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.
- 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.