We faced two of the stars of the year in electric enduro bike: The Lapierre Overvolt Am 600 carbon (upgraded version) against the Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay 70. These two mountain bikes present to us the greatest technical advances in the market, thanks to the innovative design of their cycle part and secondly by the new technically different and innovative Rocky Mountain engine with a power to make the competition even more competitive ...
Designed for MTB performance and commitment, we went to put these toys in what they are designed for a long test ...
Both equipped with suspensions 160av / 150ar, the Rocky is equipped with Fox suspension and Lapierre Rock Shox suspension. The Rocky has tires in 27.5 and Lapierre in 27.5+ both with circles in 40mm wide.
At the front the Rocky is mounted in Maxxis Minion 2.50 WT and the Lapierre in Maxxis Minion 2.80 both in carcass Exo TR. If this monte is quite solid in format more, but in 2.50 it can quickly showed its limits on the heavy braking that incumbent on the electric bikes.
Thanks to its large volume, the more format repels the moment when the tire hits the rim and consequently the formidable pinch. In 2.50, the drivers "kinenvoient" will have to favor a carcass double down or DH.
In the back, by experience and in order to avoid any hassle we mounted the WTB Breackout solid foolproof strengthened carcass (1250grs) and 2.5 section but equivalent to a 2.6 or 2.7 compare to the Maxxis. For the pressures, we rolled without hindrance to 1.6 at the back and 1.4 at the front.
For reliability, the assembly of anti-pinch foams Huck Norris allows to let go in all circumstances but also to protect the circles of wheels.
The Rocky is equipped with a 250W and 48v motor with a battery of 13Ah and 630Wh, the Overvolt of a Bosch CX 250W and 36v with a battery of 14Ah and 500Wh.
With its muscular engine of 90Nm of torque, the Rocky necessarily consumes more energy than an engine with 75Nm of torque and it has no more autonomy than the Bosch. Our test will confirm that ...
The two innovations on the Rocky engine reside on two points:
The first is that the image of the feet of a bike, the pedal is mounted on the frame through a conventional box avoiding the motor shaft to cash the efforts of pedaling and muscular receptions. This will have the effect of protecting and making reliable the motor bearings already subjected to a strong torque constraint. By the way, but some engines have had some problems on this side ...
The second is the location of the torque sensor which is taken on the tension of the chain providing a precision in the arrival of the power which is very appreciable; For example wheeling enthusiasts will be surprised to pitch up with the same ease as on a conventional bike; when you slow down the pedaling, the engine does not cut suddenly and provides a slight support to balance the balance of the bike and maintain the plate gently.
Ditto for the trialisantes parts or this sensor makes it possible to wrap around the trees at the limit of the stop and to leave with vigor until very high in the rate of pedaling. In motorbike it looks like he has an elongation.
Warning: When starting the bike, leaving one foot exerting pressure on the pedal may cause an error that is corrected by turning it off and starting again. At the stop, it is also better to remove his foot from the crank to avoid to engage very slightly assistance.
Regarding the noise and contrary to what has sometimes been said, the engine Rocky is very quiet. We hardly hear it unlike the Bosch is not noisy but buzzing. By cons the mechanical noise of the chain passing in the two rollers high and low is quite present as one hears with an anti-roller roller classic.
Lapierre Overvolt AM 600+ Carbone prépa Alberabike:
By equity we mounted the direct competitor of the Fox 36, the lyrick RCT3 but with it dual position to change the movement of 160 to 130mm in hairy climbs. The brakes are the Magura MT7 Mac Askill double piston with ergonomics levers very comfortable and adjustable. We will finish the test with a Cane Creek Double Barrel spring damper which for 263 grams more with its very light Valt spring will greatly improve the bike in all areas.
In 2017, Lapierre set the bar very high with the Overvolt AM carbon which was undoubtedly the reference in terms of innovation and design with a single watchword, efficiency. The engineers were inspired by the world of motorcycles, which for years has been cogent to refocus and lower the important masses of the engine and the fuel tank. On the Overvolt, same fight !! Thanks to the carbon they were able to realize a frame with double cradle at the same time rigid but especially allowing to position the battery in the center of the bike just above the engine giving him a balance before rear and agility left right approaching a conventional ATV .
This approach allowed Lapierre to win numerous innovation prizes but also to raise this bike on the highest steps in competition and finally to win the elecction of the best VAE of the year by the readers-testers of vélovert magazine against the competition.
Rocky Mountain Powerplay 70:
The line is distinguished thanks to a really discreet integration, the Rocky looks like the classic Altitude model with a very big box at the bottom of the pedal. The finish is great, the bike slams!
A protective shoe is mounted originally to protect the pedal as a conventional ATV. On the right the rear wheel sensor placed in the frame in front of the magnet positioned on the Rocky disc. the RE brakes for the VTTAE are overpowering and stop the beast without any worries. For the rest, the FOX seatpost transfers that Fox suspensions are really at the top and offer a smooth operation.
Electric bikes offer possibilities and therefore a vision of the ride different and close to the bike with desires for open spaces and exploration generating the opportunity to engage in wild and leafy courses on trails sometimes little frequented much more than we would not dare to do this with normal bikes because of course, it's easier to turn around with an electric ...
That's why we have mounted protectors but AVS on the two bikes which in addition to protecting our mimines from low-traffic paths also have the function of effectively protecting the brake levers in case of a fall.
If on top of the command Purion of Bosch and its mini screen of information, right command I-Wok of the Rocky connectable to your smartphone thanks to an application proposing full modes (GPS guidance, setting of the bike, history, etc ...) . If the Bosch breathes strength, that of the Rocky seems more chip and less solid. At the top the diodes indicate the level of charge and down the mode on which one is. For 2018, Rocky is already working on a new order available in the summer by which we can advantageously replace the old in case of breakage or if it proves much more ergonomic and eficace.
It consisted in seeing that it was the limit of these bicycles and in particular in crossing. So we went up and down the steepest trails as if we were on enduro bikes. We each try both bikes and exchange our feelings and points of view. Of course, in these conditions only the modes EMTB and turbo for Bosch or "medium" and "delirium" for rocky are usable. We are in eat battery mode!
From the start, the two bikes have a pedaling performance quite impressive and if the Bosch engine allows vigorous accelerations that the Rocky seems to provide a slightly stronger acceleration but even longer accompanying the driver up to a rate of pedaling more high.
From the first climbs, we have banana, we roll at a speed impossible to hold with our conventional bikes. So we end up taking the brakes in uphill curves where usually we do not need it.
The Rocky asks for more and allows you to ride a bit faster with a demonic punch inciting the bike to pitch up. Lapierre's Bosch seems to saturate faster and the power to stop sooner. Yes we are talking about the Bosch engine, reference "sporty" market that seems to have found a strong competitor!
After a start test stopped on a section of 100-150m fairly clean and sloping Lapierre is behind a good ten meters. Yet even though we are the same weight (75kgs), Franck has a physical condition and power above mine during this test.
By attacking the real climb steep and trialisante, with good crossing steps and boulders Lapierre is easier than the Rocky due to a very progressive mode EMTB. The Rocky is not less efficient and remains very progressive but its short bases and its surplus of power can sometimes push the pilot to the fault. On the other hand, when you start to get used to it, instantaneous and vigorous acceleration and momentum propel you to the top of the obstacles with a crazy power which pushes you to attempt higher and higher steps.
At the same place, the Lapierre continues to tow and climbs gently to the top, even at the limit of stalling, the Bosch engine resumes smoothly and smoothly slalom to slow down between obstacles, to change option at the last moment and climb hyper-steep and technical passages. Thanks to its ultra progressive torque sensor, the Rocky is equally effective in these parts resuming pedaling to the limit of the total stop of the bike.
The cycle part of the Rocky is a copy-pasted model Altitude, its bases are shorter than a classic E-bike and participate without a doubt in its lightning acceleration and overall liveliness including downhill. Fortunately, the battery is placed more forward than the Lapierre because it allows to offset its tendency to pitch up. Downhill the front of the bike is light and you can easily ride the bike manual (without pedaling).
These characteristics penalize a little the Rocky in really steep climbs or it is necessary to be cuddled in the saddle bust forward maximum. Here, the Lapierre with its longer bases its powerful but soft engine thanks to the EMTB and its lowered fork in 130mm is formidable of facility in this sector. Indeed, the fact of being less obliged to counter a tendency to pitch up one concentrates better on the trajectories and one saves one's energy and lumbar ones.
Regarding the handling, the balance is quite positive too, both bike is very good and are players while being super stable. The small extra weight brings a lot of confidence, the bike is placed on the ground and placement errors are certainly less sanctioned than on a lighter bike. In any case we are far from the clumsy sensation of a conventional aluminum VTTAE more turned towards the quiet hike.
The reassuring behavior of VTTAE undoubtedly seduces novice or average pilots. But beware, the power of the Rocky will not only be used by experienced pilots for others a softer setting modes "intermediate and delusion" through the application E-bike motion is strongly recommended.
When we ride the two bikes, their modern and airy cockpits with short stem and wide hanger, mono sram tray, Sram Guide RE in 200mm, Fox 36 and lyrick in 160mm, no doubt these bikes are there to engage the meat! ! An open hunting angle (adjustable on the powerplay) and a rear suspension with really smooth operation make these bikes toys downhill. Manageable, stable, rigid, suspensions balanced, it goes fast and well downhill.
Whether it is the Fox 36 or the Lyrick, these forks are rigid and really in their place on this type bike to guide the front of the bike with precision ... Fox has enormously progressed his forks for 2 years notament in sensitivity on the small shocks and progressivity can be like at Rock Shox adjust the volume of the air chamber according to the weight and speed of the pilot. Very reassuring ...
On the Rocky, the rear surprises as it is comfortable and progressive and erases the holes and roots even with the air damper. On the Lapierre we found a drier hair but certainly because of its rear arm "full carbon" when it is aluminum and a little more resilient on the Powerplay.
On the other hand after having mounted a damping Cane creek DB with spring on the Overvolt, the bike became more than formidable downhill but also uphill. The level of grip has become just exeptional!
The design and weight of these bikes remind us of the sensations of a downhill bike, it's smooth and reassuring and it does not skip like on a bike lighter ... In jumps, the two bikes are holy and balanced. Despite good flights, the bikes never followed and showed a very good progressivity in the receptions greatly improved on the overvolt thanks to the Cane Creeks DB shock and its multiple settings of compression and relaxation.
The Rocky Powerplay with its 630Wh battery has on paper more autonomy than Lapierre in 500Wh.
But that was without counting on the 90Nm of torque of the Rocky engine which necessarily consumes a little more battery than the Bosch 75Nm .. In addition, in eco mode the Rocky climbed faster and with less effort than the Lapierre also on the same mode. As a result, the Rocky fell out of reach before Lapierre.
But thanks to the I-Wok command that can connect to your smartphone through the E-bike Motion application, we have re-set the eco mode from 30% to 25% and recover autonomy. As on all new batteries, it is after several charges that the battery of the Rocky has seen its capacity increased.
Another factor, in our opinion, is this higher consumption, the 8-speed EX group dedicated to VTTAE. Indeed if in abrupt and technical uphill it did not bother you too much, uphill on track, it is sometimes hard to find the right ratio ... if it grinds a little too much, get off a report done just after it forces a little too much. In both cases we feel that the engine is not in its optimal range of use. In our opinion the 11 or 12 speed is more appropriate because to always find the right rate of pedaling and avoid over-consumption by using the right engine range.
We came to an autonomy slightly in favor of the overvolt.
Another important parameter to always take into account: the weight of the driver: My son aged 15 and weighing 52 kgs comes regularly with us and almost always consumes 25% less than us who weigh a good 75kgs saddlebags in the air. Element to take into account in its roaming range when riding with a backpack of 12 kg or luggage on the bike for example.
The Lapierre Overvolt carbon remains a very good choice for pilots wishing to perform in competition. Its design gives it an unparalleled balance and makes it an incisive and powerful downhill bike but also very easy to climb technically thanks to an EMTB mode making the Bosch engine easier than before in technical climbs.
As in motorcycle, its design based on the re-centering of the masses is the one that all manufacturers will tend to approach sooner or later.
In our eyes, if we consider that the planned evolution on the VAE will be to increase the autonomy, Lapierre should just on this frame work to use the residual place which is consequent for for example develloper several batteries with autonomies and different weights that can adapt to the small output of 3-4h or roaming up to 6h. We can easily imagine that it will slip in drawer from the front with an optimized integration. Finally we say that like that ....
But with the Rocky Mountain Powerplay, he found a serious competitor who may suck the wheel on the podium this year especially if the race format remains "chrono descendant" type. The power of the engine and its elongation associated with its short bases and its geometry make him a ball on exit corner. Competitors and drivers of good levels knowing how to exploit his power will feast on his handlebars.
For roaming or races like the Radon Epic or it is necessary to have several batteries, the Rocky and its battery "unmountable quickly" clearly has a handicap. But remember that the battery is currently charging 80% in two hours and that Rocky should soon release two new features: A fast charger that will reach 80% load in 1 hour and an additional battery of 350 Watts that will either be fixed on the door can be that can instantly recharge the built-in battery.
Like the enduro bike, it seems clear to us that in the near future the format of the VTTAE races will be a 5 or 10 kilometer loop course with hairy climbs and crossings in which the race will be played more than 'downhill. Depending on the category it will be to go several times for example: Amateur: 1 round, Regional: 2 rounds, elite: 3 rounds. And those who think that the VTTAE is "for the feigners" or "not sporty" will be able to come and rub them up and make their throbbing at 180 beats.
The mounting of a fork with variable travel will have 160mm of travel downhill and 130mm uphill greatly improving the attitude is indispensable to us for this type of practice. Providing that the problems of reliability or friction that occurred a few years ago on these models have totally disappeared today.
Hoping that this little summary has enlightened some practitioners on a little more muscular use of these toys, we remind you that you can try these test bikes by reserving them at the store to make your own opinion and on courses corresponding to your practice.
Thank you to my friend Franck Jaussaud for his participation in this test and his insightful and passionate opinion.
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