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Lapierre Spicy 516 Ei | The Appliance of Science

The 2013 Spicy has been trimmed down to what Lapierre hope will be an efficient enduro race machine. Nico Vouilloz’s on–going input during the design stages have led to small changes in the frame design – 66º head angle, longer chainstays, lengthened the wheelbase for high speed stability, stiffer headtube and BB. The travel of 160mm remains, but the Fox 36’s on the front are gone and have been replaced by the narrower gauge 34 CTD. The usual attention to detail found on Lapierre bikes is in evidence with the sag setting scale and internal hose routing for the RockShox Reverb post…

From Dirt Issue 137 – July 2013

Words by Jon Everett. Photos by Steve Jones.

This mid range Lapierre Spicy 516 Ei is built up with some reliable, solid performing components. Formula The One S brakes, Mavic Crosstrail wheelset, RockShox Reverb dropper post, XT clutch rear mech and shifters and unusually, a sweet, Easton Haven bar and stem combo which does not require being replaced straight out of the box, nice.

What is Ei?

This model comes with the Ei system, this is Lapierre’s way of automatically controlling the pedalling platform on the rear shock. It consists of a control/display unit, bar mount switch, two accelerometers and a cadence monitor, the servo relay attached to the RT3 Monarch shock and a battery pack. Essentially, the Ei system switches the relay on the Monarch between open, platform or locked. The default setting is to run open, then when pedalling is detected it wants to change to the locked position, however if the accelerometers detect impacts through the fork they will switch from locked to platform and then if large enough, will select the open position.

When in auto mode, the threshold at which the unit switches to open can be set with five levels of shock sensitivity. This is constantly monitored and continually adjusts the rear shock position automatically. This can be done in a tenth of a second and ultimately can change your shock position 20 to 30 times a minute. The three rear shock settings are also manually adjustable via the bar mounted selector switch.

Does it work?

My first impression of the Ei system was pretty sceptical to say the least – I mean we’ve all seen how good computer systems are at controlling traffic right? So would you want a computer controlling how you ride your bike? So I spent my first few outings on the bike using the manual settings, changing shock positions via the bar mount, hardly cutting edge but I wanted to get a feel for the Spicy before getting involved in what was surely to be automated carnage.

When the auto setting was engaged it was initially strange to hear the servo motor buzzing whilst riding along, but it was a case of fit and forget, the carnage never occurred. When coasting, the shock feels the same as when the open setting is selected but as soon as you start pedalling the bike feels taut and direct, putting all your effort into forward motion. There are some neat fail–safes built into the system too, such as backwards rotating cranks are not viewed as pedalling when setting up for corners on a DH run, the shock will stay open. Or if the battery goes flat the shock reverts to open. I didn’t get caught out by it at all, just get on it, switch to auto and ride. You can certainly feel a difference between all the sensitivity settings, the bike feels noticeably stiffer in the higher settings. Personally I found the Auto1 and Auto3 settings the most useful depending on the type of riding I was doing. Auto3 has a more race feel to it whereas Auto1 was a more comfortable ride.

Does it make you go faster? Or is that missing the point?

Well, on getting the stopwatch out, which is a handy function of the main display unit, timed runs on a local fast, 2.5 minute pedally track showed the auto setting to be about the same as the open setting with no discernable advantage on the clock. However what was noticeable was how efficient the bike felt through the fast pedalling sections, carrying and maintaining speed with minimal exertion, definitely leaving you feeling fresher hitting the final technical section of the track. This to me is where this Ei Spicy comes into its own, being able to ride down a track and its changing terrain and not trying to flick levers between sections, just head down and hammer. Maybe quicker or maybe not over one short section, but after a long day in the saddle you will notice the difference. I think it is this energy conservation that is the big advantage to this system. It just makes for a very efficient 160mm travel machine which you could happily ride anywhere all day.

And overall?

There are a few little details that could be improved on: sizing comes up on the small side, there’s a need for a backlit display for night riding, and a stopwatch starting from the remote rather than the main unit.

The bike has held up well overall although the Reverb got itself into knot early doors and is a pain to replace once removed. The biggest issue was with the CTD fork, for as brilliant as the Ei performs its reliant on the fork and the fork simply has no guts to its compression circuit. We look forward to tasting the big talk from Fox for 2014 on the 34.

But back to the bike. The Ei system adds 350 grams in weight to the standard Spicy and £250 in price. Is it worth it? And who needs it? Well, me as it turns out! If you want to ride hard and fast all day, if you are into racing you would be nuts not to opt for the Ei system, it complements the Spicy and turns it into a very rapid and direct bike. For me though, I would still rather see a pair of 36’s up front for when things get a little tasty.

SPECS
Frame Spicy 516 Alloy 7005 SL OST+ 160mm Tapered 12×142
Fork Fox 34 CTD
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch Ei shock
Wheels Mavic New Crosstrail
Tyres Continental Rubber Queen
Shifters Shimano XT 2×10 spd
Front Derailleur Shimano SLX 10 spd
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT Shadow+ 10 spd
Chainset Race Face Turbine 24×36 10 Spd
Cassette Shimano HG62 11×36
Brakes Formula The One S
Saddle Fizik Gobi XM
Seat Post RockShox Reverb Stealth, 100mm travel
Handlebars Easton Havoc, 750mm
Stem Easton Haven
Headset FSA Orbit Tapered

Sizes  S (40cm), M (43cm), L (48cm)

Price   £3349.99

www.hotlines-uk.com

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