Lapierre DH 920 – First ride

Pure race-bred machine

To develop their downhill race machine, Lapierre called upon 10-time world champion Nico Vouilloz, who’s regarded as ‘the man’ when it comes to refining design and geometry. Nico and Lapierre spent many hours together creating something really quite special. 

The DH 920 is an evolution of last season’s DH 230, and has been put to the test by team riders Danny Hart and David Vasquez. It's pricey, but with this geometry and setup, this bike really is a winner.

Ride & handling: Perfectly balanced, with amazing control

The DH 920 sits into the mid-stroke of its travel perfectly, tracking the floor and spitting out grip with every revolution of the wheel. It felt a little short, even for a rider of 5ft 8in, but this didn’t affect the stability at speed much at all. 

This bike comes into its own on steep cambers, loose turns and over roots. The control it generates is amazing. Carve a turn and then simply keep pushing, changing lines and pushing to all-new limits. 

The Lapierre pedals well and accelerates better than most. Thanks to the sizing and modest weight (just under 40lb/18kg), it feels both solid and nimble, making it easy enough to pick up over obstacles or throw around on jumps, but also good at carrying vital momentum. 

It will hammer through rough terrain in eerie silence until you hit huge stutterbumps, when things get a little more lively, but even then, it’s still stealthy. The front and rear feel perfectly balanced. 

Clean lines give this bike a certain je ne sais quoi: clean lines give this bike a certain je ne sais quoi

Frame: Clean lines give a certain 'je ne sais quoi'

Clean lines and beautifully curved hydroformed tubes create one of the best looking downhill rigs we've seen in some time. The attention to detail is sublime, the cables slyly disappear into the frame to keep it clutter-free and the integrated fork bumpers add to the impressive finish. 

The 150mm rear end, big sealed bearings and close pivot points give a great stiffness out the back. The FPS2 frame design creates a good pedal platform, yet keeps everything moving in a supple and efficient manner. 

The bottom bracket is slung nice and low, at 14.3in, keeping the all-important centre of gravity where it should be, and boosting cornering capability. The 65-degree head angle is ideal for UK riding. 

The only quibble we had was the sizing. Our ‘small’ test bike really is small – the wheelbase measures in at 44.9in, giving it a super-compact feel.

Equipment: Full complement of top-drawer kit

From the ground up, the DH 920 is flush with race-winning kit. The new Mavic Deemax wheels are lighter than previously and continue to utilise the UST system. The Fox 40 fork and DHX 5.0 rear shock give great control and can be tuned to your heart's content. 

Formula’s The One brakes work spot-on in all conditions and the Shimano Saint kit takes form and function to another level. All this is topped off with bling gold pivot caps.

There’s a full complement of top drawer kit, including formula the one brakes: there’s a full complement of top drawer kit, including formula the one brakes

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