Lapierre XR 729 The Lapierre XR 729 is a carbon cross-country orientated mile cruncher. The first thing you notice on the XR 729 is that the shock is hidden in an odd protruding seat tube to accommodate the single pivot suspension design. I've grown fond of the striking look but don't expect to squeeze two water bottles within the front triangle. Expecting a full blown XC bike, we were a little stumped when a custom built XR 729 with a 120mm Pike and dropper seatpost arrived in the office. The only component that was stock (according to the Lapierre website) was the wheelset and tyres. After the first ride, however, it all made sense but I'll leave those details for the full review. Lapierre also produce the Lapierre XR 729 e:i which uses an electronic shock to adapt automatically to the terrain. This models retails for R82,995. Custom builds of the mechanical suspension bike can be arranged. You can view all the 2016 Lapierre bikes at www.lapierrebikes.co.za. LuvHandles Luvhandles was started by twin brothers late last year who were tired of paying too much for bike components such as grips. So they set out to find a high quality silicone grip to sell directly to the public at a reasonable price. A neat feature of their online offering is that it allows you to select the colour of your grips and plugs separately. They say this results in almost 50 colour combinations, perfect for the matchy-matchy builders. On first look the grips and plugs appear to be top notch but I'll have to see how well they with stand up to some abuse on my wide tree bashing handlebars. A set of Luvhandles grips and plugs currently retail for R120. Check out their online store for more details here. Thule VeloCompact The Thule VeloCompact comes in a two or three bike configuration. The VeloCompact is a relatively new addition to the line up having been released in 2015. It promises to be light weight and compact. The carrier attaches to a tow bar and has a tilt mechanism so that you can access a hatch type rear door. The VeloCompact retails for R8,999 in the two bike configuration and R11,999 for the model that can carries three bikes.
First Look Friday is an introduction to the products that we are currently testing for review. This week we're featuring the Lapierre XR 729, Luvhandles soft grips and Thule VeloCompact bike carrier. Click here to view the article