First ride: Lapierre Zesty 714 £3699.99

Versatile all-carbon rig

BikeRadar score 5/5

The Zesty is already a firm favourite with trail centre riders, and now Lapierre have expanded the range to include two full-carbon versions with some significant tweaks to their geometry and components. We put the new Zesty 714 to the test on some true all-mountain terrain.

Ride & handling: Superb handling means you can hit everything without fear

The 714 is a breeze to get up to speed. Hammer the pedals to your heart’s content and it feels as if nearly everything you put in is delivered into the rear wheel. It accelerates and pedals well.

The combination of the stiff frame, OST virtual pivot suspension and Fox rear shock make this a super-efficient bike to ride. And let’s not forget weight. At around 11.8kg (26lb), this is a super-light 140mm (5.5in) travel bike.

Point the 714 uphill and the shorter cockpit (compared to the old alloy Zesty) still allows enough room to get tucked into a great traction-inducing position.

Flicking the ProPedal lever on the rear shock to activate the firmer platform was only needed on arduous road climbs. Fox’s new Boost Valve technology, combined with the OST suspension design, did a great job of keeping the pedalling efficient, and grip on the climbs was never an issue.

Over rougher ground, the 714 gives a suppler ride than its alloy counterpart, making it a little more forgiving. The front and rear suspension is well balanced and produces that smooth Fox feel.

The changes made to improve handling have worked wonders. A shorter stem, top tube and straight seatpost, combined with a wider bar, have opened this bike up to new opportunities.

Frame & equipment: 100 percent carbon frame construction plus some of the finest kit out there

Carbon frame manufacturing technology has come on in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. Using a monocoque frame construction, the 714 was inspired by the flowing hydroformed tubes of the alloy version, but with some obvious additional benefits.

Lapierre claim the new carbon front triangle is 300g lighter than the aluminium version, as well as stiffer and stronger than ever.

Working closely with Fox Racing Shox has also helped. The new Boost Valve technology of the Fox RP2 rear shock keeps the OST virtual pivot system extremely well controlled and stable even on the steepest of climbs.

The Zesty now has a 5mm shorter top tube to enhance control and manoeuvrability. Our test bike was a 46cm frame, with a 595mm (23.4in) top tube.

Lapierre have made the wise move of speccing the Zesty range with shorter stems and wider bars to increase the versatility and fun factor of the bikes. The 80mm stem and 680mm bar are a great compromise and make the bike much more of an all-rounder.

Formula’s RX1 brake with custom anodised parts works well and adds an element of cohesion that many manufacturers tend to overlook.

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