Just days before hordes of travelling MTB’ers descend to take on the long and scenic trails of the Pass’portes Du Soleil the provincial town of Chatel witnessed a 2014 bike launch featuring bikes that were anything but traditional. Combining new technology and standards, the launch was an exciting indication of one possible future of bike design. Never being one to shy from the radical, Lapierre have not only embraced cutting edge technology but offered a product line up that features some of the most radical and opinion dividing developments! Highlights included the e:i electronic shock system, 1×11 drive trains and no 26 inch options in the trail and enduro lines. Yes, you read that right, in a move indicative of market popularity, Lapierre will be offering NO 26inch wheel platforms for the Spicy and Zesty in 2014, both bikes will be available exclusively in the larger 27.5 format. This middle ground format has gained huge momentum globaly and in Lapierre’s official press release their belief in 27.5 format stands resolute, “27.5 is the solution for AM and Enduro“.
The launch focused on bikes aimed at the Enduro, XC and Trail sector, and for 2014 there have been extensive geometry and componentry changes to the entire range. The highlights of the launch were the integration of the e:i shock technology into top of the range models (available as an option further down the lines) and inclusion of standard 1×11 drivetrains. Aimed squarely at the enduro market were the new Zesty AM and Spicy, both bikes only available in 27.5! If you want to go bigger still, there is a larger wheeled sibling of the Zesty, the Zesty Trail with 29 inch wheels.
Lines of custom black test bikes awaited 30 industry insiders, with productions versions of the 27.5 inch Spicy, Zesty AM and the 29er Zesty Trail.
There was no better place for a product launch, the weather was good and the trails were running well!
e:i Shock Technology:
Perhaps the biggest advance but one most likely to divide opinion is the inclusion of the e:i shock system on 2014 bikes. e:i allows microprocessors to control your suspension, continually adapting to changing trail conditions, using 3 sensors, one on the fork, one on the stem and a cadence sensor on the cranks, suspension action is seamlessly adjusted up to 30 times a second. In theory this means that the bike can continually react and respond to changes in riding conditions much faster than the human pilot. The simple system is controlled from a central display on the stem giving manual control if required or allowing the computer to instantly adapt shock settings automatically. After a days hard testing the system seemed to be robust and reliable, but you will have to wait for the full ride tests in a few days to find out if we rate it!
Media and industry insiders were keen to get their hands on the new bikes!
In conjunction with the launch of the new Lapierre range, SRAM were on hand to showcase their new XO1 drive train, offering the same weight saving and simplified transmission as the hugely successful XX1, but in a more affordable package. The XO1 will be supplied as standard on a number of Lapierre bikes, and will certainly be of benefit to future frame development, freeing designers from the constrictions imposed by the front derailleur, and allowing suspension to be tuned to a single ring. There were a number of bikes running pre-production X01 drivetrains, ready to ship with the exception of the new cassettes that were still in production. The 10-42 X01 cassette will be 275g and black in colour, but before you all get really excited it is just a finish and not carbon!
The new X01 11 speed rear derailleur with clutch, the mech shares the same horizontal only movement at the XX1 system, eliminating ghost shifting. Weighting in at 220g the mech is available in black or red. (the cassette featured is the XX1, as no X01’s were available in time for the launch)
The new hollow forged aluminium X01 crankset has a standard 94BCD bolt circle diameter so is bash ring compatible, and is around 150g heavier than the carbon XX1 at 800g with BB. Available in BB30 and GXP and with chainrings from 30-38 tooth.
Shifters will be avilable in both gripshift and trigger
Lapierre 2014 range
More on the XO1 later, lets get back to the bikes, the suspension across the entire range still uses the tried and tested OST+ technology, based around a virtual pivot point that combats pedal bob through using the pedal stroke to bring the rear swing arm back to equilibrium. However for 2014 all the bikes have had a geometry rework to accommodate the larger wheel platforms.
The 2014 Spicy
Aimed at the big hitting enduro rider, the 160/150mm Spicy with 27.5inch wheels represents the new thinking in enduro. The e:i shock comes as standard on the Team issue (developed in conjunction with Nico Vouilloz) and an option in the more affordable 527. The team issue also comes in a carbon monocoque frame (alloy chainstays), with the lower spec models available in Supreme 6 alloy. Surprisingly the Spicy is still speced as a 2×10 on lower models! Lapierre have tweeked the geometry to give a lower bottom bracket height, enhancing the 27.5inch wheels feeling of an imersive ride. For the team model, the carbon frame weighs 2.5kg without shock, and all models have a 66.5 degree head angle (0.5 degrees steeper than last year) and the top tubes have been lengthened 10mm in the Large and XL models, and 15mm in the Small and Medium.
Zesty AM 927
The zesty is aimed at the enduro rider, and with 150mm travel front and back combined with the larger 27.5 inch wheels, the numbers are bang on for the modern racer. Again with the carbon frame and e:i shock system available as standard on the top end 927 and optimised for and supplied with 1×11 transmissions the Zesty AM demonstrates Lapierres commitment to the new thinking. The geometry has not been overlooked either, the top tube has been lengthened and the bottom bracket has been lowered to make the most of the new wheel format, and the head angle runs at 67 degrees with the 150mm fork.
2014 Zesty Trail
Zesty Trail 929
The Zesty trail is a 120mm 29 inch wheeled rocket, running the same e:i shocks and 1×11 drivetrain on the top models it will certainly be a popular bike in 2014. The head angle is set at 69-degrees, seat angle at 74-degrees, bottom bracket height at 345mm, and chainstays at 446mm
How do they ride!
We will be spending the next few days putting the Zesty AM and Spicy through their paces in the Chatel bike park to let you know just how the new bikes handle, is 27.5 ‘THE solution for enduro’, would the Zesty Trail be a good enduro bike, and does an electronic shock system have a place on a bike aimed to be ridden hard? You will find out here soon!
Words and Photos: Trev Worsey
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