Field Test: Lapierre XRM 8.9 - Firm French Flier

Oct 24, 2022 at 10:26
by Matt Beer  


Lapierre XRM 8.9

Words by Matt Beer; photography by Tom Richards

There are two frames in Lapierre's cross-country stable that share the same shape and carbon layup, but with different travel amounts. If you were poised to race short track cross-country, you might opt for the XR series, which uses 100mm of rear wheel travel, whereas for racing marathon style events, the 110mm travel XRM is more appropriate.

For 2022, the re-designed frame moves the 55mm stroke shock via a rocker placed on the seat tube and the popular “flex-stay” approach near the dropout in order to reduce the weight. Lapierre approached the suspension design with parameters that suit the needs of riders that churn out wattage and high BPM. A digressive leverage curve starts out very firm and softens towards the sag point, ramping up again at the end of the stroke, ideally.

Lapierre XRM 8.9 Details

• Travel: 110mm rear / 120mm fork
• Carbon frame
• 66º head angle
• Reach: 440mm
• 74.5º seat tube angle
• 435mm chainstays
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 12.0 kg / 26.5 lb
• Price: 5,199 EUR

If that platform isn't wound tight enough for you, those extra cables protruding from the handlebar tie into lockouts at both the Fox 34 StepCast fork with a Fit4 damper and a Float DPS rear shock to really eliminate any movement from the suspension. I wouldn’t say they are well sorted, though, because the over-the-top, thumb-actuated thumb lever for the dropper caught us all out once or twice when we tried to unlock the suspension, but instead raised the post.

Lapierre XRM 8.9

Inspecting the components bolted to the caramel-colored carbon frame show a splash of Shimano XT parts throughout the build. We're accustomed to finding their four-piston brakes on enduro bikes, but Lapierre has chosen to downsize to two-piston XT brakes and 160/140mm rotors. Interestingly though, the total weight of the bike isn't quite as light as we might have guessed. The build is more of a workhorse than a thoroughbred because a closer look at the specifications reveals DT Swiss XM 1700 wheels and an alloy Race Face handlebar.

Price-wise, the XMR 8.9 isn't as shocking as the other boutique lightweights on test and their wireless gizmos. You can hop on an XRM 8.9 for 5,199€ by visiting Lapierre's online store or visiting one of their dealers in Europe. On either side of the 8.9 is their XRM 6.9 with primarily base-level SRAM components and fixed seatpost for 4,099€, and a special edition for Lapierre’s 75th anniversary littered with Shimano XTR, Race Face carbon parts, and gold Fox suspension which rings in at a pricey 8,699€.

As stated, the general feeling of the XRM ride is compact, and that is mainly due to the uber-low stack height and short top tube. We rode the size medium and even though I can accept that a forward weight bias proves to climb more effectively than a relaxed one, overall the fit was on the smaller side. Both standing and sitting riding positions felt a touch cramped because the reach is a mere 440mm. That did match up well for front to rear balance since the chainstays measured in at 435mm. Those are the same across the sizing chart though, so that’s something to consider for taller riders looking at large or extra-large frames.

I did appreciate that the 60mm stem spec’d on the size medium XRM wasn’t any longer and felt just right for the bikes’ intent and the 66-degree head tube angle. On paper, that number is deceivingly slack, as we’ll discuss in the descending portion of the review.

Lapierre XRM 8.9
Lapierre XRM 8.9

Trailforks Regions Where We Tested

Testing for the Lapierre XRM 8.9 mainly took place on the scenic Neilson Nord loop at Vallée-Bras-du-Nord and around the vast trail network of Mont St. Anne. The Neilson Nord loop is wedged in a valley between a monolith of rock and follows along the edge of the Neilson River over outcropping Canadian Shield bedrock and navigating swooping singletrack.

We put the XRM through some demanding rock gardens, root infested turns, and smooth single track throughout the test to cover all bases. There was no lack of variety in terms of trail conditions but we never threw the XRM past its marathon XC race intentions.

VBN Secteur Shannahan mountain biking trails


Swing a leg over the XCM 8.9 and you'll realize that this bike doesn't want to sit in its travel. "Compliant" might be the last word I'd use to describe the suspension, even on the uphills. We'd often look down and double check to see if the rear shock was locked out, only to be reminded of what the XRM was geared towards: transferring all of the power to the rear wheel.

If you do hit a smooth section of double track or tarmac though, closing off the lockout switch engages the XRM’s full sprint potential - you might be confused why you’d ever need a hardtail. The low stack and short reach give you maximum leverage over the top of the bike and really let you feel like you could tear the handlebars from the stem as you drive down on the cranks.

Swinging through tight switchbacks was like steering a Smart Car through a slalom course; it turned on a dime and the front wheel never wanted to lift. I’d point a finger towards the smaller geometry numbers, like the reach, stack and wheelbase, for that reasoning. Much like the BMC Fourstroke LT, you have to be on your game - the body position is set high above the bike and any lean to or frow can change your line of attack very quickly, for better or worse. When the trail turns technical though, navigating steep corners and precarious rocks takes a bit of attention because the riding position is so compact and heavily weighted towards the front.

Lapierre XRM 8.9

Lapierre XRM 8.9
Lapierre XRM 8.9


All I can envision when riding the XRM downhill is a big-headed caricature of myself leaning way over the front of this bike, leading with my pearly whites aimed straight at the ground. I’ve never felt this exposed on any bike. Once you come around to the fact that you’re basically riding a hardtail and you shouldn’t expect this bike to save you from any “Oh shit!” moments, you can find a bit of a rhythm.

That harsh rear suspension makes it a handful to try and keep it tracking over rough terrain - getting into the travel really takes an effort and isn’t comfortable, nor is there a lot of traction when the bike is unweighted, standing above the sag mark - that’s when the suspension moves from regressive to progressive. There is good support and bottom-out resistance, it just requires a good hit to get into the squish. Is that all worth a few fractions of pedaling efficiency? Well, check the Efficiency Test for those results. I’d say, in a real-life riding scenario, on trail, that suspension theory backfires and makes for a less compliant ride by simply not keeping the wheel on the ground.

The forward riding position is exacerbated by the firm break away of the rear shock and the Fox Fit4 damper. The fork does work well on the chatter and small bumps, but it doesn’t hold up high enough in the travel when you’re faced with descents like “La Beatrice”, on Mont St. Anne ‘s World Cup XC course.

The saving grace here is that the bike is short enough to move your body position back and forth to balance out the center of gravity. Old school photos of me hanging off the back of a bike on descents exist, but at least there’s a dropper on board this time around.
Due to the short length of the bike, there’s not a lot of wheelbase underneath you to play with traction through the corners either.

On the positive side, the XRM was the quietest bike in our test, thanks to the cable actuated rear derailleur and rubber chain slap protection in all of the right places. In terms of componentry, the DT Swiss wheelset was superb, with zero issues.

The same can’t be said for the downtube of the frame though. Levy managed to spit up a rock with the front tire and punch a hole in the carbon downtube, just above the bottom bracket. That could be considered user error, or just part of the game in the XC world, where adding more weight in favor of protection is frowned upon.

Overall, it doesn't seem like comfort was at the top of the priority list for Lapierre when they set out to build this marathon cross-country tool. You’ve got to be sharp to keep this one out of harm's way.

Lapierre XRM 8.9


+ Solid component choices for the price
+ The quietest bike in this Field Test


- Very jarring ride
- Pronounced forward riding position
- Clumsy handlebar controls


The 2022 Downcountry Field Test is presented by Québec City Mountain Bike, Sweet Protection and Specialized Ground Control Tires

Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
361 articles

  • 101 0
 How is "a rock punched a hole in the downtube" not in the list of negatives?

I'm not sure about you guys, but rocks tend to make a pretty regular appearance in the places I ride my bike.
  • 20 0
 review really downplays the..."we broke the frame" bit. Despite what the video says, it totally should be a knock against Lapierre. At the very least, there should be some protection from the clear ride wrap.

As someone who hasn't added any speed-holes to a carbon frame before...I'm curious to know how much does something like this compromise the integrity of the frame? This a frame replacement situation or can it be repaired (I assume repaired)?
  • 44 0
 @SATN-XC: it was a prototype downtube
  • 1 20
flag SATN-XC (Nov 2, 2022 at 13:49) (Below Threshold)
 @mrpfp: where do you see/hear that? thats not mentioned in article. Looks to be a production model
  • 14 0
 @SATN-XC: refer to the past Pole field test review for joke context
  • 28 0
 @EnsBen: **whoosh** bad
  • 7 0
 @SATN-XC: it's often considered easier to repair carbon frames than metal ones. Quite a few carbon bike repair companies around (perhaps see also: it's often considered easier to break carbon frames than metal ones!). My road bike is off to be repaired at the weekend from chain suck trashing the chain stay :-(
  • 5 2
 Just broke a Reign Advanced this way-and Giant won't warranty it. Not okay on an XC rig, a trail bike, or any other mountain bike.
  • 2 0
 This. Rock broke downtube is a major deal. Also Matt pretty much said this bike isn't fun to ride without saying it out loud too.
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: Fully agree a hole in the frame is not okay; just want to make a point about frame protection.

Clear wrap is great for preventing scratches and rubbing, but doesn't do much for severe impacts.

Stiff plastic or thick rubber can work for impacts, though for the 100+ grams such things can add, a better solution is to add that much extra carbon to the frame. Unfortunately, most people like to see the added protection - and removable protection allows dodgy marketing departments to claim a frame weighs XX99.9 grams (size XS, unpainted, and maybe missing a water bottle screw).
  • 1 0
 It is downplayed because there are really no way to tell if its bad luck or bad construction without more numerous reports. For example the cracked trek wheels was a very common thing across testers and owners. There are people angry over their damaged super expensive santa cruz on youtube. You just can't build a light and impossible to impact frame. Still i'm suprised this frame is not better protected in that specific area but many XC frames are like that. Go to any bike shop and have a look at customer returns on punched carbon frame, it's very common. I had similar crack on my frame, it's an external and localised punch, for a similar event just ask a carbon specialist for a repair it's really not looking bad.
  • 1 0
 @Ajaj191: The only downside to carbon is its susceptibility to rock type impacts. Even when rocks fly up and don't punch holes, a deep gouge in carbon is a little un-reassuring. I have a bud who went through three different santa cruz frame warranties due to rock strikes on the underside of chain stays or BB area. Now that said, they took care of him every single time and he loved the frames and weight. He sold the last new one and now rides aluminum only however. We have lots of loose big rocks here. If we lived someplace loamy, he'd likely still be on carbon.
  • 2 0
 Had that happen to me on my Specialized Enduro that a rock that was thrown up from the front wheel broke my shin and punched a hole through the Frame and Frameguard so I dont necessarly think that is the Frames fault. After all it is carbon and that is uninvitable gona break sooner or later.
  • 2 0
 @RockCrawler: And that's why I question carbon as a frame material when rocks are being thrown at the bike. Course everything breaks eventually. I've cracked at least a couple aluminum frames too. (Not catastrophically, just fatigue hairlines.)
  • 2 0
 @cougar797: True, its just that for me no aluminum frame broke since I sold my last Kona Stinky from 2008. And I have broken 3 Carbon frames (one from manufactory defekt and two from rock strikes) in the last 16 Months
  • 74 4
 I'm getting real good at hitting this pause icon. Thanks PB for great manual excercise, maybe next time make this button move away from the cursor, so that viewing stats get even better. Currently someone may count "views" vs seconds played and get to a sad conclusion that people watch like 5s for average per page hit and Outside will get angry.
  • 12 1
 Annoying, isn´t it. I´d love an option to set the auto-play off
  • 29 1
 @bok-CZ: the option exists in your profile settings.... but it does nothing.
  • 5 1
 If you use Chrome get this extension:

Works for me. No auto Play
  • 1 1
 @pisgahgnar: their is a typo in the profile setting. The f u c and k and in white font instead of black. Auto- play * * * * off.
  • 7 1
 The auto-play is so stupid and annoying. Open the page, and get a video trying to resize and auto-play itself
  • 14 1
 Even if you do want to watch the video you have to then turn the sound on and go back to the beginning because you just missed some of the dialogue, all these videos start with immediate dialogue. Dumb. I missed half a @mikelevy 's joke.
  • 5 1
 I guess the message isn't loud enough for them to change it. We've been complaining for a few days already and no changes were made. The auto-play is even worst when they put a video on the main page. You have to pause it everytime you go back and forth. Just plain ridiculous.
  • 1 4
 Kudos to my McAfee Webboost for auto pausing this BS.
  • 8 1
 @yourrealdad: Just to piggyback this, there is a setting for firefox users that will disable autoplay across all sites. It's under privacy and security in the settings menu.
  • 1 0
 @pisgahgnar: didn´t know, but you´re right, in both
  • 7 7
 Am I the only one not bothered by this auto play thing? Had no idea it was an issue until people started complaining
  • 4 3
 Auto play = I leave the page and do not return. Maybe bike manufacturers could ask for it to stop so more people read the review they sent their bikes in for?
  • 1 0
 @grnmachine02: Can confirm. This worked for me. Safari has a similar setting under "Websites"
  • 4 0
 @dresendsit: It's difficult for me to read bike reviews at work when it autoplays a video.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: do tell, I use Safari on an iPad to access PB when at work
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: Hmmm. I don't have an ipad handy. In Safari on Mac OS, you open up Safari's preferences, go to the Websites tab at the top, then "autoplay" on left sidebar. You might need to add pinkbike and set it to never autoplay
  • 1 0
 @lRaphl: even worse
  • 38 0
 Watching Evil review: Dam Matt Beer is an amazing rider. Watching Lapierre review: Dam, even Matt Beer looks like he's struggling a bit on that bike. His body language says it all
  • 39 0
 Hole in down tube? Cover it in tape and call it storage.
  • 25 0
 It is not normal to punch a hole in the downtube with a rock strike, and the BB should be where the heavier, reinforced carbon is... Nuts. Can't say I'd trust riding this rig in North America, especially since a warranty frame in 3000 miles away at least.
  • 23 0
 This is the most un-excited PB review I've read in a bit.
  • 3 2
 Matt is an absolute RIPPER on any bike, but he does tend to be more subdued in writing and in discussions. Just gotta know that going in. I don't think it's a bad thing, and Matt's points are easy to understand, but it does make me happy that they have Levy and Sarah's energy to fall back on in this field test.
  • 7 0
 @corposello: I do like that all the presenters are different in how they ride and talk.
  • 4 0
 Hard to get excited about an unexciting bike; Ghost vs lapierre head to head field test please!
  • 1 0
 @HughBonero: This is what I mean. I like matt's reviews. I'm just saying he is saying this bike isnt fun to ride without flat out saying it. Makes the bike sound no fun which is the point of bikes.
  • 11 1
 Notice they didn't use the term "downcountry" once in this review. This Field Test should have been called "6 small/mid travel full suspension bikes we've never reviewed." Or alternatively: "our thoughts on a variety of apples and oranges."

Joking aside - still love nerding out on the free content.
  • 12 0
 I'm just waiting for the BC40 to be crowned best in test (when money is no object); they saved it for last for a reason.
  • 2 0
 Here for this!
  • 1 0
 The BC40 with just a rear shock would be ideal. Buying a fork at full msrp: WHY?? But I guess Allied customers have that kind of cash to not be shopping PB Classifieds for barely used SC34.
  • 16 4
 This is the worst bike review I've seen on this site.
  • 9 0
 The review itself was poor - or the bike reviewed poorly?
  • 18 1
 @ryan77777: the latter
  • 1 0
 Presenters seem very unenthused about it, to say the least
  • 2 0
 The last good bikes from Lapierre were the spicy and the DH from the times bruni was still riding for Lapierre. But even at that time their light bikes suffered from too thin alloy, which resulted in : easy dents by rocks, easy cracks in the swing arms, easy crash around the BB area.
As a French, as much as I would have liked to support a French brand I always stayed away from Lapierre due to this
  • 1 0
 It is interesting to see that their carbon frames are not better, and that now the ride quality/feel is also becoming bad. Was there any recent review of their big(er) bikes in Pinkbike ?
  • 3 0
 The ghost riot full party still tops my list
  • 6 0
 The rest of this bike is meh, but if you're a weirdo like me you'll appreciate the two bottle cages. Two bottles, an EDC tool, and a bontrager spring roll on my Epic Evo have me set up for multi hour rides with no hip bag or backpack. It was a must have when I was looking for a short travel bike a couple years ago.
  • 2 0
 I mean sure it’s a heinous looking fragile bike but if I can attach another 5lbs of stuff to it so it rides like it looks, I’m in.
  • 3 0
 Love PB and I hate to be whiny about free content but this series seems like one Wildcat, one Following and a bunch of other bikes who just changed the marketing copy, not the bikes. Shirley, you can't be serious.
  • 4 0
 Yeah... these bikes suck. Do more Spur reviews.
  • 5 0
 So LaPierre still makes fromage sculptures resembling bicycle frames…….
  • 2 0
 Seems like a solid bike for riding in the Midwest if the rear suspension could be coaxed into being a little more compliant. Often wished for something with a little rear suspension when I'm only my hardtail, but an enduro bike would be absolute overkill for anything around the Twin Cities
  • 2 0
 Have you been to Whitetail Ridge's jump lines? They're massive for the Midwest.
  • 2 0
 I think a Hei-Hei or Spearfish would be a way better version of this bike and definitely easier to find in the Midwest.
  • 1 0
 Lapierre recommends a Sag of 26%, I'm not sure Pinkbike would set it that way
  • 1 0
 I really think lapierre f*cked up something in the test bike they sent. There is no real way for this bike to be as bad as the testers says it is. A rear flex stay suspension depend on 3 parameters :
- main pivot placement, here it is in a very conventional place so this can't f*ck things up.
- shock. The fox float (here in highest grade) is the most common high performance XC shock and no one complain about it for this application.
- linkage progression. Again here the layout is very conventional, scalpel like and must have a fairly usual progression curve.

So if it work like shit it can be one of the following :
- On the current scalpel for example you need a lot of sag to prevent the linkage to make the layout excessively firm early in travel, about 30%. If you bottom too much at the required low pressure just add spacers.
- Friction. It can be a badly assembled shock or a badly assembled main pivot for example.

Overall in my opinion XC/DC bike with only locked/open position are too compromised. In the open position the bike tend to be either overly firm (Scalpel) or bobbing around (Epic Evo). I know people here don't like the clutter but Scott Twinloc or Orbeas copycat is just the answer for this kind of bike. An open setting with a free working suspension for maximum grip in technical climbs and descent, a "medium" setting for smooth about level trail or fireroad climbing and the lock position.
The sad thing is if you want to sell those bike you absolutely need the fully locked position. If i had to make a 2 positions only bike i would keep only medium and open settings and ditch the lock, in real mtb use it really does not see a lot of use and the occasional road climb is fine in medium, unless you have to do a road sprint the full lockout really don't give significant speed.
To conclude i'd say this bike is probably a smart buy if you're in the market for something similar to a Scalpel. It don't have the shitty cannondale proprietary stuff, is much cheaper, has modern XC geo.
  • 4 0
 Seems like a good bike packing bike with all that room in the front triangle
  • 1 0
 "Those bikes does not have frame protection"
Exie does have frame protection around the BB area for sure, it is visible on your pictures. Howerver, it is still small to my taste. But people do not know. You can buy for few $ Stoneguard (or similar, there are many to choose from) tape that car-detailists use on vehicles and you can cut at home with scissors, wet apply and can protect your expensive bikes so easely. No need expensive "bike specific" protections if you ask me. For 20euro foil I was able to wrap 3 bikes!
  • 6 0
 Also the Evil has a big rubber downtube guard on the Following covering the exact place where this rock punctured the frame. Like it was designed out here. That line also surprised me, it's just not true.
  • 1 0
 Recently bought a lower spec version of this bike for XC racing in UK. Admittedly not the most extreme terrain down here in Southern England, but for XC/XCO/XCM racing its perfect. The slacker head angle, longer reach and lower front end is night and day better than the Specialized Camber Evo & Norco hardtail I've been using for the last decade(??!!!) Frame is really tidy and no headset cable routing (wooot). My build weights 24.3lb with dropper, pedals, bottle cage and 11 speed XTR (taken from other bikes).

Whilst the suspension is pretty unsophisticated feeling (SidLux offer nothing other than rebound adjustments), it takes the edge out of lumpy ground excellently, gives better traction than a hardtail and feels pretty active to me...much more so than I expected having read the review. I wouldn't take it to a bike park though...but that's not what its for. It's stiff and the lockout is great when you're standing up on the pedals mashing up a fire road climb or steep bank (lots of those in UK races). So, TLBig Grin R - its a great XC bike, but not such a great 'down country' trail bike.
  • 4 3
 "Overall, it doesn't seem like comfort wasn’t at the top of the priority list for Lapierre when they set out to build this marathon cross-country tool."

Should be : Overall it doesn't seem like comfort WAS
  • 4 0
 Correct. That's fixed.
  • 6 0
 @mikekazimer: Just turn off the autoplay man, I’m begging you! You won’t get flats for months if you do it!
  • 34 0
 @YRneroh, in the words of Phish, "if I could I would, but I don't know how." Hopefully it gets sorted out soon, though; I know it's not popular.
  • 6 0
 @mikekazimer: Thanks, appreciate the response
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Thanks, I appreciate the Phish
  • 2 0
 From the geo and kinematics this should be a an epic evo doppelganger. A couple tokens in the back with lower psi, sort the lockout and dropper lever, perhaps?
  • 1 1
 Just an FYI, going to the Lapierre website, I discovered that they don't list any North American dealers or distributors. Is this just their mistake on their website or was this Pinkbike's time and effort in testing going to waste?
  • 5 0
 Plenty of PB's audience is outside the US
  • 1 0
 The fact that LaPierre bikes aren't available in the North America was mentioned near the beginning of the video.
  • 1 0
 Would’ve been interested to see that hole in the frame. Like how big of a hole are ya talking? either way seems kinda cheesy to say the least. Protected or not that shouldn’t be so easily accomplished
  • 1 0
 circa Timestamp 10:50
  • 1 0
 BPM . Beats per minute . So like 120 BPM drum and bass . Yes I agree drum and bass perfect for hard charging on a bike . Hi watts . Oh yes big subs too! Lots of watts needed .
  • 2 1
 That frame is pretty much a clone of my 2015 Orbea Occam TRc. If it works the same my Occam then it will be a great short travel rocket.
  • 3 0
 looks like an Orbea Oiz...if Orbea was unable to hide the shock lockout cable
  • 2 0
 uBlock Origin, add a filter for '##div.instagram-container'...poof! No more video.
  • 3 2
 they are bitching about XC bike being not forgiving on real MTB trails against other def not XC but "wanna be trail" bikes ahahahaha
  • 1 0
 Lack of traction when going up is a pretty crappy XC-bike! Sounds like LaPierre made a pretty bad bike from what I heard!
  • 2 0
 Look at that root impact at 4:14 it looks like a hardtail
  • 2 0
 And we have our winner, the BC40!
  • 2 0
 Lappier were cool 15-10 years ago!
  • 1 0
 With each new review it seems like not much has progressed from that Spur/Epic Evo/Ranger class
  • 1 0
 Did you set the Sag to 26% as indicated by Lapierre?
  • 1 0
 Price and weight are not relevant as a Pro?
  • 1 0
 Pretty damn sure the Evil has frame protection!
  • 1 0
 So what you are saying is... its a hard tail lol
  • 10 13
 “I’ve never felt more exposed on any bike.”

Did you start riding last year. Stems used to be longer than fork travel bro, come back to Earth with that hyperbole.
  • 8 0

"Not only did the Mantra sport a fiendish auto-firming rear suspension, the bike also had a tendency to simply buck you off the front of it. Hit the front brake at high speeds and the front end would dive, the swing arm would hinge forwards, completely extending the rear shock, which radically reduced the wheelbase and created the steepest possible head angle at the absolute worst possible moment... It was hard to fully appreciate all of this, of course, because you were now busy flying over the handlebars."
  • 3 0
 Google the Canadian DH nationals stats and you'll see when Matt Beer started riding bikes. I'm guessing he's too polite to say how bad the lapierre really is.
  • 1 3
 My Norco Truax looks better than this thing.
  • 1 0
 Your Norco Truax will break just as easily as this bike too
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