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Lapierre Overvolt 2018 - Dirt

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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. 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.