In winter, Chatel, France is a bustling ski resort town nestled in the French Alps. While patches of snow still dot the mountains throughout the summer, Chatel and nine other resorts in the region play host to mountain bikers from all over the world. These riders come to the area to ride some of the finest alpine terrain in the world. The region is also home to the bucket list-worthy Pass’Portes du Soleil mountain bike event.
So what better location for Lapierre to present their 2014 line of mountain bikes, the bulk of which are bicycles built for the type of riding this area is famous for?
We ripped the Zesty through a few trails already, now we’ve gotten a taste of the Spicy…
The crown jewel of the 2014 Lapierre mountain bikes is the enduro-ready Spicy. I was able to spend a day riding the top-end Spicy Team up and (mostly) down the bermed runs of the Chatel Mountain Bike Park.
The Spicy is already a popular bike, and Lapierre’s goal is to make it even more popular and successful. With plenty of input from pro-rider Nico Vouilloz, Lapierre completely updated the Spicy for 2014. Most notably is the fact the bike, as with most of the 2014 Lapierre mountain bike range, is now outfitted with 27.5 (650b) wheels.
The 2014 Spicy also has a longer top tube: 15mm for the medium; 10mm for the large. Other changes include dropping the bottom bracket by 10mm, making the frame stiffer (rear triangle 16%, bottom bracket 25%, head tube 8%) and spec’ing a shorter stem and wider bars. The bike also features a tapered head tube and a BB92 press-fit bottom bracket.
Lapierre collaborated with Rock Shox on the e:i “intelligent” electronically-modulated rear shock. Basically the system is smart enough to immediately (.01 seconds) determine what type of terrain you’re on, and then adjust the level of compression needed. Combined with the proprietary OST+ virtual pivot point suspension, which was also updated for the 2014 models, I found it to work extremely well. The e:i shock is standard on the Spicy Team, and is an option on the Spicy 527.
As for the front suspension, Rock Shox has brought back the Pike fork. And it’s a beauty. Spec’d on the Spicy, the 35mm stanchions are a buttery-smooth black finish. The 150mm of travel is a nice compliment to the 160 in the rear, and felt great in the Chatel park. Sure this bike spends most of its time going down the mountain, but it might be cool to have a remote lockout for the fork. After all, enduro isn’t all about descending.
The frame on the Spicy Team is carbon fiber monocoque construction, while the Spicy 527 and 327 models use the new Supreme 6 aluminum alloy. The Spicy comes with cable stops, but it also has internal cable routing should you want to hide and protect your cabling.
The Spicy Team is a fun bike to ride. Its suspension keeps things comfortable and stable while descending and hitting the rough, technical bits. I wouldn’t say it’s snappy, but its 66.5 degree head angle, 27.5” wheels and short chain stays keep it fast, fun and maneuverable.
As with all the bikes we rode last week, the paint scheme on this one was painted and decaled specifically for our test riding. Production paint is shown in the photo below.