Lapierre Zesty AM 5 Ultimate review

Tough enough but could be smoother

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £3,199
pack shot Lapierre Zesty AM 5.0 Ulitmate mountain bike

Our review

A big hit machine that deserves a smoother fork
Pros: Neatly finished frame with big terrain capability
Cons: Not particularly zippy on flatter, more mellow trails
The Lapierre Zesty AM 5 was hotly anticipated by the BikeRadar team, as it’s a great-looking bike that, on paper, also looked promising.

The Lapierre Zesty AM 5 Ultimate is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2019. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub.

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Lapierre Zesty AM 5 Ultimate design and kit

Lapierre’s smart design means each size shares the same tubes with 27.5in and 29in Zestys, and both wheel-size Spicys, the longer travel sibling (with different shock lengths, angle sets and flip chips used to swap between wheel and travel options).

This may help account for the reasonable value on offer here — there aren’t many full-carbon bikes at this price point, even with the fairly budget kit Lapierre uses.

The carbon frame may also account for the weight, coming in at just over 14kg – not too bad considering the kit and the bike’s rugged application.

The rear suspension works best on bigger hits, thanks to decent progression through the stroke giving plenty of control on drops, jumps and bigger hits. There’s also a fair amount of sensitivity through the shock, aiding small bump sensitivity.

Lapierre uses a floating shock design, whereby the shock is actuated by both the rocker link at the top, and an extension of the chainstays at the bottom end of the shock.

Lapierre Zesty AM 5 Ultimate ride experience

Bikes, such as the Vitus Escarpe use a similar design to good effect, and while the Lapierre displays similar traits (good small bump sensitivity, ‘bottomless’ feel through bigger hits), it’s not quite as smooth as the Vitus, partly thanks to the use of a more basic RockShox Deluxe RT shock.

However, I didn’t feel able to make the most out of the back end thanks to the RockShox Revelation RC that couldn’t match the plush feel on offer rearwards.

This sapped my confidence on repeated impacts and when trying to maintain traction on off-camber trails, despite the triple compound Wide Trail Maxxis High Roller II mounted to fairly wide Lapierre-branded rims (which offered decent grip levels elsewhere).

The Zesty felt a touch sluggish on flatter tracks and on the climbs — it didn’t quite have the reactive, snappy feel some trail bikes exhibit. As such, the Zesty felt like a mini enduro bike in character, rather than an agile trail bike.

This feeling is reflected in the Zesty’s numbers – a reach of 470mm (large) is respectable, while the 66-degree head and 75-degree seat-tube angles are also bang on. The front-end length is nicely balanced with 433mm chainstays.

Lapierre has included a number of nice frame details in the build. There’s a fender between the rear wheel and shock, plus a storage box under the downtube (a tube and a tool would fit nicely, and it doubles as frame protection too).

Finishing touches, such as the semi-integrated seat clamp and smooth cable routing, round out the package.

Like a number of bikes with a similar aggro-feel, I’d be tempted to look at the longer travel option (the Spicy), as if you’re happy to ride a bike that feels a touch compromised on climbs or mellow trails, you might as well benefit from even more travel on the rough stuff.

Lapierre Zesty AM 5 Ultimate specifications

  • Sizes (*tested): S(27in), M(27in), M(29in), L(29in)*, XL(29in)
  • Weight: 14.23kg
  • Frame: Carbon 140mm 29”
  • Fork: RockShox Revelation RC 140mm
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe RT Chainset: SRAM X01
  • Bottom bracket: Pressfit
  • Mechs: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Shifters: SRAM NX Eagle
  • Wheelset: Lapierre AM
  • Tyres: Maxxis High Roller II 29×2.5WT, Maxxis Minion DHR II 29×2.4WT
  • Stem: Lapierre alloy 35mm
  • Bar: Lapierre alloy 780mm
  • Saddle: Lapierre CRMO
  • Seatpost: Lapierre Dropper 150mm
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide R 200/180
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Lapierre Zesty AM 5 Ultimate geometry

  • Seat angle: 75 degrees
  • Head angle: 66 degrees
  • Chainstay: 43.3cm / 17.05in
  • Seat tube: 46cm / 18.11in
  • Top tube: 63.7cm / 25.08in
  • Head tube: 12cm / 4.72in
  • Bottom bracket drop: 3.2cm / 1.26in
  • Stack: 62.7cm / 24.69in
  • Reach: 47cm / 18.5in

BikeRadar would like to thank 661 Protection, Northwave, Effetto Mariposa and Finale Ligure for their help and support during our Bike of the Year test.