All I got from that ride as impressions go is that it was very confident zooming down a very rough fireroad lol.
The next ride i took it to my local off piste trails at Cannock Chase. Now knowing these trails, and more confident in the gradients there I was able to give the bike a more thorough testing. I also took one of my friends with me to try the bike as he also tried the last bike I demo'd the pivot shuttle. So you might see some comparisons here especially considering there is around 8lb difference in bike weight.
Let me also say that this is the first 29er I have ridden. I had ridden the 27.5 plus wheels on the pivot and was impressed with how confidence inspiring it was to ride over things. Then a few people started telling me that this was also a quality of 29ers, so I was intrigued to find out how true this was and how it compared to a plus bike.
One of the first thing I noticed upon picking up the bike was the weight, and that was just putting it the back of the car. I did have concerns about this, but more about that later.
The bike is shimano powered with a integrated snake battery, which im told is easily removable but have not being able to test as i have not got the key to the battery compartment. the bike is equipped with sram brakes and shimano 11 speed xt gears in this case as apposed to Di2 on the pivot. It has Lapierre's own dropper and a fizik gobi saddle with Lapierre branding. Formula wheels with nobby nic tyres.
At first glance I was very cautious of the tyres as I have never liked nobby nics and had serious doubts about how the bike would handle in the mud. I was also concerned with the 67 degree head angle.
I knew that 29ers used to have steeper head angles, with the big wheels stated as making them feel slacker. Also note that there is less travel on the 29er version of the bike than the 27.5 version, this being 150mm instead of 160mm. Again it used to be said that the big wheels make up for some of this. I never believed this so not sure how true it is or not.
Now onto the ride.
Cannock on this particular day was surprisingly mild and sunny, but with recent bad weather the trails were decidedly muddy. We started off with a couple of flatter trails, one which was completely new to us. having just stumbled across it whilst riding to our first port of call. The bike handled exceptionally well even in muddy corners, it seemed to come alive on the trails. Even when the backend would slide out on corners the bike felt that composed that it was easy to bring it back under control, this is not something im used to. and boy did it feel fast. Not sure if its the 29er wheels or the overall ride quality of the bike but this thing just wanted to tear down singletrack giving massive grins in the process. Cornering was also excellent. this being no harder than on a plus bike.
A few more trails later and showed itself again and again to be very confidence inspiring and immensely fun. even when the trails turned into more downhill style trails the confidence was there, giving the ability to ride things i might otherwise of had second thoughts about.
Going uphill was great to as with some unknown magic that lapierre have found this thing can climb as well as it descends, I didn't notice any front wheel lift and even on steep sections of trail.
Now lets address some of those concerns I had.
first of all weight. You do not notice the extra weight of this bike whilst riding, the only time the weight became noticeable is when picking the bike up to turn around or having to push the bike. The walk mode on this didn't seem as powerful as the pivot. whether that's down to the weight or how its been programmed I do not know.
Also how much the extra weight makes a difference to power on very steep climbs i don't know as i have yet to test it on some of the climbs i used to test the pivot. I suspect that there will be a little less power but at the moment unknown.
And how much the extra weight added to confidence and grip in the mud I do not know either. though this bike seemed more than happy to ride muddy trails as though it wasn't on speaking terms with mud and thus ignoring it and pretending it wasn't there.
The tyres seemed to be fine, though i would love to try it with my normal high roller ii's on there.
The steeper head angle had no discernible effect it felt slacker than the numbers suggest.
Again the 140mm travel was great and felt much more. the suspension system on this bike is smooth and a joy to ride. I think its Lapierre's own interpretation or a horst link system.
After riding the first couple of trails my friend then took the bike around one of the trails. I didnt tell him my thought waiting instead to here what he had to say. When he came back he pretty much echoed my thoughts about the bike, saying it corners surprisingly good and seems to be very fast. at this point we were both comparing it to the pivot shuttle and also the fact that the 29 inch wheels were better at cornering than expected.
How does this bike rate against the pivot shuttle.
You might find it hard to believe but in my opinion and that of my friend this bike is better. It rides better and handles better. The suspension system is much smoother and grip levels, well it was almost as if the mud wasn't there. I don't think I've ever ridden so fast in mud before.
So I were to own this bike what would I change. the main things for me would be a dropper with a longer drop. I think this one has a 125mm dropper. being on the leggy side i would swap this for my 150 reverb I have on my normal bike or even fit a 170mm one. the saddle would also have to go as gobis don't suit me, I would also swap out the tyres for some maxxis high rollers or minions.
One last thing would be to change the finishing kit to Burgtec kit but that goes without saying lol.
If this bike could be improved it would be in the weight departement, even just a few pounds lighter would help here. but like I said you don't notice it when riding, only when maneuvering the bike by hand.
This is one great bike with excellent ride quality and heaps of fun inspiring characteristics.