Lapierre’s top short travel 29er is an affordable alloy all-rounder with impressively capable suspension and geometry but some of the component choices seem a little confused.
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Design and geometry
While you can get Lapierre’s Zesty AM in carbon and either 27.5 or 29er formats, the TR is only available in a Supreme 6 alloy 29er version. It’s a distinctive frame with some nice detailing though. The short, stout head tube leads into a kinked box-section down tube with a bottle cage mount within easy reach. The top tube reverses the shape to put the kink just ahead of the seat tube for a bit of extra standover clearance. The short section of conventional seat post bottoms onto asymmetric forged plates that straddle the shock and head of the swingarm above the press-fit bottom bracket. The rear pivots slightly behind the top centre of the chainring, with a chainstay pivot just ahead of the dropout with a broad single piece rocker linkage completing the circuit. The Fox DPS LV (Large Volume) shock is therefore squeezed between the linkage trunnion mount and a lower mount above the main pivot on the chainstay. Neat detailing includes internal cable routing, a roost guard over the shock shaft, small chain guide on the seat tube and a ribbed rubber chainstay guard. The massive bolted seat clamp isn’t exactly subtle though and the straddle seat tube set up limits overall dropper post length and height adjustment potential.
Geometry is well balanced though with a 66-degree head angle, 75.5-degree seat angle, 475mm reach on the large and a 35mm BB drop that translates to a 335mm BB height. The straddle suspension design and plate chainstay heads also allow a very short 428mm rear end length.
Components and build
The Fox Float rear shock is teamed up with the simple but always effective Fox 34 Rhythm fork matching the rear's 120mm travel. The fork’s compression lockout is remote-controlled by a twin lever remote perched awkwardly above the SRAM NX shifter pod. The dropper post remote has an awkwardly long throw before the seat actually starts to drop and as mentioned previously, strokes are restricted by the frame space. Small frames only get an 80mm drop, medium get 100mm while large and extra-large manage to just squeeze in a 130mm stroke. While we’re rounding up the niggles, the cassette hidden behind the highlight GX rear mech is a heavyweight 11-50T block from the SX group. The SRAM carbon chainset saves significant weight over an alloy piece though and it’s central position means the dynamic effect of that saved weight is minimal. The 760mm wide low rise Lapierre bars are also effectively narrowed by metal clamping rings at either end of the ribbed grips which makes hanging your hands over the ends of the bars painful.
Back onto positives, the power of the 4 cylinder Guide T brakes is multiplied by 200mm front and 180mm rear rotors. The Mach 1 rims are tubeless-ready with a 25mm inner width for reasonable support of the 2.4in Maxxis Ardent front tyre and 2.35in Forekaster rear. Putting the less aggressive tyre on the front is an odd move for a bike with relatively rowdy angle, but it’d be easy to swap them around and there’s enough space in the back end to cope. Cost is comparable with similar bikes from Cannondale and Trek but it looks expensive compared to the 140mm travel Zesty AM FIT with full carbon frame and comparable kit for only £3249.
Ride, handling and performance
While geometry is balanced and angles the confident side of neutral, the Zesty TR is definitely a bike you grow into and that’s almost entirely due to componentry. The low tread tyres roll easily but traction is psychosomatically tentative and the grips naturally move your hands in on the bars for a less leveraged feel. The rear shock is also tuned for a tight start and the default lever position for the fork remote is locked rather than open. That means the TR skims along crisply for a 15-kilo plus bike but the initial feel is definitely an uptight bike that sits on top of the trail rather than hooking into it. Slow rear hub engagement also gives it an often clunky feel under power and the heavy cassette means the suspension response isn’t as fast it could be either. It’s rare to find a fast-reacting hub or light cassette at this price though.
Once you get the shock moving, the suspension action is impressively smooth. The main pivot is right on the chain line so if you’re mid-block, there’s minimal power interference but while it bounces if you’re hammering out of the saddle, it doesn’t wallow or feel soft through the pedals. In fact, traction is very good considering the tyre choice, with consistent trail connection and feedback through your feet making grip management easy. Once you’ve got used to the remote setting or just left it open, the GRIP damper and heavier, stiffer chassis of the Rhythm 34 fork is also predictable and trustworthy. It’s a sign of the rear suspension quality that it runs out of control before the back end when you really start pushing hard on more challenging sections. That means we’d certainly be tempted to extend the fork stroke 10mm to balance things out as the seat angle and ride height would still be acceptable.
Things really changed when we swapped in a Maxxis DHF tyre up front and added 780mm bars and soft ended grips so we could hang our hands off the end comfortably. We immediately had the leverage and trust to push it hard into corners, matching the connection and control of the back end. It had little effect on powered speed either and full-suspension bikes at this price are always going to lag way behind hardtails if you have any kind of XC/race aspirations. Even tweaks like ditching the carbon crank in favour of a lighter GX cassette would save more weight in a more significant position in terms of unsprung mass shock sensitivity, and you might save cash in the process.
Unfortunately, because seat post drop is so limited, this still leaves the saddle smacking you in the nuts or guts as soon as you try and send or squash a jump and there’s a fair chance you’ll get punted on heavy landings too. Even the awkward super long lever stroke makes it feel like Lapierre is trying to get in the way of you accessing the obvious fun potential of the bike. Given the seat post layout, that’s a much harder workaround too unless you get something specifically short length like a PNW Rainier dropper on the case.
As it stands the TR5.9 is a fast-rolling, perky pedalling, but slightly uptight XC/Trail bike with Lycra bait in the form of a fork remote lockout and carbon crankset. However, the usual hefty weight issues of a full-suspension bike at this price means most riders after that kind of ride would - and should - go for a hardtail. Ignore the lockout, fit a chunkier front tyre and wider bar/different grips though and the sorted geometry and smooth rear suspension really come to life. Making a really fun and responsive trail all-rounder that’ll upset a lot of more expensive bikes on downward tilting or rolling Strava runs. Just be ready for a bit of high saddle buckaroo in the process until you can find a compact dropper to work with the seat tube layout.
Temperature: 10-20 degrees
Surface: Mixed local woods, man-made trails and moorland backcountry.
Tech Specs: Lapierre Zesty TR 5.9
- Discipline: Trail
- Price: £2699 / €2999
- Head angle: 66-degrees
- Frame material: Lapierre Supreme 6 alloy mainframe and swingarm
- Size: Large
- Weight: 15.3kg (Large, no pedals)
- Wheel size: 29in
- Suspension (front/rear): Fox 34 Rhythm Grip 120mm travel, 44mm offset/Fox DPS LV EVOL trunnion 165x45mm 120mm travel
- Components: SRAM GX and NX Eagle 11-50T 12 speed gearing. SRAM X1 Carbon 32T chainset. SRAM Guide T brakes with 203mm front, 180mm rear rotors. Maxxis Ardent 29 x 2.4in front and Maxxis Forekaster 29 x 2.35in rear tyres on Mach 1 Maxx rims with 32 stainless spokes, and Fastace LP hubs. LP 760x31.8mm bar and 45x31.8mm stem, LP 130mm dropper post, Selle Royal Vivo saddle.