by Matt Letch
January 27, 2011
Tested – 6 months with gaps so far. From – Hotlines. RRP £3299.00 Ahhh – It had been an emotional time with the Spicy – a good year , only marred by the burglary in November After grieving and wailing for some time, Hotlines the distributor very very kindly helped me out with a new […]
Tested – 6 months with gaps so far.
From – Hotlines.
Ahhh – It had been an emotional time with the Spicy – a good year , only marred by the burglary in November
After grieving and wailing for some time, Hotlines the distributor very very kindly helped me out with a new one and it was shipped to me in early December (It was like an early Xmas present).
First all of a recap of my Original Spicy part one.
I got the Spicy in early August 2010 – in time for the Trans- Provence.
Over the previous two years up until last August – I’d flitted between the ultra slack (65 degrees!) low BB’d Orange Alpine 5 Limited, which later morphed into the Alpine 160. I was then was the lucky tester of a Blur LT – the proverbial Swiss army knife of mountain bikes (that is said as the most sincere form of praise).
Between the ownership off the two bikes came the realisation – I definitely prefer bigger bikes! But I don’t live somewhere with a uplift (I don’t want all of my climbs for free anyway) so I did want something that was at least bearable uphill – via Internet searches – and pub discussions of course, a few different bikes came up – but the Lapierre was the was top of the list – I guess I want something like a downhill bike (long & low) but something that will get to the top of the hill, especially with a 320 km race to do on it.
Out Of The Box
Let’s start with the frame.
Starting from the now de-rigeur Tapered head tube the front triangle of the Lapierre is a modern looking combo of a vaguely square heavily hydroformed top- tube and a much rounder bi-ovalised down tube join to a seatube that sweeps up and away from the bottom bracket. The top-tube also had a cross brace that attaches to the seat-tube presumably to increase stand over height without reducing strength.
The swingarm is a long heavily manipulated affair attached to the front triangle via a swinglink at the top of the swingarm and attached to the bottom of the frame just above the BB on the seatube.
Lapierre describe their suspension as a virtual pivot design. It looks very much like a traditonal 4-bar to me, but the swing link does change the shock rate and postion of the shock through it’s travel. More info if here if you’re interested. Basically (braces himself for a myriad of online arguments) the suspension uses chain growth to counteract pedal induced bob whilst still being fully active when you clatter into stuff -Horst ‘type’ link helps the suspension to remain active under braking.
The rear axle on the Lapierre is the ‘new standard’ 142mm thru axle 12mm QR release design. It’s very similar to the Syntace Design in use.
Rear suspension is dealt with admirably by the ever present Fox RP2 Boost Valve – compression damping is set at firm for those that want to know.
Front suspension is Fox 36 Open Bath TALAS with airspring/rebound damping and travel adjust .
Cockpit and stop and go is pretty much a ‘get out and play straight away” type of deal. Drivetrain is complete SLX from cranks to shifters to rear mech, with Funn 710mm Bars and 65mm stem, Thompson 31.6 Seatpost, own brand grips and a Fizik Gobi to perch on.
Brakes are Formula RX1 with 180mm rotors either end for hauling the bike up and it comes shod with one of Singletrack’s favourite all rounder tyres, the Continental Rubber Queen UST 2.2’s (don’t let this fool you , they’re much more like a 2.4 compared to most brands.).
Riding and fiddling
Apart from a couple of spins around The Valley the first proper ride I got of it was in Finale Ligure, Italy. Pre-Finale I’d swapped the bars out to some 750mm and changed the stem to a 50mm Easton Havoc stem (it’s kind of become my default standard cockpit). Initial impressions were incredibly stable full on high speed stuff, grippy and with a decent length cockpit (I flitted between chosing a small and medium frame initally -I decided a longer cockpit was for me ) so the shorter stem made no difference to it’s climbing ability, my lungs being the weak link in uphill progress.
The only thing that I came back from Finale wishing for was a Uppy-Downy™ seat post of some kind and the forks, whilst being quintessentially ‘buttery’ down fast stuff, were packing down on slowmo technical stuff – I wanted some compression!
I was also keen to try and drop a few pounds off the bike pre Trans-Provence.
First thing first. The incredibly bling Stan’s Flow rims and and DT 240s hubbed beauties from the Blur were attached to the Lapierre. One of the best thing about these hubs is the total ability to get them to attach to virtually any axle combination. The front hub had been QR15mm and 20 mm the rear swapped easily from a standard 135mm quick release to 142mm design with a couple of adaptors.Partly this to do with the 142mm design actually being a 135mm axle still . The 142mm describes the total diameter of the axle including the frame it bolts in to.
And that was that. 320 Km of Trans-Provence and apart from tearing tyres to shreds and eating brake pads it was faultless. It did go from being a very new feeling bike to a well worn friend over that week but that was it.Nothing worked loose, the shocks still worked faultlessly and it had got me out of trouble a number of times when very tired at the end of a long day .
At the end of the week the only thing that I really wanted to have changed was the brakes for something bigger- but I did wonder how it would feel if you could make it a bit slacker and lower…
Then it was gone.
Like an old friend – but with a few tweaks – The bigger brakes are on – a pair of Avid Code brakes (quite insanely powerful !) a Rockshox Reverb Seatpost and one of the new Bontrager saddles. I’ve still got the Blackspire bars from the old bike as I was testing new one’s on the Old Spicy – 50mm Stem is now the lovely light weight Renthal Stem.
I really haven’t been able to give a proper shakedown yet – But the seatpost seems incredibly smooth – not having to work the brakes so hard to stop is nice -and the Bontrager saddle is a revelation in terms of comfort compared to the old Bontrager saddles…
Over the next few months I hope to get hold of Cane Creek angle adjuster headset (I have a pair of 1/8th 36 Floats to use in the tapered headtube) to play around with head angles and I’d also like to try a coil over shock on the back for a while. Finally I’m hoping to get a two times ten drive train which I’m going to fiddle with and then see if I can live with (Man up to) just a single ring on the front.
Till next time