Lapierre’s Spicy 916 is their top flight, all singing, all dancing, 160mm (6.3in) travel all-mountain bike. It’s also the only carbon model in the Spicy trio and, along with its top-end componentry, this helps justify the price jump from the 516 we already love.

Ride handling: Fun, fast and great over technical terrain

The 916 certainly doesn’t hang around, and getting it up to speed is easy thanks to its slender 12.3kg (27.2lb) weight – damn impressive for a 160mm (6.3in) travel big-hitter.

The revised suspension platform does bob a little when grinding uphill, but this is easily rectified with a flick of the ProPedal lever (and where the added adjustment of the RP23 shock might be nice). That said, it’ll still hold its own against shorter travel equivalents on the climbs.

It’s when the trail becomes more technical that the level gets stepped up. Here the 916 delivers agility, traction and speed-carrying poise in equal measures. The shorter chainstays add to the nimble, flickable ride, while the 65.8-degree head angle means steeper terrain can be tackled with confidence.

There’s plenty of support courtesy of the Fox fork and shock, and the additional suppleness in the rear end helps fight for every ounce of grip on offer. Choppy, undulating terrain can be handled at speed, with plenty of control, while hitting turns hard and fast felt as if we were hanging off the throttle on every exit.

On bigger hits and hefty compressions, the more progressive end stroke at the rear means you can really smash the trail without any harsh bottom-out knocking your feet off the pedals.

Frame equipment: Well equipped and with improved suspension

This year, the 916 frame goes full carbon for both front and rear triangles (in 2011 it was just a carbon rear end). As with the other Spicy models, the 916 utilises the OST+ suspension platform, which supplies 160mm (6.3in) of rear wheel travel. It has been tweaked since the previous version, to improve initial reactivity and end-of-stroke progressivity.

It’s also equipped with all the gravity-driven essentials. These include a tapered head tube for improved stiffness up front, a 12x142mm bolt-through rear axle and ISCG 05 chainguide mounts should you want to add some chainset security.

As you’d imagine at this sort of price, the 916 comes shod with some pretty special kit. Highlights include the Shimano XTR double chainset and XTR Shadow Plus rear mech along with the Fox 36 RLC fork (Lapierre are no longer speccing the TALAS on the Spicy range). Unusually at this price point, you don’t get the Fox RP23 shock but the lower, less adjustable RP2.

We’re big fans of the compact remote used on the KS seatpost but it will need some TLC after a few grotty rides. If we’re being picky here, the 711mm bar feels a little out of its depth considering the types of riding this bike can handle.

This article was originally published in Mountain
Biking UK
magazine, available on Apple
and Zinio.