Bike Review: Lapierre eZesty AM LTD
Lapierre Ezesty AM Ltd
By Alex Boyce
There are those mountain bikers who wish to remain on the trail because they believe e-bikes are not bicycles or they don’t like the look of them, or they are heavy and are basically in some corners considered motor bikes. Well, they have not looked at or seen the new Lapierre eZesty AM LTD. It’s impossible to ride and not notice you might be on something totally different. Standing there and look for a moment, because you might not be sure it’s an e-bike. First, you can’t see the motor, then the rest of it looks like a normal bike, and the slightly thicker downtube might be the only indication that something motorized is hiding inside.
With the carbon eZesty, Lapierre has focused on building one of the sleekest and lightest all-mountain/enduro e-bikes we’ve seen. The Fazua motor and battery are hidden in the down tube and can even be removed completely and the bike ridden without. That makes the eZesty a true dual-purpose bike. Our test bike with motor and pedals weighed in at 41l pounds (18.7 kilograms). Without the motor, it’s 34.5 pounds (15.5 kilograms). Whatever way you look at it, the bike is light.
The 9–12-pound weight savings compared to the standard e-bikes on the market means greater speed and greater agility on the trail.
No doubt thanks to LaPierre rider Nicholas Voullioz (one of the greatest downhill racers of all time), the eZesty is based on race-oriented geometry. “Nico” has put his most recent ideas on geometry into this bike and with 470mm of reach and 435mm chainstays on the large size we tested. These numbers are very similar to their non e-bike version. The 65.5-degree head angle is just right to give riders descending stability at speed and uphill some precise maneuverability without lifting on steep sections or getting hung up in corners. The suspension dynamics work well, and the bike is one of the most balanced e-bikes we’ve ridden. The riders felt stable and relaxed on descents and yet were able to react quickly to what the trail presents to them.
The build for our top-of-the-range model is focused on performance and weight. With its mix of carbon wheels and components, along with Fox’s top-of-the-range air-sprung suspension components fitted, the eZesty looks great and is flawless in performance. Thanks to the SRAM Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, there was plenty of gear range to choose from with zero mis-shifts. The Guide RE Hydro brakes offered solid stopping, thanks to 200mm rotors.
Lapierre have added their carbon-tubed dropper seatpost, which saves weight but maintains strength. It was flawless during our time on the bike. The eZesty has 2.5-inch Maxxis tires on wide 35mm rims, giving speed and grip on the trail, and the weight savings are significant with the carbon rims.
The Fazua power system is one of the most recent and physically smaller systems available to bike makers. Its credentials are based on light weight, smooth power and a form factor that allows frame designers to integrate it into their frame in one of the most low-profile ways yet seen. The system uses a 250-Wh battery that gives riders a power boost that would be similar to an Eco Trail mode on a traditional motor system.
While the reality is that this means riders use their legs more, it’s worth noting that this is where the bike’s lighter weight really factors in. The effective range in our experience for a 200-pound rider is about 3000–4000 feet of altitude change, depending on the power mode used and other conditions.
The control system is a low-profile design with only the battery’s LED lights visible and a color denoting the power mode selected. Switching the system on is done on the remote and on the power pack, which you have to do after every charge, which takes about two hours.
The power delivery is soft and supportive. When it comes to tackling the climbs, the LaPierre doesn’t not push you up as much as it reduces the level fatigue you exert. With hard efforts you feel like you’re in an aerobic state, not anaerobic.
After more extensive testing on the Fazua motor, we have to say it is one of the quietest systems on the market. It has a very slight whirring sound that is barely perceptible. The motor voltage regulator apparently varies slightly according to the battery charge, with a deliberate softening of the push the motor provides as the battery is near the end of its capacity.
Hill starts with this motor do require you to actually use your legs, which requires a bit more technical finesse. The engagement and disengagement of the motor is very soft in all conditions, and the bike does not wheelspin or suddenly cut.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR
This bike is aimed at the all-mountain or enduro rider. The bike can be ridden with the motor connected or with the battery cover only. This means you effectively have either an e-bike or a non-assist mountain bike. Our preference is obviously as an e-bike, so we rode it that way in a variety of places, including around the mountains of Florence and on some hard-core trails in the Italian coastal city of Finale Ligure, which is host to the final stage of the Enduro World Series each year.
“The Lapierre was a refreshing reality check. Lightweight e-bikes on descents are more fun. Heavyweight bikes are more like driving a truck through a wall. Once you step back into the world that the eZesty opens up, you question the advantages that large, heavy motors give you.”
This bike is meant to bridge the gap between traditional enduro-style MTB riding and the world of e-bikes. It’s not that different from either, but the eZesty has a lot of charm and enough power that it does actually make you think about what type of riding you prefer. If you want to ride a sofa up the hill, then this is not the bike for you. If you want to have some of the lightning-fast sporty mountain bike feel but don’t want to die on the way up the hill, then this bike will be ideal.
Cruising around and picking your lines on the transfer trails and on climbs is much like a normal bike, except with this type of power system you can maintain the duration of your climbs for a lot longer. We wouldn’t say that it gives you a significantly higher average speed like a more traditional e-bike motor, but you end up riding closer to a non-assist bike speed.
The result is an experience that puts the riding much more in the hands of the rider, as there is no power boost to get you out of trouble when you make an error. Technical trails are therefore about skill and much closer to the normal bike climbing style. We noticed way less wheelspin and traction loss with this system, plus we found a cadence of about 70 rpm to be ideal in power delivery and torque.
On flat trails it’s much easier to ride along past the 15.5-mph limit than a normal motor. Resistance is incredibly low, combined with the lower system weight, and the speed restriction is imperceptible. The bike will go as fast as your legs allow. Cornering and short sharp climbs are therefore actually a bit more fluid, as you don’t have a heavy weight penalty that takes more effort to change direction.
Owing to its weight, going downhill is where the eZesty seems to show its real advantage. “Stable” and “agile” were the two words most often used in describing the Lapierre’s descending prowess. When popping off a jump, the rear wheel follows the rider and is more sensitive to rider inputs, and it does not drop away beneath you.
Brake hard into a corner and the bike does not throw you forward with a big change in weight distribution; it’s easier to keep the bike balanced. The suspension feels more reactive and more sensitive to our suspension setups, which is all a consequence of the lower weight. When we tried to pick the bike up and hop over trail obstacles, the bike responded smoothly.
According to Lapierre, Vouilloz spent a lot of time tuning the ride for more aggressive situations. In very rocky conditions we found ourselves bouncing around less than a normal enduro ride. The ride was probably one of the smoothest rides we have had on any e-bike when descending. The bike sticks to the trail really well, and once set up correctly, the suspension is supple and reactive, which is really a pleasure to ride close to the limit.
Lapierre have really come up with an outstanding product. The Fazua motor system has created a situation where once you have adapted to the different assisted ride style, you want to ride it more, as downhills are more enjoyable. The Lapierre was a refreshing reality check. Lightweight e-bikes on descents are more fun. Heavyweight bikes are more like driving a truck through a wall. Once you step back into the world that the eZesty opens up, you question the advantages that large, heavy motors give you. It’s not that it’s better, but it’s different enough to a more traditional system that opens up other descending possibilities.
Our experience with speaking to Fazua’s service center when we were exploring the motor left us content. The maintenance software is exhaustive in what you can find out about your e-bike. Fazua will call you and log in to your bike if you want them to, to check out its health and see if there are any issues.
The batteries on the eZesty are actually light enough that you could carry one in your backpack on long rides and essentially have a greater range than a normal e-bike on just one battery. Lapierre have taken a different approach to range, and the advantage is the fun factor. This bike is a bit like using the pinch function on the phone for the first time; it just makes sense. On the climbs the bike tames the pain but makes you still earn the summit.
The bike is well-finished, and despite the price, it is worth the money. The technology and quality are exceptional, and it is a technical product that is the starting point for the next generation of e-bikes, which many have been waiting for.
LAPIERRE EZESTY AM LTD
Motor: Fazua Evation 1.0 Drive Pack 250W
Battery: Fazua Evation 250 Wh
Charge Time: 3.5 hours
Top Speed: 25 km/h (with assist)
Range: Up to 35 miles
Drive: SRAM Eagle, 12-speed, 11-50T
Brakes: SRAM Guide RE
Fork: Fox 36 Float 15×110 160mm
Rear Shock: Fox Float
Tires: Maxxis High Roller II Wide Trail 27.5×2.5
Weight: 34.5 lb.
Color choices: Grey
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