Lapierre is bringing it to the States
by Dave R. on Feb 01, 2008 at 6:10 PM
Lapierre, Mr. Giles LaPierre that is, was in town last week showing off their latest bikes. Great bikes, but if you live in the states you may not be familiar with the name. Lapierre is based in France, and has been in business for 60 years and 3 generations of Lapierres. They provide the rides for the FranÃ§aise des Jeux cycling team, and are also a leading manufacturer of mountain bikes. Already a major brand in Europe, they’ve decided to raise the level of their game in the US.
Gaston Lapierre, Giles’s grand father, started the business right after world war II, in 1946. The family’s been involved in the business since then, although the company was bought by the Accell Group almost 15 years ago. Since then, and starting in earnest just a few years ago, Lapierre’s been making the transition from a family run, continental business to a full fledged international corporation. Change like this is never easy but it looks like the company’s come through with flying colors.
Business wise, Lapierre caught the mountain biking wave in a big way back in the middle 90s, and is one of the leading manufacturers of mountain bikes in Europe. Since then they’ve been branching out, into road racing, sponsoring the FranÃ§aise des Jeux (French national lottery) cycling team.
The company has had some success in Europe but realized they were spending a lot of time competing with US based companies on their own turf. A couple of years ago Lapierre decided to take it to the home town (or at least home country) of brands like Specialized and Trek. When Accell acquired Seattle Bike Supply a few years ago the opportunity presented itself and Lapierre grabbed hold.
Meeting Mr. Lapierre was great, he was very enthused about his bikes and his company of course, but also genuinely friendly. I don’t doubt he was here on business but he was obviously enthused for a weekend trip up to Snoqualmie. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he’s a Snowhugger.
Lapierre’s focus in the US is bringing their particular brand of high end, high tech road and mountain bikes to our market at a good price point (See Mark’s write up for details on the line up). When I asked Giles what his expectations of the US market are he said they’re looking for organic growth here in the states. Sponsoring the French national lottery team, FranÃ§aise des Jeux, won’t hurt. Neither will there extensive experience in the mountain biking market.
Based on what we saw at last week I doubt they’ll have any trouble at all making their goals.
by Byron on Feb 01, 2008 at 2:12 PM
That’s one of the Hotspur tubes before it was fabricated last week. It’s being built up this weekend, with a hotspurian theme, and readied for the Handmade Bicycle Show on 2/8.
More details are coming and, as an aside, before naming the bike, I consulted the Naming the Bicycle section of the Bike Cult Book. I didn’t crowdsource the name though, as Merlin Mann jokes about in this 5ives post.
by Byron on Feb 01, 2008 at 11:12 AM
There are several bike charities – for AIDS, micro-economies, and so on – and all of them are offering bike hope. Check this article from the Nambian on the Bicycling Empowerment Network that created Bicycle Empowering Centres
This is a shipping container, which is filled with 300 secondhand bicycles, spare parts and tools which can be delivered to any town or village in the country.
Local volunteers from the community are trained as bicycle mechanics and project managers.
The BECs are now run as bicycle workshops: bicycles are overhauled for distribution to volunteers, as well as for sale to the community at an affordable price.
In 07, Bike Hugger supported World Bicycle Relief with bikes purchased in lieu of holiday gifts for friends, family, and partners.
Click: The Hershey’s Kiss of Multi-Tools
by Mark V on Jan 31, 2008 at 10:38 AM
Lookie at what I got here: a “Click” multi-tool.
It’s tiny, has 2/3/4/5/6mm allen wrenches, flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, and a keychain ring. The tools are all chrome-vanadium steel with aluminium sides. Granted, the Click’s size prevents you from being able to hoss on a bolt, but on today’s high-performance bikes there are few bolts that require massive torque (for instance, stems clamping on carbon handlebars). Apart from it’s size and quality of the materials, the best thing about the Click is the $5 retail price.
Distributed by Cyclone.
by Byron on Jan 31, 2008 at 8:54 AM
China is getting hammered by the worst weather in 50 years and with millions of people riding bikes, that’s creating lots of chaos. Sure, in Seattle we’re weather wusses compared to Canada or other really cold places, but I don’t think any of us have it this bad …
AP Photo by Eugene Hoshiko.
by Byron on Jan 30, 2008 at 8:44 PM
We posted on bamboo bikes previously, but not a bike carrying bamboo … and a lot of it.
Yield to Life
by andrew_f_martin on Jan 30, 2008 at 1:22 PM
Yield to Life is a new campaign founded and fronted by US Pro Dave Zabriskie. The site has some well-constructed articles on how to act properly on your bike to stay safe. The 10 Safety Tips For Motorists should be a must-read for all drivers…but oh well. I’ve pasted the Cyclist Tips below:
10 Safety Tips for Cyclists
1. Cycling Citizenship
Along with the right to cycle come responsibilities. Familiarize yourself with all applicable traffic laws and cycling rules. Each state has its own set; be aware of them. Motorists will be much more willing to accept cyclist’s rightful place on the road if cyclists act lawfully and respectfully. Do not run stop signs or red lights or use the wrong side of the street. It is best and safest to ride single file. If you are not blocking traffic and if the laws in your state permit it, there are times it is safe to ride two abreast. However, on narrow curvy canyon roads it is always best to ride single file. Riding responsibly will do wonders towards easing tensions and fostering a more harmonious environment between motorists and cyclists.
2. Right On
It is generally either illegal or unsafe to ride on a sidewalk or on the road towards oncoming traffic. As a rule, it is best to ride in the direction of traffic, staying as far to the right as is practical. However, make sure there is room to handle emergencies and that you do not ride so close to the right that you run the risk of hitting the curb and being thrown into traffic. There are times when you simply cannot stay to the far right”whether it’s to overtake another cyclist or vehicle, to make a left turn, or to avoid a hazard. Be sure to wait for a safe opportunity and use the proper hand signals when you take a lane.
3. Join In
If you are traveling at the same speed as other traffic, it may be safer to jump in and ride with traffic; because, this may make you more visible to motorists. Joining traffic is sometimes necessary because the road is simply too narrow for both a bike and a car. It is a particularly good idea to take a lane and join traffic before an intersection to make your presence known”especially for right-turning drivers who may not see you as they start their turn.
When you do join traffic, make sure you never pass on the right. This is always dangerous, but particularly so in an intersection. By waiting directly behind a vehicle, you can see a car’s signals; otherwise, you never know if the motorist is about to make a right turn and hit you.
4. Use Your Head
Regardless if you’re going to the corner store or heading out on a marathon ride, always wear a helmet. Make sure it is properly fastened and fitted. (The helmet should fit snugly and not move when you shake your head.)
5. Seeing Eye to Eye
Make eye contract with drivers whenever possible. This ensures that the motorists see you and helps you assert your rightful place on the road. This œpersonal connection reminds motorists that you are indeed real LIFE in need of attention and protection. Once you make that connection, motorists may give you more respect on the road.
6. The Road Straightly Traveled
Try to ride consistently and predictably. For instance, at an intersection, do not veer into the crosswalk and then suddenly reappear on the road again. Don’t thread through parked cars. With such erratic behavior, motorists will not be aware of your presence when you try to re-emerge into traffic. (Inconsistent conduct increases your chances of being squeezed out of traffic or, worse, getting hit.)
7. Playing Defense
Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings. Know what is behind you and watch out for what is in front of you. Always be on the lookout for road hazards; sand and gravel, glass, railroad tracks, parked cars, snow and slush can wreak havoc on you and your bike. Sewer grates and cracks in the road can catch your wheel and cause you to be thrown from the bike. Watch for parked cars where people may be opening doors on the driver side of the vehicle without looking. Always wait until you have ample time to make your move, whether you are changing a lane or turning a corner. Do not expect to be granted the right of way in any instance.
8. Flaunt It
Make your presence felt. Wear bright color clothing. At night or in inclement weather, it is important to use reflective lights in the front, side and rear that make you visible from all directions.
9. Helping Hands
Emergencies happen. Be prepared. Always make sure you have at least one hand on your handlebars, no matter what. Know and use your hand signals whenever you are changing lanes or making a turn.
10. Brake Away
Make sure your brakes are always in top-notch condition. Be aware of how weather and road conditions can effect your ability to brake.
You want this kid’s bike!
by Mark V on Jan 29, 2008 at 11:01 PM
Ever notice how Lady Fortune has a brutal sense of humour? I’m at the Lapierre Cycles presentation. Seattle Bike Supply and Lapierre had a raffle for a Lapierre X.Lite cyclocross frameset, and who wins it? This little kid named Reuben (see picture left). Yes, of course, Reuben’s dad is the real lucky one, but I’m still ticked that he used his kid to win. I mean, I thought I was clever using my girlfriend’s ticket to improve my odds but clearly I was outsmarted. Next time I’ll need to bring in a daycare center or some homeless people to get more raffle tickets in my hands. Don’t I deserve swag?
Mr. Lapierre shows his 2008 product line
by Mark V on Jan 29, 2008 at 10:37 AM
Last Friday, Gilles Lapierre (seen here on the left with Seattle Bike Supply’s Tim Rutledge) was in town to present the 2008 Lapierre bicycle line. Mr. Lapierre, whose grandfather founded the company in 1946, is hoping to steadily expand into the US market with a selection of performance road and mountain bikes.
Lapierre’s carbon fibre X.Lite and S.Lite road bikes are premium road frames utilizing the tube-to-tube process of joining the carbon tubes. The X.Lite frameset using high-modulus carbon (HM) is the FranÃ§aise des Jeux professional team bike for Pro Tour circuit, and weighs around 900gr. The S.Lite frame is built with longer chainstays, taller headtube, and different carbon tubes to give a more vertically compliant ride to rock the pave sectors of Paris-Roubaix or whatever tortured and chip-sealed road you’ll ride on your next brevet.
However, the real innovation comes in the form of the Lapierre Passport. This is a short-travel full-suspension mtb that happens to fold up without any tools and fit into an extremely clever soft-case for air travel. Two years in development, this travel bike system shows shows a clean and refined design.
Hopefully, Bikehugger will get our hands on a bike for testing.
Lapierre bikes are distributed in the US by Seattle Bike Supply.
New Cargo bike on the scene: Yuba’s in the UK, USA
by Dave R. on Jan 28, 2008 at 9:50 PM
The Yuba is rolling out in the UK and Ghana this week, and the US and the antipodes next month. The Yuba’s an integrated longbike style cargo bike, promising lateral stiffness and lots of capacity (220 kg total load). Built in horizontal racks for hauling the stuff that won’t fit in a pannier or two. Nice touches: chain guard, choice of kickstands, bikes in Africa.
As much as I love the idea of more cargo bikes here in the land of giant SUVs, I love the reality of cargo bikes in the developing world even more. It’s great to see a manufacturer actually shipping to Africa in their initial foray into the markets. Good for you, Yuba!
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