Lapierre‘s entry to the US market is sure to turn heads as it updates an already strong lineup of bikes with electronically-controlled e:i shocks developed jointly by the French bike-maker and Rock Shox. We’ll give you our impressions after testing the 2014 Lapierre Spicy 527 as part of our forthcoming All-Mountain Shootout. For now, here’s a first look at our test rig.
The Lapierre Spicy 527 boasts 150mm of rear travel with 160 up front and mixes mid-level SRAM (X7) and Shimano (STX, XT) drivetrain parts with Avid Elixer 7 brakes. For suspension, a Rock Shox’ Monarch RT3 Relay electronically-controlled shock is paired with a Fox 34 Float CTD fork. Also spec’d: a Rock Shox Reverb Stealth adjustable seatpost, Easton 27.5-inch Vice XLT tubeless wheels, Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35-inch tires, and Race Face crankset, bars and stem.
The Relay servo motor is mounted on the Rock Shox Monarch RT3 shock and can react to bumps and pedaling inputs in less than a tenth-of-a-second, and change damping 20-30 times 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.
French downhill legend Nicolas Vouilloz helped design and refine Lapierre’s mountain bikes, including suggesting the rear brake mount position 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 is a bit much.
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 i:e system, we’re hoping it pedals lighter.