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Lapierre Zesty vs. Spicy 2012 | Breaking Out of The Dark Ages

“Long travel just deadens the ride”. As a flock we’re all guilty of being stoners to some degree. Steered into one–way systems of sand and lime stoned sub base with a custom–fit one trick 140 pit pony to do the job of navigating the dense, often badly managed, conifer plantations. Oh how they hate that term. Riding dirt and root has played second fiddle to designer lanes for too long, but natural is back and you’ll be needing a 160 stallion to hit some progressive trail beads…

From Dirt Issue 124 – June 2012

Words by Steve Jones. Photos by Steve Jones.

More than that, given the similarities in structure and componentry is there a future for 140mm bikes? As the new Specialized Stumpjumper Evo’s and Trek Remedy’s mimic the Enduro and Slash just so closely, how the hell are people making a call on these steeds? Lets take a look at Lapierre’s 140 and 160 offerings – the Zesty and Spicy.

With the Orange Five and Alpine you can kind of understand, the British trail archetype versus the tourist. But even then it’s not that simple. Ask insatiable trail building aristocrat Rowan Sorrell how long it took him to choose his weapon for Trans Provence last year. In the end Sir Rowan McAlpine plumped for the mule, a 140/160 halfbred born of British stock but with alpine blood.

We’ve been listening to tales of “occasional sorties into higher territory” for long enough now as the manufacturers, in trying to eek the most out of everything, have evolved a “type”, a great all–round mountainbike. It’s taken seven years but the long travel trail bikes are now weighing in around 25–30lb. What exactly do people now mean when they say “too much bike”? Maybe what they really mean is “too little terrain locally”.

Very often the closing of the gap between 140 and 160 is done unsurprisingly to make room for another model. When it comes to choice my mate says always go for the bigger sofa. Chainsaws are slightly different but a similar case in point. If you’re not cutting big trees, and need a nifty manoeuvrable machine, why would you go for the bigger saw? Smaller trees, less weight. That doesn’t mean that if you choose a 140mm rather than 160mm that you’re generally riding less manly terrain or are too unfit to pedal the longer travel bike uphill. But come to think of it, it’s true.>>

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