Lapierre Overvolt 2018

New line of bikes from the French emtb big hitters

God knows what Lapierre are thinking with the latest additions to their emtb fleet. Now, the business of choosing between three wheel sizes, travel, carbon or aluminium, Bosch or Shimano and of course the varying sizes and geometry is tougher than ever. These guys are into emtb BIG time.

Of course this leaves the rider with a real headache of what bike to choose, this is a good thing of course. Let’s try and help you navigate the heavy traffic.

Overvolt AM700 iBosch

First up is the Bosch booted Overvolt, now this comes in either 120mm with 29” wheels or 150mm with 27.5+ rubber. We rode the latter on a truly all-time day out high above Valberg and into the valley floor at Guillomes. The main differences on this bike over the Overvolt carbon, apart form the material, is the higher centre of gravity and quite different geometry and sizing.

This new Bosch bike is considerably bigger than the carbon bike however and now with four sizes as opposed to three including longer reach numbers and shorter chainstays. In fact the chainstays on the range vary considerably from 445 – 485mm even on the 27.5 wheeled bikes so we’re not quite sure where they stand on philosophy here. The Overvolt carbon with its long chainsaty is still an admirable ascender and distinctive whereas this new 150mm Overvolt is more traditional emtb visually.

Big changes with Bosch though. The new ‘Sport’ mode replaces the old ‘Sport’ mode on Bosch motors. They say that “the motor automatically exerts the ideal power level to match the pressure on the pedals. It adapts the intensity of the assistance to the riding style. Improved efficiency, a more fluid pedalling style, better control in difficult passages.”

Having ridden the both systems I’m not fully convinced on the new system and whether sometimes it doesn’t give back as much as the old system in said ‘Sport’ mode. This is something we’ll be testing back to back for sure. Relative to Shimano however it does have the edge on power output in certain climbing situations. Quite how this translates to rider weights and power remains a mystery only the brain inside that motor knows. On our timed training missions it seems that terrain, cadence, rider power input, rider weight all affect the times and it appears a bit of a lottery. Hitting that sweet spot where everything lines up can often be a matter of luck.

Geometry on the Overvolt is slack, low and long, chainstays that are shorter by 15mm which Lapierre say is for better stiffness and handling. We actually quite like longer chainstays and wheelbase longer to avoid lift. 466mm reach on the extra large is reasonable yet way off modern enduro bike sizing but then we think emtb geometry could/should be different to non emtb we just think it’s still early days where everyone is working this stuff out.

A nice touch on this bike is you can tune the drop outs to cater for any wheel size 27/275+ and 29 and Lapierre have also identified the mud problem with Bosch motors and created a guide to prevent this. It’s called ACS and is a custom stainless part that protects the small front cog from clogging and sucking chains in sticky conditions.

Component wise there are no surprises and its a solid package. RockShox Pike, Super deluxe damper, Sram X01 in 11-46. Rubber is High Roller 2 in 3c up front with a Rekon at the rear. This is probably the biggest fault with the bike as its totally pointless having power without grip. More bite please Lapierre. SRAM Guide RE brakes are bang on, Lapierre’s own dropper post and wheels worked without fault at the test. We rode the Overvolt AM 700i but there’s cheaper 600 and 500 versions.


The bike in question here is the Overvolt AM 727. There’s also a 927, 827 with Shimano Di2 and less expensive 627 and a 527.

Big news here is Snakepower Technology and we think its an awesome idea whereby the folding battery can be fed into the downtube via a port. Its simple to use, the downtube size reduced by 20% over a normal Shimano battery and the flexible battery means the small insert port is in fact 70% smaller than for classical Shimano from underside fixing. This is an all round great advancement which makes the bikes more pleasing than ones with big Shimano battery like the new BMC TrailFox Amp.

The bike incorporates new kinematics which Lapierre say is for better weight distribution, and this is now the longest travel in the fleet at 160mm travel in 275+ (the Overvolt Team is 160mm apparently although we cannot see availability on these). There’s also 140mm in  29”but we highly recommend this as the bike of choice.

Suspension is a four bar link compared to OST on the Bosch bike, which again Lapierre say is for a lower centre of gravity and better handling. If you asked which is better, the four bar Shimano bike or the OST Bosch, then it’s the former quite easily but they still ned to work on damper tunes. Whilst we are not overly bothered about shorter chainstays it’s the longer reach and superior shock absorbers that makes this such a better bike to choose.

The ebike specific Fox 36 Float at 160mm and Fox DPX 2 shock are superb operators, when combined with big 2.6 rubber up front you realise that big forks and big tyres are rule number one for ebikes. Shimano XT Di2? Well, we will take it or leave it to be honest and opt for non electric version as on this bike quite happily. Guide RE 200mm, Lapierre wheels and dropper proved reliable during the test.

Where does that leave the Overvolt am carbon? It seems the Pro team have it in 160mm front and rear whereas stock its 140mm, so even though it might have carbon and better centre of gravity, riders will be after that 160mm travel and probably the smooth Shimano. They still say the Overvolt Am is the high end bike and these new bikes high end/middle range but we think this 727 hits the sweet spot in the range.

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