The first time I saw Lapierre bikes at the Eurobike show five years ago, I was stunned by their attention to detail. Nico Vouilloz has long been a big part of Lapierre, but more recently David Vasquez and young gun Danny Hart have been fronting the team.
Ride – best enjoyed at full tilt
Once you got settled up in that high cockpit area, the bike felt very well planted. Sprinting and climbing were dispatched with ease thanks to the Optimised Suspension Technology (OST).
This bike really didn’t make sense until you did what it was made for – blasting along big Alpine terrain at speed. It got better the faster it went, largely due to the slack head angle and also working the suspension hard was when it felt best. It felt a little twitchy in the slower corners, but that gives you the excuse not to go slowly.
We’d still seriously consider the Spicy’s little Brother, the Zesty, though, because it has a much more UK friendly 140mm (5.5in) travel and a lower bottom bracket.
Frame – nice detailing, designed for stability
The Spicy 516 is a trick looking weapon. The killer graphics give a unique look, which will no doubt be copied. We were very impressed with the ride quality and plushness, and the frame needed much less air in the Fox RP23 rear shock than usual to get the right amount of sag.
The integrated headset and BB cups make this a very tidy frame.
Neat additions include the carbon fender for the rear mech, the red alloy Sag indicator on the seat tube and the Stable Disc Position (SDP) device that keeps the brakes and wheels in line.
Our Spicy was difficult to get onto to begin with, due to the massive 14.75in BB height. With the saddle at pedalling height you couldn’t reach the floor once seated. It also had a worryingly slack (on paper) head angle (67 degree), but this made sense when we got it up to speed on the fast descents – it added an unbelievable amount of stability.
Equipment – highlights aplenty, but heavier than claimed
The build kit is a glorious mix of parts. XT and LX make up the main drive and shifting components, and the XT Shadow mech out back was crying out for us to test its rock shrugging abilities. The Thomson Stem and seatpost were coupled with a gorgeous Easton low rise bar and San Marco saddle. Formula’s Oro brakes were planted front and rear, and they really are up at the top level. Continental tyres are not always our favourites, but with their latest Mountain King tyre, they’ve really hit the mark. Other highlights are the Fox Talas 36 R fork, which blasted out 160mm (6.3in) travel and those stunning new XT tubeless wheels.
This bike has all of the parts to make it super light, but we were flabbergasted by the weight figure Lapierre had given it. We found it was more than 1lb heavier than the quoted weight of 29.5lbs (13.4kg).
You can ride this bike at the National Demo Series. Go to the Demo Series website now.