Riding a Lapierre around the Lake

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by Byron on May 18, 2008 at 8:57 AM

It’s not very often that I’ve got a bike to test, just adjust the saddle/stem, ride it for 4 hours and and totally enjoy a comfortable ride. That says a lot about the Lapierre S-Lite 500 I rode around the South end of the Lake yesterday. The more I rode the bike, the more I liked it. For the S-Lite series, Lapierre has “tube forms that offer more comfort, with 25% more vertical flexibility in the rear triangle for better absorbtion of vibrations.” That means it’s a vertically compliant frame that flexes enough to smooth out the ride. As I wrote in my initial review of the bike, it’s for a century like Seattle to Portland. That flex also transmits road vibration so it doesn’t feel dull and carves very well. Consquently, without all the stiffness, it’s not the fastest climbing or sprinting bike. You’ll need to wind it up towards the finish line and use that triple to get over the big climbs.

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Notes

  • At the 3K point, the parts are mix-matched with Ultegra and 105 – that all worked well, but a comparison shopper is going to look at other bikes that are spec’d with full Ultegra or SRAM Force.
  • A rider will want to upgrade the low-end Mavic wheels for race or tour day.
  • I wouldn’t spec or want a triple. Yes it works, but I find it cumbersome and would either just run a bigger cassette or a compact.
  • A super light fork introduces horizontal flex. To test this, grab your handlebar and shake it side to side. Does the whole frame move or does the front end wiggle like a worm on a hook? Strong hits did make the front end of the Lapierre move; that’s not good or bad, just an observation from me that I think the next refinement in carbon is the headtube. They’ve got bottom brackets down, even tuning them to specific ride characterizes. Next up is massive head tubes.
  • The bike’s aesthetic is also refined. It’s not NASCAR logo’d like the Tarmacs or in-your-face painted like the Treks. It’s understated French with the various trademarks. Lappiere doesn’t use lugs so the bike looks like a monocoque frame. It’s stylish and looks fast.

Having ridden carbon frames since there were carbon frames, it is remarkable to see this much refinement. Now on the market are specifically tuned bikes like the Lapierre S-Lite series, very stiff bikes from Specialized and Trek, or even the Davidson Hotspur that mixes Ti and Carbon. Builders continue to improve what they do with carbon.

Lapierre’s are available at select Independent Bike Dealers. More coverage.

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Forkless: All white chopper sculpture

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by Dave R. on May 17, 2008 at 6:08 PM

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Man, I don’t follow the custom/chopper bike scene very much so I may be out of touch, but this thing is scuplture! Amazingly, you can even ride it (here’s proof). More photos and construction details here. You gotta take a look, the design process and details are great to see. For example: it’s a single, drive side chain/seat stay.

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A Lexus Love Tap

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by Byron on May 17, 2008 at 8:45 AM

Having been arrested and prosecuted for a car/bike road rage incident, I try my best to just ride away from a-hole drivers, but yesterday when a motorist drove his car onto the bike path in front of me, I decided that was “over the f’ing top” and gave his Lexus a Love Tap. A Love Tap is a gentle reminder to a car that you’re nearby, that they’re in your lane, or have rolled past a stoplight into your path. Dude wigged out when he heard the tap on his trunk and I was all, “seriously dude you’re on the bike path with your car.” I rode away and he parked his car. Never saw him again.

It’d been a while since an altercation and the last incident was in Maui where ironically a hippie-driven, bio-diesel, end-the-Iraq-war-stickered Mercedes tried to run me off the road. I’d never yelled at a hippie before, but this went down harsh and could’ve ended badly, if I’d not backed off, and that was a straight-up defensive-protective measure. I later concluded it was karma for me flipping off this Mercedes the year before.

Tip: a good Love Tap technique is to pop a breakaway mirror. That’ll get their attention and not do any damage.

What’s your Love Tap story or worst incident with a car?

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True Confessions: I rode a triple!

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by Byron on May 17, 2008 at 7:52 AM

It was tough for me even to mount a bike with a triple drivetrain, but we’ve got a Lapierre S-Lite 500 and that’s what it ships with. I figured, I’ve been running a 25 cassette for a while and finally put a 26 on my bike with SRAM, I’ll try it. That doesn’t mean I’m like those dudes palling around on bikes in the Flomax commercials, even though I’m a Masters Racer that’s closer to middle age than I’d like to think about.

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So, of course, I spent the first 30 minutes of the ride messing with the triple: slamming it around, trying to drop the chain; small ring, middle ring, big ring. Conclusion: Fine, ok, it works and well. But it does seems overly complicated and just out of place on a road bike; especially, with the gear-ratio choices from SRAM. You could either run a bigger cassette or even compact. Be aware though, if you’re an old-school roadie, you’ll keep looking for a comfortable gear ratio that doesn’t exist. When I rode a compact, that drove me nuts. I was always looking for a gear that I’d ridden for years and it wasn’t there. Upshift, downshift, damn it!

I’ll post more on the Lapierre after some long miles. Quick review:

Performance Comfort Carbon. A responsive, carbon bike that soaks up the bumps and is comfortable, but not soft. Perfect for a tourist that wants a fast bike that won’t beat them up. It’s designed for the Grand Fondos in Europe and perfect for a century in the US.

Lapierre’s are available at select Independent Bike Dealers. More coverage.

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Doggie Pedal Parade

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by Byron on May 17, 2008 at 7:43 AM

Today in NYC is a Doggie Pedal Parade for all those cyclists transporting their dogs in baskets, trailers, and cargo bikes.

WHAT: Time’s Up! Doggie Pedal Parade
WHEN: Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 2 PM
WHERE: Traffic island on south end of Union Square East between Broadway & 4th Ave

It’s obligatory, I think, that the pets are in costumes.

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Wayfinding Seattle

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by Byron on May 17, 2008 at 6:02 AM

wayfinding_seattle.jpg Nice new signs spotted all over downtown Seattle.

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Bike to Work 08: Just riding in a skort

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by Byron on May 16, 2008 at 1:14 PM

Met this commuter en route back to West Seattle. I showed her the way to her meeting on California. Alaskan Way was a gauntlet with cruise boats and a cargo ship arriving at the same time.

Uploaded by Hugger Industries | more from the Bike Hugger Photostream.

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I’m with Big Dummy

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by Byron on May 16, 2008 at 7:41 AM

I commandeered the “I’m with Big Dummy” shirt from the schwag Surly sent us for the Mobile Social. It’s well timed with Bettie 2.0 arriving at Hugga HQ and I’ll wear it as I ride Bettie New around town.

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More on Bettie 2.0 as we test ride her, but the quick review is

The bike is remarkably quiet. All I hear is the tires. Old Bettie was a cacophony of sound with the Stokemonkey, two chain rings and gears. It’s also like I went from driving a beat-up old truck to an Escalade. It’s smooth. Now that I understand how Nuvinci shifts, it’s a thing of drivetrain beauty. Also slow. Smooth and slow.

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It’s Friday: Let’s Ride… to Work

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by Dave R. on May 15, 2008 at 8:57 PM

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Reminder – Tomorrow is Bike to Work day, the best day all month to commute on your bike. Here in Seattle we’ve got an event organized by Cascade and sponsored by Starbucks (among others) replete with stations all over town where you can check in for some schwag. No worries if you’re not in Seattle, are rides all around the country.

Now, schwag is lovely, but it ain’t really enough to get me to stop most days. What should get you our riding and maybe even stopping at a promo-hut is the chance to get counted. Turns out our fair city doesn’t do an annual census, and tomorrow’s the day to vote with your feet – show the city how many of us are out there for transportation and how vital our cycling facilities are.10,000+ riders rode last year, it’ll be interesting to see how many more this year with gas prices up over 40 cents a gallon from last year. Plus the weather in Seattle is supposed to be fantastic tomorrow, so we’ll see ya out there. If you’ve checking in post commute – how’d it go?

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Biz, Bikes & Brew

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by Byron on May 15, 2008 at 7:25 AM

Business and cycling meet at the Biz, Bikes, & Brew event – similar to our Mobile Socials with an emphasis on networking. We posted on deals on the bike earlier and have ridden with Dahon and others. A couple weeks ago, I met up with a potential new business partner and Bike Hugger was vetted by REI during one of their legendary lunch rides.

There isn’t a handbook for these rides, but I’d suggest

  • Take a pull and a good, hard one
  • Ride hard, but don’t drop the VP of whatever
  • Don’t pop-off about your skills and then suck
  • Bring the good wheels
  • Ask where the sprint is and line up for it

Besides the vetting, on the bike you get to know a person, how they ride, what they’re riding, and how they assemble themselves in the pack. It maybe a alpha-centered culture with roadies or a more democratic urban ride. Whatever the context is, I think more business should occur on bikes.

Also, as a final tip, if you show up on a Pinarello Prince, you must rip everyone’s legs off and then apologize profusely or risk being labeled a poseur.

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