First Impressions – 2014 Lapierre Zesty AM 727 650B & TR 29er Mountain Bikes
Lapierre unveiled their 2014 mountain bike line in the Alp resort town of Chatel, France this week. Among the several updated and new full-suspension bikes released is the Zesty AM 727.
The “AM” in the bike’s name refers to the fact that it’s positioned to be an “all mountain” bike. As Lapierre did with the longer-travel Spicy model for 2014, they went from 26” wheels to 27.5” with the Zesty. (They also released a the new Zesty TR, which is a trail bike with 29” wheels.)
I was able to spend a day on the Zesty AM 727, putting it through its paces in the mountain bike park in Chatel. The park offers every type of lift-assisted riding that any rider could possibly want in the Alps. It is the perfect setting to test a rig like the Zesty AM. I stuck mainly to the more intermediate runs, featuring high-berm turns, simpler table-top jumps and rather tame launches. Here’s how it went…
The Rock Shox e:i “intelligent” electronic rear suspension system seems to work flawlessly with Lapierre’s updated OST+ virtual pivot point suspension. The handlebar-mounted display/controller is very easy to use and understand. The shock would lock out when rolling on smoother trails, and felt like it instantly opened when hitting the rough stuff. To really test the system, and abuse myself, I set it on “automatic” and rode two miles on the paved road to the top of the mountain, and immediately descended on the trails. I can confidently report the entire system did the job for which it was designed, hassle-free.
This bike is designed to be mostly pointed down the mountain, and I had a lot of fun doing just that. I had a blast carving it into the berms. I’m sure I could have pushed it harder and faster into them, but my own apprehension prevented that level of testing.
The main triangle of the medium Zesty AM 729 uses a monocoque carbon fiber construction, the seatstays are carbon fiber and the chainstays use the new Supreme 6 aluminum alloy. It’s the same frame used for the Spicy line. However, the Zesty’s 150mm of travel in front (and back) kick the headtube angle to 67 degrees.
Lapierre chose to position the disc brake mounts on the inside of the dropout, which pushes the seatstays and chainstays quite wide. I found that my ankles knocked into the stays a lot, and other riders actually wore the paint down in those spots after a half day on the bike. Lapierre recognizes this, and told me the chainstays would be straight and less intrusive in the final production bikes, thus eliminating a lot of the contact area.
The bikes we rode this week were simple black, and decaled especially for the 2014 product launch. The bikes shown to us at the product launch feature the production paint schemes, an example of which is shown below.
I also spent some time on the Zesty TR, which is the 29″ version of the Zesty AM. Aside from the bigger wheels, the Zesty TR and its 120mm of travel, is aimed at the trail bike category. I must admit I was quite surprised at how well its 120mm of travel handled the park. I rode it on all the same trails I hit with the Zesty AM (and its longer travel sibling, the Spicy Team), and it railed everything…only faster.
Lapierre expects to start shipping the Zesty AM, Zesty TR, and the rest of the bikes unveiled this week, in September.