Lapierre are diving back into the world of cross-country racing and riding with the launch of their new XR series of bikes. The XR models are the purebred XC race models, with 100mm of front and rear travel and no dropper posts to be found.
The XRM models use the same frame with a different shock to get 110mm of rear travel that's paired with a 120mm fork, and all of those models receive dropper posts. The 'M' in the model name stands for marathon, but Lapierre do mention the downcountry word in their press materials, just in case you were worried that term wasn't going to make an appearance.
Lapierre XR Details
• Wheelsize: 29"
• Rear travel: 100 (XR) or 110mm (XRM)
• Carbon frame
• Head angle: 67° (XR) or 66° (XRM)
• Sizes: S / M / L / XL
• Chainstay length: 435mm
Personally, I have a feeling that more and more riders will be showing up at starting lines with dropper posts on bikes with slightly more travel than what was traditionally the norm - I wouldn't be surprised if in a couple years what Lapierre are calling marathon / downcountry ends up being typical for XC racing.Frame Details
Achieving a competitive frame weight was one of Lapierre's overarching goals with the new XR bikes. To accomplish that, they went with a flex-stay suspension layout in order to eliminate the approximately 90 grams of weight that would have come from a pivot with cartridge bearings. Flex stays are becoming increasingly common in the XC world these days, with Specialized, Orbea, Giant, and others using variations of the design.
According to Lapierre, the XR's seatstays are lightly pre-loaded – they're under a small amount of tension until a rider sits on the bike. Then, at 26% sag that tension is neutralized. After that, as the bike goes through its travel the stays flex upwards until the end of the travel reached.
A new layup using Torayca unidirectional carbon fiber was also used to shed additional grams. The highest end models in each category receive the Carbone UD SLI Team layup, which is 198 grams lighter than the standard layup.
The XR Team version frame weighs in at a claimed 2038 grams, a figure that includes the shock, bearings and bolts. That's 393 grams lighter than Lapierre's previous XC frame, which is an impressive weight reduction, although it may not set true weight weenies' hearts afire when that figure is compared to other modern XC bikes. For reference, the Specialized Epic checks in at 1869 grams, the Orbea Oiz OMX is 1740 grams, and the Cannondale Scalpel Hi-Mod is 1910 grams.
Other frame details include a universal derailleur hanger, room to carry two water bottles inside the front triangle, and a remote lockout lever on all models. There's also clearance for up to a 2.4” rear tire, and up to a 38-tooth chainring. Geometry
Surprise, surprise, the new XR is slacker than the previous version. The head angle now sits at 67-degrees for the XR and 66-degrees for the XRM, a significant change of nearly 3-degrees, and one that puts the bike's numbers right in line with its contemporaries.
The seat tube angle was steepened by one degree, and now sits at 75.5-degrees on the XR model, and 74.5-degrees on the XRM (the angle is slacker on the XRM due to the 20mm longer fork).
One figure that stands out is the relatively short head tube – it's only 100mm on a size large. That's 15-20mm shorter than many other bikes in this category and gives the XR a very low stack height. That may not be an issue for riders who want their front end as low as possible, in a more traditional XC position, but it's something to consider for riders who are coming from the more upright position found on modern trail bikes.
Other changes included lopping 8mm off of the chainstay length, which puts them at 435mm, and increasing the reach on all sizes between 8 to 13mm depending on the frame size. Models and Pricing