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From the mag: Lapierre develops computerized suspension

Published May 22, 2013
From the May 15 issue of BRAIN

SANTA FE, NM (BRAIN) — Some Lapierre models this year can be had with its computer-controlled shock system called e:i. Though the system was developed with RockShox, Lapierre holds five patents on the technology and retains exclusive use of the system.

In a nutshell, Lapierre’s e:i analyzes data measured at the front wheel to adjust the rear shock’s compression setting before the bump travels to the rear wheel—less than a tenth of a second. And it figures if you are not pedaling you probably want fully open compression damping no matter what you have it preset to. 

While the fork has embedded accelerometers and sensors to gather data, it is still manually adjusted.

Like many manual systems, the e:i’s shock compression damping has three settings—closed, medium or open. Where the system takes advantage of its computer power is in auto mode.

If a rider sets auto mode to one, making it sensitive to bumps, it will always switch the shock to fully open when it encounters a medium to big hit. 

A rider heading up a smooth fire road climb can set compression dampening to closed to maximize climbing efficiency. However, if the rider encounters a washout or bumpy section on the climb, auto mode one opens the shock until the rough section is over, then returns it to closed.

A rider on the same climb who sets the auto mode to five—very insensitive to bumps—will have their shock compression damping closed the entire climb unless the system detects extremely big hits, and then the computer may only open the compression to a medium setting. 

Intermediate settings fall between “one,” which always overrides the rider’s shock setting for comfort, and “five,” which almost never overrides the rider’s shock setting.

The e:i system includes a cyclometer display unit that also houses an accelerometer and suspension computer, a manual fork embedded with accelerometer and sensors, bottom bracket cadence sensor, modified RockShox Monarch RT3 shock and battery. The system adds about 350 grams over the same bike with manual suspension adjustments.

Lapierre e:i models are the $5,000 XR e:i, $4,500 Zesty e:i and the $5,500 Spicy.

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