With the e-bike market stirring up the industry into a frenzy of supporters and those that question its UK potential, BikeBiz talks to cycling stalwart Lapierre about their take on the electric bike sector...
What factors did the Lapierre Overvolt designers have in mind when they created the range?
At Lapierre we apply the same logic to the e-bikes as to our non-electric range. The bike needs to feel good to ride, and correspond to the intended user’s needs. So with the Overvolt MTB range we aim at a fun playful ride that is as close as possible in feel to our standard MTB range. What makes a great e-bike is one that you get on, take a first ride and finish smiling. It is about more than the pedalling assistance, but also the handling and ride feel.
What do you think the Lapierre Overvolt range has that the competition doesn’t?
Quite simply our experience gained in 70 years of business and notably our experience in making mountain bikes since the 1980s. Most e-bike riders are looking for the same thing as most non-ebike riders, they just want a little assistance on pedalling. To get the best feeling e-bike we use the same OST+ suspension system on the Overvolt FS as the Zesty and Spicy range. We then adapt the platform and the parts specced to the specific needs for e-bikes, due to the greater power delivery and speeds attained. We also have a large pool of testers, including Nico Vouilloz feeding back to us and helping us continuously develop products. We’ve always relied on pro riders for product development and have exactly the same strategy for electric bikes.
On the Lifestyle range, we aim more at stability and security to make users feel at ease.
How do you see the e-bike market in five years?
It’s growing exponentially and that is set to continue for some time. Bikes are going to continue to improve and feel more and more like “classic” bikes. A lot also comes down to the battery and motor technology. Batteries will become longer lasting, and then start to reduce in size and weight, enabling longer rides and a lighter overall bike, as well as a better weight distribution.
Racing is also picking up and we are seeing a growing participation at the e-bike races. We also now have a specific Overvolt MTB team, and expect this to grow.
On the urban side, electric bikes could be the key to getting more people out of cars and on bikes. Anyone worried about the effort of riding or arriving hot and sweaty at work can be put at ease and use an electric bike to get around.
An arduous commute becomes more easily achievable and fun also. We see this as the future of urban mobility.
Lapierre is available to the trade via Hotlines www.hotlines-uk.com.