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For Greg LeMond, eBikes are the Fountain of Youth

Riding with Greg LeMond
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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

Greg LeMond & Seiji Ishii
One of the many ebike benefits: you’re rarely too winded for a mid-ride conversation. (Photos/BikeRumor)

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. 

LeMond eBikes

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. 

LeMond Dutch Bike
(Photo/SimBol PR)

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.

Bill Stephens and Greg LeMond
Greg LeMond & Bill Stephens giving a quick presentation on LeMond Bikes at Wheel Street

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

Wheel Street Bikes

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.

wheel display at Wheel Street

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).

Legacy Trail

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

Riding ebikes in Sarasota

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.

LeMond.com

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Doc Sarvis
Doc Sarvis
2 months ago

He is the GOAT.

Billyshoo
Billyshoo
2 months ago

“…the power of e-bikes to change people’s lives.” He’s right about that: My dad turned 91 two weeks ago. He got an e-bike during the pandemic and his second one – an Aventon – in August last year. When I was visiting last month, I asked my stepmom to check the odometer (since my dad doesn’t know how to work his computer except for checking his daily mileage) and we found he’d put on over 1700 miles since then (in Minnesota, with last winter off).

I asked my dad – who was an avid touring motorcyclist until a really bad wreck in the late aughts when he was t-boned by an ATV on the highway – if he ever could’ve imagined being this much into bicycling and he just smiled and shook his head.

The wife
The wife
2 months ago
Reply to  Billyshoo

Amazing!!!!!

pete
pete
2 months ago

One of the few real heroes. I’m old and still wish I could be like him.

Todd
Todd
2 months ago

Having actively watched the LeMond website over the past few years, it appears as though Greg really wanted to release a high end road bike first but couldn’t get enough funding or interest to do it. I was on the email list for their road bike offering that never seemed to happen other than pre-payment was accepted (as far as I know).

Hence, ebikes are all the rage right now and where the profits are in the bike industry, so it appears that ebikes have become the priority for LeMond cycles which is understandable. First a new bike company like LeMond needs create a product that is a money maker, then make the niche’ product (a racing bike) once funds allow, even if it doesn’t make much money.

^ All my opinion, of course.

While I have no interest in an ebike at this time, I’ll admit that LeMond ebikes look pretty cool and I’m impressed that they don’t weigh 1,000 lbs like most ebikes do.

Ray Marks
Ray Marks
2 months ago
Reply to  Todd

Ebikes haven’t weighed a lot in years. Even fs e mtbs are avail in weights well under 40 lbs and some rival their manual cousins. I ride a manual mtb three days a week solo and e mtb with other riders so that we can all enjoy company. I say that manual bike’s give you that afterglow of “I did it” and e bikes give you simply more smiles per miles -)

NegativeYoda
NegativeYoda
2 months ago
Reply to  Todd

Time built some LeMond branded bikes but that was about 10 years ago at this point

Brian
Brian
2 months ago

“Sure, Greg LeMond is one of the greatest American cyclists of all time, but he’s still human.”
It is absurd to compare LeMond to any American cyclist. Drop American from that sentence.
“Still human” – But is he? If you shoot a human with a shot gun at close range they die. They don’t recover and win two Tours de France with a body loaded with lead and continue living for over 40 years.

Jerry Ryan
Jerry Ryan
2 months ago

I have a Trek Domane+ racing e-bike with 500Kw of power that can get up to 70 miles of riding range! I’m 62 and have been racing/ riding all my life. The e-bike allows me to get in a ride without knocking me out for the rest of the day. You can’t get 500Kw bikes anymore which is a shame as the 250Kw bikes only get up to 40 miles per charge. Anyway, I love it! Greg has always been one of my heroes and had Hinault not been such an ass, Greg would have won more TDF’s!!

EBike Douche
EBike Douche
2 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Ryan

Bruh. I think you mean watts, not kilowatts…

James
James
2 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Ryan

My wife has a 27lb Trek Domane+ SLR. She is a 67 year old retired state champion mountain biker and road time-trialist. She easily gets 40miles of range and can stretch that to 60 or more if there is less than 3000 feet of climbing and she manages battery use wisely. For longer or steeper rides, she simply throws on the range extender. She also has a full-power, class 3, Canyon Grail:ON that has even greater range.

Doc68
Doc68
2 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Ryan

I’m 73 and bought an e-road bike last year. Mine has the Fazua motor. It’s the greatest thing ever. I can now do weekend rides with our group which ranges in age from 31 to me. It was a game changer. Great for doing long rides without getting totally worn out and recovering from injuries. I get about 65 miles a charge. I only use the lowest power, which is enough for me.

nooner
nooner
2 months ago

That picture of Zach and Greg Lemond is pure gold!

EBike Douche
EBike Douche
2 months ago

The LeMond ebikes are great for Florida! Too bad I tried one in Seattle….

Joe Bond
Joe Bond
2 months ago

It would be awesome if all of the progress that’s been made with orthoscopic and microsurgery since ’87 if it is now possible for him to literally get the lead out.

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