Bonjour, from the disgustingly scenic French Alps, where Flow has been invited to lift the lid on the 2015 Lapierre range.
For 2015 the Lapierre XR, Zesty and Spicy models will use e:i Auto, the next generation of e:i Shock. Frame construction and geometries remain the same as 2014 but a few spec changes will surely please those interested in these fine steeds. A full review will follow shortly, but first up let’s take a closer look at what e:i Auto is all about.
The main focus for Lapierre in 2015 is to improve on the whole e:i Shock system, their very successful electronically and automatically adjusted suspension system. e:i Auto is simpler, more discreet and from what we can gather the changes made will certainly iron out any of the issues that stopped the current e:i system from functioning correctly 100% of the time.
Electronic bits and pieces on mountain bikes are a hard sell to consumers. What’s the need, right? Well, let’s start by saying that there can be no hiding the fact that here are Flow we’ve been long fans of Lapierre bikes, we always seem to hang onto them for longer than usual. They tick so many of the most important boxes, especially when it comes to their very balanced and efficient rear suspension platform and ideal frame geometry for shredding trails with confidence.
Our most loved model – the Zesty – is a bloody kick arse bike for Australian terrain, it seems just right. But in truth we’ve had our fair share of issues with a few of the e:i bikes we’ve had on test. All the issues have been caused by two things; the computer connection, and the wiring inside the frame. We’re often asked how the Lapierre’s perform with the e:i Shock. We love it, when it works.
What is e:i Shock anyhow?
The system uses inputs from two different sensors – one at the front wheel/fork, one in the cranks – to determine the optimum setting for the rear suspension at any given moment. If you’re riding rough terrain, the system opens the rear suspension damping right up for the best bump absorption. If you’re pedalling along on undulating terrain, a moderate level of low-speed compression is activated. If you’re riding smooth terrain, the rear suspension is made firmer again. And all of this happens in 0.1 seconds.
It’s also able to be controlled manually – as did the original system – via the easily accessed button on the side of the system. An LED light changes from green, to orange and red to communicate what setting the shock is in.
[divider]What’s new with 2015 e:i Auto[/divider]
- The bulky and plasticky head computer that sat on top of the stem is gone, so is the button console next to the grip. They’ve been replaced by just one small and unobtrusive button with one LED light sitting on the side of the stem – the LED indicates which mode you’re in.
- The wiring connections and junctions between the sensors and battery inside the frame have also undergone improvements. These two factors alone immediately make us happy, and our faith is completely reinstated in the design.
- Further simplifying the system is the removal of the front wheel magnet and without the display computer the speed, cadence, trip distance, time information etc is also gone. We won’t miss it, and everyone serious about capturing and monitoring data has a GPS type thingo or uses Strava on their phones anyway, so we doubt we’d be the only ones not missing these functions.
- The battery changes shape and sits off the left side of the down tube, freeing up the area for a water bottle cage.
- The cadence speed needed to activate the system has been lowered from 45 RPM to 30 RPM to accommodate for the impact larger diameter wheels and 1×11 drivetrains which often see a slower cadence. The system was originally developed when 26″ wheels were more common.
- The automatic sensitivity settings have been reduced from five to three (the first three) furthermore simplifying the whole thing.
[divider]What’s new with the 2015 Zesty and Spicy range[/divider]
- No more Formula brakes, in favour of more SRAM and Shimano.
- All-aluminium seat stays on high end Zesty. No more carbon, plus they are narrower to reduce the heel rubbing experienced by many riders.
- Easton wheels are gone from the range, replaced by Race Face and SRAM.
- More RockShox spec, with the brilliant Pike through the range of Zesty AM and Spicy.
- Michelin tyres on high end Spicy models, and the new generation (much tougher) Schwalbe Nobby Nics on Zesty.
- New Fast Black coating on the RockShox Monarch rear shocks, giving smoother and more sensitive.
- A revised spring curve and shock tune.
We can’t help wishing Lapierre had refined the e:i Shock system just a little bit more in 2013, these improvements we see now will surely future-proof the electronic system from the incidental problems that were experienced. The concept is flawless, it works remarkably well. Now it’s time to put some time on the new rigs to deliver our verdict.
Au revior for now.