Pro bike: Nico Vouilloz's Lapierre Spicy Team

It’s fair to say the words Nicolas Vouilloz and legend go hand in hand. With 10 world champion downhill titles and numerous individual wins – in everything from the Enduro World Series racing to rally car driving – under his belt, his talent is undeniable. But it’s his attention to detail, too, that’s always set him apart.

It’s not surprising then that Vouilloz’s new 2016 Lapierre Spicy Team enduro bike is a treasure trove of technical trickery, with every single detail meticulously thought out and a whole host of tweaks present and correct to perfect it to his needs. Indeed, when I try to corner him at the Roc d’Azur so we can chat about his bike, I think I’ve been stood up – only to discover him the workshop, making sure every part of the bike is utterly clean before any photos are taken. 

Devil’s in the development 

Vouilloz has a very different status to Lapierre’s other pro riders, because he’s actually a paid member of the R&D team. Along with the product managers and engineers he’s intimately involved in the development of all of Lapierre’s mountain bikes, with the reputation of being (wait for it) something of a perfectionist.

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Related: Lapierre puts the fire back into the Spicy

The story started over a year ago when Vouilloz began riding a specially modified version of the 2015 Spicy in order to experiment with both geometry and travel. However, these modifications to the old bike had a few side effects…

“It was pedalling well, but not as well as it could,” Vouilloz tells BikeRadar. “[The new bike] has more travel and it’s pedalling like the old Spicy in 150mm, and I can ride a bigger ring. The bike is made for 34t to be the best efficiency. In the past the Spicy was made more for 30-32t but now it’s a bit more for racing.”

Getting the fit right

Special-recipe suspension

Waxing Lyrikal

Custom rubber

Survivalist wheels

Going for gold 

  • Frame: Spicy Carbon OST + 165mm travel
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik RCT3 Solo Air, 170mm
  • Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus, 200x57mm, E:I Relay
  • Headset: Sealed cartridge, 1º offset
  • Stem: Nico Vouilloz Signature, 45mm
  • Handlebar: Truvativ BlackBox Carbon with nylon extenders, 770mm
  • Grips: Lizard Skins DSP
  • Front brake: SRAM Guide Ultimate, 180mm rotor
  • Rear brake: SRAM Guide Ultimate, 200mm rotor
  • Brake levers: SRAM Guide Ultimate
  • Front chain guide: Truvativ X.0, upper only
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1
  • Shift lever: SRAM XX1, modified with grip tape
  • Cassette: SRAM XX1, titanium Nitride coating
  • Chain: SRAM XX1, titanium nitride coating
  • Crankset: SRAM XX1
  • Pedals: Shimano XTR Trail
  • Wheelset: SRAM BlackBox carbon front, SRAM Rail 50 rear
  • Front tyre: Michelin Wild Grip’R2 Advanced Reinforced Prototype
  • Rear tyre: Michelin Wild Race’R Enduro Rear Advanced Reinforced Prototype
  • Saddle: Fabric Scoop Flat Pro
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb, 125mm travel
  • Bottle: Fabric Cageless bottle and mounts

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Specialized Command Post IRcc

Specialized’s dropper seatpost has been around for a while, but the IRcc (Internally Routed, cruise control) version is new for 2015. While the Command Post of old had just three defined drop positions, the IRcc, which updates from the IR model, has an extra 10 indents within its 75, 100 or 125mm of travel.

Trail Tech: Examining the next generation of dropper seatposts

It’s still easiest to drop the post into one of the three main positions, but once you get the knack you can get it into the in-between positions too, most easily on the way down. Selecting one of the smaller indents on the return leg takes a bit more practice and commitment, and requires you to control the saddle with your thighs. The extra positions make it easier to get the right saddle height, though we found that occasionally the post would miss an indent and fall to the next main position with a clunk.

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One of the main features of the Command Post is that you can adjust the return speed by connecting a pump to the Schrader valve just below the saddle and adding or removing air. The working pressure range of 15-20psi is low, as is the air volume, so getting an accurate measurement from a shock or tyre pump can be challenging.

The post comes out of the box pumped up to 20psi, and we found a quick release of pressure was all that was needed to slow it down a touch. If you’re expecting a RockShox Reverb-like gentle return rate you’ll need to change your expectations – it varies from very quick to ‘well, I didn’t want kids anyway’. You have been warned.

That said, once you’re used to it, the quick-fire return and the defined clunk when it’s back up make a lot of sense when you hit an unexpected climb round the corner.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Litespeed T5 Gravel custom build

If you’ve built a reputation on handcrafted titanium since 1986, why change now for your first gravel bike?

Legendary Chatanooga builder Litespeed’s new T5G is a pure-Ti beauty, adorned in our case with the latest 1x drivetrain from SRAM, carbon disc wheels from Zipp and the very best finishing kit. (Most Litespeeds are built to order, so we asked LItespeed’s UK distributor Wiggle to put together an appropriately high-end bike.)

The T5 is Litespeed’s endurance bike, which has a taller head tube and shorter reach than its racier T1, T3 and T7 models. The T5 Gravel adds thru-axles, huge clearances and Litespeed’s signature bracing bar across the stays for the disc mounts.

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The bracing strut is strong, but we’re unsure of its aesthetic appeal

The T5G frame is made from cold-worked 3Al/2.5V titanium. Its oversized tubeset is most notable for its massively oversized 44mm diameter head tube, which houses a carbon 1 1/8-1 1/2 steerer fork. The front is 2cm taller than the bike on which it’s based, the angles are half a degree slacker and it also has a fractionally shorter wheelbase.

Specs as tested:

  • Size tested: M
  • Sizes available: S, M ,M/L, L, XL
  • Weight: 8.4kg
  • Frame: 3Al/2.5v Titanium
  • Fork: Carbon,1 1/8 – 1 1/2in steerer
  • Frame alignment: Head-tube and fork dropouts very good, rear dropouts perfect
  • Crankset: SRAM Force 1, 40, 175mm
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM PF30
  • Cassette: SRAM Force 11-32T
  • Chain: SRAM Force
  • Derailleurs: SRAM Force 1
  • Gear levers: SRAM Force 1
  • Wheels: Zipp 202 Firecrest, 12mm thru-axle front and rear
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evo LS 33mm
  • Wheel weight: F 1.34kg R 1.72kg
  • Stem: Thomson 110mm
  • Handlebar: Easton EA70 42cm alloy
  • Headset: Chris King
  • Saddle: Fizik Gobi Kium
  • Seatpost: Thomson Elite 31.6mm
  • Brakes: SRAM Force Flat Mount

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

The Tern Cargo Node: the folding cargo bike you’ve been dreaming of

If you live in the big city, it’s likely you that either don’t own a car, or you’ve looked at the one you do own and wondered just how badly you need it. Going car-free could alleviate a significant financial burden, but doing so is not exactly straightforward.

Proximity to shops is always an issue, and if you regularly need to carry large or heavy objects (think weekly shop, disposing of recycling, that sort of thing), giving up your vehicle is likely to be a non-starter.

In theory, a cargo bike might well the solution to your problems, but in practice, it’s not quite that simple. Current models on the market all suffer the same essential drawback – they’re too damned big. For all but the ultra-wealthy, urban living means an apartment, usually one that’s not on the ground floor, and often one with nowhere to store a gigantic bicycle.

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Related: Tern Verge X10 review

The Cargo Node from Tern was recently the subject of a successful Kickstarter campaign in collaboration with cargo bike company Xtracycle. We’ve now laid hands on the bike at a press conference in Taiwan, and it looks like it might be the answer.

Unlike Tern’s other bikes, its primary purpose is not to be taken on the train or stuck under the table in a café. Rather, it folds down so you can fit it in elevators or cars, and store it in a closet at home when you’re not using it. Where a conventional cargo bike might occupy your entire hallway, this one will be out of sight and out of mind.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

The Tern Cargo Node is the folding cargo bike you’ve been dreaming of

If you live in the big city, it’s likely you that either don’t own a car, or you’ve looked at the one you do own and wondered just how badly you need it. Going car-free could alleviate a significant financial burden, but doing so is not exactly straightforward.

Proximity to shops is always an issue, and if you regularly need to carry large or heavy objects (think weekly shop, disposing of recycling, that sort of thing), giving up your vehicle is likely to be a non-starter.

In theory, a cargo bike might well the solution to your problems, but in practice, it’s not quite that simple. Current models on the market all suffer the same essential drawback – they’re too damned big. For all but the ultra-wealthy, urban living means an apartment, usually one that’s not on the ground floor, and often one with nowhere to store a gigantic bicycle.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

Related: Tern Verge X10 review

The Cargo Node from Tern was recently the subject of a successful Kickstarter campaign in collaboration with cargo bike company Xtracycle. We’ve now laid hands on the bike at a press conference in Taiwan, and it looks like it might be the answer.

Unlike Tern’s other bikes, its primary purpose is not to be taken on the train or stuck under the table in a café. Rather, it folds down so you can fit it in elevators or cars, and store it in a closet at home when you’re not using it. Where a conventional cargo bike might occupy your entire hallway, this one will be out of sight and out of mind.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

AngryAsian: Embrace winter on your bike

Much of the western world marked the end of Daylight Saving Time this past weekend, rolling the clocks back an hour and helping our days start off on a brighter note. Unfortunately, the correspondingly earlier sunset also usually means the end of midweek rides – but it doesn’t have to be that way.

The sun may be setting earlier and the air may be getting colder but that doesn’t mean you’re relegated to only riding indoors or on weekends. Winter isn’t a season to be fought tooth and nail; it’s another season just like summer, spring, and autumn, and there’s no reason it can’t be as enjoyable with the right approach.

Bring your own sun

Dealing with the darkness is the easiest of the problems to fix: get some lights! Granted, riding at night isn’t always the smartest or safest thing to do on heavily trafficked roads but you might be surprised just how much fun it can be on dirt.

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Twenty years ago, my work and class schedule meant I did the vast majority of my trail riding in darkness. As did many of my riding buddies at the time, I used a then state-of-the-art single Niterider 15-watt halogen lamp to light the way. The output was laughably feeble by modern standards, the beam pattern sucked, the bulbs would occasionally blow out, and the 90-minute run time prompted me to carry two battery packs.

Modern LED lights are incredibly good and often quite reasonably priced. Don’t get sucked into top-end models when a lesser one will suit your needs just fine

Bundle up

Go fat

Keep it fun

Gear up for your best winter ever

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Exclusive: Behind the scenes of Philips’ stunning Darklight film

Philips recently released Darklight, a seven-minute movie promoting its latest ambient lighting TV, and it’s a clip that stands as a benchmark mountain bike flick in its own right. If you’ve not yet seen it then it’s time you caught up.

Related: Philips’ Darklight mountain bike movie looks simply stunning

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Now, we’d have never have assumed that putting together seven minutes of unique, LED-lit mountain bike footage would be an easy task, but it wasn’t until we were shown this behind-the-scenes footage that we understood what the 30-person film crew had to deal with.

Throughout filming, the crew behind Darklight had to lug about six tons of equipment in and out of two near-inaccessible areas. Now, factor in the sleep deprivation that 38 nights of filming brings, and the moment when one of Specialized’s athletes was bitten by a rattlesnake, and you’ll start to get the picture. Enjoy.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Delays reported on Eurostar cycle carriage policy

A few days have now passed since Eurostar’s new bike carriage policy came into effect, but UK cycling charity CTC thinks it may not be active just yet.

The new policy, which was due to come into effect on Sunday 1 November, rules that cyclists must now box up their bikes to travel on the Eurostar train service. But CTC says an employee has since travelled to Paris and back without the need to dismantle and box up his cycle – and was told it would probably be the end of November before the new scheme is fully implemented.

Related: How to pack your bike for a trip abroad

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BikeRadar contacted Eurostar to ask if these delays are true, and was told that the new cycle carriage policy is now operational for all customers. Not so, says CTC’s Road Safety and Legal Campaigns Officer, Duncan Dollimore.

“I spoke to the guy at the [dispatch] counter who confirmed they had not boxed any bikes on the day the new policy was supposed to start,” says Dollimore. “He then said it would probably be the end of the month before they started boxing cycles.”

The rule change has drawn criticism from leading politicians on both sides of the Channel, including the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar