Greg LeMond and LeMond Cycles have unveiled their long-awaited return to performance road bikes with the release of the LeMond 8 Concept, a bike they are claiming has seen the ‘most transformative change to carbon fibre’ in 30 years.
The new bike will cost £11,400 / €13,900 / $12,500, and is made using a composite sandwich method, where the carbon fibre frame members are filled with an ultralight expanding foam called MatrixCore, which LeMond says it has co-developed with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US.
LeMond says the foam replicates the compaction benefits of more conventional bladders during the frame’s fabrication, but unlike bladders the foam stays within the frame, adding comfort by damping road vibration.
The LeMond 8 is also notable for the fact it has no metal parts, using ‘the latest carbon fibre manufacturing techniques’ to create features like a carbon fibre lattice bottom bracket sleeve.
The frameset is only compatible with electronic shifting and has clearance for 32mm tyres.
The new bike – named after LeMond’s famous Tour de France victory in 1989 – is available to be reserved now with shipping expected from July 2022 and includes a ‘Team LeMond’ option that will give you the chance to ride with LeMond himself and even test future products.
LeMond 8 Concept: Key specs
- Frameset: LeMond 8 carbon fibre MatrixCore frame and fork
- Cockpit: LeMond aero monocoque bar/stem
- Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 Di2 Disc
- Bottom Bracket: T47 Threaded w/ LeMond Exoskeleton CF shell
- Wheels: LeMond LC 47 Tubeless w/ Vittoria Corsa tyres (25/28/30mm)
- Price: £11,400 / €13,900 / $12,500
LeMond 8 Concept: Frame
This new bike is not a big surprise. Three-time Tour de France champion LeMond made the claim that he was on the verge of a major breakthrough in carbon fibre technology to Cyclist in 2020.
At the time, he said that a collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Knoxville, Tennessee had seen the development of a new super-core structure that was ‘as light as anything on the market and almost failure-proof’, which he planned to introduce to a new road bike range in 2021.
It is now 2022 and the new LeMond 8 Concept is here. It is made entirely of the aforementioned new composite and is being heralded as the ‘most transformative change to carbon fibre frame construction since the introduction of carbon fibre frames over 30 years ago’.
Details of what the actual developments in carbon fibre technology consist of are light and that’s to be expected – no brand is willing to give away trade secrets – but what we do know is that this new carbon core material is being used for the entire frame and fork.
Not just the regular tubes, the carbon material is used to form the brake bosses and direct mount derailleur hanger too. It is also used for a unique latticed bottom bracket shell that is ‘co-cured’ into the frame. The result is a T47 threaded BB sleeve made entirely from carbon, which is to our knowledge unique in design.
The LeMond 8 Concept’s fork also benefits from unusually advanced carbon fibre development. LeMond says it has the ability to create internal structures ‘along load paths that make sense’ to avoid having to create complex structural shapes.
These structures can therefore be overlaid with a superficial exoskeleton that results in less carbon being used overall and a lighter weight.
In 2020, LeMond claimed to Cyclist that the new super-core structure would make ‘very narrow-profiled tubes while retaining lateral stiffness and ensuring material failure is practically impossible’.
From what we can see in the pictures, the 8 Concept has fairly regular tube dimensions. Conventional kamm-tail aerofoil shapes are used on the down tube in an attempt to improve aerodynamics, along with a narrow head tube and dropped seatstays.
What the frame does have, however, is a MatrixCore. This, put simply, is an expanding foam made by Xenecore that has been filled into the frame and fork.
It is claimed that the foam increases strengh, durability and stiffness while also helping to damp road buzz, all at a much lower weight penalty than carbon fibre.
LeMond also makes the big claim that this combination of ‘materials and engineering results in what we believe to be some of the strongest and safest frames in the world’.
As of yet, there is no mention of the bike’s overall weight.
LeMond 8 Concept: Components
The same carbon fibre has been used in the development of the bike’s integrated carbon monocoque handlebar and stem.
Structural ribs within the head tube have made the need for a metal expanding wedge redundant while internal threads allow you to cut the steerer tube down, if needs be. The bars will be available in four widths from 38cm to 44cm and four stem lengths from 100mm to 130mm with space for 30mm of spacers. There is also an option for a bar with a five-degree flare.
Another quirk of the design is the sliding channel seatpost which helps spread clamp load over 66m of post. This channel has also been designed to accept integrated lights and saddle bags which LeMond is currently in the processs of developing.
The frame will be compatible with electronic groupsets only. Initally, the LeMond 8 Concept will be sold with Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 Di2 however it will be available as a frameset with wheels (a rolling chassis) if you would prefer SRAM or Campagnolo.
LeMond has developed a set of wheels specifically for this new bike, in partnership with Munich Composites. The rims are 47mm deep and tubelesss compatible, although the internal rim width is not revealed. Tune hubs are used as well as Sapim spokes.
The 32mm tyre clearance of the LeMond 8 is bang on trend and, off the shelf, the three tyre options are all Vittoria Corsas from 25mm up to 30mm. You also get a Fizik Antares Versus saddle.
LeMond 8 Concept: Geometry
LeMond 8 Concept: Price, colour, Team LeMond
The new LeMond 8 Concept is ready to reserve from today and is set to be shipped in July 2022 once Shimano’s Dura-Ace R9200 groupsets have arrived.
The bike will cost £11,400 / €13,900 / $12,500 with a $9,500 deposit complete or £7,800 / €9,500 / $8,500 with a $6,000 deposit for a rolling chassis.
Ironically, these prices are at the higher end of the market despite LeMond previously claiming that new carbon fibre manufacturing techniques, which were being developed for use in the motor industry, could bring costs down by 50 per cent.
The bike comes in the two colour options, Tour Blue and Silver, and the superior – to our eyes – Classics Grey and Maillot Jaune.
Another absolutely fascinating aspect of this is that initial owners of the LeMond 8 Concept will become members of Team Lemond.
LeMond claims this will give you ‘exclusive access to annual private rides with Greg and his team, in Europe and the USA, free entry into cycling events, and early access to new products that LeMond is developing, even helping us to evaluate and test new products’. You will also get annual cycling kits and a and quarterly ‘Town Hall’ talk with Greg via Zoom.
This also earns you an invite to the inaugural Chatel Chablais Leman Race in France on the 2nd and 3rd July.
Cyclist will be requesting a review sample of the LeMond 8 Concept and hopes to provide an in-depth review later this year.