Finally, I have been able to give this beast a ride, after a ride of the Lapierre Zesty 314 2012 a few months ago and obviously a few months with its previous incarnation, our demo bike, also a Zesty 314. I was really impressed with the Lapierre Zesty 314 with the new OST+ suspension but have been really cynical about the new Lapierre Zesty 514 as I am old (34), bald and unwilling to embrace carbon mountain bikes…!
Then again, even though I own a bike shop now, I only recently embraced full suspension mountain bikes! When I were a lad, I had a fully rigid, steel, Kona Cinder Cone with Dia-Compe 987 cantilevers (didn’t work and the “Ti bolts” rusted!). Those new aluminium frames, they’ll never last. Oops.
Anyhow, once we received the bike, we were really surprised at how amazing it is. Obviously it has a Rockshox fork on the front instead of a Fox but that has never bothered me. In fact, I’d happily sacrifice the bling of a Fox fork for a 15mm QR and the reliability, lengthier service intervals and great way in which this fork works. So while this is a cost saving, I see it as fantastic. SLX cranks don’t look as nice as XT, and I’ll admit that it does detract a little from the bike. However,only 50g, from a heavier chainring and no loss of performance means that I should get over it pretty soon.
The rest is a nice common-sense mix of SLX and XT kit. It also has Mavic wheels, which appear to have rid themselves of their hub problems from a few years ago so I like, a lot. Oh, and for some reason, you get a Fizik Gobi saddle, which is hardly cheap so somehow that slipped through the net. The only obvious cheap parts are their own branded bars, stem and handlebars. The only change I may make to the standard specification is a slightly wider handlebar (I’m not so cool yet – I only use 710mm but many people would convince themselves a 730mm bar would work for them on a bike such as this). I have a Truvativ carbon handlebar on my hardtail and I think that would be a great addition to the Lapierre Zesty 514.