Lapierre Zesty 514 XL

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Lapierre Zesty 514 XL at rest

Being a tall guy, six-foot-nine to be precise, finding bikes big enough to fit my tall frame has always been a problem. It’s led to building custom frames in the past, but has meant I’ve not had the chance to enjoy some of the cool mountain bikes currently being produced.

Which led me to the Lapierre Zesty. It’s a bike I’ve always like the look of, and been keen to ride since it first launched and has gotten loads of rave reviews in mags and on the internet since. So when I found out that the 140mm bike was available in an XL, a size not many manufacturers offer (and which the 160mm Spicy isn’t offered in) I leapt at the opportunity to try it out.

The Zesty’s geometry is dailled for the kind of riding the bike is intended for, with a 68 degree head angle allowing you to nail fast descents and technical sections with absolute precision and rock solid confidence. The Fox fork with its 15mm bolt-through axle and tapered steerer tube noticeabley stiffens up the front when compared to bikes I’ve ridden previously, and combined with the short stem and wide bars manoeuvrability is excellent. It makes those clinging to the edge of the trail on fast sweeping singletrack bends an absolute blast.

All that and it pedals sweetly too. The Fox RP23 shock is well controlled via Lapierre’s OST four-bar configuration, and is best described as pert. This made pedally rides a real joy, covering ground with impressive immediacy given the bikes long travel. The spec is spot on for the riding this bike is intended for. Shimano’s SLX 3×9 groupset gave a wide spread of gears, and Shimano XT wheels proved admirably strong despite the extra burden my weight would put them under, and the tubeless Hutchinson Cougar tyres were grippy and fast rolling.

However, despite being the largest size that Lapierre offer, the Zesty still came up a touch too small. It’s a good job I’m not any taller; otherwise I wouldn’t fit on it at all. If only Lapierre could step up and offer an XXL option (something which more manufacturers are starting to do) it could be the perfect bike for me. As it is, my quest for a new all-mountain trail bike continues.

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