Although the new 120mm travel Lapierre X-Flow was the bike that hogged the limelight at their 2012 product launch, the much loved 140mm Zesty and 160mm Spicy all mountain/enduro bikes have had a lot of work done for this year with new angles, revised suspension and full carbon fibre frame options.
Here’s a quick overview with moving pictures and the spoken word…
OST suspension platform gets Vouilloz treatment to become OST+
While last year’s OST four-bar system was extremely compliant on trail chatter and mid-sized bumps, it needed hard damping tunes to get the best from it. It could sometimes feel out of its depth on the really big hits – and with the standard of terrain an ‘all-mountain’ bike is expected to cope with getting bigger all the time, that was something Lapierre decided they needed to sort.
Having all round legend and enduro racer Nico Vouilloz on hand as a consultant and test rider is always going to help if you want to fine tune suspension and handling, so it’s no surprise that Lapierre say his input was vital to their refined OST+ platform.
Top Spicy 916 now gets a full carbon fibre frame option
It’s not just the suspension that’s been revised as the frames have been tweaked too, the Zesty now sporting a 67° head angle and the Spicy moving to 66°. Along with the bottom bracket height being dropped a touch to make the bikes more stable in the corners, they’ve also given the bikes full internal cable routing, which gives them a much neater look. Both frames use a tapered headtube and the Spicy uses a 142x12mm rear end. The top line Spicy 916 now gets a full carbon fibre frame option which shaves a substantial 400g from the frame weight.
Both the Zesty and the Spicy now have 13mm shorter chainstays and a new top swing-link. The shock ratio is higher at the start of the stroke for even more supple small bump performance before progressively increasing through the middle and ramping up slightly at the top of the stroke. There’s a new style mount for the longer stroke shock and, thanks to working with Fox Shox, they’ve been able to soften the standard shock tunes to give a wider potential range of adjustment.
Much improved big hit performance
The changes make the OST+ bikes much more capable and controlled on big, harsh landings and it also feels much better on hard G-outs. There was much more feeling and support in the middle of fast, bermed corner and the ‘pump’ you can get out is much better, an excellent attribute on the endless fast, banked corners of the built runs in Les Gets and Morzine. It’s the same story with jumps and kickers, the bike feeling much more stable and with less tendency to kick forwards after leaving the lip.
The shorter chainstays help with that feeling too, the bikes being even more lively and fun, the slacker head angle being a good thing on the steeper sections and in the braking bumps.
Head off the beaten track and into the myriad small natural trails hidden at the sides of the big pisted runs and it feels like there’s a bit more feedback on the mid sized stuff but the bike still finds plenty of traction and the new angles help them find and hold a line, although the extra travel of the Spicy is a definite advantage over the Zesty on the steeper stuff.
One full carbon Spicy and two alloy framed models
There will be three 160mm travel Spicy models for 2012, the top 916 getting the full carbon fibre frame with an XT/XTR drivetrain mix (including the very impressive new XTR Shadow Plus rear mech), Easton Haven wheelset, uppy downy post and Fox 36 Float RLC fork. The mid Spicy 516 also getting the Fox 36 Float RLC but with an XT/SLX drivetrain and adjustable post. The entry kevel Spicy 316 does without the dropper post but gets Shimano Deore 9spd drivetrain with double and a Rock Shox Domain R up front.
Zesty range to have three carbon frames and two alloy models
There are going to be three carbon fibre Zesty models, with the top Zesty 914 getting a SRAM X0/X9 3x10spd drivetrain, Fox Float 32 15QR forks and an Easton EA90 wheelset, the Zesty 714 getting an XT/SLX drivetrain and EA70 wheelset. The entry level carbon model is the 514 and has an XT/SLX mix with Rock Shox Revelations up front.
The alloy framed Zesty 314 is going to have a 10spd XT/SLX build with Mavic Crossride wheels and Fox Float 32 QR fork and the entry level Zesty 214 will use a Rock Shox Revelation and SLX/Alivio 9spd drivetrain.
No word on prices yet, expect them to be announced later this year, probably in time for Eurobike.
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Report by Jon Woodhouse