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Review: Lapierre XR 729 e:i

Lapierre XR 729 e:i
Lapierre XR 729 e:i
Lapierre XR 729 e:i

While Lapierre’s XR platform has been out for a couple years, it has been rare in North America. The cross country-oriented 729 adds to the line’s novelty with the optional e:i, an electronic suspension system.

Lapierre XR 729 e:i

Components SRAM X0
Suspension RockShox SID RL 29″ Solo Air 100 mm
Wheels Easton EA70 XCT 29″
Sizes S, M, L, XL
Price $6,200
Website Lapierre Bicycles

How does suspension go electric? The e:i system features one accelerometer on the fork and one on the stem. These sensors work in conjunction with a cadence sensor to keep an eye on what you and the bike are doing. If you are pedalling and the fork isn’t receiving any hits, the rear suspension locks automatically. The system deduces that you are climbing or on a flat section and need maximum power transfer. If you are pedalling and the accelerometers register light bumps, the system switches into its medium-suspension mode. If you go over a big bump, the system will be open. Also, if you stop pedalling, the system switches into open mode because, if you’re airborne or anticipating a big obstacle, you’re not pedalling and you’ll need that travel when you land. Lapierre says that it takes 0.1 second to register a bump and make an adjustment.

I’m not someone who usually straps electronic doodads to my bike, such as a GPS or even a bike computer, but this system adds immensely to the ride experience. After spending a good amount of time riding it, I appreciate how it helps you focus on the trail ahead. You can forget about adjusting the rear suspension to handle the variable trail features and conditions. On the XR 529 and XR 729, the e:i is an optional upgrade, but it comes standard with the top-of-the-line XR 929. With the XR 529 and XR 729, I would recommend trying both with and without e:i. to see what works for you. I found it was more fun to know the bike’s rear suspension was doing exactly the right thing at the right time.

2014 Lapierre XR 729 e:iThe bike itself picks up and maintains speed very well. The XR also feels very nimble, as a race bike should. If I had the chance to own one of these a few years ago when I was regularly doing provincial XC races and multi-day stage races, it would have been the perfect tool for the job.

A racer will appreciate the SRAM 1×11 drivetrain. If you’re planning to use the bike for a more all-around purpose, you may want to try the 529 model to take advantage of the 2×10 setup, which may be your friend early season before the legs are ready to propel the bike on the extra steep climbs. The 29er bike rolls on Easton EA70 XCT wheels sporting Schwalbe Rocket Ron EV O tires. A set of Avid Elixir 7 rotors, 180 mm on the front, 160 mm at the rear, help bring the machine to a stop.

2014 Lapierre XR 729 e:iI threw the full carbon-fibre racer on the scale to see where it weighted in at. I was pleasantly surprised that a large frame with pedals was a little more than 25.5 lb., which is close to the company’s claimed weight.

It was hard to find any real fault with this bike. I would have preferred a remote lockout for the SID fork. With no front shifter and no need to touch the rear shock, there needs to be something to keep the right side of your brain active while the left side is having a whole pile of good times. If you are looking for a fast bike that turns heads, this one should definitely be on your shortlist.

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