The new Zesty AM’s long, low and lithe
Need to know
- 150mm-travel all-mountain bike with 27.5in wheels
- Revised geometry focused on a longer front end
- Shorter stem and wider bar help boost control
- 2×10 Shimano gearing
Lapierre Zesty AM 327
According to Lapierre, the latest incarnation of the Zesty AM frame comes with “radical new geometry”. This translates to a longer front triangle and a slightly slacker head angle; contemporary would probably be a better way to describe it.
Other aspects of the Zesty AM 327 are more familiar. It’s still got 150mm travel thanks to the OST+ suspension and the wheel size of choice is 27.5in. The focus is as sharp as ever too; it’s a bike designed to be incredibly efficient uphill and very capable downhill, hence the ‘all mountain’ tag.
Up front, the Fox 34 suspension fork does a good job, with a smooth feel and loads of adjustment. Yes, the 150mm-travel version is stretching the 34mm upper legs to the max and sometimes it felt a tad on the flimsy side, but only on the roughest, steepest descents.
Upgrading the Float shock to the DPS EVOL version definitely gives the latest Zesty AM a bit more posture. It’s smoother off the top of the stroke, but it’s still got the support it needs, so it’s not bottoming out as much.
Acceleration and braking are both taken care of by Shimano. Everything is dependable, but we’d swap the 2×10 drivetrain for a 1×11 set-up in a heartbeat. The only let-down in the build kit are the Schwalbe Tough Tom tyres, which aren’t the grippiest and have pretty flimsy sidewalls.
Even with the ropey rubber, you can still appreciate the benefits of the improved geometry. The longer front end lets you stand centrally on the bike, which instantly puts you in a commanding position.
The Zesty is still playful as well, carrying speed and pumping in and out of corners with ease. On really steep, demanding trails, the bike is planted and surefooted, but tighter switchbacks can sometimes feel like hard work, and this is where we really noticed the limitations of the 100mm dropper post.
Overall, the Zesty 327 is a good package. It’s playful and fun on easy descents and can still pick its way down the hardest ones. It wouldn’t be our go-to bike for a ride in big mountain terrain, but it’s definitely a great choice for blasting around your local woods and trail centres.
Review by Daniel Bladon