Lapierre Zesty AM 6.9 CF review

A smooth, quiet ride that gets up to speed, but there's room for improvement with this Trail Bike of the Year contender

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £3,699.00 RRP | EUR €3,999.00
Pack shot of the Lapierre Zesty AM 6.9 CF full suspension mountain bike

Our review

Flat-out fast in a straight line, but all-round trail performance could be improved
Pros: Quiet and comfortable suspension that loves being pointed straight down a hill
Cons: Too happy getting deeper into its travel to make the most out of flatter, more twisty tracks
Skip to view product specifications

Lapierre’s bike can fly a little under the radar in the UK, but its trail-focused Zesty deserves a closer look. And with input from one of the world’s greatest riders, Nico Vouilloz, it’s certainly got some pedigree behind it too.

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Lapierre Zesty AM 6.9 CF frame

Underneath the pearlescent paint job sits a carbon frameset that shares much of its structure with the longer-travel Spicy – a few flip-chips, links and shock-length changes mean Lapierre has been able to create both bikes from essentially the same tubes.

The 150mm travel is dealt out via a floating shock design, with the shock’s upper and lower bolt holes being fixed to the rocker link and an extended rear chainstay (as opposed to the front triangle) respectively, meaning both ends move relative to the mainframe under compression. Meanwhile, reverse-threaded rear pivots, doubly secured with a circlip, took a couple of head scratches to work out.

While the shock pierces the seat tube, Lapierre has added a mud flap to stop the worst of the filth flicking onto the shock’s stanchion. Likewise the belly and the rear triangle benefit from some rubberised protection to keep scratches and more at bay.

There’s also a small storage caddy built into the underside of the down tube – although I needed to loosen a hex bolt – which often filled with mud – to access it. An extra point arrives thanks to the thru-axle bottle opener!

My only real gripe with the frame is the rear chainstay protector. It has a pair of clips around the chainstay to keep it in place. However, the rearward clip is right where my heels rubbed the stays, so through descents I found my heels constantly clipping and clicking the protector – both annoying and a little off-putting.

The low-slung top tube gives riders a little more standover height, though the kinked seat tube will mean taller riders (who may have to pull the seat post further out of the frame) will have a slacker effective seat angle than those with a slammed dropper.

The Performance level Fox 36's lowers have the casting for the pressure release valve, but they're blanked off on the base-level fork.
The Performance level Fox 36’s lowers have the casting for the pressure release valve, but they’re blanked off on the base-level fork.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The bike’s geometry figures won’t stand out as particularly radical, more middle of the road, but this isn’t always a bad thing, as it can make a bike very easy to jump on and ride.

A Large has a reach of 470mm – which is definitely respectable, though the 66-degree head and 74-degree (measured at my pedalling height) seat angles won’t appeal to the more aggressive rider. The Small bikes get a 425mm chainstay length, but Mediums to XLs get 433mm – a better balance for the longer front ends.

Lapierre Zesty AM 6.9 CF kit

Fox provides the suspension – 150mm at both ends – on the Zesty. The Performance level 36, with a notched three-position compression lever has stout legs meaning plenty of authority out on the trail. This is paired with a Float DPS shock at the back – its non-piggyback design is acceptable, though a DPX2 might match the fork’s intentions better.

The Lapierre Zesty AM 6.9 CF full suspension mountain bike is equipped with a Fox 36 Performance fork
Fox’s Performance level 36 feels stout up front.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

A mixed SRAM groupset drives the bike forward, with a visible GX Eagle mech and chainset, but lower spec shifter, chain and cassette, adding weight and denying the Zesty the plushest of feeling through the thumb and feet.

The SRAM G2 R brakes are basic, but reliable, and grip 200/180mm rotors to bring the bike to a halt. Maxxis’ rubber is present and correct, with a High Roller II 2.5in WT at the front, and a 2.4in Minion DHR WT at the back. These sit on 30mm-wide rims, which are built around Lapierre-branded hubs.

Remote for the Lapierre dropper post
Lapierre provides its own dropper – we weren’t convinced by its lever, though.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

This is echoed across the rest of the build, with Lapierre’s logo sitting on the remaining components. Broad but shorter riders might want to be aware of the narrow 760mm bar fixed on the Small and Medium bikes, taller riders get a 780mm bar. Markings on them make setup nice and easy.

Lapierre Zesty AM 6.9 CF ride experience

Up hills, the Zesty liked to sit deeper into the middle portion of its travel. In this area, the suspension is very supple, meaning traction via the rear Minion DHRII was good, however pedalling efficiency was improved either by flicking the compression switch on the shock (which removes some sensitivity), or by adding air into the shock (which has knock-on effects on the way back down).

Male cyclist in blue top riding the Lapierre Zesty AM 6.9 CF full suspension mountain bike through woodland
The Zesty feels almost luxurious as you land a drop.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

With the suspension sitting deeper into its travel, the already fairly slack seat angle gets slacker. As such, I used the shock’s lockout switch a little more than usual and put up with the slightly less sensitive ride. By pedalling smoothly, I was able to get the bike up pretty much anything, just not at the speed I might have done on other bikes.

This willingness to drop into its travel is noticeable on the descents. It’s a very, very smooth feeling bike, and is quiet to boot. The Zesty feel planted when traversing high-frequency repeated hits or rattling down knee-height drops so long as you’ve got the shock’s rebound set up to recover quickly enough.

The suspension ramps up late in its stroke, meaning I easily used the first 130mm of travel and often got all of the 150mm on offer. In a straight line, it gives it a relatively calm feeling, and I was often surprised at how fast I was exiting straights. Here, with the rear suspension compressed, the front end of the bike gets slacker, boosting front-centre length and high-speed stability.

Occasionally I found my heels dropped much further than expected, with a resultant boost of speed that was, at times, not quite in the flight plan…

Male cyclist in blue top riding the Lapierre Zesty AM 6.9 CF full suspension mountain bike through woodland
With plush suspension, the Lapierre feels incredibly smooth.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

It did, at times then, fire me into corners faster than I would have liked with the base model SRAM G2 R’s desperately clamping around the 200mm (f) and 180mm (r) rotors to kill the speed. Fortunately, the Fox 36 fork, with its 150mm of travel, provides a stout back-up when it comes to getting the bike’s trajectory altered when things may otherwise be going south.

I experimented with less sag than I usually would on a 150mm bike, which propped the rear-end up a touch more. I struggled to get all the travel at this point, though, and the bike lost its stable, planted feeling on the faster, rougher test tracks.

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However, it did add the support that comes in much more useful on flatter, more pedally tracks, where something to push off from comes in handy. When I had the bike set up for the descents, the Zesty wasn’t as peppy when pedalling from corner to corner as the name suggests, unless I consciously pushed it deeper into its travel to find that support.

Angled pack shot of the Lapierre Zesty AM 6.9 CF full suspension mountain bike
The Lapierre Zesty AM 6.9 CF
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Lapierre Zesty AM 6.9 CF geometry

SMLXL
Seat angle (degrees)75.7757575
Head angle (degrees)65.5666666
Rear - centre (cm)42.543.343.343.3
Seat tube (cm)40434650
Top tube (cm)57.160.863.766.6
Head tube (cm)910.51213.5
Fork offset (cm)4.24.24.24.2
Bottom bracket drop (cm)23.23.23.2
Wheelbase (mm)1,1571,1881,2181,250
Stack (cm)59.461.362.764.1
Reach (cm)4244.54749.5

Thanks to…

A massive thank-you to BikePark Wales for granting us access to its trails despite the bike park being closed to the public.

Cheers also to Fox clothing for sorting the kit for the photo and video shoots and Garmin for sorting us out with bike computers to log the many miles of testing.

And not forgetting Muc-Off, for its help keeping the bikes washed and lubed throughout testing.

Bike of the Year 2021 contenders

A decent trail bike should also be fast and capable on the descents, but with less weight and travel (130–150mm) than enduro bikes, they’re nimbler on flatter trails, less of a drag on longer rides and better on the climbs.

The following bikes were shortlisted for our Trail Bike of the Year award, with a price range of £2,999.99 to £4,695.

  • Bird Aether 9 (winner)
  • Canyon Spectral 29 CF 7
  • Intense Primer 29 Expert
  • Lapierre Zesty AM CF 6.9
  • Privateer 141 SLX/XT
  • Propain Hugene
  • Saracen Ariel 30 Pro
  • YT Jeffsy Blaze 29

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €3999.00GBP £3699.00
Weight 15.01kg (L) – without pedals
Brand Lapierre

Features

Available sizes S, M, L, XL
Headset FSA
Tyres Maxxis High Roller II 29x2.5 WT 3C EXO (f), Maxxis Minion DHRII 2.4 WT EXO (r)
Stem Lapierre 50mm
Shifter SRAM NX Eagle
Seatpost Lapierre 150mm
Saddle Lapierre
Rear Shocks Fox Float DPS Performance
Rear derailleur SRAM GX Eagle
Handlebar Lapierre 790mm
Bottom bracket SRAM DUB
Grips/Tape Lapierre lockon
Frame Carbon, 150mm
Fork Fox 36 Performance, 150mm
Cranks SRAM GX Eagle
Chain SRAM SX Eagle
Cassette SRAM NX
Brakes SRAM G2 R, 200mm/180mm rotor
Wheels Lapierre Rodi 30