Originally written by Bicycling.com
As the e-bike industry continues its rapid expansion, riders may feel overwhelmed by the endless array of styles and brand names. What was once a niche market is now swarming with new companies, each claiming that they are the ones who’ve perfected the art of the e-bike. Sure, this boom in e-biking is cause for celebration—indicative of a growing national interest in eco-friendly commuting—but in an expanding industry, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. When is the quality of an e-bike good enough to justify spending a little more? As with any vehicle, it all comes down to the tech.
LeMond Bikes, the brainchild of legendary American cyclist Greg LeMond, has separated itself from other e-bike companies with two luxury models—the Prolog commuter and the Dutch cruiser—that clock in at twenty-six and twenty-seven pounds, respectively. This is half the weight of most other e-bikes on the market, and, when combined with the integrated (code word: hidden) electronic motor system, they provide a sleek look suitable for cyclists of all skill levels. “We designed these bikes with the belief that the market for electric bikes reaches much further than just the hard-core cycling community,” says Bill Stephens, LeMond’s Director of Product Development. “The goal was to create something approachable and unintimidating—something simple and friendly, with reduced visual clutter.”
Carbon Fiber Frame
Both the Prolog and Dutch boast lightweight carbon fiber frames that promise increased maneuverability and control for riders. Long celebrated for its strength and durability without weighing vehicles down, carbon fiber is used in the bike frame and fork, the handlebar-stem, custom fenders, and seat post. The material is great for e-bikes, where the addition of motors and engines can tack on a heavy load. “The most significant technical metric that defines the LeMond e-bike experience is weight—or more specifically, the lack thereof,” says Stephens. The Prolog and the Dutch can easily be lifted up stairs or taken onto public transport, ideal for commuting or running errands.
Integrated Drive System
LeMond e-bikes rely on a Mahle X35 drive system, with Shimano GRX 11-speed drivetrain components. These advanced systems provide smooth power delivery and seamless gear-shifting as you cruise to your destination. The 250-watt rear hub motor reaches speeds of up to 20 mph, depending on how much electronic assistance you use. How’s the battery life? Both the Prolog and the Dutch provide up to 40-70 miles of range on a full charge, depending on assistance level and route severity.
“The tech almost completely disappears from view.”
Another plus is that the electric drive system is fully integrated, which means the tech is hidden within the frame of the vehicle. “My favorite aspect of a LeMond bike is that the tech almost completely disappears from view,” says Stephens. “We work hard to create bikes that are decidedly not intimidating to cyclists and non-cyclists alike—no visible motors or batteries.” You might forget your bike has an electric component. That is, until you’re climbing that steep hill and decide it’s time for a pedaling boost.
Tires, Headlights, and Handlebars
Part of the appeal of purchasing a luxury bike is in trusting that the team behind the product understands that every part of the vehicle matters. For example, the impact of well-designed rider positioning and handlebars can’t be overstated. A 2022 study in Environmental Research and Public Health looked at the effect of handlebar height and bicycle-frame length on muscular activity during cycling, and found that these factors make a significant difference when it comes to cycling performance and muscle fatigue, even in recreational riders. “We are incredibly particular about fit and touch points,” says Stephens of his team’s commitment to perfecting the smallest details. “Our 3D printer has gone through countless iterations of handlebars.”
This perfectionist’s approach begins with the cycling legend who started the company. “Those who know Greg [LeMond] know that ride position and road feel are a passion of his; he’s been studying cycling ergonomics for decades,” explains Stephens. “He advises the geometry for every bike that’s being developed at LeMond.”
Seemingly small decisions are also paramount for safety. Even the smoothest roads have potentially sharp hazards, which is why the tires on your e-bike are crucial. The Prolog and Dutch use Panaracer GravelKing Slick Plus Tires, known for their resistance to punctures. These tires make LeMond bikes adaptable to different terrains, equally suitable for trail riding as for city cycling. The integrated headlight system within the handlebar stem is another important safety feature. They provide front-facing visibility, while the rear and side taillights illuminate your movements for those behind you.