Note: These are not reviews but are simple ride impressions based on the demo tech set-up. All bikes were ridden on the Bootleg Canyon demo loop. Keep in mind that a short ride is not a review, but merely gives us, (and you out there), some idea of what we’re looking at here.
Interbike ’13: Ride Impressions- Lapierre Zesty 29
Lapierre isn’t a well known name in mountain bikes here, but in Europe, it is one of the better known marques having been ridden to victory numerous times by Nicolas Vouilloz and others. Now with the parent company of Lapierre aligning with Raleigh, Redline, and Diamondback, the decision was made to introduce Lapierre into the North American market. Lapierre is a very forward thinking brand and has a proprietary suspension system called E:I Shock which was developed in conjunction with Rock Shox and is an electronically controlled damping system for front and rear suspension. I will have a special report on Lapierre’s E:I Shock system later. For now, let’s take a look at the 29 inch wheeled Lapierre Zesty Trail 429……
Zesty Trail is a series of bikes from Lapierre with four models, (two being imported to the U.S. for now) and are slotted in as “all-rounders” good for any mountain adventures. With 120mm of travel on tap front and rear, it sets the Zesty Trail 429 squarely in the middle of full suspension bikes with big wheels and in a category filled with everything from XC racers to bikes like this Trail oriented design.
The Zesty Trail 429 is an alloy framed rig with provisions for a stealth dropper post, although the bike I rode was not equipped as such. The suspension duties were held down by a Fox 32 fork up front and a Rock Shox Monarch in the rear. Shifting was SLX triggers and XT rear derailleur with Avid Elixir brakes doing the slow down duties. Decent all around mountain biking fare here. At a listed 13kg/26.8lbs, it isn’t a heavy bike either.
The tech took care to set the bike up with the recommended 30% sag on the suspension and I took the bike out on a demo loop ride. The Zesty Trail is definitely a super-cush ride set up in this manner. Amazingly, I did not find it to be wallowing in mid stroke, as I was thinking it might, but instead it was actually a rather pleasant bike to pedal. That is, as long as you stayed seated!
The Zesty clawed its way up and over obstacles very well, and the Horst Link rear end tracked the terrain like a cat. Going down was unsurprisingly smooth and non-eventful. What maybe was a bit surprising was the very linear feel to the travel. I used it all, but never felt any spiking or serious ramping up of the spring rate. Another big positive was the stout chassis, which exhibited no perceivable flex at all. I did have one nit to pick though….
I was clipping my heels on the chain stays a bit. Very surprising to me, since I have a neutral heel stance on the pedals. Back at the demo tent, I mentioned this and was told that production Zesty Trails have accounted for this and have “S” bent seat and chain stays for better heel clearance.
The Zesty Trail is a very nice bike. I would have liked to have tried the E:I spec’ed variant to see how that changed the feel. I also would have loved to have had time to see about tuning the suspension more to my tastes, (a bit more XC, less Trail/soft), but alas, it is Outdoor Demo and we only get a short time with bikes. At any rate, it is obvious that Lapierre, albeit new to these shores, is not new at all to making a great riding trail bike.