Prototype Lapierre DH Bike

Feb 22, 2014 at 22:47
by Mike Levy  
Prototype 650B Lapierre

Lapierre didn't hesitate to get their top racers on a prototype 650B version of their downhill rig, with Loic Bruni racing a version of the bike during his 2013 World Cup campaign. That effort has continued into the new year, with kiwi speed demon Sam Blenkinsop racing aboard a similar machine at the recent New Zealand Championships. The bike sports a very finished appearance that wouldn't look out of place on the showroom floor, making it clear that the French brand is either ready or very close to being ready to offer a production version in the near future. The front triangle is constructed out of aluminum, just like the current 26" wheeled bike, and the swing arm uses the same carbon main section combined with bolt-on aluminum dropouts and bonded aluminum forward section, although it's safe to assume that it varies slightly from what is currently available to the public.

While the non-drive side crank is blocking us from seeing any of the bike's suspension linkage detail, it obviously employs the same floating bottom bracket Pendbox suspension design as is found on the production bike. There are no details concerning geometry at this point, but it likely features slightly more bottom bracket drop compared to the 26" wheeled version.


  • 207 18
 Lol 2013/2014 will go down in history as the years bicycle innovation stopped dead and everyone just put slightly larger wheels on their bike instead... would love to see some actual new designs, prototypes or concepts Pb, this 650b things is getting lame!
  • 132 11
 The bike industry is obsessed with labeling everything a 'prototype'. A prototype is when Honda takes a model 5 years away from production to an undisclosed location to see if it actually works - no cameras, no racing, no public. That's just a guy racing a pre-production frame with big wheels. Calling it a prototype makes it sound cutting edge and revolutionary. Big wheels. Nice.
  • 36 33
 @idrinkpabst, A prototype is an early sample, model or release of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from. I'm not trying to bitch at you. I just thought you should know this.
  • 43 4
 Sure. knows a lot. In the real world, major industries would never allow prototype projects or materials off private property. Dudes at Motorola don't cruise around town with prototype phones. You don't see prototype Toyotas at the grocery store. Prototype KTMs aren't out at the local mx track testing suspension. If you see a Motorola, Toyota or KTM product off private property, it's a pre-production model that's usually dressed up to look different or hidden from sight. Bike companies call everything they don't yet sell a prototype. It's just funny. No worries, mate.
  • 24 33
flag shankyshaft (Feb 23, 2014 at 0:52) (Below Threshold)
 Wtf do you guys know about innovation? Can you design a competitive downhill frame, are you a pro downhill racer? No your not, but these guys are and they know what's needed to go just a little bit faster and if that only means adding slightly bigger wheels and a frame to match, then why wouldn't you call it innovation?
  • 11 9
 @idrinkpabst, I can see your point of view. There are no rules about keeping things secret though. I did like the 'You don't see prototype Toyotas at the grocery store'. Smile Prototype/Pre-production. I get you mate.
  • 35 5
 Haha - First of all, I do have my pro dh license. Second, I'm 8 Coors deep watching NFL Network at 1am - so obviously I have nothing better than to talk a whole lot about nothing. Thirdly, the bicycle was invented almost 200 years ago and I'm sure the conversation regarding proper wheel size goes back to days of yellow fever and steam ships. Calling 650b an innovation is a bit dramatic.
  • 6 13
flag shankyshaft (Feb 23, 2014 at 1:25) (Below Threshold)
 Well if your a pro, can you honestly say that 650b wheels won't give them even the slightest advantage in New Zealand?
  • 24 8
 There are no advantages. You're either good or not.
  • 7 4
 Sorry - with the exception of steroids or PEDs. That's just science.
  • 11 0
 My retired oap mama rides 650b wheels on her shopper... I have to admit she makes it to and from the shops pretty fast! Ahaha
  • 8 14
flag shankyshaft (Feb 23, 2014 at 1:55) (Below Threshold)
 You haven't even tried a dh bike with bigger wheels have you?
  • 5 3
 And you're just a troll who has no photos, details or input on your profile at all and has liked a bunch of xc hard tail pics... by what authority do you put us down?
  • 8 7
 I don't have any authority, but I think that the engineers at Lapierre and Devinci do and I don't believe that its all "marketing" at least not when they use 650b wheels on their race bikes.
  • 9 2
 Shouldn't you be drinking pabst?
  • 7 1
 shanky shaft should change his username to cranky shaft. hahaha. It's a pinkbike forum bro, there's no argument to be won here. and I have to side with idrinkpabst. not only because i drink pabst, but bikes really just have bigger wheels. less focus on geometry, and prettier paint jobs. thats it. If pros knew what was best they'd be on it already. 26" was unquestioned for a long time. and perhaps now as the geometry designs grow slim in creativity, It's time that wheel size was the next discussed topic. We're all just trying to find what works for us (get your lighters out now) Everyone wants their own perfect ride. I do believe that no matter what your wheel size, no matter what your rim width, we shall overcome the terrain, and be a community once again of undivided mt bikers. praise the bike gods.
  • 4 1
 A Toyota and a DH bike have slightly different length production cycles, would't you say?

If Intense wanted to, they could go into the shop and have a prototype done by the end of the day…Toyota, might need a little longer for the next Corolla.

There is a whole thread on MTBR about the next SC Nomad prototype being spotted in Whistler…you can bet there are people holding off on there next bike purchase to see what they release.
  • 16 0
 I really should've been drinking Pabst. I feel like a fraud.
  • 5 0
 Was Steve riding his 26inch bike when he cased that gap? It looked like his red and yellow bike. Shoulda hopped on the 650b version. Heard it makes you at least 5 seconds faster and jump 10 ft further.
  • 11 3
 Ok prototypes in other industries are regularly taking out in the real world for testing, happens all the time in automobiles and aviation... when your product is big, you need more than a lab. Hell in military aviation prototypes are routine for competitions/fly-offs, and then everyone gets to see them if its not some black spyplane project. Why people think it'd be any different for bicycles... with cars going to test tracks they usually apply fake body panels or cover it with rubber bras and dazzle paint schemes to break up the appearance so other company spies don't immediately figure out what it is. They're also of course run without model badges. And really for other areas of bike design, there's not much left to do for the major speed improvements that running larger diameter tires bring to the table.

As to the 8 coors deep drinking comment...whooopy...coors isn't beer...its like making love in a canoe, f'ing close to water.
  • 1 0
 Thank you giant for don't BRING bigger wheels, at least to the glory, but you couro BRING carbon!!!
  • 1 1
 Giant has already said anything that was 26 and didn't change to 650B for this year will be changed to 650B.
  • 2 2
 Frank Booth: What kind of beer do you like?

Jeffrey Beaumont: Heineken.

Frank Booth: [shouting] Heineken? F#&% that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!
  • 3 3
 Shouldnt you be drinking pabst not coors?
  • 9 1
 i find it odd that 650b bikes are only now being tested out by teams. why is it that this advantage has only surfaced now that its a trend rather than 5 years ago.
  • 4 0
 I would give this ^ 100 + props if I could!
  • 1 0
 To change wheel size you have to completely redesign the bike, including frame layout and suspension.
  • 1 0
 i agree with ctd07 on this, but its also a way for the different component manufactures to make money, yes there may be a slight performance increase but at the end of the day, it s a wheel it goes round and round
  • 2 0
 @matt5311 There weren't any 650b DH forks 5 years ago.
  • 2 0
 Actually there were, just not labeled as such. Any 26er fork with clearance for 26 x 2.7 (or more) tires was enough to use any of the 650B tires available 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago.
  • 3 0
 Pretty soon we're going to be seeing drivetrain components specifically designed to shift quicker & have optimized compatibility with 650b bikes. Mark my words.

I've been riding longer than most of you guys have been alive (37 years on two wheels and still going strong). I can't count the number of "revolutionary designs" I've seen come and go because they just didn't make a difference and I can't recall a single thing creating this kind of controversy.

I don't if it's a good thing or bad, but I know that I speak for a lot of riders on here when I say that regardless of whether it makes a performance difference or not, I can barely afford this sport and I make a pretty nice income these days.

I can't imagine how a 20 year old kid is supposed afford this "revolution" in technology and stay current in this sport. So a guy/girl has a great mountain bike and if he/she wants to get on this bus he/she is going to have two options:

1) Lose their ass selling their mountain bike and spend a year's tuition on a new bike, or...
2) Lose their ass selling their 26" wheels, tires, frame & fork and spend a year's tuition on a new wheelset, tires, frame & fork.

Either way this makes me mad at the industry that is supposed to be on our side. But yet, I see $10,000 bikes in shops and these days my $6,000 Yeti is little more than an above-average caliber of bike. What's going on here? Anybody else have the fish-in-a-barrel feeling?
  • 19 0
 What I still cant get my head around is everyone pissing around with bigger wheels when the real innovation we all want (gearbox) gets overlooked. Innovation is governed by the major component brands and not by the bike manufacturers themselves it seems.
  • 22 1
 They should fix their frame durability instead of putting different rims on it..... So many people here broke these frames.
  • 14 1
 so many little crybabies getting all butthurt over wheel sizes.

You are riding your size wheel, so why care about what other people are riding? Just shut up and ride
  • 6 2
 The more the industry pushes to 650b, the less 26's are left behind. If I'm not wrong, Yeti has already stopped production of the SB66 because people are buying into the hype and buying the 650b version instead. Most people,I think, get "butthurt" because the industry seems to be backing us(the ones who want 26 wheels) into a corner and leaving us with almost no say, or choice.
  • 8 3
 how many 26 bandwagon kids have actually ridden 27.5 or 29" in the first place.

My guess is not many - and even if you threw them on different size wheels and told them to guess, most would be lucky to get the right answer.

Change = insecurity - welcome to life.
  • 5 0
 Can't speak for the rest of the bandwagon kids, but I have. I didn't like the way 29s felt and I didn't see the point to 27.5s. I'm not exactly the best rider out there and honestly couldn't tell the difference between 27.5 and 26, so my argument, for myself, is why even bother with wheel size when more could be done towards changes in bike geometry, braking and other bike equipment? All I'm seeing is a somewhat unnecessary push to get people to buy things they don't need, instead of a proper push for more innovation in equipment. I can't remember the last bike part that was released that didn't have some kind of problem with it.
  • 3 0
 I don't care what others are using. The problem, from this year I don't have a chance to buy 26" from most of the companies (talking about 1500 € plus bike). Have to buy 27.5 or 29 - depend of the marketing guys. Everybody says I have option for 26, but it's f*cking lie. For my next bike i must switch. Regardless i will like it or not.
  • 5 0
 If it helps, you can have all of the VHS tapes and CDs in my attic.
  • 2 0
 @Oriion I'm perfectly happy with 26. There is no way i'm going to throw out all of my 26 gear just because some say bigger is better. That would be a gross waste of good materials and an therefore an insult to the environment.
So what if bigger wheels are almost measurably faster, and roll over stuff easier. I love the challenge of getting over tech bits. If I wasn't 6' tall, I'd probably have run all of my bikes with 24" wheels for the extra fun of having to bunny hop and fly over more stuff.
  • 11 0
 My wife has decided to weigh into this argument with her comment: "Most women will tell you 1.5" won't make any difference, it's what you do with it that counts."

basically i think i'm being told i have a small wang, but i'm good at using it. Smile so pick your wheels boys, and just be good at using them.
  • 7 0
 Taking "Pick a wheel size and be a DICK about it" to a new, almost literal, level...
  • 4 0
 ^^Winning Comment.^^ All bickering can hereby cease.
  • 4 0
 The 26" crowd has to fight for their right to party on 26" wheels or they are gonna get rolled over by the media hype and there won't be as many 26" options left.

If the 26" crowd has to be a dick about it, then that is simply what is necessary to ensure the survival of the 26" wheel. It's not fight or flight, its fight for flight.
  • 5 0
 (I know ive left this same comment on many articles before but the same point still applies.) Step 23 Choose your favourite wheel size, now be a dick about it............

The usual everyday people ride bikes that feel comfortable to them, if they think that they feel a benefit from riding on wheels that are 1.5 inches bigger then fine, i only own a 26inch wheel downhill bike but have riden a few 27.5 hardtail or all mountain bikes lately and i honestly didnt feel a huge difference. That doesnt mean that its better or worse, i honestly just didnt even notice. In theory the wheels will roll over bumps a tiny bit better but it isnt like riding something completely different, its still just a bike with slightly bigger wheels than what people are used to. I think only the top guys in the world can really show if there are huge gains to riding 650B wheels. I dont think it would make much difference to my weekend ride. Its not always about the time
  • 1 0
 Most riders in wc who raced on 650b didn't yet get significant time advantage over 26inch. the difference must be very small, but the 1.5 inch less under your butt before tire contact is significant enough on steeps... at least my 29er did feel like a giant under me and got me riding in weird position to stay balance. i sold it. worst investment ever exept for letting me bitch about em with experimental results. They do roll effortless (not necessarely faster) on fire road and little impact zone, on real stuff the angle of impact of rocks is almost the same on all wheel size and this is what counts for rolling resistance.
  • 5 0
 bigger wheels=more weight and added flex

650b is a hustle to get everyone to keep buying new equipment in a time were ppl dont have as much money, nor a real incentive to buy new equipment. We're being bullied by the industry.

half the reason ppl are freaking out over these bikes is the slacker head angles and long wheelbases they feature. Guess what, these same changes will do wonders to your 26 inch rig, dont need the big wheels ppl.

if you want to see innovation that works, look at the mondraker forward geometry concept introduced a few years ago. Theres something thats basically trickled through to most world cup teams and for good reason. How many 650b setups hve put in results on the worldcup circuit......
  • 2 0
  • 6 1
 From this angle, it looks as if the seat stays are welded to the frame Razz

650b or not, I would ride that. How can people get so upset about an extra inch and a half!?
  • 34 1
 You have never dropped the soap in prison, I see
  • 1 5
flag jiuop (Feb 23, 2014 at 0:05) (Below Threshold)
 and you are
  • 1 0
 Haaha scary1 you just made my day good one Wink
  • 6 0
 Sam has been riding it in Queenstown bike park. All the secret bits wrapped in old tubes and duct tape.
  • 4 8
flag gnarbar (Feb 23, 2014 at 1:41) (Below Threshold)
 ooh secret. like anyone in the world cares
  • 1 0
 Well spotted eliotem! This bike pictured is not the prototype.
  • 3 0
 As long as people buy 26" bikes, companies will make them and sell them. Guess what? All of you riding 26" bikes aren't buying new 26" bikes. They aren't selling. Don't worry, in a few years, it will come back and they will all be promoting the "flick-a-bility" of the "new" smaller wheel size.
  • 1 0
 I was lucky enough to ride the 26"version of the lapierre dh. I couldnt believe how fast it picked up speed. First go and i already felt up to the speed i was at on my scalp. I'd be happy to ride a 650b one. In fact i've said i'm not changing my dh frame until the wheel size debate has left a clear winner but a 650b 922 with marzocchi 380 forks on it would be real swell
  • 1 0
 Id love to see some new innovation... 650B is fine and dandy.. But wheres new frame designs? Have we come to the peak if mtb evolution? Are we getting lazy? Or is 27.5 a bigger deal than i believe. Sure you cover more ground. Good for Zink or Aggy, but for a park rider i dont think it would be necessary for your average park rider...
  • 1 0
 can short arses ride 650b? jw

i understand height will be the same, just a small fram to big wheels is increasing unsprung weight differential, i do not like this, we all go to great lengths to save unsprung weight and then they go n put an inch and a half there, big brand big money mistakes i predict. and they wont gain speed but wont go back on it to save face
  • 1 0
 I'm 5'8, riding a 29er so yes it is possible. Whether it's ideal depends not just on how tall someone is but also his posture and strength. A stocky guy like me (think rugby player body type) can manhandle a bike enough to put the big wheeler to good use, which a noodly kid probably can't.
  • 1 0
 sweet ride but, man..... bummed Pshop can't sell these ---- Pshop buys from where there's some sorta ownership deale-o with SBS and Lapierre but they're simply not sold here in the U.S.
  • 1 1
 It's all marketing, but it's working. I'm 33 years old, I have a job, I can buy any bike I want. Last year there was nothing wrong with my 26" wheel bikes. Now I feel like a need 650b. Not because I believe it's better, but because it's newer. I feel like an idiot, but I just want the latest thing. THis year, like it or not, that's 650b.
  • 2 0
 is it me, or that boxxer has longer drop-outs to compensate for bigger wheels and different trail?
  • 3 0
 looks it, that variation is more critical than head angle, i wish writers would stop banging on about slack head angle, boring, axle offset is a key point, well spotted
  • 1 0
 dh frames looked so small with 26" and now with 27.5" look even smaller...looks very aesthetically not pleasing.
Small frames with 29" wheels...the best Smile
  • 1 0
 I'm starting to think that the first bike company that builds and sells a frame that can use all of the wheel sizes and still perform well, wins.
  • 6 4
 I can deal with 650B, but let's stop right there.
  • 3 1
 It's a new bike. Please don't fight Smile
  • 6 4
 I got 99 wheel sizes but 26 ain't one.
  • 3 1
 Old...go look at the punta ala enduro bike check comments...
  • 1 1
 Cool story wood.....
  • 1 1
 Prototype to means there is only one..if you have more than one then its been produced!..unless all the prototypes are slightly
  • 2 0
 Wow, great logic there, how can you have a prototype you can test without producing one? You can't ride a CAD drawing or a sketch.
  • 1 0
 Is there a filter preventing self appointed arm chair engineers from commenting with out even having tried 650b bikes?
  • 1 0
 a 33.6" square rim prototype is being tested in secrecy and is proving revolutionary !
  • 1 0
 Doesn't look like the thing loci was riding at skyline all covered in duct tape...
  • 1 0
 Looks like an old 26" version with big wheels, not a prototype.
  • 2 0
 nice bike...
  • 1 0
 pardon grammar its 4am watching the gold mens game.
  • 1 0
 Won't the back end just snap easier now?
  • 2 1
 29" all over again!
  • 1 1

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