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Some info on 2004 LeMond road bikes...(28 posts)

Some info on 2004 LeMond road bikes...russw19
Sep 1, 2003 10:24 PM
I know some of you may find this stuff interesting... I just got a look at most of the LeMond line for 2004. Some major changes going on for them.

First off, LeMond will have slightly sloping Aluminium frames for 2004. And a steel/OCLV carbon frame as well. The Zurich for 2004 will be a Reynolds 853/OCLV frame. It is like last year's Tete d Course but steel instead of Ti. Looks pretty nice. It uses a slightly sloping top tube, but has an extended head tube so you don't have to run a huge spacer stack. Ultegra with Bontrager Race Wheels.

The Alpe d' Huez is a sloping aluminium frame, extended headtube, and a 105/Ultegra mix. Silver frame, red decal panel. These bikes are starting to becme available right now, with the Buenos Aires available in mid month.

I am going to take a look online at the Fisher, Trek, and Klein bikes if anyone is interested in them, I may be able to answer a few questions for you.

Just passing this on for all interested...

Russ
re: Some info on 2004 LeMond road bikes...smooty
Sep 1, 2003 11:06 PM
Do you know how the sloping top tube will affect the overall geometry? I have recently tried to purchase a 2003 Zurich only to be told they are out of production to make way for the 2004's. I am wondering if the 2004 Zurich will still incorporate "lemond geometry" with a long tope tube and shallow seat angle giving the Stretched-out riding position that I was looking for with the earlier Lemond's..
...be very interested in the head-tube re-spec, importantSpunout
Sep 2, 2003 3:21 AM
in the world of spacer stacks and ahead sets. I have a 2001 55 Zurich that has a head tube fit for most others' 51cm bikes.

As for geometry changes, hope that the 'slightly sloping' is not a lower seat cluster, but a higher head tube.

The new steel/OCLV is interesting yet will not improve a 853 frame IMHO.
Agree about the 853/OCLVTig
Sep 2, 2003 4:44 AM
I've seen the '04 catalog and was wondering why they would take a wonderful riding full 853 steel frame and add OCLV to the upper half? The ride sure doesn't need improving. It might help lose a little extra weight though. I think it has more to do with marketing of mixed material frames than a need to improve the existing product. To keep competitive you have to stay at the front, even if something is already excellent. It also shows some assimilation of the brands owned by Trek.

The good news is that the OCLV change in the steel frame line adds only $100 to the price. My LBS carries Fisher and LeMond, and I can see some future improvement in sales with these changes.

For what its worth, my manager test rode several different bikes last week at the Trek event and had favorable reviews of the LeMond Ti/OCLV and the Trek Fuel (which we don't sell). The Trek 5900 was so flexy in the bottom bracket, it rubbed the front derailleur far more than any other road bike tested. He also didn't enjoy the ride of the new Fisher Cake, but lack of suspension set up could be a problem.
The reason... from what I gather..russw19
Sep 2, 2003 10:41 AM
The reason that they are doing it is because Reynolds 853 is a very difficult tubing to shape. It doesn't make for very good chain and seat stays because of that. It is far easier and more cost effective to mold carbon than to try to manipulate Reynolds 853 into a shape that gives the ride LeMond would be looking for in their bikes. It is really the exact same reason that they made the Ti Spine, OCLV Upper on the Tete d' Course last year as well. It is much easier and cheaper to design and mold the carbon than to bend Ti or Steel (853 steel that is...)

As for you manager's observations of the new 5900, I would suspect he's a fairly large and/or strong guy. Is he bigger than 160? Or fairly strong for his size? If so that explains the new 5900. They took over 100 grams off of that frame by reshaping the internal lugs. One of the ones where they cut the fat was the Bottom Bracket lug. It is now much more flexy as a result, but the frame and fork for that bike together are now under 3 lbs. But I, as a bigger rider, agree, the change was not one that would suit me.

Russ
The reason... from what I gather..Flickstar
Sep 2, 2003 10:54 AM
Where do you gather this from? I'd think it is a boutique form and function design rather than they are having a hard time in production. Just my opinion. I think they did it to follow in the steps of companies like Merlin (Cielo) and other manufacturers of that level. I ride a Tete and feel the difference to be evident and efficient beyond productiuon
The reason... from what I gather..russw19
Sep 2, 2003 1:17 PM
I gather this from the reason being they didn't use 853 seat and chain stays in the past because it was too difficult to manipulate the stays to get the ride quality that they wanted. That is why the 2003 Zurich and MJ used Reynolds 725 for the stays and head tube. 725 is much easier to work with when compared to 853. It is even easier once you design the molds to make a "Carbon Back" as LeMond calls it for your frame. Once you have the carbon back designed you just glue it into the frame. It's light, cheap, and easy to do. If you really think it's a huge performance upgrade, that's your call. It is lighter, but beyond that, the reason is money. I have been through this arguement too many times before to go through it again here, but it is way cheaper for a company like Trek that has the manufacturing process down already to glue in a carbon seat stay rather than weld in a steel, aluminium, or titanium stay to their frames. Does the bike look cool and modern, sure. But does that make the reason for why they do it, or is money the bigger factor? It costs Trek less to make the Zurich this way, looks cooler and more modern, and they are selling it for $100 more to you. All in all, they just increased their profit margin. Am I saying that is a bad thing, NO! But it is what is going on.

That where I gather that from...but it is still only my opinion....

Russ
I hope you are rightbigrider
Sep 2, 2003 2:27 PM
If so then eventually the lower end market should be saturated with sleek carbon fiber bikes. If they are cheaper to produce (I don't have any idea) then it would seem once the novelty of carbon wears off,instead of all the imported far east aluminum bikes, which replaced the imported far east steel bikes, we will have great quality carbon far east imported bikes. The result could be everyone will spend 2000 on italian wheelsets because you will be able to buy a top notch frame and fork for a few hundred.
I hope you are rightrussw19
Sep 2, 2003 5:00 PM
I would suspect that won't happen for one reason... if people were able to get $500 carbon bikes, then nobody would continue to buy $4000 carbon bikes. There is still the element of marketing here, but look at the fact that you can now buy $800 Columbus Foco bikes from Specialized whereas 15 years ago, you would have been slapped if you told someone that was going to happen. If you told me 12 years ago that I could go to Wal-Mart and buy a Mongoose full suspension mountain bike today for $500, I would have laughed at you for at least 10 minutes.... but you can. As the technology is more and more automated and computerized, as it is everyday, then the process for building bikes gets cheaper everyday as well. There is less human labor going into making the carbon stays than welding Ti or Steel stays on bikes.... that's what makes it cheaper. But demand for these bikes, dictated by marketing hype and trends, will continue to keep the selling price high, even as the manufacturing costs continue to drop.

And the thing is you actually can buy a top notch frame and fork for a few hundred right now. But fancy paints and name brand recongnition will cost you more. I know of a place where I can get US hand built Easton Scandium frames with Columbus Muscle Carbon rear ends, unfinished and unpaited for $250 for the frame and another $120 for the Columbus Muscle fork. But it doesn't say Trek or LeMond on the downtube, so it sells for $300 to $500 less. (to be fair, figure $85 more for a quality paintjob at wholesale bike pricing.)

I am not saying it is an evil thing, as bikes are better now than 10 years ago, but the marketing of carbon rear ends on bikes is otherwise astounding! The bike companies have managed to sell people on a less expensive process as being a better bike. I am not saying it isn't a better bike either, just that it costs less to manufacture, but you as the consumer are not directly seeing the cost cut. You do see it in better and more technilogical products because the companies are going thru a monitary resurgence because of this trend. So in the end it works out for everyone, but in the short term, it is really helping the manufacturer much more than the consumer.

Russ
If the cost of production of carbon is cheaperbigrider
Sep 3, 2003 5:47 AM
than steel or aluminum for the stays then it should be cheaper for the top tubes and down tubes since these can be mass produced as tubing and cut to length (assuming a traditional looking bike).

I agree that we are getting better bikes for lower prices all the time. There are cheap carbon bikes hitting the marketplace (epx 303). I have a strong opinion about carbon being superior to other materials for several reasons. You can manipulate it for ride quality and strength by how much material you use and how you orient the material. It is light. It lasts. That is why I hope you are right. If the bike manufacturers are using carbon as the latest hype because it is cheaper to produce(they don't tell you that) and because of it's superior qualities(they tell you that all the time), then we as consumers will eventually get a much better bike at a lower cost.

Russ, the thing that gets me is what you mentioned in your last post. There are great bikes out there cheap but the mass of consumers are willing to spend a lot of money on a name on the side of a bike. They will spend an extra thousand on an italian steed made in the far east and claim it has a soul and swear they wiped a pasta stain off the frame when they got it.

I have a 70s steel bike, a Lemond Zurich, and a Trek 5200. I love all three bikes but the 5200 is better from a performance and comfort point of view in my opinion.

The thing that scares me about your post is the fact that manufactures will sell bikes based on hype and not the best product. Look at integrated headsets. Will the next selling point be for show or for go. It is our job as consumers to sort out the best and unfortunately I feel that many riders are not reality based in their opinions. Some riders will tell you aluminum is the only thing they will ride because it is the only thing they have ridden. The same goes for steel and carbon. Factor in different quality frames and designs and the water really gets muddy.

The bottom line is eventually the cream will rise to the top. The superior manufacturing techniques, the superior material, the superior design will take hold. Look at the full suspension MTB stuff now. There a a zillion designs in the trash heap and we are left with the the best. But a whole bunch of consumers bought that crap and paid big bucks for a design that sucked. I just don't want to be the sucker.
If the cost of production of carbon is cheaperrussw19
Sep 3, 2003 5:14 PM
The reason that a lot of carbon stays are cheap is that you can make one mold to build them all. Read my reply to Fez's post about monostay carbon rear ends. It will explain this. But as for building a complete carbon bike, you need more than one mold still. So the next route was compact geometry. Now some companies are doing this right, but others (and I am not bashing the bikes or anyone who rides them) like Giant and Specialized did it because they could build 5 frames instead of 9 to cover the range of riders they try to fit. Compact geometry is not without merit, but it's reason for exisitance was originally to build less sizes of bikes and cut manufacturing costs. Bike companies have always been selling consumers things they don't really need, but as long as we buy them, they will keep doing it.

But I think another big issue with cost is that even as frames drop in price as the materials get cheaper, someone is still always pushing the envelope on a new design and so you still have to pay the R&D costs of that. That and components are still getting more expensive every year. I think some people are gonna crap their pants at the cost of 2004 Campy Record.

But I hear what you are saying about lots of bad ideas in the trash heap. I remember some early full suspension bikes from the early 90's. I don't think bad things about carbon, I just wish more people understood that just because a company does something, it doesn't always mean it's a good idea. Like Chris Rock said "Just because you can drive a car with your feet, that doesn't mean it's to be done!"

Anyways, that's all I got on this issue (thank god!) but thanks for sharing your thoughts on it too. It's been a good thread, but I think it's run its course.

Russ
Russ - Carbon staysFez
Sep 3, 2003 7:07 AM
Do you know if carbon stays are replaceable, meaning if they break the carbon stays get replaced and not the entire frame?

I have seen pictures of a few carbon stays, especially the Reynolds ones, and it seems like they appear to be a modular design. They almost look like they are glued and bolted into the rear dropout area and glued to the seattube junction up top.

Does that mean these things could be upgradeable down the road? People could upgrade their rear stays just like they could a fork?

And that Scandium frame and Muscle fork deal you were talking about - is that avail to the public, or just to insiders?
Russ - Carbon staysrussw19
Sep 3, 2003 4:54 PM
Fez, I don't think you would want to just replace them... unless you take it to a good builder that builds that way. Otherwise, it may end up cheaper to get the whole new frame.

I need to clarify a few things about my posts on this subject, as I have reread some of them and they can be confusing... First, the cheaper designs that are the cookie cutter type carbon stays you can spot right off the bat... they usually have a monostay read end or a wishbone... that way you can build the frame like normal and then just cut the wishbone end of the carbon to the correct length then bond it in. Most bikes have about the same size chainstays, so the only thing that matters is the length of the seatstays. If you look closely at them the angle of the stay won't matter because there is usually a bolt to join the dropout to the stay. So the angle can easily be variable. Then if there is a monostay, the length to the brake bridge is also a constant. So all you need is a short or long monostay to bond to the frame. It's a really simple process, and very cheap because you don't have to design too many rear ends to fit most bikes. It's just like compact geometry in that sense that you build fewer bikes for a range of sizes. Now, does that mean the design is 100% hype and totally without merit? No. It still lightens up the bike, and the big benefit of carbon is you can very easily manipulate the ride quality of the bike with carbon. Much more easily than you can with a steel tubing that is hard to shape, like Reynolds 853 or 725. So for that reason, it is very much to someone like LeMond or Trek's benefit to use this system. It still has advantages to the rider in the form of less weight and tailored ride characteristics.

My big issue that I wanted to bring to you guys' attention is that riders ultimately have to ride the bikes. So just because the industry (whose ultimate goal is to earn money) tells you the bike is better, you should still question if you are giving something up, or getting something more. And even companies like Merlin and Klein (brought up in another thread) do this. But just because they do it to, it does not mean it's the best idea in the world or the best thing to happen to bikes. Sometimes the hype and marketing are designed to misdirect consumer attention from a potential negative and spin it to a positive.

As for your question, Fez, I think you would be able to replace a carbon stay under warranty if it snapped, but I think unless it was originally designed to take a carbon stay, I wouldn't pay anyone to put one in for me.

Hope this clears things up on what my opinion on this is, and how I came to this. This is not some crazy idea I just happened to come up with in my sleep, but I am trying to show consumers what's going on with the other side of the industry.

Russ
Good observations. Yes, he's a big rider.Tig
Sep 2, 2003 3:52 PM
The manager is 6' 2", 225 lbs, so he can flex a bottom bracket quite well. He broke 2 Bianchi EV3's before realizing that they are really better for lightweight riders! Funny thing about the large demo 5900 he tried... it had 172.5 mm cranks instead of 175's.

The carbon route does sound more economical to produce. Thanks for your insight.
re: Some info on 2004 LeMond road bikes...Har
Sep 2, 2003 3:46 AM
any info on the kliens would be great, esp any changes q pro carbon or basic color,
So far, Klein has only shown 2004 mtb's from what I saw... nmrussw19
Sep 2, 2003 10:47 AM
re: More Info on the Zurichteoteoteo
Sep 2, 2003 4:58 AM
We have a Zurich at shop and so far I have not been terribly impressed. The frame seems to have too much flex at the seatstay and dropout junction. Finish quality is lower than I have seen on previous Lemond product.

The bike we have is a 53 and is 20 pounds with pedals--one way Lemond kept cost down was to spec Bontrager Race wheels instead of Race Lites.
re: Some info on 2004 LeMond road bikes...geeker
Sep 2, 2003 5:20 AM
Thanks, very interesting. But not so good news for traditionalists/retrogrouches...Steel/carbon, sloping top tubes, aluminum; sounds like marketing gone mad. The only positive to me is the longer head tubes. I hope LeMond aren't destroying their "853 steel franchise" with these changes.
New Steel Franchise: Cervelo SuperProdigy...Spunout
Sep 2, 2003 5:27 AM
fully nickel plated, so there is not a corrosion issue. Stiff, lighter than 853.

Look up the reviews here, this bike is 1/2 Renaissance.

Value for money? $1,200 Cdn takes it away.
where are these frames made?gtx
Sep 2, 2003 8:37 AM
Taiwan?

I don't agree with their seat tube angle argument, but they are nice looking bikes.
PHOTO of 2004 Zurichmarimba_artist
Sep 2, 2003 1:14 PM
Sweet!~
Sounds like our old traditional all-steel LemondsOldEdScott
Sep 2, 2003 6:35 AM
will soon be going up in value, or at least cachet.

A disappointing development, though.
Lemond will offer All steel "Classic" modelteoteoteo
Sep 2, 2003 6:41 AM
The all steel frames are not gone--marketed under the name of Lemond "Classic" will be the traditional bikes you have grown to love. I don't remember the specifics on what models and specs are but I have all the info at work. If I have a minute or two I'll post the details.
Wonder if it will be like 'Coke Classic,' andOldEdScott
Sep 2, 2003 6:52 AM
way outsell the 'new' version that was intended to replace it?

Probably not, but it will be interesting to see if the Lemond crowd (of which I'm part) accepts this new direction. Sounds to me like Trek/Lemond marketing is looking to recruit a whole new crowd.
I was wrongteoteoteo
Sep 2, 2003 9:36 AM
No all steel offerings...I'll go hide in the corner. The classic designation is for the Zurich, MJ, and Buenos Aires. The Victiore is a all TI bike with standard geometry. The Classic designation means the Geometry is the same as old models BUT the three carbon/steel bikes (Zurich, MJ, and Buenos)are semi sloping with the "classic" geometry.
re: Some info on 2004 LeMond road bikes...Flickstar
Sep 2, 2003 10:08 AM
Saw the new book. Hate the new script on the downtube. Disagree about the "suckiness" of steel and carbon combo. For some older riders, the steel is too rough and the carbon to expensive. The carbon will def. smooth the rough spots on an excellent current tubeset. The new Tete is ugly as sin--its carbon with blue Ti--doesn't match anything. Overall, though, a good line overhaul for LEMOND.
Glad I bought an '03 Zurich...........nmTower
Sep 2, 2003 2:14 PM
re: Some info on 2004 LeMond road bikes...smooty
Sep 2, 2003 5:29 PM
It seems to me, after just comparing photos of the 2003 Zurich with the 2004 Zurich, That as long as the "effective" geometry is the same with the taller head tube and sloping top tube, the ride should be improved from the previous models due to a "tighter" triangle. Adding carbon will also lighten the bike from previous model years giving a more accurate and responsive ride. Mabye it's not just about saving money on production costs?