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Bike Check: Nico Vouilloz’s Lapierre GLP 2 EWS-E Race Bike

Pinkbike’s Matt Wragg already went right down the rabbit hole on Nico’s EWS-E race bike. It was clear that the ten-time world champ is taking e-bike racing every bit as seriously as he took downhill and enduro before; no detail was left unquestioned and next-level thought had gone into every aspect. Just before practice for the opening round of the EWS-E in the Tweed Valley, I spotted Nico’s bike in the pits and immediately noticed a few interesting tweaks since that last article, so I grabbed a few minutes of his time to talk it through.

So what’s going on with that battery cover?

It has no lock…it just pushes on. We save like half a kilo with that.

So what’s the battery capacity?

It’s 500Wh.

Is that enough?

It is for 1,000 or 1,100 m of elevation. Last year we had 1,300m and it’s still okay. It depends, when you are a light rider and the bike is light as well, it works. If you are heavy, 500 Wh it’s ehh….[shrugs]

Have you lost weight to do better at e-bike racing?

No, no, I tried but my weight is 67-68 kg … it’s natural. Before I was maybe 68-69 kg. Of course, 62 or 63 kg would be really good for an ebike racer but I can’t manage. You need to be able to hold your bike.

So you’re on the Zeb this weekend and you’ve been on the Lyrik before…

Exactly, but the new Zeb works really well. I’m really happy with all the improvements. It’s a bit stiff for me and now I feel less harshness.

So the Lyrik was for harshness more than weight?

The Lyrik was not for the weight it was just less physical to ride. It was not for the 200g. In some sections, you can really feel the benefit of the bigger fork like if it’s more downhill bike terrain. But when it’s slow speed with the stiffness sometimes it’s harder to ride, you maybe do more mistakes. But I have the feeling that with the Buttercups, the new air side, the less friction and the hydraulic, the stiffness of the fork is less of an issue.

So you said it was the slow-speed stuff where you noticed the downside of the old Zeb (compared to the Lyrik). That surprises me because I thought it would be the fast, high-frequency stuff where the Zeb might feel harsher.

A Lyrik when it’s a slow track, really tight and slow, maybe it’s a bit better because it’s more flexy when there’s no speed. As soon as you carry speed, the Zeb is better because it’s stiffer, and more stable, it makes you feel more planted when you carry speed. The flex of the Lyrik helps a bit on slow rooty things. Grip on roots. You lose a bit when it’s fast

So did you try the new Lyrik?

It’s only in 160mm now and I was riding 170mm before. Now I have 180mm with the Zeb. I would have to put a spacer below to have the right length of fork, but the travel would start to be a bit limiting.

I also noticed the brakes, what’s your thinking there?

I had a better feeling with this combo. I need to try the new Code again because now I have 220 mm rotor at the front. Maybe the new Code is for my riding style a bit “on/off” – not on-off but the contact point is really clear, really sharp. Here maybe I have a bit more flex, a bit more spongey (a little bit) and I had the feeling I preferred this. But now I have bigger rotors with one organic and one metallic pads (before I was full metallic with 200 mm rotors) just to reduce a bit the sharpness.

Sometimes with full metallic when it gets hot on the stage before and then cools for the first two or three corners, it’s not so good. I think the organic helps a bit with that and it’s less powerful than metallic so I need to try the new brakes with this package.

Is it 200 mm at the rear to go with the smaller wheel?

Yeah, at the rear it’s not the power you are looking for it’s more that it’s not getting hot on long runs.

Okay, and the tape?

It’s to save fifty grams. A full fifty grams to remove the last cog.

SHIT I need to remove everything because SRAM will be not happy! Because they see me, they hear that. I’m dead.

I think they’ll let you get away with it!

Honestly, on an ebike you normally don’t use the last one.

Unless you run out of battery

Exactly. But normally you are not riding Eco in the race and it’s a full 50 g so… Anyway, before I stopped the derailleur before the last one just for security reasons.

And the wheels are the 3Zero Moto front and rear, am I right that you weren’t sure if they were strong enough for ebike before on the rear?

Now it’s okay. I improved a bit the suspension and I didn’t get any issues. I don’t like to talk like that because it’s a wheel and anything can happen but it’s working well.

And it’s the same width (30mm) front and rear? Because you had narrower on the rear before, is that right? Do you miss the narrower rim on the rear?

No, this wheel twists a bit more than normal. For punctures, it works well, because normally the wider rim is less good for punctures, but it’s thick on the sidewall so you don’t get more punctures. Maybe for ebike I’m happy with this wheel. For uphill it works well for traction with the wider rim. So globally, I have more benefits with the wider rim at the front than the rear, but at the rear, it works. The wide wall works well.

And for a regular bike I seem to remember you were in favor of narrower rims on the rear?

Yeah, 25 mm on the rear for rolling, for punctures, for weight… I think it works. For 2.4″ tires or something like that, it works.

Can you tell me about the tires?

On the front, it’s a prototype, but at the rear, it’s the normal Wild Enduro Front but at the rear.

Are they the new, heavy ones?

At the front, it’s 1.25 kg and at the rear, I don’t know, it’s 1.3-something. It’s both 2.4″.

Do you know how much it weighs?

It was 21 kg but with the Zeb and the AXS seatpost, Ochain and bigger tires, it’s a bit heavier, maybe 21.5 kg. It’s the stock frame, I just remove the protection.

Do you notice a big difference with the Ochain?

Not big, but a bit of smoothness in the suspension, but also sometimes. the chain effect causes the engine to start when you don’t want to. Sometimes you are riding big braking bumps and when you release the brake and the engine starts, especially in Turbo mode, and you really reduce that. Also, it makes less noise. Sometimes the freehub makes noise on the Bosch motor. Generally, you have the feeling the bike is working a bit better.

Do you notice a big difference with the new shock?

The biggest difference is the hydraulic bottom out. It works, and it brings something. And all the settings, you can really use them and it still works. It’s firmer or softer but it works. You don’t have the feeling you need to ride full open anymore – or full-open to middle. Now you can really feel and difference in high- and low-speed.

And with the new shock is that the bigger volume air can?

I didn’t try the smaller air can yet, it’s something I want to try. It’s like the old DebonAir.

Did you ever use the MegNeg with the old air can?

Yeah, and it was good on the bike park, progressive and sensitive. But on roots and slippery stuff, I didn’t like it. Not enough enduro-like, more bike park.

It’s a compromise, depends on bikes and what you’re looking for. More aggressive rides.

What can you tell me about your suspension settings?

I’ve not finalized everything because I didn’t do all the tests I wanted to do, but I’m in between 160 and 170 psi in the shock. In the fork zero tokens. I was trying one token before but it was hard to get all the travel and if I removed the token it was too soft. So maybe I prefer a bit more air with zero spacers, so 58, 60 psi, 62 was too much. For now, I’m around there.

And I had a little bounce on the fork and it feels a bit slow to me, is that what you prefer?

I finished riding at home with the rebound tighter just to try it. Normally I’m quite open. More on the fast side, front and rear.

Do you find you want it any slower on an ebike to control the weight?

No. Maybe for uphill, but not riding downhill. When I put it slower it’s for fast tracks to have a more planted bike, and when it’s slow and slippery I have it on the fast side just to make it live and easy to ride when it’s tight. When it’s fast and straight with big compressions you want it slower. I always adjust a few clicks here or there depending on the race, the track, the stage.


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