Greg LeMond just wants to go fast. That’s as apparent now as it was during the height of his racing career. Only these days, you’ll often find Greg riding a bike with a motor.
Like so many unexplainable moments in my life, I find myself riding next to Greg on an ebike bearing his name. We’re in Sarasota, Florida on the arrow-straight Legacy Trail. And despite starting at a conversational pace, Greg slyly asks, “anyone want to go a little faster?”
With a mischievous grin, and a press of the button on the top tube, Greg starts to ratchet up the pace until taking off into a full-on sprint (as much as one can on an ebike without ever leaving the saddle). Seiji from GearJunkie takes off behind Greg, so of course I jump on behind Seiji – how many times in your life will you have Greg LeMond as a lead-out?
After the next street crossing, things calm down a bit, but only just. Returning to a conversational pace, you can feel Greg slowly winding up the pace, clearly just so happy to be out riding a bike. Any Bike. But especially one of his own ebikes.
The Power of eBikes
Sure, Greg LeMond is one of the greatest American cyclists of all time, but he’s still human. Just earlier that day, Greg casually mentioned he was recently diagnosed with cancer. Specifically, a type of Leukemia that usually stems from heavy metals or chemicals in the body. As he puts it, it’s no surprise thanks to the amount of lead still in his body from the hunting accident in 1987. But thanks to a new cancer drug, he says he’s feeling better than he has in years.
But it’s not all thanks to pharmaceuticals. That’s the power of the ebike. This is not the first time that Greg has gotten back on the bike with a little assistance. Years ago, a car accident left him bedridden for three months with a broken back. Again, it was an ebike that he attributes to his return to form, noting the first time he tried one it left him feeling like the bionic man.
Pointing out that ebikes aren’t just for transportation, Greg likes to say that his ebikes are racing bikes disguised as regular bikes. It feels like that when you’re on one. Stating that “cycling can be unenjoyable if you’re not in shape, these bikes can turn someone into a cyclist,” he’s also quick to point out that to be into the sport for the long haul, it has to be fun.
It’s hard not to have fun on a ride with a former 2x World Champion and 3x Tour de France winner, but the LeMond ebikes crank it up a notch. For this ride, I was aboard the LeMond Prolog – the flat bar road bike that weighs around 26lbs. The day before I had a chance to get out on a longer ride on the Prolog AR, which is the dropbar gravel-oriented version of the Prolog, though it’s just as capable on the road as well.
Other riders were on the third Lemond model, the Dutch. Of all of the bikes, the Dutch may be the most impressive when it comes to the weight. If you’re used to the typical Dutch bike, the LeMond version is comically light at 27lbs. It’s light and allows a fully upright riding style at speed.
LeMond ebikes were first introduced in 2020, just as the world was swept up by the Covid pandemic. Understandably off to a slow start, the first Prolog and Dutch models were delivered in 2021. The following year in 2022, LeMond Bicycles was separated from the LeMond Composites business with Rick Adams named as CEO of LeMond Bicycles. Most recently in 2023, the company relocated to their current facility in Knoxville, TN where we’re told that many projects are in the works.
LeMond eBikes by the Numbers:
- Weight – 26-27lbs
- Sizes – S, M, L
- Range – 40-70 miles
- Power – 250 watts
- Assistance – Class 1 maximum assistance 20mph
- Drive system – Mahle X-35
- Frames – carbon fiber
- Visibility – Integrated front and rear lights
- Colors – Blanc, Noir, or Rosa
- Pricing: Starts at $5,495
- Extras – Carbon Wheels, Electronic Shifting, Carbon Fenders, Kick Stand, Range extender battery
Using the Latest Technology to His Advantage
Hang around Greg or people who know him long enough, and it’s clear that he has this insatiable need to understand and utilize the latest technology. That’s just as clear today as it was when LeMond used aerobars to win the 1989 Tour de France.
When discussing the design process of LeMond ebikes, Director of Product Development Bill Stephens mentioned that, “Greg has stronger opinions about bottom bracket drop than any engineer I worked with.” He went on to say that Greg is involved in every detail of the build and “obsessed with the design.” These aren’t just stock bikes with LeMond’s name on the downtube.
Equipped with the Mahle x-35 drive system, the LeMond ebikes look more like regular bikes. But with a weight that will make most people question if it’s actually an ebike. This was no accident. Greg says he wanted bikes that looked like normal but rode like you were having your best day ever.
Much of that ability to pass as a normal bike comes from the use of a hub motor, smaller battery, and Bill Stephens’ design work. You may not know Bill’s name, but you definitely know his work. From Yeti to Niner, Bill has designed or co-designed some of the most iconic bikes in the industry, and now he’s working full-time for LeMond Bikes.
Wheel Street Grand Opening
While LeMond’s new headquarters are in Knoxville, TN, we were invited down to Florida as part of the grand opening of LeMond’s first U.S. dealer – Wheel Street Bikes. Located right on the bustling Tamiami Drive in downtown Sarasota, Wheel Street is a joint venture between Jeff Rosenberg and BMX legend Termite Hudson.
Envisioning the ability to bring your bicycle fantasies to life, Wheel Street is a cool little shop with great interior design. The shop combines Termite’s legendary wheel-building services with a showroom for Cervelo, Santa Cruz, Electra, and of course, LeMond. Wheel Street also serves as a sales point for Atomik Carbon wheels which can be custom-built on-site (with the exception of Berd spoke models).
Not far from Termite’s Wheel Street, we got to sample the bikes on the newly-completed Legacy trail. Adding to the rail trail success stories across the country, the Legacy Trail has an interesting bit of history. The trail was built on the railroad corridor that the Ringling Brothers Circus used in the past to bring their animals to their winter home in Venice, FL.
Built at a cost of $65 million, the trail is currently 24 miles with additional spurs for ride options. Originally off-limits to ebikes, ebikes are now allowed and governed by the ebike rules used by the National Park Service. Additionally, the trail corridor was built double-wide so that a parallel path for walkers can be added.
Going Fast, Having Fun
The portion of the trail we rode was mostly a straight line. But getting to the trail and riding around downtown Sarasota provided more chances to see how the bikes handled – which is one of the areas these bikes really stand out. With comfortable yet sporty geometry and without the typical ebike heft, the LeMond ebikes are an absolute joy to ride. Almost immediately I was hopping curbs, weaving through cones, and finding off-road ‘shortcuts’. Completely forgetting the fact that I was even on an ebike because I was having too much fun.
While the riding was fairly short, more than anything it provided us insight into why Greg is doing what he’s doing. LeMond Bikes still has other things in the works (like the long-awaited road bike), but it’s clear that Greg has a real passion for his ebikes, stating, “I really believe in e-bikes, [and] the power of e-bikes to change people’s lives.”
For Greg, that means going fast again. For everyone, it’s simply a fun way to get back on a bike.