Holiday Romance: A week in Spain with the Lapierre 720 complete build

Wideopenmag first look – Lapierre 720 complete build after a week in Spain
Words: Editor Jamie Photos: Jacob Gibbins

For me, the Lapierre 720 was a holiday extravagance for our trip to Spain. My ‘normal’ downhill bike was a bit worse for wear and a last minute call to UK distributor Hotlines struck gold as Marketing Manager Martin came back with a “yeah, no worries mate, we’ve got a medium 720 here you can take for a bit”. Sure, a brand new downhill bike that still needs to be broken in can be a bit of work but the rare treat of a brand new, unbeaten, unjet-washed and unragged bike to take away for a week was too good to miss.

Top to bottom the 720 is a very well specked bike without being OTT – the build isn’t as top shelf as the fancier 920 model but sits sensibly within a privateer budget at £3500 and gives all of us weekend warriors a passport to riding something close to the bike that Sam Blenkinsop, Cam Cole and Nico Vouilloz stomp aboard. Boxxer RC up front, Fox DHX RC2 to the rear, SRAM X7 groupo throughout, Schwalbe Muddy Mary ‘damp conditions’ tyres, Funn bar and stem and a set of Formula Oro brakes to do the stopping. Most importantly for me though – the frame is exactly the same as the supposedly posher 920 and still offers 2 geometry positions (via an adjustable headtube) and a fancy carbon swing arm. Completing the package is a few nice touches such as an integrated seat clamp, integrated bump-stops, very neat internal cable routing and the Scott-esque mud/roost guard on the down tube that always gets a few comments on the uplift.

Out of the box I immediately had to make a few changes that you should always budget into a bike purchase – a 350 alloy spring on the back and a medium Boxxer spring had to go straight away in favour of some firmer options. Don’t forget that when ordering your flashy new bike or you’ll be like the kid with the Gameboy at Christmas who’s mum forgot the batteries. Tyres were also interesting and the Schwalbe Muddy Mary ‘all rounders’ suit damp UK conditions really well but might not be the one if your first ride was (like mine) in the bone dry.  I also didn’t quite fall in love with the Formula Oro brakes which felt a bit wooden and didn’t offer enough adjustment to wind the levers in to avoid arm pump on the longer, rougher trails. No stress in the UK but in the big stuff they could have felt better.

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I’m not going to pretend that after a week of riding I can give the 720 a full run down but 7 days of riding in Spain, an uplift at Combe Sydenham and my first race in the Masters category at Tavi Woodlands have definitely made me want to ride it more and given me the spark to get on some uplifts rather than always reaching for the trail bike. One comment we receive on Facebook was that the 720 was rumoured to corner poorly which I would definitely argue with – she turns a treat and was a lot of fun through the long, fast berms at Combe Syd and the tight switchbacks at Tavi Woodlands.   Through the big, rough, rocky terrain out in Malaga I found the geometry and frame size in particular to be really confidence inspiring and relaxed into the ‘let go and don’t worry about it ‘ approach much more easily than on my usual DH ride.

What else do you want to hear…? Weight? She’s a shade under 40lbs and certainly doesn’t feel like a slug on the trails, helped by the fact that she pedals pretty nicely for a big bike. Carbon swing arm? Feels good, doesn’t feel weird compared to an alu one and hasn’t broken, snapped, caugh fire, exploded or anything else the keyboard warriors might suggest!

Look out for more on the 720 next issue after I’ve had a few more weeks in the saddle and possibly got someone a bit more aggro on board – so far so good.

The 720 retails in the UK for around £3500 and is available via your local bike shop, distributed through Hotlines.

http://www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk/

You can check out the original article in all its glory here in Wideopenmag issue 18 –


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