First Look: Lapierre Overvolt FS 700 2016 eBike Review
By Martin Brown |
We grabbed one of the new Lapierre Overvolt FS 700 2016 eMTB's to play with at our local trails to see how well this eBike performs & give it a full review. Let's start by saying we'd been thoroughly excited by the 2016 range of electric mountain bikes from Lapierre. With an eMTB range that's more than doubled in size and now with the Bosch / Yamaha options offering something for everyone. Lapierre have been high up in the regular bike game for some time now, but it's nice to see them taking the electric mountain bike scene seriously. Even Nico Vouilloz (10 times world champion) is on board as Lapierre's chief in testing and design, he now rides a eBike!
What do you get?
Let's firstly look at what you actually get for your money? For a sub £4k eBike, three thousand seven hundred to be precise you get rather a lot: RockShox Pike's up front with a Monarch RT at the rear to match. Full Shimano XT 11 Speed coupled with Shimano disc brakes on matchmaker clamps. A Mavic wheelset on Formula sealed through axle hubs wrapped with Schwalbe's finest Hans Dampf tyres out the box. The bike is then finished of with Nico Voulliouz's very own signature bars and an Easton finishing kit.Electric wise you'd need not ask for any more. It features the brand new Bosch Performance CX line motor with increased torque and assistance. You also get the top spec 500Wh Bosch eBike battery pack for extended days in the saddle.
First and foremost, let me get this out the way; we had an upcoming E-Bikeshop Owners Club ride and I knew this shiney new Lapierre FS700 eBike was due in any minute. Fortunately it came in time and after some brief fine tuning the bike was ready to roll. However, on the day I was a little nervous having given up my other eMTB to a colleague to ride while I rode the Lapierre FS 700.. The reason why I am mentioning this is because I really like my regular eMTB, I know exactly what it does, how it rides & I feel it's perfect. So from here the Lapierre had a lot to live up to, I was dubious that I wouldn't enjoy it as much and as ride time is becoming more and more rare for me these days, every minute of it is valued!
I took the FS 700 to Peaslake to explore the Surrey hills, full of singletrack, twists, turns, climbs, jumps and trails. The perfect place to put the Lapierre eMTB through it's paces. Straight out the car park a daunting climb sits ahead of us.
Bosch CX system
It has been raining the previous week so the surface was real sloppy, fortunately the Hans Dampf tyres kicked in here and I found the increased torque of the new Bosch CX motor completely take the sting out of the climb, staying in the saddle with the weight over the back end the bike flew up and just kept on pulling all the way to the top!I am used to riding the standard Performance Bosch motor and the CX was noticeably different, smoother, torquier and quieter under strain. Even giving it a hammering across the Surrey Hills in typical UK weather!
Now to the singletrack downhill riding, I had previously had a quick tinker with the shocks to set up for my weight. At this point I have to say I have been a Fox suspension man for many years so was keen to see what RockShox; in particular the Pike's had to offer. The front end felt lighter than I was used to with the bike popping over roots and drops with ease.I could tell why Lapierre have crossed their OST+ rear suspension design over from the famous Zesty and Spicy bikes. The rear end hugged the trail and zapped up every bump I could throw at it. The rear Monarch did well to ensure maximum traction was felt without bogging when getting back on the pedals hard. Let's not forget the dual stage setting on the rear, should you wish to dart up a fire road with ease by locking it out.The Pike's really took me by surprise, I see why so many trail riders voted to bring back the Pike's and why they were a sell out last year! I felt the forks a lot lighter on the front end and seemed a little more progressive, they soaked up the trail, felt smooth and although some say their isn't as much adjustment as the Fox Float's I'm more of a just-get-on-and-ride kinda guy.In fact I left the compression damping fully open at the front and just let the bike do the work all day! I thoroughly enjoyed riding the setup, no quarms there.
Drivetrain / Brakes
I was really excited to try out the new Shimano XT 11 speed setup. Having only ridden Sram 11 speed on a previous bike of mine I am a Shimano guy at heart so was looking forward to the new XT equivalent. As with all things XT you come to expect super sleek components with hints of silver polished surfaces and smooth crisp operation. I have to say the new 11 Speed XT is just that. Moving away from 2x10 setups and onto the more versatile 1x11 the wide range cassette really gives you maximum versatility and optimum gear ranges both bottom and top.The extra range of 11-42 over traditional 11-36t setups mean that that extra gear or so was present when climbing, although I didn't use the 42t much of the ride it really came into it's realm when I passed 5 other eMTB's on a climb of which I was the only one who made it up without stopping, the light 42t worked in harmony with the extra torque of the Bosch CX motor to step it up a notch and allow me to spin freely up the climb with ease. Needless to say the bottom range of the gears meant I could hit maximum attack on the flatter fire roads to get to the next trail section swiftly, I didn't find myself running out of gears at either end of the spectrum.Lapierre have matched the drivetrain with Shimano disc brakes on larger rotors on the FS700. As expected the servo action of the Shimano levers felt smooth and progressive and allowed a decent amount of modulation to come to a halt quickly without locking up. Whilst these were faultless for the UK singletrack I was riding, I'd imagine they would fade a little for alpine riding on long descents. But for the type of rising I was doing; short bursts of single track, fire roads, technical sections and climbs they were great.
The Lapierre Overvolt FS 700 is finished off with Easton stem, seatpost and Nico's own design signature bars. I liked the wide and pinned feel to the bars and the shorter stem (I was riding the Medium frame) which suited me well. To round off the components, Lapierre have spec'd the bike with a Mavic wheelset on sealed through axle hubs and wrapped these with the famous Schwalbe Hans Dampf tyres which my tyres of choice anyway.. Ideal!
The Lapierre FS 700 performed well and exceeded my expectations. It was felt light for an eBike and really flowy, the bike is well balanced and a little air time just came natural on the bike. Without feeling front or rear end heavy the bike was a whippet to ride. A short video opportunity: You'll notice in the pictures, the only thing I changed was the straight saddle post to a semi release dropper post, in fact it's about the only thing the bike is missing. Adding a decent set of pedals and a dropper made this bike complete. It left me wondering why they didn't factory fit a dropper... But then I remembered that the bike is only £3700 and rivals its competitors by hundreds considering the spec: XT 11 Speed, Pike RC's up front, Monarch at the rear, Mavic Wheels, Hans Dampf and not forgetting the latest and greatest Bosch Performance CX motor and highest capacity 500Wh battery pack. What more could you want. This is a killer bike for the swag! Hope you enjoyed the review. Check out the full spec here: Lapierre Overvolt FS 700 2016 eBike.
About Martin Brown
Martin has been in the electric bike industry for over 10 years & has helped it grow from the start. Promoting eBikes across the UK at events & offering the very best advice, tech articles, blogs & videos. In particular Martin is a major player for progressing the use of eMTB's, today owner of e-bikeshop.co.uk - The UK's largest eBike supplier specialising in Bosch & Yamaha, good quality European eBikes.