, and wallheater and that's it. You're the only two in this whole thread of comments so far that can't grasp that this isn't an AM bike, and that Trail isn't the same as AM. To the bike industry as a whole, Trail is the grey area between XC bikes and AM bikes. That's why some manufacturers group Trail to AM on their catalogs and others group it with XC. Some however are sensible enough to list them seperately (Rocky Mountain has distinctive XC Full Suspension, Trail, All Mountain, and Gravity/Freeride categories). The sub 70 degree HAs that XC bikes have today is where DH bikes were FIVE years ago. Again, bike geometry has evolved and now its time for your brain to evolve with it.
  • + 1
 Clearly I don't know what I am talking about:

Specialized Epic, 100mm of travel, it's their best XC bike.

Gt just launched their XC racing team, they're racing on hardtails( Zaskar carbons).

Apparently, the bike companies don't know anything either.
  • + 1
 The Epic is a 100mm 29er, which would be about the same as a 120-130mm 26er. 29ers use approx 1" less travel per category.
  • + 1
 Again you're just proving my point of how out of touch you are...

The Epic is 100mm travel because its a TWENTY NINER now... that's it. They do not make a 26er Epic any longer. The bike companies by and large DO know how to list bikes, the problem is that they're expecting to be having customers who have kept up with the times, or at the very least, can READ the specs listed in the catalogs without having their hands held for them. As to the GT XC team racing hardtails, what's that got to do with a full suspension bike discussion ? You can clearly regurgitate stuff from the internet that others have written for you, but can you come up with anything of your own ?
  • + 0
 Here is what I know: you argue exceptions to the rule ( 66 head angle , thru axle'd XC bikes)
When a manufacturer labels a part ( Easton handle bars) differently than you do than you claim that it can be used for something else and therefore is something else.

When a manufacturer uses numbers that disagree with yours, it is because the wheel size is different, or some other excuse.

As for me: I mountain bike. I have one bike. I ride it for everything. It has a slack head angle, 2x10, thru axles , carbon fibre, a dropper, a shorter stem, longer handle bar. And yet I am unevloved according to you.

As for me regurgitating from websites, most people would view that as evidence in support of my arguments.

You on the other hand, " skip thru the bulk of the review" and then try to argue with people, who took the time to read the entire review and agree with what the author was writing.
  • + 1
 Yes... because in your make believe fantasy land, XC bikes with head angles in the 60s and thru-axle forks is somehow an exception and not a industry wide thing... ok I see, pointless to enter a battle of wits with someone so unarmed as such as yourself. My mistake for bothering.
  • + 0
 Again you're "skipping" thru people's comments. I wrote rear thru axle( in a comment above) , which is much different than a fork thru axle.

Keep it up with the Ad hominem attacks.
  • + 1
 Fine... The Element 29ers have thru-axle rear ends, the Epic you mentioned all have thru-axles, pretty much every brand is moving to thru-axle rear ends on their XC bikes. I've already explained the why for that in another message in this thread 16 hours ago. That you failed to actually read and comprehend it is not my fault.
  • + 2
 Oh read it, I didn't believe though. You are right about that part. At this point, best to agree to disagree.
  • + 1
 "The sub 70 degree HAs that XC bikes have today is where DH bikes were FIVE years ago. Again, bike geometry has evolved and now its time for your brain to evolve with it."

Deeeight, you still haven't found me an XC race bike with a 66 degree head angle, and now you are saying that XC bikes have the same geo as DH bikes from 5 years ago! Now you have to find me an XC race bike with a 64 degree head angle!

www.orangebikes.co.uk/brochures/original/brochure_2005_screen.pdf
  • + 0
 Yeah whatever troll... a DH bike from a has-been brand that had to get the same writer who did this half-arsed article to do one on why they still make frames in the UK out of monocoque aluminium to try and generate interest in folks to buy from them... that's really relevant to this discussion.
  • + 0
 Troll? You spend your entire life acting like GOD OF PINKBIKE on every article, spouting opinion as fact and belittling anyone who dares have a different opinion as you. Care to argue with Wade Simmons when he rides an RMB Element on a steep freeride trail? You spend all day on here so you must have seen the vid... Oh no it's a 'trail' bike and you can't ride that bike either for XC or All Marketing or you will DIE1!11!! I've ridden with him (or behind him when he was on a RMB Alititude ripping down Neds on Mt Seymour. But of course GOD OF PINKBIKE states that he is wrong for doing this. Burn him to hell! TrailXCfreerideAllMountainEnduroSlopestyleDHPowerXC blah blah bloody blah..... Stop categorizing and just ride a damned bike! You can't even back up your geometry arguments with any hard evidence (see my multiple requests above). Care to say something positive for once?

Sooo.....this XC race bike with a 64 degree head angle.....lets see it.....
  • - 1
 @wallheater, I've come to the realization that its like talking to a stone. It is hard to imagine how a guy could actually enjoy riding a bike with all that useless junk jammed in his head. It's not that it's unintelligent.... Just...wow!
It also occurs to me that the bikes we love actually evolved from guys trying to ride lines that their bikes weren't intended for.
  • + 3
 Appears to be a close macth to santa cruz trC.
Although now the trC can be used with 34 fox, 35(or 33?)xfusion etc.

With a 120 travel shock, im sure your always going to be feeling like the rear is lacking in one part of its stroke.
  • + 2
 Exactly, I've ridden many 120mm travel bikes that I enjoy in almost all aspects...except descending. If you're going slow or on smooth trails they work great, but high speed + rocks + roots and you blow through the travel too quickly. A solution is to run higher pressure in the shock than recommended which throws off every other aspect of riding.

This is clearly an XC/Trail bike...and should be reviewed as one. With the short travel and low bottom bracket, I can't see ever wanting to bash it through some rock gardens or tackle some really steep technical terrain.
  • + 2
 As a side note, Peaty rode the TRc on the same course that Matt did his review on. His only wish was to change to a 34 fork. There are a lot of people that ride "XC" bikes on AM and even DH trails. I'm one of them.
  • + 2
 For anyone who couldn't understand the Pendbox system: www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk/sites/default/files/upload/Technologies/XFlow/fr-gb_pendbox2.jpg

I can see what they have done there, and it's quite clever in fact! But in my opinion it is far too complicated (five links) for that the BB only moves 5mm in total; even if that is all needed to improve the suspension efficiency.
  • + 2
 I ride a 720DH with the Pendbox system and yes there's a few parts for not a lot of moment but the point to the system is it only need to move a small amount to have a massive impact on the bike, trust me you've never ridden a more stable platform under peddle stroke than Pendbox, my DH rig peddals like a HT out of the corners.
  • + 2
 I used this as a test bike; I must say that it climbs alpine hills very well, however, the carbon pendbox catastrophically failed, then every time a slight, and I mean slight pedal impulse was applied the chain and front derailleur would flex, towards the exterior of the bike, towards the largest chainring, rubbing violently. In my opinion, it seems like they need to improve the carbon before using it for All Mountain! Lastly, the pendbox is an absolute nightmare to clean after a muddy ride. Go to your local shop and check out the bottom bracket and pivot area for yourself. 4,500 euros + for Pendbox worries? You decide. Rant over.
  • + 2
 A lot of people seem to forget, that magazines only test what is provided to them for testing... and the reason this was provided for testing is because Lapierre needs to find someone to buy it, and for some people, this would probably be the sort of bike they are looking for. But another part of the story is that Lapierre obviously miss-read the timing and the shift in the marketplace when designing this bike, and deciding to go ahead with production. The market demand for 120mm XC Trail bikes WITH 26" wheels is dwindling.

To use Rocky Mountain as an example again, their Element platform has pretty much always been a full suspension XC racing model, and its now has 120mm of travel (with 26er wheels or 95mm rear travel with 29er wheels) and they have a more all-round 29er XC model with 130mm travel called the Instinct. But for "trail" riding they now have the Altitude with 150mm travel and 650B wheels (which totally replaced last year's Altitudes which were then called XC Marathon and came in 26er and 29er flavours). There was a time though that DH bikes with 120mm of travel were considered overkill and XC bikes had at most 75mm of wheel travel, but that's ancient history now to most people. Bikes evolve, and so do the riders who enjoy them. Sometimes a brand evolves with them and sometimes they fall behind. Its clear from this particular bikes design and build kit, that Lapierre is behind in evolution.
  • + 0
 deeeight, you are the voice of reason here.
  • + 0
 This bike would have been penned at leasty three years ago for it to be in production this year. This was before the press started discussing the 650b prototypes. Weight is about as low as it can get now with current materials and production methods, and Lapierre appears to be moving away from the Horst link design. Going to a different wheel size makes sense as the next evolution in bicycles, as frame design will not undergo a significant revolution in the next few years. Everyone is doing carbon. If this would have been designed around 650b or 29er wheels, Lapierre would have had a much easier time marketing it. There are no serious 26" XC bikes in the current market. Thjere are a few 26" trail bikes left, but many manufacturers are in the process of phasing them out. The head angle is a response to consumers perception that slack is better without a downside. If it was 650b, they could have pushed the AM label a bit more, as 650b does have a slight but noticeable advantage is smooth feel (it would feel like a 130-135mm bike, when it is 120mm.) My Mojo SL feels more like my El Guapo with 650b wheels on it. It wasn't like that with the 26" wheels. You can get away with a little less travel with the mid size wheels.

This is basically a bike that missed the next evolutionary step. I would happily trade in my Moje SL for a 120-130mm trail bike with 650b wheels when it is time to upgrade. As a trail bike the Mojo is awesome, but with the bigger wheels I could get by with less travel.
  • + 1
 Your point is reasonable deeeight, hence the authors issues with the bike. I don't think a rider from either side of the spectrum (am to XC) can be faulted for scratching their heads and wondering what they could do to make it more agreeable. My downhill buddy would look at it and think hey what a weird XC bike and my buddy who races XC would probably think its too much bike. Why I say Am/XC is because I thought it might lie somewhere in there but you have some valid points and perhaps it is trail... Only with the wrong wheels?
  • + 1
 Sorry, I meant to say AM/trail not am/XC
  • + 1
 Wheels are fine, Mavic Crosstrails are appropriately named as being for Trail bikes. The fault is in the tires. Rocket Rons are at the uber weenie XC racer end of the Schwalbe tire lineup, coming after the Furious Fred semi-slicks and before the Racing Ralph. Its hard to tell from the way the photos were shot, but the RoRo doesn't have a great tread for trail riding. A better tire to have used on such a bike would be the Nobby Nic. They're decently light (around 550-650g depending on width/casing) for the 26er diameter and have a much more aggressive tread well suited to trail bikes. RoRos on the other hand... are sub-500g tires for the 26ers. Comparing a typical trail width/casing... a 26 x 2.25 with a TL-ready casing and without the snakeskin sidewall reinforcement, its 465 grams for a RoRo and 545 grams for a NoNo. So 80 grams per tire difference, and all of that is in the tread.
  • + 1
 Impressive! Anyways I meant the size of the wheel, relating to your point of Lap being "behind in evolution".
  • + 3
 Not impressed with the unimaginative writing such as "flexy as hell" "scratching the hell" or "dick around" in the woods. You make money writing articles, let's see some of those skills!
  • + 1
 Nice to see a 26inch review on a bike with less than 150mm of travel! I think Matt's reviews are all pretty sound with a good balance of pros vs. cons across the board. I have to say the point of this bike does seem to have been missed slightly, However they are only his opinions! A good round-up of the bikes parts, construction and rear end are all still there. what more do we need!
  • + 2
 I agree, he wrote his review which seemed original.
  • + 1
 Seems like Lappierre really shorted this bike on higher end components? They really seem to have put this frame on a pedestal as it looks like that's where most of the money is going to, considering this bike costs $6650 US dollars!! (Granted this is my opinion)

Sexy none the less
  • + 1
 LOL at the article and comments!

I think its about time PB has a writer that's into 'XC' because this bike obviously isn't for the gravity segment and its hardly even in the AM realm either. Its an XC/trail bike. not a trail bike/AM bike. And funny how the last 2 pictures makes the bike look awkward in the picture. they should have used an enduro bike for the last pictures for that trail. knee pads on an XC/trail bike, really? or is it simply being used for something it isn't meant for?
  • + 1
 "This paired perfectly with the 67.5 degree head angle" - just checked the Lapierre website, at according to that its supposed to have 69 degree headangle..

www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk/mtb/cross-country-marathon/x-flow/x-flow-712#onglets
  • + 3
 You gave the link to the last year's model. The 2013 one is slacker, with a shorter and wider cockpit, different wheels, kashima shocks and some other changes. The geometry in the article is correct, however, I don't know about fork travel - the website says it has 130mm (the rear is still 120) and the article says it's 120 front/rear.
The link to the 2013 model:

www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk/mtb/trail-all-mountain/x-flow/x-flow-712#onglets
  • + 1
 Ahhh thanks mate Smile
  • + 1
 Review it as an XC bike and Pinkbike readers complain about an XC review on Pinkbike. Review it as an all mountain bike and Pinkbike users complain that it's not being reviewed as an XC bike.

I kinda liked his blunt assessment of the bike, given the kind of riding he's putting it through. Maybe all lightweight trail bikes should be built all mountain tough? That would make them fun as hell.
  • + 0
 I would classify this rig as a capable xc bike. The current standards for a trail bike demand at least a 34 fork. (In my opinion) But I guess it all comes down to the style of rider. You can ride all mt trails on a hard tail if you want, however you will be looking for smooth lines (moving much slower) all the way down.
  • + 3
 To me, the X-Flow is like the Trek Fuel EX, and the reviewer was trying to make it a Remedy or Slash. Weird.
  • + 0
 thought that price had the expensive as hell fox post in it, guess not. same with full xtr... wait nope. I'd love to have a bike like this as the lil brother to my dh and am/enduro rigs but not at that price point (not like I'd buy new anyways)
  • + 2
 remembering it is full carbon, and that lapierre have always been expensive bikes
  • + 3
 "Turn on Pinkbike take a look at the front page, there's the Lapierre X-Flow 712... And I JIZZ IN MY PANTS"
  • + 29
 I'm just Glad it's finally a 26er...
  • - 4
flag wakaba (Feb 25, 2013 at 0:49) (Below Threshold)
 Like Lapierre a lot. Their dh-rig is a really nice performer.

26 looks and performs so much better. Travel is more suited to a gravelroad scenario only.

Getting a little bit of (supposedly very very evil) chain pull in a single point rear is less of a problem than having to deal with lots of bearings on flexible axles in a flexible four part rearend.
  • + 3
 Exactly, finally a test 26 ".
  • + 8
 @wakaba: 120mm (5" to those of us still on the retarded system) of travel is gravel road? Sounds kind of silly to me. 120 is enough for 4 foot drops and blasting the average descent. Plus you can climb and turn and twist and hop better than a heavier bike. This is not a gravel road bike!
  • - 1
 Gravel road bike, hate to tell ya. 120mm and skinny carbon tubing - more rr than anything. Light and nice to sprint but a decent hill will waste a beautiful 5000$ bike.
  • + 1
 I can grant you that it would not be my first choice for strength over time (carbon never is), and $5000 is a lot of cash (but not unusual anymore for a decent bike), but i would say 5 and 6 inch travel bikes are at different extremes of the same category these days and if you look at the enduro rules that were just released, this bike fits the bill. It is not DH or FR, but neither is it a 29er for climbing and rolling over stuff nor is it a rail trail riding bike. Both of those categories exist and are well represented and frankly it is not as if it is DH or nothing. If that were so most of us would not ride since you need mountains for DH and a lift or road to the top.
  • + 0
 Absolutely, this bike is a compromise and a good one. The lowdown is that it there are better components and better frame materials available - Columbus CroMo, ti for example. There are a lot of bearings and axles. There is thermal expansion differences between metalic inserts, resin and carbon. So it is planned obsolecence rather than a 5000$ investment. Within its design enveloppe fine.
  • + 1
 So it isn't a gravel road bike, just a throw away one. Sounds right. It is carbon. Even at 5 grand it isn't bad for carbon's typical high price and an xt drivetrain.
  • + 2
 The 2103s one is 130mm and the 3013s one is 120mm. I have X-flow 312 from 2012, the lowest one and ist fantastic for me.
  • + 2
 So that's what bike he was riding whilst testing the urge AM helmet! Lapierre do make some gorgeous bikes!
  • + 1
 I`m glad I`m no longer deciding what to buy and ride.. But it looks like a sweet ride.
  • - 1
 Needs a clutch/Type 2 derailleur and a dropper post. Then we'll talk.

Also FYI, "lapierre.com" is not the website for the bicycle company. You want "http://www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk/"
  • + 0
 ''Sitting at a relatively unfashionable 120mm of rear travel, the X-Flow seemed to be overlooked compared to its longer-legged brothers.''
Brothers???? I would say sisters.
  • + 1
 Looks cool and they're known to ride well- but one day out in the mud and cleaning will be a nightmare.
  • + 2
 omg! its that Gangsta pad Helmet again!!
  • + 0
 RC needs to be the rider\evaluater for all the XC\Trail bikes. I think even the pimple faced kids with only DJ bikes in their garages realize this is not a worthy review...
  • + 2
 What an absolutely gorgeous looking bike... and a 26er!
  • + 1
 AM? With 120mm travel? It's a beautiful XC missile but the bigger going is done with different caliber rides.
  • + 1
 Name sounds like something you would call a fighter jet
  • + 1
 This critical article is as useless as tits on a Warthog
  • + 1
 Smoothest looking bikes out there..
  • + 1
 Lapierre's design and painting is astonishing.. art on wheelsWink
  • + 1
 First Lapierre I'd actually buy lol
  • + 0
 Please review a 4X/SS/FR/DH 26'' legit bike ffs pinkbike!! These bikes are so dull and uninteresting!! We need variety!
  • + 1
 Does it "roll with the flow"?
  • + 0
 Love fox CTD. very good bike ....... i want.............!
  • - 2
 nice bike but 120mm it is too short i think
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