Lapierre's 3rd generation cross-country machine the XR and marathon-ready XRM boasts new suspension, down-country geometry and a lighter, stronger carbon frame


As elite cross-country courses evolve in technicality and toughness, cross-country bikes have evolved to handle them. The Lapierre XR, and its XC- marathon-ready sibling the Lapierre XRM, have been redesigned from scratch with new geometry, new suspension and new carbon layup to provide the modern XC athlete with the right tool for the job. Only time will tell whether the 3rd generation of Lapierre’s XC bike is a medal winner or earns a place on our best down-country MTB list. 

Need to know: 

  • New UD SLI carbon layup & manufacturing process reduces weight
  • New suspension system
  • ‘Flex Stay’ seat stays complement and enhance suspension performance
  • Steeper seat tube & slacker head angle
  • 29’’ wheels with boost spacing
  • Remote suspension control
Photo of the yellow Lapierre XRM 8.9 XC MTB

The XRM marathon-ready model comes with a dropper seatpost

The XR models offer 100mm suspension travel front and rear, while the XRM – ‘M’ standing for Marathon – has 120mm front and 110mm rear travel. If you’re keen, you can also check out our review of the Lapierre XR 529, the previous generation of the XR, for comparison purposes. 

New carbon layup means serious weight savings

Lapierre has developed a new carbon layup system for the XR and XRM, which it calls Carbon UD SLI. Each bike is constructed from over 300 separate pieces of carbon, assembled over a rigid polypropylene mandrel which provides both greater stability in the layup process and better compression within the mould. The result is better distribution of resin throughout the carbon fibres, plus the removal of more excess resin, which in turn means a stronger frame with a lower weight. 

Photo showing carbon layup on Lapierre XR 9,9 XC mountain bike

The carbon layup is visible under the eye-catching lacquer coating

Unidirectional carbon fibres are also used, which again helps engineer strength and flexibility into the areas of the bike where it’s needed. In the range topping XR 9.9 model, Torayca VHM (the product name of an America carbon manufacturer’s carbon fibre) offers greater efficiency and reactivity for a lower weight, according to Lapierre. 

Claimed weight savings are significant, with a 110g weight reduction on the standard XR frame (without shock) over the second generation frame. On the XR 9.9, this jumps to a whopping 307g frame weight reduction on the previous frame, without affecting performance or increasing susceptibility to impact, Lapierre claims. 

Updated suspension

Suspension has also been redesigned, and with seasoned expert and multiple Downhill World Champion Nicolas Vouilloz at the helm of suspension kinematics and design, you know some serious work has been done. 

Photo showing the flexible 'Flex Stay' seat stays on the Lapierre XR and XRM XC Mountain bikes

The UD SLI carbon layup in the flex seat stays provide flex or rigidity where required

Integral to the system are the ‘flex stay’ seat stays, with – you guessed it – a degree of flex engineered in via the design and carbon layup, which has allowed the removal of the rear pivot. The seat stays are designed to sit in a neutral position with the bike at 26% sag. The idea behind this system is that at the beginning of the stroke they produce a degressive effect on the leverage curve, which then becomes progressive towards the end of the compression stroke. 

Of course, any flex in a direction other than the designed one means inefficiency in the system. Lapierre claims that its UD SLI carbon layup results in less than half the deformation of rival systems. 

Photo of frame and rear shock on Lapierre XR 9.9 MY22 XC MTB

The suspension has also been optimised for 32t to 36t chainrings, designed to cancel pedal kickback during compression without having an impact on chain tension, the better to offer a stable and efficient pedalling platform. 

And like the majority of performance cross-country bikes, Lapierre also have bar-mounted suspension controls that allow the rider to flick between open, platform and closed (depending on model) at the flick of a switch. 

Geometry that’s ready for the modern XC course

In order to adapt to increasingly technical cross-country courses, geometry had to change, and like its down-country brethren, the new Lapierre XR is slacker at the front, and steeper and shorter at the back. 

Photo of internal cable routing on Lapierre XR 9.9 MY22

Chain stays are 8mm shorter than the second generation Lapierre XR, coming in at 435mm. The seat tube has steepened by between 0.5 to 1 degree to 74.5 on the XRM and 75 on the XR while the head angle is 2 to 2.5 degrees slacker, to 66 on the XRM and 66.5 on the XR. 

The XR and XRM are available in four sizes – S, M, L and XL – with top tube and reach progressively longer for each size. 

Geometry chart Lapierre XR MY22

Geometry chart for the Lapierre XR

Geometry chart for the Lapierre XRM MY22

Geometry chart for the Lapierre XRM

More features

Elsewhere there are more clues to the XR and XRMs aggressive and technical riding goals, with 2.4-inch tyres on those 29er tyres with boost spacing, room for two water bottles within the frame, remote suspension control and the ability to take a 30t to 38t chainring, though bikes in the range are currently specc’d with 32t or 34t chainrings. 

Concessions to the needs of endurance riders include a dropper seatpost on XRM models, though with their increasing popularity in the elite cross-country scene, we speculate that they might make an appearance there too. 

Lapierre XR and XRM range and prices

Lapierre XR 5.9

Photo of the Lapierre XR 5.9 MY22 cross-country mountain bike

  • Price: £3,499
  • Frame: Carbon UD SLI 
  • Fork: Fox Rhythm 32 100mm 
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS 
  • Groupset: SRAM SS Eagle 32T/GX Eagle 12spd
  • Wheels: Roues alu LP Boost TLR

Lapierre XR 7.9

Photo of the Lapierre XR 7.9 MY22 cross-country MTB

  • Price: £4,399
  • Frame: Carbon UD SLI
  • Fork: Fox 32 SC Perf 100mm
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS
  • Groupset: SRAM GX Eagle Lunar 34t / SRAM X01 Eagle 12spd
  • Wheels: DT Swiss X1900 XSpline TLR

Lapierre XR 9.9

Photo of the Lapierre XR 9.9 MY22

  • Price: £6,499
  • Frame: Carbon UD SLI Team
  • Fork: RockShox SID Ultimate Charge 100mm
  • Shock: RockShox SID Luxe Ultimate
  • Groupset: SRAM X1 Carbon 34t / SRAM XX1 Eagle 12spd
  • Wheels: New LP Carbon XC SL 29’’

Lapierre XRM 6.9

Photo of the Lapierre XRM 6.9 MY22

  • Price: £3,799 
  • Frame: Carbon UD SLI
  • Fork: RockShox SID Select Charger RL 120mm
  • Shock: RockShox SID Luxe Select
  • Groupset: SRAM GX Lunar 32t / SRAM GX Lunar 12spd
  • Wheels: Mavic XC 425 / Lapierre Boost

Lapierre XRM 8.9

Photo of the Lapierre XRM 8.9 MY22

  • Price: £4,899
  • Frame:  Carbon UD SLI
  • Fork: Fox 34 SC Factory Series Float 120mm
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Factory Series
  • Groupset: Shimano Deore XT 32t / Shimano Deore XT 12spd
  • Wheels: DT Swiss XM 1700 Spline Boost Microspline