Lapierre Zesty 314L review

Female-fit version of our favourite technical trail bike

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
£2,299.99 RRP

Our review

The best women's full-suspension bike we've tested this year
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Lapierre’s Zesty has been one of the standout full-on fun trail bikes of the last few years and the L version means its insatiable enthusiasm is available for lasses as well as lads. Mountains or local trails, novice or nutter, we’ve given Zestys to every level of rider and they’ve all come back wide eyed with amazement at what this French flyer will let them do, making it a must try for any mountain biker.

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While the amount of sag suggested by the clever bolt-on indicator on the seat tube might seem excessive, within a few metres off road you’ll realise how right it is. The same applies to the lack of a lockout lever or different compression settings on the Fox Float shock. Lapierre have worked hard to get the preset damping tune spot-on, so all you have to do is set the rebound to match the spring pressure and you’re good to go.

Go is what the Zesty does like no other bike, too. While it managed to feel plush over the smallest cobbles and chattering farm tracks, there’s no trace of pedal related pulse or bob. Add a semi-slick rear tyre and it ripped along any section of trail long enough to put a few pedal strokes in.

That’s selling the remarkable OST rear suspension short. Even when you’re not pedalling it’s got a remarkable ability to drive the bike forward off every drop or rolling trail section, generating forward momentum from the bits that less well tuned bikes get knocked back by.

Add the impeccable overall balance of the bike that seems to always put your body weight right where it’s needed and it’s probably the most natural pump-and-flow bike available. Even on sections where we couldn’t see anything remotely like a clear or rideable line, the Zesty would just nonchalantly glide through, pedals level, rider smoothly mobile and spectators stunned.

The impressively stiff, relatively long rear swingarm delivers both corner carving and straight line stability too, offsetting the snappy front end steering with a rock solid straight line confidence. Off camber slate scattering, clattering turns with no outside edge or brain-out, brakes-off, organs-floating runouts are treated with equally knowing contempt that makes Lapierre’s Alpine test origins all too obvious.

While you’re likely to hit the tyres’ limits first in damp conditions, the kit choice is totally complementary otherwise. Nobody puts more finely controlled and better-communicated stopping power into a crooked brake lever than Formula.

Even without a screw-through 15mm axle at its tip the open bath 140mm Fox fork is a showcase of supple, seemingly bottomless composure.  The Fulcrum wheels are impressively tight, Shimano transmission faultless and the Fizik saddle was declared gloriously comfortable by every girl who rode it.

Lapierre Zesty 314L
Lapierre zesty 314l: lapierre zesty 314l
Seb Rogers
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This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

Product Specifications

Product

Name ZESTY 314 L(11)
Brand Lapierre

Description 35/40/45cm sizes
Pedals -
Weight (kg) 12.99
Stem LAPIERRE XM 31.8x80mm
Shifters SHIMANO SLX 3x10S
Seatpost LAPIERRE Pro Light 31.6x350
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Vesta Black/White
Rims MAVIC Crossride Disc Black 9x100 / MAVIC Crossride Disc Black 9x135
Rear Tyre CONTINENTAL Mtn. King 2.40/Race King 2.20
Rear Shock Float RP2 200x57
Rear Derailleur SHIMANO XT RDM773SGS 10S
Headset Type Alu S-Integrated Cartridge Tapered
Available Colours Silver white
Head Angle 68
Handlebar LAPIERRE Comp 31.8 30x680mm 2012
Front Tyre CONTINENTAL Mtn. King 2.40/Race King 2.20
Front Derailleur SHIMANO SLX 10S FDM66010E6X
Frame Material Aluminium
Fork Float R 140mm Tapered White
Cranks XT FCM780 42x32x24 XL / 170mm : size 42 • 175mm : size 45
Chain Shimano CN-HG74
Cassette Shimano HG81 11x36 10S
Brakes FORMULA RX PM180 White/Silver
Bottom Bracket Shimano Integrated bearings BB SMBB7141A
Weight (lb) 28.66