Greg LeMond is greatest recognized for being the one American to formally win the well-known Tour de France — a feat he completed thrice. His success hinged on his obsession with each single element of the race, from the carbon fiber within the body of his racing bikes to the aerodynamics of his helmet and past.
His ardour to journey on the slicing fringe of biking know-how hasn’t slowed down since successful the Tour, and he’s introduced quite a few bikes bearing his title to the market since founding LeMond Bikes in 1986. In 2014, he first encountered e-bikes and located the know-how to be the right approach for him to proceed driving bikes whereas doing battle with the barrage of well being challenges he confronted.
To have fun the launch of its latest e-bike, LeMond invited CleanTechnica out to Sarasota, Florida, to study extra in regards to the model and journey round city on its first three e-bike fashions. At their core, the LeMond e-bike line takes Greg’s ardour for high-tech racing bikes, electrifies them, and makes them reasonably priced for the plenty. “I imagine within the energy of e-bikes to cost individuals’s lives,” Greg stated to us on the opening presentation.
Including electrical motors and batteries to the light-weight carbon fiber bikes he beloved turned a approach for him to journey simply as quick as he at all times had, no matter whether or not he was driving right into a headwind, uphill, or feeling below the climate. With a renewed ardour to get individuals’s butt’s on bikes, Greg launched the primary of many LeMond e-bikes simply because the COVID 19 pandemic arrived on our shores.
Underpinning the brand new LeMond electrical bikes was a brand new carbon fiber course of pioneered on the Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory in Tennessee. Greg occurred on the know-how on certainly one of his many journeys around the globe to search out the newest and biggest know-how. He employed one of many key supplies engineers who helped develop the know-how, bringing him in to their small staff because the Director of Operations at LeMond.
Carbon fiber is utilized in LeMond’s e-bikes nearly all over the place doable, from the body, forks, stem, and handlebars right down to the fenders and seat publish. The electrical bike elements and batteries have been tucked into the body, integrating seamlessly to each the aesthetics of the bikes and the driving expertise. A 250 watt Mahle motor is tucked into the rear hub of the bike, with a 36 volt Panasonic battery array housed within the down tube.
From the manufacturing facility, LeMond’s e-bikes present from 40-70 miles of assisted driving and have been designed to all however get rid of the powertrain drag from the electrical motor for seamless transitions to unassisted driving if the event requires it. For longer rides, LeMond added the flexibility so as to add an optional Mahle range extender battery pack that provides 70% extra vary to the celebration and clips into an outsized water bottle model holder on the body.
The key sauce that each one three bikes share is the attractive integration of ultralight weight racing bike know-how. Selecting carbon fiber because the bones of the majority of the bike does imply a better price ticket, however is single-handedly accountable for making LeMond’s e-bikes look, really feel, and deal with like a conventional guide bike. The burden the carbon fiber saves makes room for the e-bike motor, batteries, and wiring that make them so succesful.
And after they say gentle, they imply it. This stuff tip the scales at 26, 27, and 28 kilos, relying on the bike. That’s an insane weight for a motorcycle that’s able to 40 to 70 miles of electrical assisted vary for the 250 watt rear hub motor. Second, in addition they needed the bikes to look actual, like a standard bike. Consequently, the batteries are all constructed into the bike and the motors are all however invisible on the bike.
Unlocking this new know-how was a lifehack for LeMond and enabled the corporate to construct an e-bike that made Greg’s imaginative and prescient of an ultralight weight bike that simply occurred to have a battery and motors inside a actuality. At simply 26 kilos, the LeMond Prolog brought on chaos on this planet of e-bikes, and at $5,495, it’s absurdly reasonably priced for a excessive efficiency, ultralight weight e-bike.
It’s the final word city road slayer, constructed with carbon fiber elements all over the place you look and a flat bar up prime for maneuverability. Its slim street tires make it nimble, and its 250 watt motor pushess out as a lot energy as the typical rider’s legs can muster if you want it.
Did I point out it’s solely 26 kilos? The sunshine weight of the bike means it’s simple to load onto a rack, into the automobile, and up a flight of stairs with out blowing any gaskets alongside the way in which. In comparison with the 40-50 pound weight of most premium e-bikes and the 60-80 pound weight of the overwhelming majority of e-bikes in the marketplace, it’s a featherweight.
The sunshine weight additionally interprets to being nimble and responsive if you’re ripping down the street or in your native bike path. It doesn’t seem like an e-bike and even with the ability off, it doesn’t journey like one both. It has extraordinarily low rolling resistance when the motor is off so it may be ridden even if you happen to neglect to cost the battery.
However that’s no enjoyable, so we charged them up and ripped on down Sarasota’s Legacy Path. They reworked our group’s journey down the flat, absurdly straight Florida path right into a spirited dash with nearly everybody in a position to hold tempo with LeMond himself.
Working an organization within the midst of a worldwide provide chain disaster compounded by a raging pandemic wasn’t simple, and it was doubly so for a brand new firm transferring into e-bikes with out the energy of long run provider relationships to lean on. The launch of the Prolog in 2020 was muted because of this, however the firm stored its head down and only a yr later, launched the Dutch.
Greg and his spouse Kathy lived in Europe for years throughout his racing profession they usually each mirrored fondly on the convenience of cruising across the cobblestone streets of European cities on a traditional Dutch bike. The traditional low step frames and swept again handlebars make them simple for everybody and anybody to simply hop on and journey. They’re absolutely the workhorses powering the Dutch transportation system and are nearly synonymous with Dutch inhabitants facilities like Amsterdam.
The second e-bike from LeMond was the Dutch and was designed to carry the convenience of biking that the LeMonds skilled within the Netherlands to the world of contemporary, light-weight e-bikes. These designer bikes appear and feel like a contemporary interpretation of a conventional Dutch cruiser bike, however with Greg’s fingerprints all through. Director of Product Growth at LeMond, Bill Stephens, stated, “We needed to make it intuitive, not intimidating.”
That begins with a carbon fiber body and a barely narrower set of handlebars that give the bike a particularly gentle and correct really feel with exact controls, due to the compact handlebars. The LeMond e-bike powertrain brings its energy and unobtrusive design to the Dutch with the simplicity of the only button interface. It includes a very simple management system that permits you to see the remaining battery capability and change between completely different ranges of pedal help whereas on the fly with ease. House owners may connect with it with the Mahle cellular app, although it’s not vital for regular operations.
Swapping out the normal Dutch metal body for LeMond’s signature carbon fiber construct interprets to a particularly gentle bike that’s additionally absurdly robust. The sunshine weight makes it simple for almost anybody to drag the bike out of a automobile or storage with out having to blow any gaskets alongside the way in which. In spite of everything, the Dutch’s 27 kilos is what a typical mountain bike weighed not that way back, and that’s with none motors or batteries!
The All-Highway Prolog
The LeMond All-Road Prolog is the model’s tackle an ultralight gravel bike that leverages the sturdy, light-weight carbon fiber body know-how and electrical powertrain in a gravel bike format. Its tires are barely extra bulbous than on the street-focused Prolog, with small strings of tire nubs to provide it some traction when it’s time to go out onto the path. The nubby tires even have a bit extra quantity in them, which gives extra cushion, permitting them to soak up extra bumps whereas nonetheless conserving the general bike tight and lightweight at 28 kilos.
The All-Highway Prolog can be the primary e-bike from LeMond with a extra conventional set of drop-bars. This can be a way more pure place and retains the wrists straight, guaranteeing hours of consolation, whether or not on a motorcycle path in South Florida or romping round on the dusty hearth roads within the mountains flanking Southern California.
Greg LeMond and his staff have put a ton of labor into the know-how, design, and luxury of their new e-bike lineup, and it exhibits in how properly they journey. These bikes ship the perfect quality-to-weight-to-price ratio of another premium e-bike in the marketplace, fingers down.
The value tags — $5,495 for the Dutch and Prolog and $5,995 for the All-Highway Prolog — seem costly when in comparison with the plenty of finances e-bikes with their backside of the barrel elements. However when they’re in comparison with e-bikes with comparable specs from Specialised, Trek, and the like, the LeMond e-bike lineup looks like an absolute discount. A comparable bike can be upwards of $8,000, $10,000, and even $12,000, relying on the spec from different builders.
On prime of that, they arrive with Greg LeMond’s many years of expertise driving on the slicing fringe of know-how, taking American biking to a brand new degree, and bringing dwelling awards that no different American has achieved earlier than or since. Keep in mind, these bikes don’t simply ship electrical bike elements slapped onto a carbon fiber body. They have been designed with the perfect supplies on this planet, supported by time-tested, world-class geometry outlined by the most effective biking racers and bicycle designers on this planet.
For extra details about LeMond’s e-bikes, try the video under or head over to their website.
Disclaimer: LeMond paid for the creator’s journey and lodging to attend this occasion.