First Ride: Lapierre’s New Overvolt GLP 2

Suspension Design

The GLP 2 uses a longer 205 x 60mm stroke shock (compared to 210 x 50mm on the GLP), reducing the average leverage ratio for the 160mm travel rear end to 2.67 : 1. This should put less stress on the shock by being able to run lower air pressure as well as delivering a more controlled shock function throughout the travel. Looking at the leverage ratio’s curve, it shows a continuous arc that slightly tapers off towards the end of the travel.

Anti-squat is set at a balanced value to remain active on rough terrain for higher traction, adjusted to work well with the forces of the engine.

Tinkerers will be interested to hear that the RockShox fork can be cheaply upgraded to a maximum travel of 180mm aftermarket, and the bike could even be equipped with a 205 x 62.5mm stroke shock that would bring the rear wheel travel to about 166mm.

Motor Details

By selecting Bosch’s Performance CX Gen 4 motor, Lapierre was able to lose about another 1,000g in weight. The reason for sticking to an external battery, rather than the more popular fully integrated batteries these days, comes down to weight as well. The 500Wh Powerpack battery used in the GLP 2 saves 400g over a 500Wh Powertube battery. The difference to a 625Wh battery would result in a difference of 1,000g.

The sensor for the motor is attached to the side of the left chainstay, with a magnet sitting in the spokes with a rather large arm to keep it from twisting. At the time of the bike’s design process, the hub located sensor wasn’t available yet, but there are already plans to integrate the newer design into updated versions.

You’re not just helping Lapierre with testing. What exactly is your position there?

At this point, I am mainly responsible for the geometry and kinematics of the entire mountain bike range. I am also involved in the overall design of the bikes, working closely with the engineers, giving them feedback. Apart from that I also take care of the enduro team and help the product manager with testing certain parts.

What does your work process look like for you, when designing a new bike?

Sometimes it is easy to put together the kinematics on a computer, but when you add the tubes and all the parts it just doesn’t look good as a whole. What I usually do first is do a kinematic drawing by myself with my possibilities. When I come up with something nice, I know for sure that it will be looking really good in the end, finishing it with the engineers and doing small adaptations.

When you are testing new geometries, do you also build test mules with extreme measurements or rather work in small incremental steps?

I usually don’t go for extreme settings. Sometimes, when I want to test more extreme values, I ride larger size frames. So, I don’t build a test mule in size M with XL values. Generally, I don’t want measurements to be too extreme, except the head angle maybe, because I like it slack. But I keep adjusting it for the production bikes to try to cater to a wider range of riders that are not just racing or only riding steep things. Maybe I will change that in the future on certain models, though. When I was testing the mullet concept, for example, I only had two versions with about 10mm difference to decide where I was going. The most different versions I try are linkages. With the new Spicy I was testing eight different linkages with slightly different ratios to help decide on the best one.

What was the reason for not integrating the new Kiox display?

We didn’t push for it because I think for one, the Purion display is better to read with its bigger numbers, which especially helps in racing situations and it’s easy to adjust. Having the exact percentage of battery power on the Kiox is better, but the unit is also difficult to integrate well on the bike. It’s held in place with a magnet, so you can lose the display in a crash for example, and if you put a bolt in, there’s a chance of breaking the mount. So it’s not perfect as well.

Will you be racing this season aboard the GLP 2?

Yeah, I really plan to do the full EWS-E race series. It will be my main target in July and I will try to be in shape for that. I was already winning the Enduro Electro Portes du Mercantour last season, which wasn’t an EWS-E race, but was a challenging race with very good riders.
Talking about the benefits of the GLP 2’s uncommon design is one thing, but the moment you throw a leg over the frame and tug at the front end you understand why going a different route sometimes makes a lot of sense. Lifting the front end comes easier and more natural compared to almost every other full-scale enduro e-MTB on the market at the moment due to where the bike’s mass is centered.

As far as looks go, of course an integrated battery allows for a cleaner silhouette, but having seen and spent a few days with the bike in real life, it never felt as if the Overvolt GLP 2 was an optically disruptive bike. In the end, you’ll have to make up your own mind as to if you like it or not.

While the chainstays are on the shorter side – especially for an e-bike – the GLP 2 still is a very capable climber. Nico’s home trails near Nice, France gave us plenty of opportunities for testing over multiple days. In certain situations, when encountering silly-steep inclines, you have to tuck in a bit lower to add a bit more pressure to the front wheel due to its lightweight front end, but never to the point where your body position feels forced unnaturally low over the bars. Most of the time you’ll be able to stay relaxed and trust the rear suspension, which kept tracking the ground nicely, even under higher chain torque from the motor while running over roots and rocks. However, it never felt squishy either, providing proper feedback to the ground when placing the tire and looking for traction in loose terrain.

It felt like the industry was steering away again from 2.8” wide plus tires, but after having spent plenty of time trying to crawl up ridiculously steep and technical sections, I’m giving it the thumbs up on the rear wheel. Its wider surface patch finds traction on rocks, roots and loose gravel, when most other tire widths spin out, unless they’re using a real sticky rubber compound which wouldn’t score high in regards to rolling resistance. In order to run lower pressures with the EXO+ equipped tires mounting a tire insert might be a good idea, something that Lapierre thought of for the launch as well. Mounted on a wide rim, like Lapierre’s 35mm wide eAM+ rim, tire roll isn’t really noticeable and you don’t have to fight with rather undefined steering precision, as you’d have to on the front. Since a 29 x 2.5” wide tire is responsible for traction on that end, that’s not an issue.

As far as power delivery from the Bosch engine goes, it’s very smooth and feels natural if you apply the correct amount of pressure to the pedals. However, Bosch also seemed to have added a bit more punch to the acceleration response, sometimes resulting in unwanted wheel spin in its E-MTB or Turbo mode when crunching the pedals a bit too eagerly.

Regarding battery reach, the GLP 2 is more limited in how far you can get with its 500Wh battery compared to some other options out there. Again, this is an area where Lapierre was able to save weight considerably in order to maximize the bike’s handling, and to be fair there are still a lot of competitors out there that are using the same capacity. The rather low overall weight might actually take you a few kilometers further than a bike with some extra weight on its hips. The extra 300Wh battery that comes with the Team version is nice to have for swapping out at a quick pit stop at your car or home but I still can’t wrap my head around carrying it around in my backpack.

The GLP 2’s geometry might not be the most aggressive on the market by today’s standards but definitely falls into the modern category, reflecting Nico Vouilloz’s mindset to design a bike that’s attractive to a wide range of riders. In that regard, he probably hit a sweet spot in terms of overall handling with the GLP 2.

The bike quickly follows rider input, snaking through tight turns with ease and delivering an overall sensation closer to that of a heavier regular bike than that of a heavy e-bike. Again, the centered weight adds to the GLP 2’s playful character, constantly inviting the rider to pop it off natural lips and other obstacles on the trail. The bike remains planted to the ground nicely at a variety of speeds, if you want it to, putting the rider in charge of the chassis. I dropped the stem all the way down to get maximum pressure on the front tire and still didn’t get the feeling that the bike’s cockpit felt uncomfortably low while going down steeper chutes and rock faces.

As a smaller rider, I highly appreciate the mullet setup with a 27.5” sized rear wheel, giving me more room to go lower over the rear wheel in really steep sections without my ass touching the rear wheel in the heat of battle. There are a few bikes out there that deliver a bit more stability at high speeds with slacker head angles and longer chainstays, but at the cost of agility.

Going down is also the part where the kinematics of the bike really come into play. In case of the GLP 2, it was a matter of set and forget. After the initial setup of 32% sag on the rear end, I didn’t touch the air pressure anymore – that setup delivered pretty much the exact feeling that I’m looking for in a bike. With two volume spacers installed in the shock (the bike is shipped with the maximum of three spacers), the beginning of the stroke feels supple, turning into an ample ramp-up through the mid and end progression of the travel. I assume that the bike’s shock tune helps with the overall feel.

Even though I used most or all of the travel on many runs, it rarely felt like I was hitting the end of the travel, even when purposely slamming the rear end into a rocky ledge at speed. I finally managed to bottom out the rear end hard on a decent-sized drop to flat after a few days of riding, but feel safe to say that it was an isolated riding moment. Ultimately, I can see myself adding the extra token if I spent more days in the saddle, which is easy to do with the RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ air shock. The same goes for having the option to remove all tokens for a more linear tune, so adjusting the rear end to your personal preference should be easy.

Component Notes

One of the drawbacks of the bike’s design is its limited insertion depth of the dropper post due to the location of the battery. While the seat tube length is relatively low for each frame size, Lapierre’s 150mm dropper post was too long for me, so I had to stick with the 125mm drop that comes stock with the size M frame. While it might not necessarily be a deal breaker for most riders – especially taller ones than myself at 168 cm size – it’s something to keep in mind. If this were my bike, I’d seriously consider swapping out the stock post for a longer travel option from OneUp, or another company with posts that have a lower overall height. As for the size S frame, the 100mm dropper post that comes stock sounds like a compromise for an enduro bike.

Unfortunately, Bosch’s new Gen 4 motor suffers from a noise that comes from the freewheel of the chainring. When the suspension cycles through its travel it unloads the mechanism, and as soon as the teeth connect again there is a mechanical noise, not unlike that of a loud chainslap. Unsurprisingly, this becomes annoying quickly. From what I understand, Bosch is working on a solution. Hopefully they find one rather sooner than later.

Speaking of personal preferences, I would have preferred to see a handlebar wider than 760mm as the stock spec. Cutting them down is easy, adding on, not so much. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the selection of a short 35mm stem (45mm lengths on L and XL frames).

However you look at it, SRAM’s G2 brakes simply seem out of place and should have been upgraded to Codes or something similar. Even with a 220mm rotor up front, the brake may be considered acceptable, but definitely not an excellent choice for the type of riding this bike is intended for. After long descents and especially at higher speeds the brake power faded noticeably, and the more time I spent riding them, the less power they seemed to deliver. Swapping to sintered pads seemed to help a bit, but not to the point of getting excited over them.

Summing it up, the lightweight Lapierre GLP 2 might counter the trend of full battery integration and put function before form in some regard, but in return delivers a nimble ride quality that will cater to a lot of different riders. Just because Nico Vouilloz had free reign in designing the bike doesn’t mean that it’s only made for racing. As a matter of fact, the bike’s strong suit is its easy-to-handle nature, which enables you to ride it at whatever speed you feel most comfortable. Like any e-bike out there, it’s not perfect, but it sure is fun to ride.

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