France’s finest wines, mustards, black currants and cuisine can be found in the idyllic city of Dijon, which coincidentally is the home of Lapierre Cycles, the classy and innovative brand we don’t see enough of in Australia. Flow takes the opportunity to learn more about the company with a rich heritage, immersed in the culture of all types of bike racing.
The largest premium bicycle brand in France, is a part of the large parent mob of Accell Group with Ghost Bikes and Hai Bike. And since last year, the popular dual suspension models using the OST+ (a variant on the excellent four bar linkage, Horst Pivot design) patent held by Specialized ran out, so we’ll be seeing more of these bike all over the world.
Lapierre pump out 110,000 bikes annually, how many spokes does that add up to?
With the frame construction coming from Taiwan, and part of the world’s assembly, Lapierre still maintain the assembly and distribution of the European share of the market’s bikes right out of the Dijon facility. Gilles Lapierre, the son of founder Jackie Lapierre maintains the name in the business as the general manager.
The Burgundy Region, simply stunning, like a postcard wherever you look. Vineyards in the front, trails out the back.
NSW Lapierre sales dude, Luke, moonlighting as the big boss, Gilles Lapierre.
The modern and stylish offices of Lapierre sit alongside the original building. Since 1946, Lapierre have been based in Dijon.
Rows of frames ready for assembly.
Behind the secret door, in this big room, is the future. Lapierre’s R+D department was strictly off limits, damn it!
We charmed the staff to let us shoot photos in their testing room, where frames are tested to their death.
This poor Zesty frame was having a hard time in the grips of the machine. The noise alone was enough to make us cringe, as it is beaten, stretched and pounded in the name of sacrificial testing.
This machine tests the brake mounts on an aluminium frame. It’s amazing how much stress they put into the bike, we watched it withstand amazing forces through the frame.
Alignment testing of the new downhill bike’s pivot points and lateral surfaces. Precise.
This looks technical.
The 2015 bikes were being detailed, and photographed for the new catalogue. All done in house.
Lapierre are mighty proud of their heritage, this old mixte was lying around the factory, attracting just as much attention from us as the 2015 bikes.
Some of the wheels are custom built in house.
Mesmerising to watch, as the wheel builder laces spokes into a hub like dropping spaghetti into a boiling pot.
Carefully assembling and setting up the new bikes for European distribution.
The electric bike market is going bonkers in Europe. Their Lapierre Overvolt electric bike with the Bosch motor is a seriously amazing machine. When Bosch have a service centre in Australia, we’ll have access to them. Think dialled geometry, suspension and components with a motor. Hauling ass!
Remi Gribaudo, the engineer behind so many bikes, designs and especially suspension. This guy rules, happy to openly chat about the e:i Shock Auto system, and the finer details of frame design. His close relationship with Nico Vouilloz is key to the suspension design process.
Remi on his ‘lunch loop’ aboard a prototype road bike.
Not in Australia any more.
When in France, ride an FDJ team bike through the Burgandy roads. A stunning region!
Ash from Yarra Valley Cycles, VIC, giving the road bike a bit of Aussie treatment.
Lapierre bikes are born in the most amazing part of France.
So much fromage!
Only a few hours drive from Dijon is the Passportes du Soleil region. With chairlift accessible trails for days. Morzine, Chatel, Les Gets, Morgins, and Champery are one of the local testing grounds for their bikes.
Corey from The Ultimate Ride, Alice Springs, reflects on the contrast from his home trails, to the French Alpes.
It was then time to get busy, with a passport in our Camelbaks, we participated in the Passportes du Soleil event on 2014 Zestys.