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Lapierre Unveils TWO New Trail E-Bikes.

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Lapierre chose the previously unheard-of French mountain town of Valberg to launch its two new e-bike platforms in. Unheard of, that is, until the Enduro World Series showed up last year. The area is also no stranger to the Trans Provence too. It’s also the home of Lapierre’s mountain R&D base and very close to where brand ambassador (and now R&D Project Leader, no less) Nico Vouilloz spends a lot of time riding.

You can start to see ‘why Valberg?’…

The two bike platforms being launched were quite different – in componentry, wheel size and release date, but it made sense to try them both back to back while the chance was there. One bike is a Shimano-motored 29er (or 27.5+) and the other is a Bosch-motored 27.5+ (or 29in…) bike. Both, though, have new, integrated batteries and a far more integrated look than Lapierre’s previous Overvolt models. For these are the Lapierre Overvolt Integrated models.

Let’s see what’s new:

Lapierre Overvolt Integrated Bosch

First off, and first to market in around October time, is the Bosch-motored model. The big change is obviously the integrated Bosch battery in the downtube, which can be charged on or off the bike and which allows a waterbottle cage to be fitted too.

The Bosch-motored Overvolt Integrated. Photo by Matt Wragg

Thanks to some clever dropouts and a lot of mud room, the bikes will take a plethora of wheel sizes. Though, while there is a stock 120mm 29er version available ‘for XC riders’ the main focus seems to be on this, the 150mm 27.5+ model.

Lapierre Overvolt Intergrated launch. Valberg, France. July 2017. Photo by Matt Wragg

The new Overvolt represents a lot of new developments – not just in e-bike technology, but also in events. Races like e-bike enduros are now starting to see some serious numbers and the longer events allow for a (single) battery change midway through the event. This has inspired Lapierre to include the biggest integral 500Wh battery in this bike – as well has engineering a quick-release for the battery bay, which forms much of the down tube. A battery-swap takes under a minute and you can be on your way again with a fully charged bike. Or non-racers can simply keep a battery charging to make sure they always have juice available.

Heavy (25kg) bikes need a lot of stopping. Photo by Matt Wragg
Lapierre has been an enthusiastic and early supporter of ebikes for trail use. Photo Matt Wragg

The Overvolt Bosch has 15mm shorter chainstays than the popular Overvolt Carbon launched last year to great acclaim. Lapierre has achieved this by angling the motor down so that there’s more room out back for big rubber.

Approaching red earth. Pic: Manu/Lapierre.
Here you can see the slanted motor, allowing for shorter chainstays. Photo by Matt Wragg
Lapierre has developed its own anti-chainsuck and chain-cleaning device for the Bosch sprocket. Photo by Matt Wragg
A handy 150mm of travel on this bike. Photo by Matt Wragg
Lapierre has its own dropper post now and it worked well for our test. Photo by Matt Wragg
SRAM’s GX is paired with a SunRace 11-46 cassette. Photo by Matt Wragg
There’s a lockout? Not really needed with the smooth e-power. Photo by Matt Wragg
Lapierre Overvolt Intergrated launch. Valberg, France. July 2017. Photo by Matt Wragg
Lapierre does know how to make a neat rubber moulding. This covers the chainstay pivot. Photo by Matt Wragg
Flipping chip to shorten or lengthen stays for different wheels. Photo Matt Wragg
This clever do-dad stops the speed sensor magnet from rotating… Photo Matt Wragg
Suitably chunky rims for plussing. Photo Matt Wragg
SRAM’s Guide-E brakes are specifically for e-bikes and Lapierre specs 200mm rotors on all bikes. Photo Matt Wragg
The new Bosch Sport mode is a very reactive setting that blurs the lines between settings. Photo Matt Wragg

Another clever thing that Lapierre has done is to persuade SRAM to rejig its 11 speed shifter to only allow one gear at a time shifting in either direction. It was finding a lot of broken chains were happening when riders panic-shifted four gears at a time while under pressure. The extra torque of the motor simply blew the chains apart, so limiting shifts to a single gear per thumb press makes a lot of sense here.

Only one gear at a time here. Photo Matt Wragg

Lapierre is a master at rubber and plastic mouldings and it has made its own range of rubber protective covers for the head unit on the Bosch system.

Mmm… rubbery! Photo by Matt Wragg
Pike RC 150mm forks specced as standard. Photo by Matt Wragg

There will be four specs of the 27.5 Plus x 150mm travel Bosch bike, with an additional single 29in ‘cross country’ version. Bikes should start appearing around October time.

Lapierre Overvolt Integrated Shimano

An even bigger departure for Lapierre comes with the new Overvolt Integrated Shimano. It uses a Shimano Steps 8000 motor that was introduced to the world last year, but which is still in pretty short supply. This new motor system allowed Lapierre to redesign the suspension system to take into account the shorter chainstays available with the Shimano motor. The shock has been lowered in the frame, compared to the Bosch version, keeping the weight low and centred – something that has been previously praised with the Overvolt carbon.

Chipps pretends not to be scared by the rocks.

The new bike has a very pleasing silhouette, aided by some clever silver and black graphics that help lighten the visual impact of the motor and the big downtube. And perhaps now is a good time to talk about Lapierre’s Snake Power Technology – while it might sound a little bit odd, it makes sense once you see the battery arrangement.

The bike will come as a burly 140mm 29er, or a 160mm 27.5+ bike
See? Snakes!
The snakes/railway carriages head back into the tunnel.
Topped by a neat hatch (that needs a key from the other side to open)

The battery system for the Shimano motor is actually Lapierre’s own (which no doubt involved some negotiating with Shimano…) which features a flexible chain of smaller battery units, linked together. This lets them feed into a small hole in the extruded downtube, keeping the downtube much stronger than if half of it was cut away to allow a bolt-on battery pack. While the battery might resemble a snake (or a bandolier of grenades) it’s easier to think of it as a small train of railway carriages – such is the way that they head into the downtube – and come out again. This needn’t be done every time you need to charge it – it can easily be charged with the battery in-situ, but if you’re doing one of those e-bike enduros… it means you can swap batteries mid-race.

The Shimano bike in 29er x 2.6in tyre mode

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Due to the fact that manufacturers have been clamouring to get Shimano’s new system for a year, the development of the Shimano bike is later than the Bosch bike, which is nearly ready to be assembled (in Europe, by the way…) – the Shimano bike is likely to be a spring release, but Lapierre felt it important enough to show to the world now.

A low-down four bar system. Pic Lapierre/Manu
Neat hidden bolts on the upper seatstay rocker mounts
Hello, HAL? If this light’s on, all is well.
We got to test both bikes on some remote and testing trails around Valberg. Stay tuned for Chipps’ first ride impressions of both bikes.
Cornering on the Bosch bike
Our backcountry trip on the bikes really showed how far from it all you can get with a 500Whr battery, a motor and some leg power.
Oops! It doesn’t steer, or make up a lack of talent for you, though.

We don’t have any UK prices yet, but being nicely specced e-bikes with the latest motors and batteries, don’t expect budget machines. However, there’s a lot of tech development that’s gone into these bikes and we hope that that will start trickling down the bike ranges.

(Thanks to Lapierre and UK distributors Raleigh UK, who paid for flights and accommodation on this trip.)

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