In 1946, Gaston LAPIERRE started a small bicycle business in Dijon, France (Côte-d’Or region), quickly finding success in an industry that was experiencing rapid growth in general. The management was passed on to his son, Jacky LAPIERRE in 1960.
In 1972, a new factory was constructed in the industrial zone of Dijon to accommodate increased production numbers. In addition to the production plant, a new building was also dedicated to spare parts sales, complete with a new showroom for the bike collection. The LAPIERRE™ brand begins thriving and becomes a reference among bike specialists.
LEADERSHIP IN MTB
In the 80s, by being one of the few European companies to anticipate the MTB phenomenon, LAPIERRE™ quickly positioned itself as a leader of this market. LAPIERRE™ has since sponsored several competitive MTB teams who have won titles at all levels since the start of sponsoring activities in 1988.
In January 1993, Accell Group (Netherlands) announced its intentions to purchase 33 percent of LAPIERRE’s shares.
In 1996, the partnership proved to be successful, and in April 1996, the LAPIERRE™ family decided to sell the rest of their shares. At this time, Gilles LAPIERRE, son of Jacky, took control of the company as Managing Director. From this year on, the company would experience consistent and unprecedented growth.
FRENCH NATIONAL CHAMPION – AMATEUR ELITE
After solidifying LAPIERRE’s MTB image through competition and technology, Gilles LAPIERRE decided to try the same adventure with road bikes. This activity has always been an important aspect of the company culture, and a solid and ambitious marketing strategy was necessary in order for LAPIERRE™ to achieve the same status as in mountain biking.
LAPIERRE™ therefore decided to sponsor Dijon’s road cycling club SCOD, which was officially renamed SCOD / TEAM LAPIERRE. Step by step, this club has reached the best level in France: the DN1 level. In 2000, LAPIERRE™ rider Romain Mary became the French National Champion in the DN1 amateur Elite division.
2001 THE X-CONTROL REVOLUTION
2001, is a key year for LAPIERRE. After three years of research and development, LAPIERRE introduced an innovative full-suspension mountain bike, the X-Control, equipped with the patented “FPS” rear suspension system. Riders were now able to find an ideal combination of efficiency and comfort in one bike. The same year, Jérôme Chiotti went on to win the 2001 MTB French Championship on his X-Control, the first rider ever to win on a full-suspension bike.
THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF ROAD AND MOUNTAIN BIKES
2002 : The following year, LAPIERRE™ took a huge stride in its road racing activities by signing with the professional team Française des Jeux. LAPIERRE™ could now be seen in Elite competitions, including the prestigious Tour de France.
Results were seen very quickly, and LAPIERRE™ won the French national championship with FDJ rider Nicolas Vogondy.
During the 2003 season, LAPIERRE™ decided to extend its field of activities. After signing a 3-year contract with 10X DH World Champion Nicolas Vouilloz, a collection of freeride and DH bikes was created to complete the existing mountain bike range.
LAPIERRE™ also introduced its all-new lightweight carbon technology, LP 0.9C. With this breakthrough development, a road frame was introduced that weighed only 900 grams.
As if to reinforce the technological advancements of the company, the results of LAPIERRE’s athletes continued to be impressive in all disciplines. The Française des Jeux was the only team to win all four jerseys in 2003’s Tour de France, and they finished in green thanks to an aggressive sprint by Baden Cooke in the final stage.
Although the cycling world often seems to be dominated by men, LAPIERRE™ has supported a female triathlon team for many years. The performances of Audrey Cleau were exceptional in 2003, which included a second place finish at the long distance World Championships and a victory at the famous Nice Triathlon.
2004 : the collection of ‘maillots’ was completed during the 2004 Giro d’Italia, when Bradley McGee took the pink jersey after an impressive prologue. LAPIERRE’s top cross country athlete, Jean-Christophe Péraud was ranked 4th overall in the 2004 World Cup after the seventh race in Livigno, Italy. His consistent performances earned him a spot on the French Olympic team, and he finished a respectable 11th place at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
2005: the introduction of the 2005 collection included several innovations, including the new X-Control Evo2 with the improved FPS2 rear suspension system.
LAPIERRE™ also chose to concentrate on its export activities in 2005 with distribution in the United States, Canada, Spain, and Germany. At the same time, LAPIERRE™ became the main partner of the Roc d’Azur, the largest international MTB event in the world with 16,000 participants.
Francis Mourey won the Cyclocross French Championships on his LAPIERRE™ bike, the beginning of a long series of victories.
A NEW TYPE OF BIKE, OPEN TO THE WORLD
In 2006, LAPIERRE™ celebrated its 60th birthday and launched on this occasion a folding mountain bike called Passport. The new “à la carte” program, Web Series, allows riders to choose the components of their road bike with the help of an on-line configurator. Because LAPIERRE™ bikes are assembled in France, riders in Europe can receive their personalized bikes 2 weeks after placing their order with their authorized LAPIERRE™ dealer.
2007 : LAPIERRE introduced their latest advancement in rear suspension in 2007, the OST suspension platform, especially tailored to long-travel bikes. Two mountain bikes using this technology were introduced, the Zesty and the Spicy. The goal of OST was to create the ultimate all-mountain bike with the perfect lightweight blend of versatility, performance, and optimized geometries, for total riding pleasure.
LAPIERRE pushed even further its export activities. Its products are now distributed in most European countries as well as in North America and Asia. LAPIERRE has become an international brand.
In France LAPIERRE™ won the “mountain bike of the year” award (by French magazine Vélo Vert), the “road bike of the year” (by French magazine Le Cycle), and also won the “Brand Revelation of the year” award in Spain.
The LAPIERRE™ teams remain at the heart of the brand strategy. Nicolas Vouilloz, the winner of the French national rally championships, decided to go back to MTB racing, and added some more victories in enduro and downhill races to his athletic achievements.
Cédric Ravanel, a cross country rider, proves he is one the best international riders by making it in the top 3 during a World Cup race and finishing 6th overall.
Sandy Casar’s efforts, (Française des Jeux) were finally rewarded since he won one of the famous Tour de France stages.
2008: after 2 years of Research and Development, LAPIERRE™ has rethought its road range and launched its brand new X-Lite II carbon monocoque frame, the epitome of lightness and technology.
A new department was being created at LAPIERRE™, in order to meet the surge in city bikes needs. This was a 2 stage process :
Beginning of the collaboration with J.C Decaux and creation of its famous city bikes (Velib, Velo’v, Le vélo…).
Creation of our new city bikes ranges Sitandgo! and Startandgo! (electrically assisted bikes) that benefit from all the LAPIERRE™ know how.
The LAPIERRE powered by Saab-Salomon team was officially introduced on the international DH and European “enduro” circuit.
2009 : LAPIERRE™, who produced a mere 6,000 bikes per year 50 years ago, now produces more than 90,000 bikes a year at their three French production sites. Dijon, the city where it all started, still remains the heart of technological development, where other challenges and projects are already underway. And we won’t fail to surprise more than a few.
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