I hate this bike. Not because I probably can’t afford it. Not because it’s so light (11.9kg for a Large sans pedals) that it makes me ride faster than I can possibly sustain for any amount of time. Not even because I have to give it back sometime. No, I hate this bike because it filled my head with a Def Leppard song for the duration of our first rides together. That’s a trait that I don’t want to be dealing with every time I ride it. But there’s no doubt, this bike is a Rocket. Yea-eahh.
The Zesty 714 is a carbon-framed, small-wheeled 140mm travel trail bike from the French company with a solid Kiwi connection through downhiller Sam Blenkinsop. With R&D from French DH legend Nico Vouilloz, you would expect that this thing goes downhill pretty well. But it’s no slouch going up either, thanks in part to the light weight but also the efficient and plush suspension.
That’s where the trickness comes in; the RockShox Monarch Ei shock is controlled by an electronic circuit board in the stem-mounted computer. A sensor on the fork tells the computer what’s going on bump-wise and it in turn tells the rear shock how to handle it. You can run it in auto mode or open, medium or locked, controlled by a bar-mounted switch. It sounds complicated but is surprisingly easy to set up and pilot. And it does its job very well indeed.
There’s also a sensor in the bottom bracket which tells the computer if you’re pedalling or not, and can lock and unlock the shock accordingly. The ‘zzzt, zzzt’ sound is pretty cool too…
The electrics cabling is relatively tidy and all other cables/hoses are internally routed, including the Reverb Stealth post. Fox Float 32 150mm fork up front isn’t overwhelmed at all even when using all its travel. The slack 66.5 head angle gives it great manners on the steep stuff, but is still pretty nippy around tight uphill switchbacks.
Shimano XT 38/24 double crankset and press-fit BB. XTR Shadow Plus rear derailleur keeps the slap down.
Formula R1S brakes do the stopping. 142×12 rear axle with a decent lever to undo it, no tools required. Yes. Easton EA70 wheelset and Nobby Nic/Rocket Ron tyres come tubeless ready. They grip and roll and corner and all that good stuff, but I can’t help wondering what a slightly bigger size would do for this already awesome bike… hmmm.
Look out for the full rundown on the Zesty in Issue 52 around June. In the meantime, I’m gonna have to try harder to hate this bike…