Lapierre Overvolt electric mountain bike – first look
By Jon Woodhouse | Wednesday, August 7, 2013 9.06am
The Lapierre Overvolt, a 140mm full-suspension mountain bike that also happens to house the latest Bosch electric motor. Could this open mountain biking up to a whole new market? Jon Woodhouse/Future Publishing
With the release of a 140mm travel, full-suspension electric mountain bike called the Overvolt, Lapierre are aiming to counter the assumption that 'e-bike' and 'performance' are mutually exclusive terms.
The Overvolt will cost €4,200, with UK pricing to be confirmed. The machine won't be available to US or Asian markets. A hardtail model will also be available, costing €3,000.
The bike uses a brand new, 400W Bosch Performance pedal-assist motor that integrates into the aluminium frame, providing both increased range and greater ground clearance than the German engineering giant's previous efforts.
Although the system doesn't have regenerative braking, Lapierre say they selected it because it keeps mass low, with the least impact on handling despite the additional weight. It also means improved suspension performance over hub-based motors.
The Overvolt uses the latest-gen Bosch pedal-assist motor
While Lapierre's other full-suspension bikes use their OST+ multi-link platform, the Overvolt employs a high single pivot with linkage driven shock, as the motor removes the need for such an efficient pedalling platform.
It's still designed to perform like the real deal, though, as company boss Gile Lapierre explained: “We paid a lot of attention to the suspension, to the brakes. This is a real mountain bike.”
Even Lapierre test rider and racing legend Nico Vouilloz is said to be impressed with the machine, with a single planned test loop turning into three. He's said to be after one to allow both his wife and father to keep pace with him on training rides.
However, Gile said that convincing enthusiast mountain bikers to add electricity into the mix isn't really the point of the Overvolt. It's designed to allow those who lack or have lost fitness to ride alongside friends and family on proper off-road trails. “We're in [this market] because we believe in it, not because it's a trend,” he explained.
We don't have full information on the technical specification of the motor. But during the brief presentation we determined that it uses some kind of planetary gear arrangement to step up the small drive ring about 2.5 times, again increasing ground clearance over the old design, which required a traditionally sized ring. Production models will feature both a 'sump' bashguard and chainguide.
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The bar-mounted unit controls the motor's output in four steps
In accordance with EU law, the machine is limited to a top speed of 25kph. The motor phases out assistance as it hits the limit, three sensors measure cadence, speed and pedalling force to smoothly apply power when needed, and the 32-bit processor samples inputs 1,000 times a second.
The lithium ion battery is designed to be easy to remove but can be charged on or off the bike, with partial charges not impacting on battery service life. In use it will last between two to three hours, to give a range of 30 to 90km between charges depending on which of the four assistance settings is selected via a remote.
Level of assistance, estimated range, and speed and distance are all displayed via a central console, which includes a USB port for charging devices on the go.
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