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At first glance the new look of LeMond may throw you for a bit of a loop. Visions of the affable American champion dancing on the pedals in the Alps and Dolomites contrasts with the sleek, cosmopolitan look of the new LeMond electric bicycles. Yet, upon further inspection, the envelope pushing approach of LeMond’s take on electric bikes feels like a fit with the namesake founder Greg’s lifelong embrace of new approaches to riding and racing. From aero bars to carbon fiber frames and beyond, innovation has always been part of LeMond’s approach.
The LeMond bikes give a definitive nod to the embrace of the bicycle as an everyday object that Greg and his wife Kathy experienced living in Belgium during their racing days. The Dutch bike looks every bit the classical Amsterdam “daily driver,” but for a new age. Sleek and fully carboned-out, it weighs a meager 27 pounds. The first models released by LeMond are both city bikes; the Prolog (at an even lighter 26 pounds) is a more upright straight bar bicycle that looks like your everyday hybrid reimagined by a futurist painter. There are other bikes being teased on the website right now, but there’s no reveal as to whether every model, including the road and gravel bicycles, will come equipped with a battery.
LeMond’s approach to these new bicycles is grounded in the belief that an adoption of the bicycle as an everyday utilitarian object is the foundation of building a cycling culture. Things like infrastructure, safety and incentives from employers and local and federal government will certainly help move us in this direction, but there are elements of the bicycles themselves that make a world of difference.
Getting people to adopt the bicycle as a replacement for their cars requires a few pre-conditions that make them more accessible. Today, they’re going to need to be electric so that folks can go further, and get where they’re going faster than they can on their own; they need to look good; and probably the biggest hurdle to electric bikes is where LeMond stands out: they need to be lightweight. Both the Dutch and Prolog are under 30 pounds.
The folks at LeMond have built an electric bicycle that you can carry up the stairs, which for much of the competition out there is an impossibility for folks not moonlighting as power lifters. Thanks to the weight of the LeMond models, they’re easy to maneuver both while you’re riding and when you’re done.
All of this innovation and differentiation comes from carbon. In addition to the LeMond bicycles, Greg is actually the namesake of a carbon fiber research and development firm located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, (home of the Oak Ridge Boys as well). The LeMond electric bicycles include a fully integrated 500-lumen LED headlight and LEDs built into rear seat stays. The cockpit is a single piece of monocoque carbon fiber. The Prolog sports Shimano Deore XT shifting and an 11-speed GRX drivetrain. Di2 upgrades are available. The Prolog looks great and has a ride to match. I’ve never thought of myself as an electric bicycle guy, but the LeMond-made Prolog had me reconsidering that. The 45-mile range on the built-in Mahle M1 motor gives an assist to 20 miles per hour. This is a fun bike to ride. It offers a riding experience of the highest quality and it turns a lot of heads, even of the lycra clad roadies going by. The frame’s matte finish and carbon construction offer a great look and total ease of maneuverability. LeMond’s vision of the future of cycling, and the role the electric bicycle plays in it, is an exciting one.
More at: lemond.com