This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–http://reviews.mtbr.com/category/enduro-compare-o-2014
French bike maker Lapierre enjoys a good reputation in Europe with the likes of downhill racing legend Nicolas Vouilloz helping to drive development of the brand’s ever-improving range of downhill, all-mountain, and trail bike designs. Now with the expiration of Specialized’s US Horst Link suspension patents, the company is free to bring its version of the four-bar system state-side. But rather than simply me-tooing it, Lapierre makes things interesting, adding their optional E:i electronically-controlled shocks to a number of models, including the mid-wheeled Spicy 527.
While there’s sure to be strong opinions on both sides of the e-shock debate, we’re pedaling through with an open mind. Electronics aside, the Spicy 527 has the look of an out-of-the-box all-mountain contender.
Boasting 150mm of rear travel with 160 up front, the Spicy 527 mixes mid-level SRAM (X7) and Shimano (STX, XT) drivetrain parts with Avid Elixer 7 brakes. For suspension, a RockShox Monarch RT3 Relay electronically-controlled shock is paired with a Fox 34 Float CTD fork. Also spec’d: a RockShox Reverb Stealth adjustable seatpost, Easton 27.5-inch Vice XLT tubeless wheels, Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35-inch tires, and a Race Face crankset, handlebar and stem.
The Relay servo motor mounted on the RockShox Monarch RT3 shock reacts to bumps and pedaling inputs in less than a tenth-of-a-second, enabling between 20-30 damping changes per minute. Try doing that by hand.
The E:i rechargeable lithium-ion battery mounts to the downtube and looks similar to electronic shifting batteries. Run times vary, but Lapierre gives a safe estimate of 24 riding hours and say they’ve built in ample reserve power beyond that. Even without power, the shock continues to work and damping can be manually adjusted.
A steerer cap-mounted display shows suspension mode settings in addition to the typical bike computer functions. A toggle switch affixed near the left handlebar grip allows for on-the-fly changes between automatic, full-open and lockout modes.
French downhill legend Nicolas Vouilloz helped design and refine Lapierre’s mountain bikes, including suggesting the rear brake mount that cleanly tucks inside the seat stay.
While we’re hopeful of an amazing ride experience, the tangle of cables and wires at the Spicy’s head tube set off our long-term maintenance alarm.
The Spicy includes a sag setting guide on the non-drive seat stay that corresponds with a bolt-on indicator on the seat tube. The shock also sports sag-setting marks.
Sans pedals, the Spicy tips the scales at a shade under 31 pounds. Between the Horst link-like suspension design and E:i system, we’re hoping it pedals lighter.
2014 Lapierre Spicy 527 Key Specs
- Weight: 30.97 (size medium, without pedals)
- Wheel Size: 27.5 inches
- Frame Material: Aluminum
- Travel/Suspension: Rear: 150mm/E:i RockShox Monarch RT3; Front: 160mm/Fox 34 Float CTD Performance FIT
- Drivetrain: SRAM X7, Shimano XT; 2×10 11-36t; Race Face Turbine crankset 36/22t
- Brakes: Avid Elixer 7, 200mm front, 180mm rear
- Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 125mm drop
- Wheelset/Tires: Easton 27.5-inch Vice XLT tubeless wheels, Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35-inch tires
- Bars/Stem: Race Face Atlas Stealth, 740mm bars; Race Face Turbine, 60mm
- Bottom Bracket Type: Shimano Press Fit
- Head Tube Angle: 66.5 degrees
- Seat Tube Angle: 73.5 degrees
- Chainstay Length: 16.75 inches
- Bottom Bracket Height: 12.25 inches
- Bike MRSP: $5300
- Frame MSRP: N/A
For more information visit www.lapierrebicycles.com/.
Read our Bottom Line Evaluation of the Lapierre Spicy 527 here.
This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.