Imagine going to a school reunion and realising that the once most socially awkward kid has now turned into a veritable Adonis, complete with a super smart suit and six pack that’ll make anyone froth. Stunned? Us too, this is how we felt when we first laid eyes on the new and updated Overvolt AMi. But how deep do these improvements run and can this Bosch-equipped Lapierre E-MTB impress us on the trails too?
The former Overvolt AMi was a really decent E-MTB, but it was never such an attention-grabber that it’d steal anyone’s heart on the trail. However, seen alongside the new, revamped Overvolt AMi and you’ll be forgiven for questioning whether there’s really just one year between these bikes? The biggest change is the integrated Bosch PowerTube battery, and the Lapierre Overvolt AMi is the first bike we’ve got our hands on so that we can test the PowerTube exhaustively. While the slim downtube arguably gives the new bike something of a visual kick, the rest of the frame has also been nipped and tucked fairly drastically! Lapierre have sacrificed their characteristic indent in the top tube and gone heavily into integrating the motor.
Lapierre have invested in the Overvolt AMi’s hardware too, borrowing cues from the non-motorised Zesty trail bike. Out back there’s a metric-sized rear shock indulging in 150 mm of suspension from the OST+ rear end. The Anti Chainsuck System, or ACS device, is a new entry on the Overvolt and it’s directly attached to the motor to eliminate chain suck. The brand have retained the flipchip to adjust the length of the chainstays by 10 mm, which means the Overvolt AMi is compatible with 27.5″, 27.5+ or 29″ wheels. The integrated battery design also leaves room for a bottle cage mount inside the frame.
The Lapierre Overvolt AMi Bosch models
|AM 500i||AM 600i||AM 700i||AM 900i|
|Motor||BOSCH Performance CX||BOSCH Performance CX||BOSCH Performance CX||BOSCH Performance CX|
|Battery||Bosch Powertube 500 Wh||Bosch Powertube 500 Wh||Bosch Powertube 500 Wh||Bosch Powertube 500 Wh|
|Drivetrain||SHIMANO DEORE||SRAM NX||SRAM GX||SRAM X01|
|Fork||SR SUNTOUR AION LOR||RockShox Revelation||RockShox Pike RC||RockShox Pike RC|
|Shock||RockShox Deluxe R||RockShox Deluxe RT||RockShox Deluxe RT||RockShox Super Deluxe RC3|
|Price||€ 4,399||€ 4,999||€ 5,599||€ 5,999|
The geometry of the Lapierre Overvolt AMi Bosch
While sizes S, M and L now come with a marginally shorter seattube, the Lapierre Overvolt AMi now comes in a size XL. Lapierre haven’t flexed any major muscle when it comes to the geometry, and the biggest change is the 10 mm shorter chainstays. The reach is a little bit longer, but the angles all stay the same. The cockpit is taller thanks to the 10 mm taller headtube, but the bottom bracket stays the same.
|Seat tube||400 mm||430 mm||460 mm||500 mm|
|Top tube||580 mm||610 mm||635 mm||660 mm|
|Head angle||66 °||66 °||66 °||66 °|
|Seat angle||73 °||73 °||73 °||73 °|
|Chainstays||460/470 mm||460/470 mm||460/470 mm||460/470 mm|
|BB Drop||-5 mm||-5 mm||-5 mm||-5 mm|
|Reach||395 mm||422 mm||444 mm||466 mm|
|Stack||606 mm||616 mm||625 mm||634 mm|
The Lapierre Overvolt AM 700i on the trail
In France’s Maritime Alps we scrupulously tested the new Lapierre Overvolt AM 700i model on really diverse trails. The second tier bike in the line-up, the 700 model has a decidedly solid spec that leaves no room for complaint. New is the SRAM GX-E gear lever that only shifts one gear at a time like the SRAM EX1 – this is a great thing for an E-MTB as it limits the chance of snapping your chain when doing multiple shifts under load. The steps between the gears are smaller than those on the EX1, so this means you probably need to shift multiple times – so keep this in mind and adapt your ride accordingly. All of the models are kitted out with MAXXIS tires in a width of 2.8″.
The Overvolt’s riding position is comfortable and more than bearable for long rides. Unsurprisingly, the Overvolt AMi is armed with Bosch’s newest eMTB mode, which saves having to switch through levels of pedal-assist while riding. It’s an asset on trails and technical climbs, with the motor working superbly and knowing exactly when to serve up the full support–roots, rocks and ledges on the climbs are much easier to get over with this on your side. On service roads we’re still pining after the now departed Sport mode, as the eMTB mode has a tendency to overdose with full powered Turbo mode if you’re riding confidently. In short, the Overvolt AMi certainly goes down in the books as a good climber and the long wheelbase means its nose will never lift from the ground.
Our test bikes were kitted with MAXXIS Minion DHF and Recon+ tires in the lightweight 3C rubber compound–we won’t recommend that based on the sheer number of punctures we faced. Fortunately, the production bike is going to rely on the more stable dual compound tires with a 60 TPI carcass. Lapierre have designed their own protective case for the Bosch Intuvia display, but considering the bike, the Purion would have been a better choice. Tall riders are likely to bemoan the limited adjustment of the own-brand seat post, but it works faultlessly and is going to come with a newly designed, more ergonomic lever next year.
Our test loops included every sort of terrain possible, from rough patches to loose soil, wet and dry; we had it all at a rate of knots. This was where the Overvolt AMi showed serious trail-worthiness and versatility, never once revealing any weaknesses. The suspension defuses every size hit, keeping the bike firmly rubberside down and never once moving too much through its travel. The plus-size tires with ample air pressure gave generous feedback from the ground. The new RockShox Pike pairs with the rear end to give great control and there’s a notable performance gain when compared to the previous version.
Point the bike downhill and the Overvolt AMi is a real charmer, letting its long wheelbase and slack head angle sing a buttery smooth tune–but don’t be lulled on tight turns as you’ll need some muscle. The spec and suspension are an asset at high speeds, and our testers agreed this is definitely a bike that’ll warmly overlook a poor line choice here or there.
For the coming season it’s all about integration and the Lapierre Overvolt AMi is proof that it pays to invest in your R&D. The revised Overvolt is notably more stylish and sophisticated, has room for a bottle cage and we could reel off a ton of other details that have been revamped. The result is a great E-MTB without any real flaws. If versatility and confidence over technical terrain are your thing, then this is just the thing.
For more info head to: bikes-lapierre.de
Words: Moritz Dittmar Photos: Moritz Dittmar, Matt Wragg