Lapierre Gravity Republic Uses Data Acquisition at Cairns World Cup DH

Apr 25, 2014
by Richard Cunningham  

Lapierre 722 prototype with data acquisition Cairns WC 2014
  Wired for speed. Lapierre's 722 DH prototype is fitted with an array of sensors that record the velocity that the bike is travelling, both the position and shaft speed of the fork and shock, as well as the acceleration forces that get past the suspension. Microelectronics minimize the size and weight of the kit, so that the bike can be ridden at race pace for testing.


PB photographer Paris Gore snapped these photos in the Lapierre Gravity Republic pits of a Prototype 722 DH machine outfitted with a array of data acquisition devices used to monitor the suspension in real time during practice runs. Data-logging systems similar to what the Gravity Republic team were using are available as kits (albeit, very expensive kits) and are used by top motorcycle racing enterprises to discover where the bike is performing well on the course and where it could use some help. The Information from each session is downloaded to a laptop computer and then compared to judge the effectiveness of various damping adjustments or apparently, in the case of Lapierre, the bike's modified suspension linkage.

Lapierre 722 prototype with data acquisition Cairns WC 2014
  A look at the black box where the data is stored. Presumably, the box houses the small accelerometers that register any bump forces that make it past the suspension. Each plug-in represents a separate data channel.


Gravity Republic is sponsored by RockShox, and the telemetry was fixed to a 2015 Vivid RC2 coil shock and a charger-equipped BoXXer WC fork that do not appear to be different than what other RS-sponsored teams were sporting. The bike that was wired up had Sam Blenkinsop's number 6 plate, and coincidently, Sam took the top spot in yesterday's qualifying round. History may be repeating itself. Recall the introduction of the BOS Void air-sprung shock at the 2013 Vallnord World Cup, that saw Remi Thirion win after BOS used a similar data acquisition rig to dial in his Commencal during practice. If Blenky does well in the main event, the blue glow of laptops may become as common as the smell of suspension fluid in the pits come next season.

Lapierre 722 prototype with data acquisition Cairns WC 2014
  The slender telescoping device behind the fork is a digital speed and position sensor - the kit's most important component.


Lapierre 722 prototype with data acquisition Cairns WC 2014
  A Second position sensor is mounted parallel with the shock. The blue adhesive tape on the shock's piggy-back reservoir records peak temperature as the stripe along its length turns black.



Gravity Republic mechanic Jack Roure was the man who
instigated the team's data acquisition program.


bigquotes We were working with data acquisition since the end of last season. It was the choice of our head mechanic, Jack Roure and we are working with riders Sam Blankinsop and Loic Bruni. We have certainly one of the most efficient setups to ride, using the Lapierre frame and SRAM suspension. Both are coming from development programs - custom geometry for the frame, Black Box products for the suspension. We have to adapt these products to the feedback of the rider, to the track, and also to the info we get from this tool. About this tool - there is not a lot to tell, Sorry. - Laurent Delorme, Pure Agency: Gravity Republic Manager.

Lapierre 722 prototype with data acquisition Cairn WC 2014
  The sensor near the disc brake rotor is an optical pickup that reads the spokes of the rotor. The computer then converts the signals to accurately determine the speed that the bike is travelling at any given time.

Lapierre 722 prototype with data acquisition Cairn WC 2014
  Lapierre modified the geometry of the rocker link that drives the shock, as evidenced by the inset image of the stock 722 DH. The new rockers are beefier and the location of the pivot points are more triangulated, which suggests that the team is experimenting with different leverage-rate curves.



93 Comments

  • 79 8
 *Unrelated comment about wheel size*
  • 52 7
 *classic "choose your favourite wheel size and be a dick about it" quote*
  • 19 3
 hahahaha i wish there was "COD"- comment of the day
  • 17 10
 You can buy a moto for that money!
  • 5 7
 'about half way down thread standard nahh your all dicks' muchos neg props comment
  • 6 47
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 25, 2014 at 6:08) (Below Threshold)
 let the negprops begin
  • 13 3
 "looks like an enduro wheelsize got robbed" is an other classic.
  • 4 17
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 25, 2014 at 6:55) (Below Threshold)
 fracasnoxteam - why did you just use three clichés in one sentence? you've obviously never ridden a moto
  • 1 0
 what about sticksion
  • 5 0
 How about "the enduro wheelsize got robbed at a moto price?"
  • 7 1
 Nico Vouilloz had that in his bike since 1997. Saludos
  • 3 0
 Willie1 I think we're on the right way to the negprop tsunami... Can you buy a pair of wheel at this moto price?
  • 5 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 25, 2014 at 11:23) (Below Threshold)
 albrow22 - thank you for bringing that up. The last time I remember people talking stiction was after the introduction of 35mm legged Boxxer. There were many experts talking of importance of dealing with that elusive issue. That was indeed a hot topic however ahead of it's time, as two years later Kashima came about and everyone had fired all they had at the Boxxer and Marzocchi who was in deep sht by the end of 2009.
  • 2 0
 dickish criticism of the author or article gets neg propped into oblivion
  • 5 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 25, 2014 at 11:58) (Below Threshold)
 dfiler - you are obviously new here... have you seen articles having 27,5 bikes, mentioning price of the bike higher than 1500$, or having "29" in the title? Authors were stoned to virtual death and critics were glorified.
  • 9 4
 I've been here long enough to know to negprop your stuff without even reading it. BOOM! ;-)
  • 5 6
 Waki if you can buy a moto with that money means means to me WTF are you doing here? Go moto sonewere far from a Mountain Bike web site. What a ridicolous coment. You can buy a moto duhhh. And in the moto you dobt need to pedal duhhh
  • 4 0
 @Willie1: Does the moto looks like a trek session?
  • 2 0
 @waki a moto? pfff you could buy a sram x11 at this price...
  • 6 1
 Waki is just a know it all and professional Joey!!
  • 5 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 25, 2014 at 15:35) (Below Threshold)
 I just think that you either ride moto, or do some real cycling with no expensive carbon toys: that real deal is called BMX! There i said it you MTB whiny mamma boys! MX or BMX, or go home
  • 4 1
 Bmx? Lol ya when I was 10yrs old
Sorry you can't afford the expensive toys!!
Whiny mtb mammas boys haha your too funny your the typical keyboard jockey prob can't ride for shit and just talk shit good luck with that captain Joey!!
  • 7 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 25, 2014 at 15:43) (Below Threshold)
 There should be no wooden features on Rampage!
  • 4 1
 Keyboard jokey hahahahaha
  • 3 0
 I agree^ 100%!!!
  • 4 1
 *insert 8th waki comment that suddenly takes a serious turn and ends up being the size of a whole article*
  • 4 1
 Waki provides a good 34% of my entertainment during school
  • 1 0
 Insert "that bike looks like this other bike that is similar, but different" comment
  • 13 0
 The Sunn team used to do this in the late 90's and Nicolas Vouilloz carried on doing it on his Vprocess bikes with Bos suspension. K-9 industries also used this data analyst gear for there frame and offered it to people who bought frames. It's great to see as it brings a little F1 to DH but it's nothing we have not seen before in the short history of DH racing.
  • 6 5
 fairly sure the Commencal riding addiction team used it last year at vallnord aswell. fascinating stuff really, will be interesting where they place in the finals, to see if it was worth the time and effort...
  • 6 1
 "History may be repeating itself. Recall the introduction of the BOS Void air-sprung shock at the 2013 Vallnord World Cup, that saw Remi Thirion win after BOS used a similar data acquisition rig to dial in his Commencal during practice." - Second paragraph of this article.
  • 15 3
 love to see blenki win tomorrow.
  • 2 1
 As soon as I saw this on the page the quails came flooding back, I hope he can do it to - I mean Im rooting for Hart but Blenki deserves a win - maybe this 'gain data about he curse being ridden and adjust appropriately' technique has some merit to it.... not that F1 didn't think of that years ago!
  • 2 0
 you'll love it.
  • 10 1
 All that fancy equipment and still the rookie mistake of tyre and rim logos not matching up Wink
  • 1 0
 Who cares for this mud race? That's roadie derived anyway
  • 2 1
 All that fancy equipment and do they make a size for people over six foot? no.. Frown

Ps. Gotta line the logos bman, it's good chi.
  • 4 3
 My biggest question is how much weight does it all add to the bike? You might ride differently if there's a 5lb difference on your bike's weight; not to mention how much extra mud that can cake to some of those extra features.
  • 2 1
 5lbs on a 19lb XC bike would be noticable. (25% or so of the bike weight)

5lbs on a downhill bike is minor (like less than 10% of the bike weight)
  • 1 0
 If that were the case people wouldn't care if their bike weighed 34lbs, 37lbs, or 40lbs. If you look at reviews, interviews, and articles critiquing bikes, even dh bikes, you'll see there's quite a few people who care about 5lb differences. Especially at the world cup level.
  • 1 0
 There are people who will spend infinite amounts of money to make their bike incrementally lighter no matter the cost. It's human nature in a gear driven sport. 5lb isn't huge on a DH bike. I can't tell the difference between riding a 45lb bike versus a 50lb bike. They all feel like pigs to me.
  • 1 0
 a world cup rider would be able to tell.
  • 1 1
 So? They can tell the difference between 1psi in a tire.

The point is that they're faster overall with the 5lb penalty and a dialed suspension
  • 1 0
 I believe all these bike companies are focused on weight for a reason, meaning there's a practical purpose to avoiding an extra 5lbs. An extra 5lbs can make a bike feel different in a sport where precision is so essential, and when you tune the suspension to that feel, then remove all the weight the suspension will react differently; for example, the rebound may be too fast giving the feeling of too much spring in the bike which will decrease how effective the suspension keeps the wheels in contact with the ground which can make a large difference in time in elite DH races.
  • 2 1
 Its funny how this gear seems to be used on so many french bikes.
Sunn/vprocess
Bos suspension on the commencial (i know the frames andorran)
And now on the lapierre frames.
I really do love those frames too. Definately my favourite on the circuit and after riding a 26" version i dread to think how fast the 650b bike is.
I'm pretty sure j-tech offer data logging days for anyone in the uk who wants to get the most out of their suspension Smile
  • 1 0
 French.. Good wine + steep hills = fast bikes.
  • 1 0
 It amazes me that people dont realize this kind of equipment gets used to design bikes all the time. Do people think that someone just draws up a frame or suspension and that the final iteration is based off some qualitative feedback from a rider only?
  • 3 0
 The track is turning to goop before the weekend, forget about it! All this data is useless. Get the mud tires out and hope for the best! Rubber side down!
  • 3 0
 They're going to be pretty disappointed in the speed data that they collect. Rachel Atherton said she got passed by someone walking along the course in qualifying!
  • 1 0
 FYI the data acquisition system is developped by Antidote Solutions (www.antidote-solutions.com/fr/services/development), a little firm with great talent. They helped BOS, on Thirion's bike.
  • 1 0
 Interesting to see dirty dans front and rear in the dry. Saw loic Bruni using them in dry and dusty conditions recently also. They must be amazing for cornering,as they are a wet spike. Must buy me some
  • 5 0
 Dry? Have you seen the cairns track previews?
  • 2 0
 Ha,ya it's a total mudfest! I saw loic bruni using them in pure dry and dusty conditions in a vid recently
  • 1 0
 Fair enough, my bad. If it's any consolation, they seem similar to the maxxis shorty's. A friend of mine was running em in some pretty hardpack conditions the other day and it held up just fine. Pretty good stuff.
  • 1 0
 Cool dude, easy to mix up what I said. Those maxxis shorty tyres look sick. Waiting for some 27.5 version to come out.
I'm obsessed with tyres Smile
  • 3 0
 arnt we all Smile
  • 3 0
 We better be...there's two pieces of rubber touching the ground that are way smaller than the average shoe, yet we trust them to grip cornering at 20mph and in blown out corners. It's probably good that we care about tires, right? Wink
  • 1 0
 That's the way I see it,some of my riding buddies couldn't even tell you what brand tyres they are running!
  • 1 0
 People under estimate the importance of tyres big time , they spend all day ' tweeking ' their suspension ( randomly turning knobs and bouncing in car parks ) when they don't even know what tyre pressures they run Razz
  • 2 0
 saw bruni testing this stuff in NZ a month or so back. interesting to see in the flesh for sure.
  • 3 0
 and it works in dirt!
  • 4 3
 Wow. Fascinating concept of the power of electronic technology on the development of a bike.
  • 4 2
 Fascinating perhaps, but it's actually NOT a new concept. Data logging / acquisition has been around for years starting in aviation and making it's way to car racing and then 500cc racing in the 90's. If you want to know what's going on beyond just your own butt and hand sensors, this is the way to go.
  • 1 0
 I knew it has been used in other aspects for a while, I just haven't seen it on mountain bikes yet.
  • 2 0
 Been done here before too Mitch. Been done here before. :/
  • 3 1
 Should have done my PhD in that field !
  • 15 0
 Youd have needed a bloody good umbrella....
  • 10 0
 Oh, not THAT field Wink
  • 1 0
 hahahaha brilliant
  • 1 0
 I would absolutely love to have one of these kits. Unfortunately not as much as I'd love to have CDN$2500 plus shipping
  • 1 0
 450 lbs spring….for 70 kg rider?……crazy. 18% SAG only…….. doesn't sound right to me...
  • 1 0
 That was like gwins session in 2012, it didn't even sag when he sat on it!
  • 1 1
 They should use green cables and put a Venom logo on that box. Then they could call it the Bane Date Acquisition Technologies. Venom makes me Faster! More Venom!! hahaha
  • 3 0
 That shock has pubes!!!
  • 1 0
 Surprised so many wires needed. Make it all Bluetooth or ANt+. Must be old tech.
  • 2 0
 Why the pubic hair round the piggy back??
  • 2 1
 I don't understand why some make single pivot so complicated?
  • 2 1
 So it wins races, which a basic single pivot (224) can no longer do
  • 1 0
 Pendbox can allows a very high pivot point (with all advantages) without downsides because it remove kickback.
And the rockers allow to have a good control of leverage-rate curves for the engineers (they can do what they want as you can see on the last picture...)
  • 3 3
 Hahaha yeah whatever helps you get to sleep at night knowing that you spent a shit ton of money on some concraption that is needlessly complex just for the sake of being different year over year. A single pivot can no longer win races? If that's true, it's only because the fastest racers are riding for companies that build overly complex junk like this for tech weenie Neanderthals to "ooh" & "ahh" over. They build what sells best, not what works best. Then sheeple like you guys come along & reiterate their rhetoric like you have a f*cking clue.
  • 2 0
 They are just trying to optimize suspension as far as possbile. It does seem crazy at first that so much design and development can go into a bike suspension / linkage system.
  • 4 0
 If you really think that it's just some commercial stuff or "words", that's the proof that you never try to understand the functioning of bicycles. Most things are simple yet and can easily be felt on a mtb ! (why more the pivot point is higher, better will be the first part of travel, but in return the length of the chain will not be constant [=kickback], etc.)
As an engineer student I love take some time to understand the conception of the different bikes. That's really interesting, for anyone who practice mtb. Just try to go beyond that the commercial speech.

Do you really think that today, with lap times that are played on the tenth on 4-minute tracks that a simple pivot could win, even with the best pilot ? Not me.
With people like you, today we will still ride non-suspension mountain bike in DH.

But you're right on 1 point : if the technology can make you faster, it will not bring extra-smile on your face.
PS : I actually ride a simple pivot Morewood Izimu.
  • 1 0
 Tech weenie Neanderthals? Thats an oxymoron. Unfortunately it is the Neanderthal that still believes technology makes no difference. A la... 'ugg ugg, it moves up and down, ugg'. If true single pivots still compete and it's all just for sales, then how come the most winning single pivot company (orange) have as good as disappeared? Have they gone off sales?
  • 2 1
 Nonetheless, loving your use of the word sheeple, even if you are trying to frame me with it lol. Have you heard of dean clifford?
  • 2 1
 But yeah I sorta get what your saying but it almost sounds like you're suggesting that the best designed arrived and won for ages then just to increase sales all the bike companies started racing more 'complex junk' against each other to see who could win that and trick us into buying new stuff. Lapierre have had a very good couple of years with pendbox and I just think if orange could keep up with a true single pivot (even the new 322 with repositioned shock) then they would, given that it would probably sell loads more due to having about seven million less pivots, bushings and bearings. Which is appealing to people, as we discovered when a true single pivot could be piloted to many a victory and was, under a multitude of different teams and riders. But it just not competitive anymore. I will stress at this point that, as stated by eniete, this doesn't mean you can't have enormous fun and at the level most of us are at, beat your mates on their complex junk. Which is why I kinda get what you're saying (maybe not the way you spewed it at us) for joe public. But believe me, when you've got the ten best guys in the world and they're separated by fractions sometimes and they're all training like crazy, technology is necessary. Pretty much every bike being ridden in almost every mountain bike discipline is smattered or awash with linkages or floating arrangements, which is testament to technology being paramount.
  • 1 0
 One crash and it's goodbye telescopic fork sensor.
  • 2 0
 More cables=More faster
  • 1 0
 Looks a bit slicker than Transition's data acquisitionWink
  • 1 0
 Optimisation of the suspensions in the mud ? Are you kidding ? lol
  • 1 0
 It's about time!
  • 1 0
 ㅇ
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