Once at the bottom, it’s not a battle to cruise back to the top at 20kph and do it all over again!
Need to know
- Enduro e-bike with Bosch CX performance 500Wh motor
- New carbon frame design and relocated battery
- DWS dropout system compatible with 27.5in or 27.5 Plus wheels
- OST+ suspension marries 140mm rear travel to a 150mm fork
- Flagship model features SRAM’s new EX1 8-speed drivetrain
Lapierre Overvolt AM800 Carbon
Redrawing the geometry and relocating the battery has added zip to this enduro e-bike, which is set up to be ridden to the max on downhill trails.
We’ve all heard the line about how e-bikes are great for the elderly or the infirm, and how no ‘serious’ mountain biker would be seen dead on one. Well, Lapierre’s latest e-bike is set to tell a different tale, as the new Overvolt AM800 Carbon has been designed to be ridden against the clock and not simply by clock-watchers.
Developed with help from 10-time downhill world champ Nicolas Vouilloz, Lapierre needed to get all the heavy stuff as low and central as possible in the frame to make the bike more dynamic. The end result is a radical new design that stacks the battery on top of the motor.
According to Lapierre’s engineers, the only way to design the frame like this was to build it in carbon. Yes, carbon helps shed some puppy fat — the 3.4kg chassis being 600g lighter than the old aluminium design — but weight saving wasn’t the focus here; the goal was a stiffer and stronger single-sided frame design that could accommodate the new battery position.
Naturally, the Bosch CX Performance 500Wh motor stays in a standard location as its position is pre-determined by the bottom bracket height/driveshaft location. But given that the 3kg battery has been moved rearward by 74mm and is also 72mm lower than where it would have originally sat on the down tube, the new bike should handle completely differently. Vouilloz was keen to point out that, in motorcycle racing, lowering key components such as the engine by as little as 3mm can hugely improve handling.
The mid-range AM800, that I rode on slippery unpredictable terrain around Lapierre’s HQ in Dijon, France, lived up to expectations with a playful, lighter handling ride than most e-bikes. It could certainly be chucked around more easily than Lapierre’s older aluminium design that I rode earlier in the day.
The aggressive geometry, coupled with Lapierre’s 140mm OST+ suspension design, meant that the AM800 could really charge downhill sections of trail. And, thanks to the added weight of the motor and battery, the suspension stays loaded and very active without the bike feeling too cumbersome.
Best of all, once at the bottom, it’s not a battle to cruise back to the top at 20kph and do it all over again!
No chairlift or shuttle required…
Two wheel sizes in one
With the ever-changing trends in wheel, tyre and axle sizes, Lapierre has come up with DWS (Dual Wheel System). By using an asymmetric flip-chip insert in the rear dropouts, the design allows riders to easily change between 27.5in and 27.5 Plus wheels without compromising the geometry.
To make that swap even easier, Lapierre is offering its new eAM wheels to match both tyre widths. A wheelset is expected to cost around €300 (£250) and uses a wider rim at the front, with a narrower rim in the rear. Another small but important point is that the front wheel gets straight pull spokes, while the rear uses normal J-bend spokes to better handle the extra loads generated by the 500Wh motor.