Skip to main content

Gallery: Behind the scenes at Lapierre

Image 1 of 28

So which pro road team is it that Lapierre sponsor again?

So which pro road team is it that Lapierre sponsor again?
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 2 of 28

Lapierre's in-house test lab matches CEN standards, and then some

Lapierre's in-house test lab matches CEN standards, and then some
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 3 of 28

A selection of French 'fancies' on Lapierre's Ultimate custom forks

A selection of French 'fancies' on Lapierre's Ultimate custom forks
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 4 of 28

A vintage Lapierre we found in a corner of the test lab

A vintage Lapierre we found in a corner of the test lab
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 5 of 28

A vintage Lapierre we found in a corner of the test lab

A vintage Lapierre we found in a corner of the test lab
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 6 of 28

A vintage Lapierre we found in a corner of the test lab

A vintage Lapierre we found in a corner of the test lab
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 7 of 28

Kit in the Lapierre test lab

Kit in the Lapierre test lab
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 8 of 28

Kit in the Lapierre test lab

Kit in the Lapierre test lab
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 9 of 28

Kit in the Lapierre test lab

Kit in the Lapierre test lab
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 10 of 28

Lapierre designed their own rig to measure stiffness at the head tube, bottom bracket and rear triangle. It's an essential part of their R&D process

Lapierre designed their own rig to measure stiffness at the head tube, bottom bracket and rear triangle. It's an essential part of their R&D process
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 11 of 28

Lapierre designed their own rig to measure stiffness at the head tube, bottom bracket and rear triangle. It's an essential part of their R&D process

Lapierre designed their own rig to measure stiffness at the head tube, bottom bracket and rear triangle. It's an essential part of their R&D process
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 12 of 28

CEN standard frame testing at Lapierre

CEN standard frame testing at Lapierre
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 13 of 28

CEN standard frame testing at Lapierre

CEN standard frame testing at Lapierre
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 14 of 28

This table is used to test the integrity of pivots on Lapierre's full-suspension bikes

This table is used to test the integrity of pivots on Lapierre's full-suspension bikes
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 15 of 28

Lapierre – a well-known name among road and mountain bikers alike

Lapierre – a well-known name among road and mountain bikers alike
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 16 of 28

Lapierre's factory in Dijon, France, doesn't have a traditional assembly line. Each bike is assembled by one mechanic at a workstation like this

Lapierre's factory in Dijon, France, doesn't have a traditional assembly line. Each bike is assembled by one mechanic at a workstation like this
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 17 of 28

In-house wheel building at Lapierre

In-house wheel building at Lapierre
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 18 of 28

In-house wheel building at Lapierre

In-house wheel building at Lapierre
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 19 of 28

A team bike in the Lapierre factory, in for servicing

A team bike in the Lapierre factory, in for servicing
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 20 of 28

Cyclocross season is coming, so Lapierre are busy building CX wheelsets

Cyclocross season is coming, so Lapierre are busy building CX wheelsets
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 21 of 28

Lapierre have a long history in road bikes

Lapierre have a long history in road bikes
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 22 of 28

Lapierre's factory in Dijon, France, doesn't have a traditional assembly line. Each bike is assembled by one mechanic at a workstation like this

Lapierre's factory in Dijon, France, doesn't have a traditional assembly line. Each bike is assembled by one mechanic at a workstation like this
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 23 of 28

Lapierre's factory in Dijon, France, doesn't have a traditional assembly line. Each bike is assembled by one mechanic at a workstation like this

Lapierre's factory in Dijon, France, doesn't have a traditional assembly line. Each bike is assembled by one mechanic at a workstation like this
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 24 of 28

So the Lapierre mechanics get cable routing right for UK customers…

So the Lapierre mechanics get cable routing right for UK customers…
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 25 of 28

Racks full of Lapierre cyclocross frames ready for the season

Racks full of Lapierre cyclocross frames ready for the season
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 26 of 28

Lapierre's factory in Dijon, France, doesn't have a traditional assembly line. Each bike is assembled by one mechanic at a workstation like this

Lapierre's factory in Dijon, France, doesn't have a traditional assembly line. Each bike is assembled by one mechanic at a workstation like this
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 27 of 28

Lapierre's factory in Dijon, France, doesn't have a traditional assembly line. Each bike is assembled by one mechanic at a workstation like this

Lapierre's factory in Dijon, France, doesn't have a traditional assembly line. Each bike is assembled by one mechanic at a workstation like this
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)
Image 28 of 28

Behind the green doors lies Machine 6, Lapierre's vibration test machine - it imparts 80kg of pressure on the seat tube and 50kg at the bottom bracket, all the while vibrating the whole frame to emulate a typical life cycle

Behind the green doors lies Machine 6, Lapierre's vibration test machine - it imparts 80kg of pressure on the seat tube and 50kg at the bottom bracket, all the while vibrating the whole frame to emulate a typical life cycle
(Image credit: Warren Rossiter/Future Publishing)

Lapierre are in an enviable reputation when it comes to making mountain bikes, their long association with the legendary Nico Vouilloz and a spate of seriously good all-mountain machines cementing their reputation (in the UK, at least) as the brand to beat.

When I mentioned this to managing director Gilles Lapierre (grandson of the founder) he was happy but surprised – in their home country of France it’s the road bikes that have always been the biggest part of the company’s vision. Take their long association with pro team FDJ, now into its 12th year.

BikeRadar were at Lapierre for a tour of their factory in Dijon, France, and a sneak peek at the 2014 road bike range. See our image gallery, right, for a guided visit.

The factory itself is a small but highly organised operation. Rather than going for the usual automated production line, pumping out bikes continuously, Lapierre have taken a different approach.

Yes, component parts such as bars, stems, bottom brackets, cranks, wheels and tyres are assembled on a production line. But they then go to one of four stations where fully trained mechanics assemble and finish individual bikes by hand. It means every bike is completed and signed by one expert.

Every good brand should have their own testing facilities, and Lapierre are no exception. Aside from a full swathe of machines that emulate CEN testing (the legal requirement for selling a bike within Europe), they have a table designed in-house and dedicated to testing the integrity and alignment of pivots for their suspension bike range.

They also have an automatic rig for testing frame stiffness at the head tube, bottom brack and rear triangle simultaneously. R&D chief Rémi Gribaudo explained: "While there are ‘tests’ for frame stiffness out there, we didn’t feel that their designs measured in the ‘correct’ way. We designed our own test that we feel properly corresponds to the forces a frame is put under in proper riding conditions."

The final part of the R&D and testing facility is marked by some ominous green doors, behind which lies Machine 6. This is the vibration test rig; Gribaudo told us that other companies have similar rigs but that most are located at manufacturing bases in the Far East – Lapierre are one of the few brands to have something in-house and in Europe.

We got a glimpse behind the doors but weren’t allowed to take photos. Machine 6 is big enough to hold a complete bike, and simultaneously puts 80kg of pressure on the seat tube and 50kg (horizontally) at the bottom bracket, all the while vibrating the frame at high frequency. The idea is to apply an accelerated lifetime’s worth of use, and frames that go behind the green doors inevitably end up being tested to destruction.

This story originally appeared on Bikeradar.com.