Coming back from injury is never easy, especially when it's as long a road back to racing as the one Adrien Dailly has faced after breaking his elbow after round 3 of the Enduro World Series last year. After eight tough months and many surgeries, he finally got back on his bike in the last month - although he still had to have the pins out, which meant another few weeks of agonising patience. That left things tight, in fact he only had four or five days on his bike metal-free before he had to pack his bags and jet off for the Windrock GRT, then on to New Zealand for the serious business of EWS rounds one and two.
To make things a little sweeter, he gets an all-new version of his Lapierre Spicy race bike to welcome him back - new bike day must be all that much sweeter with that kind of wait for it. For a racer, new bike day can be a little stressful however - to fight it out at the sharp end, comfort and confidence on the bike are as important as having the best possible bike. Fortunately for Adrien, he has an ace up his sleeve in that respect - his race bike has been developed by none other than his mentor and 10-times DH World Champion, Nico Vouilloz. Nico is unlike anyone else ever to throw a leg over a DH bike and his feel is still unparalleled. 17 years after his retirement from the World Cup circuit, and he has obsessed over every little detail, so that makes it a little easier to get on the bike and get back up to speed.
Adrien's Spicy Details
• Intended use: enduro racing
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Rear wheel travel: 170mm
• 64.5° stock head angle
• 425mm chainstays
• Boost 148 rear spacing
• 445mm reach
• Prototype carbon wheels
Measuring in at 170cm (5'7") tall, Adrien has opted for the 445mm reach medium version of the bike, with 27.5" wheels, for now. The bike has been designed to switch between 27.5" and 29". He is keen to try bigger wheels later, but for now the priority is getting him back on the bike and up to speed, so he has stuck with the same wheelsize he was racing last year.
Out front the bike sports a 180mm Lyrik, paired with an angleset. For his 69kg (152 lb) weight he is currently running 1 token, 82psi, 12 clicks of rebound and searching for his sweet spot with the compression. Although for many the bike's stock 64.5 degree head angle would be enough, Adrien has been playing with 2, 1.5 and 1 degree head angle adjustments, going down as low as 62.5 degrees, but so far settling on 63 degrees as his preference. He has also been switching between 37 and 42mm offsets, and so far prefers the 42mm offset paired with this head angle and his 35mm stem.
On the rear, he has been switching between air and coil, and his current plan is to go for air for the tight Rotorua course, where he thinks have some extra pop will be an advantage. He is thinking to switch back to coil for some of the bigger mountain races and has been alternating between 300 and 325lb springs.
Adrien's cockpit is supplied by a name that may not be familiar to us mountain bikers, but is likely to ring more bells on the moto side, with a certain Ryan Villopoto being very involved with the brand - Tag Metals. Adrien has opted for a 780mm wide, 35mm diameter, 20mm rise T1 carbon bar clamped onto a 35mm T1 stem with their slim T1 grips to finish it all off. This setup has a very comprehensive alignment system, which looks like it should help with the precise setups that riders of Adrien's level require. Underneath is a 15mm spacer to raise the bar a bit more. The saddle is made by Fabric with titanium rails to shed a few grams.
One area where Adrien is very picky is in the braking department - bucking the trend among the pro ranks for bigger, burlier brakes, he prefers a lighter brake and as such opts to run SRAM's Guide Ultimates, with a smaller 180mm rotor on the rear.
There was little comment on these unmarked, prototype carbon rims - they look to be around the 30mm inner width mark. While we couldn't get specifics, we were told that they pair well with the more compliant frame to prevent the bike being overly harsh and stiff - Adrien has been helping in their development and raced on them in Olargues last year where he bagged second. It is hard to tell from the photos, but they have a lovely, translucent clearcoat over carbon finish that is very unique. Adrien also has this neat solution to pair Quarq digital tire pressure gauges with the rims. Along with Sam Hill, Adrien is one of Michelin's top enduro athletes and he is running their DH casing Wild Enduro tires. The compound on these tires feels incredible, they are ultra-soft and word is that they have been working on a progressive sidewall casing to help prevent pinch flats and provide a more stable feel from the tire - Adrien is currently switching between compounds to find his sweetspot for racing. He runs 1.3 bar (19psi) at the front and 1.7 (25psi) at the rear.
So far Adrien is running a stock Eagle groupset and has not yet received Eagle AXS, but as one of their top athletes, we wouldn't be surprised to see it adorning his bike before long. He runs at a 34t chainring driven by 170mm cranks (although he is also testing 165mm), mated to the standard 10-50t Eagle cassette. For pedals he runs HT T1 pedals with titanium axles.
One other big change to Adrien's programme this year is this man - Craig Miller. For the last three years he has wrenched for Joe Barnes, but for 2019 he has joined up with the French title hopeful to make sure his bikes are singing sweetly as he aims to reestablish himself as one of the men to beat in the EWS.